The bottom-line is that an HB1 visa is not designed to support working in a start-up environment.
There are elusive cases where it is rumored to have happened, but there are a host of reasons why it is extraordinarily difficult.
First: Read the answers to the similar questions:
- Question on using a HB1 to startup a company
- Question about sponsoring your own HB1 with your start-up
- Apply for a Visa to work with a start-up:
Second: Critical Points
- The HB1 Visa is not "transferable". It is specific to the job. It is "transferable" in the sense of staying under the quote.
- The start-up will need to apply for the HB1 Visa. They will need to
meet all of the requirements for sponsoring an HB1 Visa
- There is a limited number of available HB1 Visa per year. They are
released in April for the following year. There are two quotas, one for the Advanced Degree Exemption, and then the general. The ADE quote is usually met quickly (and has been met as of this writing for FY2012). The general cap is now 85K and is met for the year usually by December/Janurary.
Third: Why is doesn't work
- The sponsoring company needs to reflect a stability in terms of
financing, client-base and leadership that a start-up has a hard
- The sponsoring company needs to be paying a prevailing wage which
doens't match the traditional start-up culture of paying lower wages
for the option of being part of the upside
- The sponsoring company needs to show that the skills that are being
obtained through the VISA are not available in the current labor
market -- and we are in a recession where the current labor market
has a lot of available talent.
- The timeline of availability rarely works for a "start-ups" ramp up human resource needs. You can start applying for the next years visas in April. For the following year. Once the quota has been met -- then applications are available for the next year. traditionally for the first four months of the year you can't even make application because the quote for that year has been met and the applications for the next year aren't open.
Forth: But Really
In the end the real reason it is hard is because you have to use a immigration attorney to put together your application. You get on shot at it. It is vewry competative. It has to be done right. Immigration attorneys cost money. They don't tend to take stock options for payment. And when a start-up looks at the available cash and the chances of securing the HB1 Visa-- well, it rarely is a wise use of money.
Fifth: The Hope
There is significant hope is that after the next election, the anti-immigration politicians will have lost a little political support and that bills associated with reforming the options and processes will be able to work its way through the legislative process. The current administration has proposed several additional Visa options which would allow entrepreneurs and those working with Start-ups to become part of the "job producing" class in the United States.
Again there are several question on here that ask and receive some good answers about this:
Here, here, here and here.
What to do?
Here are three small ideas:
The first is focus on doing the job for the company that sponsored your residency in the United States. You are here under their sponsorship. Your visa is employment based. You lose your job and you will be flying home. I know that you know that. I know that is rough. it is also the reality of the situation.
The second is to explore option. If you have money there are several investor visa options to secure a green Card which would allow you freedom of choice in your employment and professional endeavors.
Find non-employment ways to gain the business experience you are seeking to develop prior to launching your own business. This may be through non-paid interships or securing mentors.