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Starting a business by a H1B Visa holder

chinnichinni subscriber Posts: 1
edited September 2015 in Business Planning
This has been a burning question for a while. Appreciate any information or directions in this regard.
Is it possible for a person who is currently working on H1B visa in USA to start a business on his own? On searching for this topic, I found different answers on various forums, some say it is quite possible to start and run a business, while some warn that it is not possible.
Can a person who is currently on H1B, add Google Adsense to his blog and make some additional income?
Thank you verymuch in advance for any answers or directions on this topic.


  • GeorgeAGeorgeA subscriber Posts: 3
    Hi Chinni,The only type of business you (as a non-US resident) can incorporate in the US, is a C corporation. That allows you to incorporate a company in any state of the US, but you need to have a foreign address. So incoporation is possible, but read on...Having said that, I`m not sure if the IRS would release a ITIL for your purpose if you currently hold a H1B visa, the reason being that the W7 form (which you must use to receive the ITIL, inorder to receive the Federal tax number), specifically says that the person must not be affiliated or resident in the US. Your status is a little odd (not sure if you count as alien resident or not), so the best would be if you either go to www.irs.gov and look for the answer, or just call them up on their customer service phone lines.Be aware, I`m a layman when it comes to this, so this information might be totally wrong.Have fun,George.
  • chinnichinni subscriber Posts: 1
    Hi George,
    Thanks for your inputs. I have been working in USA for almost 3 years, and as far as I know I would be an alien resident, till green card (lawful permanent residency) is issued.
    I am planning to talk to an Immigration attorney to get more clarity on my options to start a business while still working on my H1 at another company.
  • VinnuVinnu subscriber Posts: 0
    Hi Murali...I`m in a similar situation as yours...Can you please help me with some pointers how you found answers and have navigated around the restrictions as perceived by H1 holders when establishing a company..I greatly appreciate all your help and advise in this regard..Thanks,Vinoy.
  • MalaMala subscriber Posts: 0
    I`m also having the same question. Can H1B holder start up a business..If so what are the formalities of the same
    Would help if someone provides me pointer on the above mentioned.
  • chinnichinni subscriber Posts: 1
    Hi All,If you are working currently in US on a H1-B visa, You CAN start a business (a C corp) just like any other, as long as YOU DO NOT work for that company. You can only work for the company that sponsored your H1B and only the kind of work specified in the petition. There is no deviation of any kind to this rule.However, you can establish a company and appoint a director or CEO to run your business. For someone who is just starting the Entrepreneurial dream, it is a serious obstacle. But, the positive side of it is you don`t have to kill your dreams or delay. You `can` participate in some restricted activities of the business, in the role of investor, but certainly not of executive nature.Many Entrepreneurs partner with Permanent Residents and/or citizens to start their businesses. They remain as passive investors in the business, but they can own everything (if desired) about the business and leave all the management to the rest of the team. So if you have a dream and you are serious about it, talk to an attorney to get started. Clarity and a trusted Legal partner are very important to realize the dream of entrepreneurship. I agree it is very expensive to consult a good attorney, but trust me, you will never have enough money to buy  peace of mind.Hope this helps,Wish you all the best.Murali 
    chinni2007-4-18 22:50:3
  • MalaMala subscriber Posts: 0
    Thanks Murali..This literally helped a lot..
  • cuttscutts subscriber Posts: 4
    Hi, I agree with Chinni on this and have personally been through this process. It is vital though that you get good legal advice here as the INS is as tough to deal with as the IRS on such matters. Good luck.
  • paul2145rpaul2145r subscriber Posts: 5
    Let me know if you guys are still interested in the topic. I know of a couple of people that might be able to help you in this particular situation!
  • GooseGoose subscriber Posts: 0
    paul2145r , please post what you know. I`m very interested in this topic, especially if my wife, who`s on H4, can participate as well.
  • AdvisorGarageAdvisorGarage subscriber Posts: 10
    There is also another consideration based on my own experience...you can start a company, you can also have that company sponsor you for an H1B and even the green card which means you will be able to work for the company.  BUT the company needs to be real...i.e. funded, customers, revenue, a legal presence etc etc etc...this is not a loophole and the powers that be really do check it out to ensure the company is legitimate IF it sponsors you for the H1B.  If the company does well, generates revenues and creates jobs, this can give you the ability to apply for an expedited greencard...i.e. months versus lots of months...AGAIN, this is my personal experience a few years ago, chat to a lawyer to get the latest scoop.  Good luck!
  • chetanchetan subscriber Posts: 0
      My case could be interesting and motivating to you.
      Theory: US wel-come employement creation. If you demonstrate your intention well. There is no harm, even legally. Infact you will be given Red-Carpet wel-come.
       I started my own company in 2001 in India. I got a client in US in 2004. Needed to travel to US in Aug-2004. Only option I had was travel on H1B with my client sponsoring H1B.  He did and I came.
      Started my company in US in 2006. Leased space etc. It is in Business legally for the last one year in US. And 6 year in India. I filed tax - So nor IRS issue.
      Last week I got my L1A - So no USCIS issue. I supported and submitted all my documents with my intention to do business in US.
     Offcourse: when you start a company in US, you are not authorized to take salary and be active in business. However, you can do with help of GC holder/Citizen. (As an entrepreanure you need to have this capabilities ).
     go with "there are no barriers, only bridges".
  • mmah4153mmah4153 subscriber Posts: 0
    Hi,Can anybody please answer the following questions. I really appreciate your help and time in advance.1) I know that we can start a company on H1b but I have to hire some body to work for the company. In this case how can I pay her/him salary as I cannot sign the paychecks.
    2) Can I keep any restrictions(in issuing checks) on the person I hired?
    3) As I am planning to start a consulting  company can I sign the NDA,contracts,invoices..etc?
    Thanks & Regards
  • pranav2pranav2 subscriber Posts: 0
    Hi Mani,
    Did you get any reply ? Your questions are valid. I am also looking for answers
  • JandyJandy subscriber Posts: 0
    Hello All,
    I am also in the process of starting up a new solutions & Consulting firm. I am working on H1 B visa for a different company. I have the same questions as Mani and Pranav above. Some one please advice.
  • donjuandonjuan subscriber Posts: 0
    Thanks a lot for information, After your answers I have done research about C-corp. I am green card holder and my future business partner is H1B. He is planning to stay as passive investor in our start up. I have question, if anyone can reply to this will be great h elp.
    Can he get tax benefits on whatever expenses he make to run company, like flying, foods, entertainment ?
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