H-1B Entrepreneur:

How To Start A Business In The U.S. On A H-1B Visa


This is a short summary on the requirements for starting a business in the U.S. under H-1B Visa.  The article walks you through the fundamental steps in a general way as each state has their own set of laws governing business, taxes and the like.

The H-1B program is a U.S. visa for nonimmigrants who are coming to work in professional occupations.  The most common fields are high end technology, accounting and sciences.  Many who are on the H-1B visa hold, at a minimum, a Bachelor’s degree from a university.

H-1B visas are granted when the occupation requires someone with at least a Bachelor’s degree in a certain specialty field. This means those who hold the H-1B Visa and possess the prerequisite skills necessary are highly sought after and often well compensated for their services.

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What If I Am Interested In Starting A Business, Do I Need To Have H-1B Visa?

It would be wonderful if all a foreign national had to do was simply find a location and begin providing goods and/or services.  In the United States, it does not quite work this way.  There are certain requirements that must be met before a nonimmigrant can own and manage a business.

Crucial Steps Necessary

  • Registering the company – This is not always a requirement, and the necessity for doing so will vary state by state. It is a wise decision to do so, if there are plans to open a bank account or seek investment capital for the business.
  • LLC or Corporation? – LLC stands for ‘limited liability company.’ It is the most common way to establish a business entity in the U.S. LLC’s are limited in scope and sequence as the Corporation. Corporations have more legal and tax formalities but offer more protection to the shareholders in the event of litigation or liquidation. Where do I register or incorporate? – Good question with a very difficult answer. There are 50 states in the U.S., and each state has its own laws regarding registration and incorporation. Considerations include where to do business, if it’s online business, what states have the best growth opportunities or are business-friendly, etc.
  • How do I form a business? – Three things: 1. Select a unique business name; 2. Select a “registered agent,” a physical location where mail for taxes and legal information is received; 3. File Certificate of Incorporation or Articles of Organization. This provides the official company name, registered agent and any shareholders in the company.

Do I Need The H-1B Visa?

U.S. laws do not require you to hold any specific type of visa to register or purchase a business in the United States. H-1B holders can easily start and/or register a new business. However, in order to work for your new company on H-1B, USCIS has set several guidelines in place:

  • The company should have a separate board of directors, or an individual with the power to hire and fire employees, including you;
  • Your company should be able to show that there will be a valid employer-employee relationship with you;
  • The H-1B holder should not a sole proprietor;
  • The company cannot exist for the sole purpose of obtaining the H-1B Visa;
  • The H-1B holder must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent in the required field;

If all of these criteria are met, the H-1B holder may be able to start a business in virtually any state in the U.S. and work for that business under H-1B Visa.

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As much as you may wish to become a H-1B entrepreneur in the U.S., you must first secure authorization under a work visa category that allows you to work for your company.

VisaPro handles the formation of your new company in the US, helps you obtain office space, and files the appropriate visa petition with the USCIS. Schedule A Consultation Today to learn how we can help you start a business in the United States as a foreign national.

Our professional team, strong service culture and 16+ years’ experience ensures that everything related to your new office is handled professionally, completely and in a timely fashion.

What VisaPro Customers Are Saying

The O-1 is a tough nut to crack and there is no denying it took hard work all round to get but, thanks to the patience, diligence and guidance given at every step by the team at VisaPro , I am now legal and able to join my colleagues in the United States."

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