Powell Immigration Law PC | Business, Employment and Family Immigration Law | California

H-1B Visas for Startups

A basic overview of the visa is provided here. If you have further inquiries as to the application process or whether or not this is the correct route for your needs, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Special Considerations

While the H-1B specialty occupation visa in general is discussed here, an entrepreneur in a start-up company needs to keep in mind other important considerations. For an H-1B in a start-up business, USCIS wants to ensure that a business model is sound and viable.

Requirements to be considered include:

  • It must be demonstrated that it is a bona fide job offer being extended by the startup. This means that there is:
    • Evidence of the startup's ability to compensate the employee.
    • The provision of contracts, business plans or documentation of any preliminary negotiations with potential partners and the projects the startup is preparing to engage in.
  • It is a specialty occupation, there is a sufficient amount of specialty occupation work and there is a demonstrated need for the position (the beneficiary will not be performing other non-specialty occupation tasks). For an occupation to be considered a specialty, it generally must be proven that it requires a bachelor degree in order for it to be adequately performed.
    • Part-time employment may be considered.
  • There is sufficient production space to accommodate the beneficiary's work.
  • Numerical limits.
    • H-1B visas are subject to an annual numerical quota of 65 thousand available visas each fiscal year with an additional 20 thousand visas allocated for the aliens with the Master’s degree from a U.S. university. The H-1B cap count is based on the petitions filed with USCIS and it does not matter if some of the petitions are later denied by USCIS or revoked by the petitioners, as their cap numbers are not recaptured.

Suggested Documents

The presentation of the following documents may benefit the possible success of a case:

  • Articles of Incorporation/Organization.
  • Statement of Information.
  • Bylaws/Operating Agreement.
  • EIN proof.
  • Organization/Incorporation minutes.
  • Business licenses.
  • Leases for business premises.
  • Bank statements showing startup funding, evidence of investments, wire transfers or tax returns.
  • Photographs of the facilities to show sufficient production space to accommodate the work of an H-1B employee.
  • Proposed Organizational Charts of the business with a list of positions the company is planning to recruit for and the educational requirements of such.
  • Business plan.
  • Contracts or other proof of projects the business is planning to engage in.
  • Marketing plans, brochures and other documentation of the services to be performed or products to be produced/distributed.
  • Explanations and any supporting documentation as to why the business requires the position of H-1B employee.
  • Other documents may also be provided to show the viability of the company’s business model and its initial capitalization.


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