I have a company that has signed a contract with a US company to do some consultancy work for them. My team is from Australia and New Zealand. What process needs to be undertaken to allow them to work there as contractors in my company for the US customer?

Does my company need to be registered in the US to undertake work for a US company?

  • How much time would they be spending in the USA? A few weeks at a time? Or months to years? – Gagravarr Jun 22 '15 at 13:35

Yes, your company would probably need to be registered in the US. You'd need to get H1b visas for your employees as contractors for your client. This is a fairly standard process that a lot of consulting firms (like Infosys, Wipro, Tata - all from India) follow.

However, if you're small, this, coupled with legal fees for the visa process and the time/quota restrictions on H1b visas, may be a significant overhead for your business.

You should probably talk to a US immigration attorney and see if there are other options. You can go the L-visa path, but it limits your employees to only work on-site of your US subsidiary (you'll still need to register in the US). While some consulting firms put L-visa people on clients' site, this is technically illegal, and the DOJ is investigating the aforementioned companies for violations of this kind.

If your employees can work for your US client from Australia/New Zealand, that would make it much easier for you. You don't need any permission from the US government to work for US clients as long as you're not doing it on the US soil. For occasional meetings you can go to the US with a regular WVP or B1 visa.

  • 2
    Australian nationals are eligible for the E-3 visa, which is much easier to obtain than the H1-B. No such luck for the Kiwis though. – lambshaanxy Jun 22 '15 at 12:42

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