Question from Jass:
I am holding a F-1 visa and I will graduate next semester. I am planning to work in the USA with the OPT "Optional Practical Training" the university can give me until one and a half years for this stats. One of my friends who has American citizenship will plan to open a company or as we can call it LLC. Can I work for him in this company with the OPT? If yes, can he sponsor me to get H1B visa? If yes, can he sponsor me to get green card?
FYI: I will graduate next year May holding my master in industrial engineering and hold my minor in business administration.
As long as your job with this company is related to your field of studies, you can work for the new company using your EAD card. Before you graduate, you will submit an application to the USCIS for an EAD card. The application procedure is straightforward and your ISO should be able to help you if you have any question regarding that.
As to H-1B, it is difficult to assess the likelihood of approval without knowing more about your proposed job duties and the background information of the new company. It is generally not easy for a startup to petition for H-1B visas but it is doable and I have successfully done that for my clients. Also, with the CIS's initiative to encourage startup enterprises, new company petitions may have an easier time than ever before (though such petitions are still subject to very strict scrutiny).
Green card could be difficult for a new company. But one could potentially take advantage of the entrepreneur EB-2 National Interest Waiver. Nevertheless, if you are a PRC or Indian citizen, the chances are you may have to wait for a few years to obtain your green card due to the quota that is imposed. With the proposed legislation, this might change in the near future but until then, current rules still govern.
Answer provided by:
Ellis, Li & McKinstry PLLC