Start-ups and entrepreneurs are in a fluid state, and U.S. immigration law offers no obvious visa path for them.  

We consider these challenges to be  opportunities, and we work with you to develop and execute the best strategy for your new venture.


New Office L-1 Visa

This visa allows entrepreneurs with an existing foreign company to start an  a new company in the U.S.

  • The foreign company must have existed for at least year and be able to continue existing without the visa applicant
  • The foreign company must have a qualifying relationship with the new US company (parent, subsidiary, branch, affiliate)
  • The employee must have worked overseas for the foreign employer for at least one continuous year within the last three years
  • The employee must have worked as an executive or manager (L1-A) or be a worker with specialized knowledge (L1-B)
  • New U.S. company must have physical premises and high likelihood of success
  • Issued for one year with possibility of renewal up to 7 or 5 years

The O-1A Visa for Extraordinary Ability

Beneficiary must demonstrate extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim in their field.  Definition of field is critical.
Must establish three of the following eight qualifications (in practice, must show evidence of at least five).

  • Scholarly articles
  • Salary higher than industry standard
  • Judge or panelist of a major competition
  • Employment at distinguished company
  • National or international awards
  • Published articles about the beneficiary
  • Membership in an organization that requires application or nomination
  • Original contributions of major significance to your field


E-2 Treaty Investor Visa Requirements

  • US entity must be at least 50% owned by treaty country nationals
  • Investment funds must come from treaty national owners and be from a legitimate source
  • Can purchase existing business or franchise, or create new business
  • Investment must be a substantial portion of the amount necessary to start that type of business
  • Investment must be “at risk” and committed to the business - real estate does not qualify

E Treaty Visa Countries


1 - Only E-1 visa available (for traders in import/export business)
2 - Only E-2 visa available only

Employment Visas

  • It is possible, in certain circumstances, that employment visa is the best option for your company
  • Founder must be an employee of the company, as shown by the company's ability to fire the employee
  • See Employment Visas page for more information


What Can You Do on a B-1 Visa?

Both the B Visa and ESTA/visa waiver allow people to come here for business reasons.  U.S. immigration officials consider "business" as distinct from "work" - a distinction not always so clear to visa holders

You Can:

  • Attend team meetings, conferences, trade shows and training events
  • Arrange funding and meet with investors
  • Form a legal U.S. company, sign a lease and open a bank accountHhire staff
  • Participate in an accelerator program

You Cannot:

  • Engage in activities that would constitute domestic employment
  • Get paid by a US company (but covering travel expenses is okay)