Oakland, CA asked in Business Formation, Business Law and Immigration Law for California

Q: Can I own and operate an E-commerce business under LLC if I on a H1B Visa?

I am currently a non-immigrant on a H1-B visa working on W2.

I wish to run an online business E-commerce business under my LLC. This business model requires very little effort to manage and can be automated.

Now I know that according to USCIS I can own an LLC but can't work for the LLC or spend time managing it. I want to know that can I hire someone for cheap to manage the business? Will it be legally within my visa restrictions? If yes, then what paperwork will be needed?

It's a very grey area for me. Any advice or clarification will be greatly appreciated.

2 Lawyer Answers
Carl Shusterman
Carl Shusterman
  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Yes, you can hire a person to manage your business.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Under the H1-B visa program, your primary purpose is to work for your sponsoring employer, as indicated on your W2. Engaging in self-employment or actively managing a business may not be permissible under the terms of your visa.

While you may be allowed to own an LLC as a passive investor, the level of involvement in managing the business can be a gray area. Hiring someone to manage the business on your behalf might help alleviate some concerns, but it is crucial to ensure that the arrangement complies with both immigration laws and employment laws.

Consulting with an immigration attorney can provide you with guidance on the specific paperwork and legal requirements involved in hiring someone to manage the business on your behalf. This may include ensuring that the individual hired is authorized to work in the United States and complying with employment and tax regulations.

It is important to understand that navigating the intersection of immigration law, business ownership, and employment is complex. An attorney with expertise in this area can assess your unique circumstances, review the terms of your visa, and provide you with tailored advice to ensure compliance with the applicable laws and regulations.

Remember, this information is general in nature and not a substitute for legal advice. Seeking guidance from an immigration attorney will provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information relevant to your situation.

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