Can an H-1B Visa Holder Start a Business in the US?

You may be wondering, “Can an H1B-Visa holder start a business in the US? That is a good question. You can learn more about your options by reading the following article.

I can also help you with your business development goals. Contact me by email at and I will help you get a business off the ground.


What Is the H1-B Visa and Can an H-1B Visa Holder Start a Business in the US Easily when They Hold this Document?

First, you must define the H1-B visa when you ask the question, “Can an H-1B visa holder start a business in the US?” The H1-B visa is one of the most coveted visa classifications of foreigners who wish to work in the U.S. In fact, a person can work in the US, using this visa, for as many as six years.

You can also extend the visa for more than six years, with extensions granted for one year or three years at a time. 

The petition for the visa, which must be filed by a US employer, cannot be granted to self-employed individuals. However, that really still does not answer the question, “Can an H-1B visa holder start a business in the US?” 

Just because this visa is not granted to self-employed individuals does not mean that a person from another country, who works for a US employer, cannot start a business on his or her own. Your ability to start a business depends on the business entity you form.


How I Can Help

That is where I can help answer your questions. You can shoot me an email at any time with your inquiries at I can help you start a business if you currently hold an H-1B visa status. 


Entities H-1B Visa Holders Can Form

Before you review the entities that may be formed for a start-up business, you need to know which entity does not permit foreign ownership in a company. The S-corporation cannot receive shareholders that do not live in the US.

However, if the corporation is a C-corporation or limited liability company (LLC), an H-1B visa holder can usually own a percentage of the business. 


Can an H-1B Visa Holder Start a Business in the US While Staying Employed?

The best path to take, if you want to know “Can an H-1B visa holder start a business in the US and still be employed?’  is to sign up as a passive shareholder in a new company. This can be likened to holding shares in a public company. 

If you start a business in this way, as an H-1B visa holder, you will need to employ someone to manage the business since you cannot do so. You still will be entitled to certain rights of ownership, but you cannot participate actively in the company.

Therefore, you cannot run a business as a CEO.

H-1B visas are mainly issued to people who have specialized skills and knowledge. Therefore, their work is directly linked to the services they perform for their work sponsors.

They work for the employer who sponsored their H1-B visa, complying with the terms in are outlined in the application form, or the I-129.

I can assist you in forming a company that will help you become a business owner in the US, even if you hold an H1-B visa. Let me learn more about your situation by contacting me at today. 

In some instances, you may have to change the status of your current visa to an E-2 visa. The E-2 visa is a non-immigrant type visa that is set up to serve foreign entrepreneurs who wish to invest substantial money into a business enterprise.

With an E-2 visa, your primary purpose is to develop and oversee the development of an enterprise or business.

I can answer any business development questions along these lines as well as guide you in starting a company, regardless of your current visa status. To learn more about your opportunities or what you can or cannot do business-wise, arrange a time so we can talk by contacting me at

Things can get quite complex, especially if you hold an H-1B visa and co-found a company with a US citizen or someone who has a Green Card.

If the company you form makes enough revenue so it can back an H-1B sponsorship, it must demonstrate that an employer and employee relationship is in existence – difficult to do if you, as an H-1B visa holder, is one of the co-founding partners.


Can an H-1B Visa Holder Start a Business in the US and Take an Active Part in the Enterprise?

Basically, the best way to begin a business as an H-1B visa holder is to take a conservative approach. Do you want to know, “Can an H-1B visa holder start a business in the US and be active in this business?” As noted above, your activity will usually be limited to investing.

Again, you cannot run a company and work for a US employer at the same time. You will need to employ a manager to take care of your start-up’s operations.


What Steps You Need to Take to Open Your Business

You can start a business, with my legal guidance and help if you hold an H-1B visa. You just need to follow the steps below. Reach me, in the meantime, at with your questions, or set an appointment for a consultation.


Step One

Stay employed while operating your startup. Doing so ensures that the status of your visa will not change. Once more, you must contact an immigration attorney if you want to obtain another type of visa.


Step Two

Begin your start-up as an investor. You can easily begin a business as an investor, even if you make yourself the only shareholder. This can be equated to buying stock in a company as a passive shareholder. In this instance, you are limited to shareholder activities, such as voting or participating in meetings.


Step Three 

Employ a manager. Because you cannot take an active part in running your company, you need to employ a manager. He or she can handle operations while you continue to work for your employer. 


Step Four

Participate in the business as an investor-owner. By establishing yourself as an investor-owner, you can engage in business activities without having to participate directly. By taking on this role, you are still entitled to receiving the rights of ownership, such as sharing the dividends, revenues, or any gains.


What to Do Next

At this point, you probably have a lot of questions about how to form your business and develop it. Your H-1B status should not hinder you from beginning a business in the US.

I can help you make the transition so you can still remain working if desired. 

If you want to know, “Can an H-1B visa holder start a business in the US?” the answer is “Yes!” You just need legal guidance to do so. That is where I can help.

You will need an expert in the legal field to help you form your company and move forward.

Contact me anytime with your questions. I’m always here to help you with your business goals. Email me at if you want to start a business and are currently working here on an H-1B visa.

I can also help you if you live outside the US and wish to do business in this country.

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