Question from Aidan:
My name is Aidan and I have been in the U.S for a month now. I have enterd the U.S. through a b1/b2 visa and someone offered to help me startup a hot dog business. What do I need to do to change my visa to say H-1B and what are my options or do I have any?
Your work visa options could include H-1B and E-2 depending on your nationality. (TN could potentially be an option for Canadian & Mexican citizens but based on the information provided, TN probably will not work.) E-2 is normally a preferable option for small businesses if you are from a treaty nation. Generally speaking, it will not be easy to petition for an H-1B because it may be difficult to persuade the CIS adjudicator that a position in the hot dog business meets all the requirements of a specialty occupation. Also, if you are going to be the sole owner of your business, H-1B may not work because of self-employment issues. An evaluation of the restaurant's business plan and your professional and educational background is needed to determine what your options are.
If you currently hold B1/B2 visa, to change status to H-1B or E-2, you will need to file I-129 petition but COS needs to be well planned. It is recommended that you consult with an attorney before you take action.
The above information is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice.
Answer provided by:
Ellis, Li & McKinstry PLLC