Starting a company in the US as a foreigner


I am a student from Germany, and I want to start a company in the US.
I've given starting it here first and then eventually expanding to the US some serious consideration, however, the chances of success for this particular business would be significantly smaller and that is not an option.

Let's consider this scenario:

  1. There would be angel investors and/or VCs willing to invest in the company to get it started.
  2. I do not have enough money of my own to invest to qualify for an E2/EB-5-visa.

Basically this scenario would be perfect for the proposed startup visa, but since it will probably take a few years if not a lot more until it might be passed, I need some kind of workaround.

I would like to maintain as much ownership of the company as possible, however I am open to any kind of option such as finding a co-founder with permanent residency/citizen status or getting a job at another company first in order to obtain an H-1B visa if that is the only way to make this happen.

What would be the necessary steps to both found the company and then work for it in the US?

Getting Started Foreign Visa Startupvisa

asked Jul 22 '12 at 08:43
51 points

2 Answers


Its a question for an immigration attorney, and you should talk to one. However, it looks that you're familiar with the available options, and you know that you're not qualified for any.

The only other thing I would suggest is starting the company in your home country, and qualifying for L1 if and when the company is stable and profitable enough to afford a branch in the US.

The problem of course is not starting a company in the US. Its you wanting to move to the US. You don't need any visa at all to start a company in the US, as long as you yourself stay in Germany. Successfully sponsoring yourself for H1B through your own company is a very unlikely scenario.

answered Jul 22 '12 at 09:19
5,090 points
  • Thank you for your answer. You are right, the problem would be that I would have to be able to work for the company while staying in the US. From what I understand, sponsoring myself for H1B could be possible with a Board of Directors to establish an employer-employee relationship and if I own less than 50% of the company. I think another option to look into would be [Blueseed](, and while they haven't launched yet, it's still a lot more likely than the startup visa. – Alex 10 years ago
  • Interesting concept. I'm slightly skeptical, but would love to see that coming into being. – Littleadv 10 years ago


You can file a company in any united states with so few questions asked, that nobody will know the real owner is a foreigner.

I would recommend Delaware or Wyoming. You can do this all over the internet, and the registered agent will take care of all forms for you.

Once you get the incorporation papers back from the state, you should be able to open up a bank account in your own country, if you want to start funding it and buying things as the entity. This is all incredibly easy due to the internet, after you get a debit or credit card in the company's name you will be able to acquire as many things as you want.

Regarding Angels, your job is to convince them to fund you. You won't be able to stay in the US legally very long for them to really see anything without a visa.

There is venture capital in other places.

answered Aug 21 '12 at 11:09
137 points

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