How to Found a Company in the United States


Are you an immigrant who is interested in coming to found a start-up here in the US? While the immigration climate in America has been, of late, frustrating, confusing, and frightening, it’s certainly still possible to do just that.

Of course, before you begin you’ll want to make sure you have a viable business idea that will work in America. To that end you might want to look into a short-term visa, at least long enough to make contacts and do market research.

If you’re sure you’re ready to get started, you’ll still need a Visa, but there are several options. The one that’s right for you will depend on a number of factors, including the funds in your bank account and whether or not you’re trying to open up a path to citizenship.

The EB-2 (C)

This is the visa for immigrants who don’t have a ton of cash to invest. It’s a good visa for someone who wants to work as a freelancer, independent contractor, or consultant. 

These visas aren’t available to everyone. A Master’s degree is the minimum barrier for entry. If you don’t have a Master’s you have to prove immense talent in your field, and that’s a little subjective. You also have to prove that granting the visa is in the best interests of the United States, also subjective.

You’ll want a lawyer to help you make the case. 

The E-2 VISA

If you have at least $100,000 to invest then this is the right visa for you. You have to invest all of it into a new business opened in the US.

This visa is only open to treaty countries, but the list of eligible countries is long. Mexico’s on the list, as are many South and Central American countries. Sadly, neither India nor China are on the list, so immigrants from these nations will need another option.

The EB-5 Visa

If you have $500,000 and are willing to start your business in a rural area then you can invest it into this visa, which will immediately make you a lawful permanent resident of the United States. If you don’t want to live in a rural area, you can get it done for $1 million.

You can do this regardless of your educational background, country of origin, or current employment status. It’s expensive, but it’s worth it.

Other Options

Some immigrants have made other types of visas work for them while starting their business. For example, you can start a business with the help of investors, hire a board of directors, and have them hire you in on an H1B visa. If you have extraordinary abilities in the arts, sciences, athletics, or in business then you might be able to make a case for an O1 visa.

It’s a good idea to use an attorney anyway, but you’ll definitely need one if you plan to use one of these “workaround” visas. 

Contact Hykel Law if you’re looking at opening your new business in Pennsylvania.

See also:

What Happens When You Lose Your Job on An H-1B Visa?

Immigrants Bolster the USA Economy – A Fresh Look

How to Become a US Citizen


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