H1B Visa

Starting a company on H1B Visa in USA

Nikhil Bangad Aspiring Entrepreneur in the IoT Space, with an innovative product in the making

Last updated on December 11th, 2017

Any body has experience in registering a Start-up in the US on H1B Visa?

syed ali Cofounder and strongly believe learning is a life long process. I am a proud everyday learner.

December 11th, 2017


  • You can't work at a company that you own stock in if you are on a H1B.

http://www.quora.com/Can-non-US-residents-with-H1B-visa-have-founders-stocks-when-incorporating-a-company-If-yes-what-are-the-ways
This would create significant problems for this person to be an active co-founder down the road.

  • H1B selection is random, although there is a master's cap which reduces the pool size to some degree for some applicants. Therefore it is not certain this person would be able to get an H1B and continue to be able to work in the US.

http://www.quora.com/H1B-Visa-1/What-parameters-are-considered-while-applying-a-lottery-system-for-H1B-Visa

  • Hiring a non-US employee is expensive and is a lot of work

You also have to prove that you are a legitimate company to sponsor someone. While you may be legal, you may not have an office yet, etc, which can make it more difficult to prove. Estimates range from 3k-10k total.
http://www.quora.com/Startups/Can-a-startup-realistically-sponsor-an-H1B-or-is-that-just-for-the-big-companies

  • H1Bs are a lottery, they may not receive one.
  • Even if you arrange for the person to pay their own legal fees, you still have to pay the fees to request the H1B for ~$1000. Having the person pay for that indirectly is illegal.
  • Having the applicant own equity in the company might invalidate their claim to apply for an H1B. You're not supposed to own the company that is petitioning for you. That would be a conflict of interest and would essentially allow people to buy an H1B.
  • O1 visas are extremely difficult to get. Almost always not an option.

Basically the US government has made it extremely difficult for foreigners to a) found their own companies and b) join as co-founders for existing companies. This is really un-American since we are supposed to be the country of opportunity and many of our best companies were started by immigrants (e.g. Tesla). Unfortunately foreign cofounders seem to add a lot of legal "gray area" and increase the risk of a startup.Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice.

Peter V Creativity is my thunder

December 11th, 2017

When it comes to registering a company there is no difference what your status is (US resident or not). Every state has it's own regulations in regards to how and what type of documentation you will need to submit, but your visa status doesn't matter. The easiest company to deal is LLC and you will need to open up a bank account with a US bank. The difference is once the company has been registered you will be required to file taxes. So the real question is how are you going to file your taxes, registering company is super easy - paying taxes is kind of complicated. Basically speaking you will need to apply for ITIN to file and pay taxes and EIN to operate your business. There will be other local registrations and licenses required, for example there might be business license required to operate within the boundaries of a particular city.

Rish Prasad The Product Guy , doedevice.com

Last updated on December 11th, 2017

Hello Nikhil, I have registered, paid taxes and closed a LLC as an OPT candidate, and it is same if you are on H1B. You can do it yourself you do not even need a lawyer but you will need an office space (a physical location). If you do not have an office space use firms like Incorp or Legal Zoom. You can even find a cheaper one. Nevada has extra taxes from this year so use Delaware. Filing taxes are easy, you have to file schedule C, any registered agent can help you. You might need state/federal license depend on your type of business (chances are less for an IOT type business). You might need a separate bank account if you have multiple partners, then you can apply for corporate bank account. I hope you have validated your concept and product because forming LLC should be least of your concern, you should think of a LLC when you are at stage to make an actual sale the next day or raise money, it just takes couple of days to register a LLC. Cheers!

Rish Prasad The Product Guy , doedevice.com

December 11th, 2017

Sure Nikhil, earlier census was, on an H1B you can definitely own a company just not work for it. But look at the link below (for professional help contact an attorney)

http://www.immi-usa.com/h1b-holder-start-business/


It states that (which in my experience with lawyers is true) you have to display an employee-employer relationship with your own company to work for it e.g. board of directors can fire you as a CEO.

Naiem Yeganeh

December 12th, 2017

I am not a lawyer but as far as I know, yhou can register a company while you are on H1B, but you are not allowed to work for it. When you are on H1B you should only work for the company sponsoring you. You definitely cannot pay yourself as an employee, but you can hire other (legal employees) to do the work.

Nikhil Bangad Aspiring Entrepreneur in the IoT Space, with an innovative product in the making

December 11th, 2017

Hi All,

Thank you for the responses, but I might have phrased it wrong. My question was, on an H1B with another organization, is it possible to register my own start-up?