Q: I am currently in OPT and I want to start a business. I read that I can start an LLC and hire an American.
How does that work? Can I be the sole owner of the LLC? When registering an LLC, I noticed that there is an requirement to add LLC Manager. Can I be the LLC Manager while on OPT? Or would that be a violation of visa status?
A: This issue is a little complicated. In general you either need to have work authorization to open a business in the United States, for example, through an E2 investor visa, or you need to partner with a person with work authorization or a LPR or US citizen and basically delegate all day to day operations to this person. In theory, you are simply a passive investor in this situation and can receive dividends. This is very risky and should not be attempted without guidance from an immigration attorney with experience in business and corporate law.
These are multiple questions involving both business law and immigration law.
Q/ How does that work?
A/ The process of formation of the LLC is the same for any person, Citizen, Resident, OPT holder, Visa-holder, illegally present in the US, etc. Hiring through an LLC is also the same for any person, regardless of their immigration status.
Q/ Can I be the sole owner of the LLC?
A/ You can be the sole member of the LLC. Please note that the correct term is member, not owner.
Q/ When registering an LLC, I noticed that there is a requirement to add an LLC Manager. Can I be the LLC Manager A/ while on OPT? Or would that be a violation of visa status?
Wrong. The law does not require naming a manager for the LLC but rather allows members OR managers to exert management and control of the LLCs (https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/LLC/401).
Please consult with an attorney with experience in both business law and immigration law.
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