I'm an EU-Citizen and I'd like to consider opportunity of working in USA as IT-specialist (developer).

If I find an opportunity to work there as contractor (freelancer), can I simply register my company there? Or there are special requirements to be met? How do I apply for VISA in that case?

As far as I know, USA grants VISA to computer specialists without any problem, because they are needed there, if they want to be employed there. Do the same applies to contractors?

  • 1
    Please narrow down your question. Being a contractor is not the same as being a business owner. In most EU countries a freelancer is explicitly NOT a business owner, because there is no legal entity that would constitute a business. Instead, the freelancer is the legal entity who signs contracts.
    – nikola
    Mar 12, 2014 at 23:04
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    @nikola it's already narrowed to contracting. Most EU-countries require registering company for freelancing as contractor, even if it's not a company under trade law.
    – user41
    Mar 13, 2014 at 6:28

2 Answers 2


Having a company registered in the US doesn't allow you to be present in the US to do work.

The most common visa that computer specialists get is H1B but with that you can't really be a freelancer. You will need to be employed by a company in the US which means also that your employer have to sponsor an H1 for you. And if I remember correctly self-sponsoring won't work in this case.

There are other visas available also but have more restrictions and requirements then the H1, such as L, O, P, and also E visas but it also won't work without a full employment at the US company.

There is also an investment visa available but you will need to invest about $1M to qualify.

So getting to working in the US legally isn't that simple from immigration point of view.

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    OP could presumably run his business from his home in Europe, and travel as needed on a B1 visa. He would have to avoid doing too much work while in the US on that visa, but attending meetings would, for example, be allowed.
    – phoog
    Nov 24, 2015 at 0:07

There is E-2 Treaty Investors visa. Requirements are:

  • Be a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation
  • Have invested, or be actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States
  • Be seeking to enter the United States solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise. This is established by showing at least 50% ownership of the enterprise or possession of operational control through a managerial position or other corporate device.

It's vague on how much investment is required. There have been people who have been given that visa with investments as little as $25,000, but also people rejected with investment in excess of $100,000.

Of course it's not gonna be "freelance", you'd have to establish actual enterprise.

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    And you'll have to demonstrate growth of your business (hire people!) if you want to apply for permanent residency later on. Although E-2 is semi-dual-intent, if your end goal is permanent residency, it's a very risky visa because your business is re-evaluated every 2 years and if it is considered to be "marginal" with no growth perspective, your visa will probably not be extended. Mar 14, 2014 at 19:14