How can individuals in the US on an H1B start their own company?

UPDATED: Mar 9, 2012

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How can individuals in the US on an H1B start their own company?

Myself and 3 others want to start a start-up company together. All but one of us are in the US on H1B visas. We all work for large tech companies in the Seattle area who are sponsoring our visas. The fourth member is an American citizen. Two of the H1B holders are Canadian. How could we go about starting a company together? We intend to keep our day jobs for now. As far as I understand it, while in the US on an H1B visa you’re restricted to working only for the company that is sponsoring you. Are there ways to start and work for your own company in parallel?

Asked on March 9, 2012 under Immigration Law, Washington


Hong Shen / Roberts Law Group

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

As an H1B visa holder, you are allowed to work only for the sponsor company. That being said, however, there is nothing to prevent you from starting your own company. The only company you can start is a C corp, where you can appoint officers to run the company. Yourself cannot work for that company though.

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