If I’m under an H1B visa, can I start a side business?

UPDATED: Nov 4, 2014

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If I’m under an H1B visa, can I start a side business?

I work as a state employer in a local university under an H1B visa. However, my wife is under a H-4 status and has not been able to work, so I was thinking to start a side business to bring more income. Is it legal to start a side business while on an H1B visa? Where/who should I go/talk to to find out more information on the matter?

Asked on November 4, 2014 under Immigration Law, Illinois


SB Member California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You can open up a company but you are not permitted to work or derive any income from that business while you are in H-1B status or your wife is in H-4 status.  You would need to get someone else to run the day to day operations of the business.

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