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Here's the situation:

I have been in the US for ~8 years (4 years on H1b) and I want to Incorporate or create a LLC either in my name, or be a sole stake holder /partner in the company with an XYZ name.

I have been working on a few products, some with a group of friends which we intend to create a partnership and an another on my own, for which I'd prefer to have an LLC. The goal for me to create an LLC or an INC is to take care of liabilities/risks of my product (not for any tax evasion/savings). It also makes it possible to get investment/loans/credit cards for the company. Currently I'm/we're burning own money on these projects and after one point it'll certainly not be feasible.

Most googling suggest this: I can invest money in a company, but not work for it.

So, that leaves me with only two options:

  1. Incorporate back home (in India) and treat every sale of a product as and export from India and import into US
  2. Move to Chile or Canada which have much simpler immigration policies for startups .
  3. points 1 and 2 do not help me in case of a partnership I intend to be a part of. Luckily 2 of the 4 in the group are US Citizens (which is better than all non-residents).

Question: What are my options, if I want to live in US and continue working on my startups?

Note: None of the products have made any revenue. Until we get a paying customer, we are fine demoing/marketing our product.

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    In your case, I would consult an immigration lawyer to review your option. I would not take any advice from this site without full review by a lawyer. – David Segonds Aug 16 '14 at 22:21
  • Thanks David! I'd never act on any advice from a forum/friend unless its been vetted by an attorney (or I read the legal stuff). I posted this question to get answers that may lead me to explore more options. I'd certainly be consulting an immigration lawyer either way. – Nitin Alabur Aug 18 '14 at 2:44
  • May be more appropriate for startups.SE. – Karlson Aug 18 '14 at 13:58
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Incorporate back home (in India) and treat every sale of a product as and export from India and import into US

No, you cannot do it while you're on H1b. You'd be breaking the law. Working for an employer other than your petitioner, even if it is yourself, is illegal.

Move to Chile or Canada which have much simpler immigration policies for startups .

You could do that, but your condition was that you wanted to stay in the US in your current H1b status, wasn't it?

points 1 and 2 do not help me in case of a partnership I intend to be a part of. Luckily 2 of the 4 in the group are US Citizens (which is better than all non-residents).

What's the relevance? YOU would be breaking the law, not them.

What are my options, if I want to live in US and continue working on my startups?

Get a green card. You don't have any other options.

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  • The goal is to co-found a startup/company full time. Unlike the citizens/residents in US, I think its impossible for an H1-b visa holder to just create and experiment with ideas. Chile/Canada are options if I don't find a better option here. Green Card for Indians/Chinese is insanely long duration, so I'm looking for quicker options.Thanks for the pointers, I'll certainly ask these questions to the immigration attorneys before making a move on it. – Nitin Alabur Aug 18 '14 at 15:14

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