Where do I begin?
If you want to start or run a business in the United States, you must first obtain authorization from USCIS through the immigrant or nonimmigrant visa process to live and work here. It is important to determine upfront which visa classification works best for you. Not every classification that USCIS administers will allow you to work in the United States. Most employment-based visa petitions are issued for a specific type of activity with a specific employer.
When considering which option may apply best to your situation and your desired activities in the United States, it is important to plan ahead and keep in mind that there may be a variety of options available to you. Immigrant visas, and certain nonimmigrant visas, are subject to annual numerical limitations. These limitations may affect the amount of time it may take for you to obtain authorization to live and work here, so it is important to determine if the classification you are considering is subject to a numerical limitation in order to plan accordingly.
On the Entrepreneur Pathways page, USCIS has highlighted several visa categories that entrepreneurs have successfully used to start businesses in the United States. Learn more about the key requirements for these visas in our Visa Guide for Entrepreneurs. An inclusive list of all of the different types of employment-based visa classifications that USCIS administers can be found on the Working in the US page.
Nonimmigrant vs. Immigrant:
A nonimmigrant is a person temporarily admitted to the United States for reasons other than permanent residence. An immigrant is a person entering the United States to reside permanently. All people arriving in the United States are considered immigrants until they have demonstrated nonimmigrant intent (i.e. that they will return to their home country) and have received approval by an inspecting officer to enter the country under one of the nonimmigrant visa classifications. To learn more about nonimmigrant visas, see the Temporary (Nonimmigrant) Workers page. To learn more about immigrant visas, see the Permanent Workers page. (source USCIS). Need more help? Contact me!