Alison, when you say 'here in the city', which city are you referring to? i'd listen to Peter the Aussie since he's been through it. in my other company we sponsor visas from India frequently (one from Mexico and one from New Zealand) simply because it's so hard to find talent here (seattle). the best way is for your co-founder to marry an american - only half joking. i'm not familiar with the E3 that Peter refers to, but it likely requires the same pay requirements as the H1 - your firm MUST pay "prevailing wage". This is a real problem for foreign workers wanting to work in startups. Startup employees and especially co-founders want equity and for that we work at less than market wage. VC's don't like to see you pay market rates AND equity on top. On an H1 you cannot pay less than 'prevailing wage'. if "the city" you refer to is bay area then that prevailing wage will be high. an option is to do a "part time" visa. i know there is part time status for the H1 - i've done it once with my current startup, not sure about the E3. Total cost up front about $3,600. if he is part time you can can pay a part time wage and save some money. What he does in his spare time is up to him. He will need to prove that at his part time wages he can "make a living" - easier with a spouse. You will need an experienced immigration attorney. If you are a new company and haven't sponsored visas before it will take longer. there have been a lot of body shops in recent years (mostly run by former visa holders) who have been playing games with the immigration laws so homeland security is really stepping up it's scrutiny. do everything strictly by the book. congress is working on legislation to try to address the issue of foreign workers in startups and the whole 'prevailing wage' issue, but it's a ways out. Homeland security (formerly INS) wants to be sure companies aren't bringing over foreign workers and paying 'slave wages'. Now, companies with offices overseas (say in India) can send an Indian worker to the US to work on a company project on an L1 visa for, i believe, up to 90 days. They can then pay them their regular Indian wage. You could look at that angle - setting up a subsidiary in Australia and have time come over for short stints.