Matthew MeltzerEmployment & Business Immigration Attorney

I am a full-time business immigration attorney, working as a Partner at Meltzer Hellrung. I am experienced working with immigrant entrepreneurs, having assisted numerous entrepreneurs obtain the necessary visas to start and run their companies in the US. I also advise companies handling all corporate immigration issues. I have worked with companies in a broad range of industries, including: information technology, consulting, manufacturing, hospitality, finance, healthcare, and academia.

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Recent Answers

You likely need to set up your own US company and pursue an E-2 visa to work in the US as an independent contractor. Please contact me to discuss your situation in more detail.

There is no short answer to this question. The E and L visas could both be options. I would be happy to discuss your situation in greater detail with you to see what visa options make sense.

When running a US business with a B-1/B-2 visa, please be sure to spend as much time outside the US as inside. At some point you may be stopped at the airport and asked to explain why you are traveling to the US so frequently.

I am an immigration attorney and the answer to this question is complicated. You can own a US business but the questions about what you can do for that business while on your visa are not as easy to assess in generalities. I recommend a phone call to discuss your business in more detail.

Absolutely. There is no residence requirement or immigration status required to legally start a company in the US. I have addressed this on my law firm's blog:

In terms of getting to the US once you have decided to open your business, that would depend on a variety of factors. I recommend contacting me directly to discuss your situation further. I would be happy to discuss what immigration options you may have as an entrepreneur.

You should retain a lawyer, or another qualified individual, to act as the third party designee for the corporation (if you do not have a partner or co-owner who is a US citizen).
The designee should prepare Form SS-4 (Application for Employer Identification Number) and Form 8821 (Tax Information Authorization) for the corporation’s president to sign and return.

Hello, you have many options as a Canadian entrepreneur moving to the US. If you are the major investor in your own company and own at least 50% of the company, you are eligible for an E-2 visa. If you already own a Canadian company and are opening a branch or subsidiary in the US you are eligible for an L-1 visa. If you are currently in the US as a student you may consider an H-1B visa. Regardless, of what option you choose you cannot just move to the US and start working. That said, you can make short trips to the US to set up your company without a visa, such as setting up bank accounts, signing legal documents, and agreeing to a lease.

Each of these visa options has its own timeline and various strengths and weaknesses. I am an immigration attorney in the US. I would be happy to discuss your options further with you on a call.


I am a US immigration attorney focused on corporate immigration. The fastest way to get into the US (and stay here long term) as a UK national is to open your own business in the US. You would need to create your own business and sink your own money into creating the business. If you do so, you will be eligible to come to the US and run your business. You will be able to stay in the US for two year periods but the visa is renewable indefinitely. I

If you come to the US on an L-1 or other employment based visa you will be able to work on setting up another company but you will not be able to actually be employed by the company you have created.

If you are only interested in finding employment here, working for a company that could transfer to the US would work. Employers also can apply for an H-1 visa on April 1st for employment commencing on October 1st.

If you would like to talk about the process for starting your own business in the US, I would be happy to talk with you.

Matt M


Starting up in two countries can yield great legal benefits from a U.S. immigration perspective. Locating in multiple countries can be very useful for moving founders and employees to the U.S. later on. There are particular visa types designed to facilitate the movement of transfers between branches of a company, as well as visa targeted at assisting the movement of employees of particular foreign nationalities if the US company is owned by a foreign company or foreign individual.

I would be happy to discuss the strengths of locating in particular countries and specific corporate structuring from a US immigration perspective.

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