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Can i start a business on H-4 visa?

San Jose, CA |

There would be no salary or benefits to me as a individual but the profit would going into the company. I intend to have a H-1 B visa holder to the investor for the firm and set up a separate business entity with its I-TIN number. Is this possible?

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Attorney answers 4


you would need to check with a CA business lawyer but in so far as immigration goes, it ought not be an issue as long as you do not draw a salary/income.


I agree that you should speak to a lawyer and my sense of what you are describing is a substance over form matter that could get you into trouble. While a person without work authorization can start a company in the U.S. (even a foreign person can do this), you CANNOT work for the entity. Without knowing any of the facts, my first impression is that it would be questionable to set up an entity while living here, hire someone and not manage the business.

The content of this answer has been prepared by Scott Legal Services, P.C. for general informational purposes only. It is not legal advice and should not be considered or relied upon as legal advice. Transmission or receipt of the content of this information does not create, nor is it intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Because each matter involves differing facts, online readers should not act upon the content of this website without seeking legal advice.


I agree with my colleagues. H-4 visa is to accompany or follow to join H-1B. H-4(s) are not authorized to work. When you say "start business" what exactly will be your role? Consult with a competent immigration attorney to ensure that you do not violate the terms of your visa.

This response is general in nature and cannot be construed as legal advice, given that not enough facts are known. Any comments offered on Avvo are of a general nature only, and are not meant to create an attorney-client relationship. If you would like additional information based on this response, please contact my office at 510 657 7665 or 415 902 0832 to schedule a consultation.


I agree with Attorney Scott: You can form a company, but you cannot work for it.

As a business lawyer, I have helped dozens of foreign clients start businesses in the US, and I have blogged extensively about the challenges that they face. I recommend that you start with the post at the link below.

This information does not constitute legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

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