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5 American Visa Options for Startup Entrepreneurs


Moving to the US can be a bit complicated at first, especially when startup entrepreneurs begin the paper requirements research process. There are several type of visa (at least 5) for startup entrepreneurs and since it can be time and money consuming, it is best to get your facts straight before starting the application process.

On the 1stof April the annual 65,000 H1B allowance visas will open and USCIS are expecting to receive more than the available number only within the first 5 days of April. This means that just like in 2007 and 2008, a lottery will be conducted.  These are the most important Visa options for entrepreneurs:

  • Visa Waiver Program:

There are currently 37 countries which are currently participating in the USA’s Visa Waiver Program (VWP). This program means that you can enter the US for 90 days for tourism, pleasure, leisure or business and all you need to do is to check if your country is on the list, book a flight ticket and go to and apply for your ESTA (travel authorization) online. Your entry in the USA will be assessed by Customs and Border Protection. 

  • B Visa

This type of visa is a good option for those who want to stay for more than 90 days or if you are not a citizen of one of the 37 countries o the VWP list. The B visa can be used by those who want to go to the USA for business; however you cannot find work there with it. This kind of visa can be issues for a maximum of ten years and each entry is of 6 months. Those who want to apply for a B Visa can go online and start the process.

  • H1B

This type of visa requires the person applying to have at least a bachelor’s degree and there are only 65,000 of these visas issues every year (20,000 more for those with Masters Degree from a US University). Those who apply for it can start work on the 1stof October of that year and this visa can be give for a maximum of 3 years and the renewed for a maximum of 6 years.

  • L1

This visa is used for intra-company transfers and this means that you actually have to be employed by a related company in a foreign country for a year before being eligible to apply for it. It allows you to stay for a maximum of 5 to 7 years and it is preferred by big corporations.

  • E2

This might be the best visa for a startup because it is meant for entrepreneurs setting up a new business in the US. It does require the person to be a citizen from one of the countries the US has a treaty with.


These are some of the best options for residing in the US legally.


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