The High-touch Legal Services® Blog…for Startups!

© 2009-2019 Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law

Can I Get an H-1B Visa Working for My Own Company?

Logo of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which issues the H-1B visa

I have written about opportunities for foreign entrepreneurs who wish to obtain U.S. work visas. (See Visa Basics for Foreign Entrepreneurs Coming to the U.S., Visa Basics for Foreign Entrepreneurs, Part 2: What Constitutes Work?) This post focuses on a particularly interesting aspect of this issue. It asks whether and how a foreign entrepreneur can form a corporation in the U.S. and, then, obtain an H-1B visa to work for that corporation.

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Visa Basics for Foreign Entrepreneurs, Part 2: What Constitutes Work?

Seal and tagline for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

In Visa Basics for Foreign Entrepreneurs Coming to the U.S., I discussed certain immigration statuses (visa waiver, B-1 and H-1B visas) that permit a non-resident alien to take a passive role in a business (such as forming it) but not to work for it. This post discusses the boundary between permissible passive activities and prohibited work.

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Visa Basics for Foreign Entrepreneurs Coming to the U.S.

Seal of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, from wich a work visa may be obtained

Non-immigrant foreign entrepreneurs who want to start businesses in the U.S. often – and rightly – have visa-related concerns. A typical question: “What kind of visa do I need to start my business?”

This post provides a brief answer to that question.

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Risk and Reward: A Personal Mini-essay

Before starting my law practice five years ago, I provided legal services in-house as VP and Legal Counsel at Visa International Service Association (now Visa, Inc.). Visa was a great place to work, and I considered myself fortunate every day that I worked there.

But now that I am removed from that experience, I realize that Visa and I were not a perfect fit. Financial services are about minimizing risk. I’m not. Although I am not foolhardy, I am willing to weigh risk vs. reward.

That’s why my clients are small, entrepreneurial companies, typically start-up or early-stage. Entrepreneurs balance risk and reward every day, making us a good fit. And that’s why my law practice gives me the greatest professional enjoyment of any position I have ever had. I consider myself even more fortunate, now.