E-commerce from abroad and co-owner of G4 visa status

Asked by: Quynh  — 4 September, 2012

I have a G4 visa as I work for an international organization. My understanding of the immigration law is that I can own and invest in businesses, but am not allowed to render any services.

My brother is back in my home country and wants to set up an ecommerce business with the US as the main market, and me as the co-owner. We will hire employees in the US.

Would this business arrangement be legal and straight-forward enough to set up? Could you kindly give us an estimate of incorporation and legal fees for such an arrangement? How best to look for an attorney?

Many thanks in advance.

Answered by: admin  — 4 September, 2012

Dear Quynh,

First, your brother would have no problem registering and owning a US company. Technically, you could be a silent co-owner, however be mindful of the limitations of your visa. As far as I see here: “…the limitation of G-4 visa is that you may perform only those duties that are related to the international organization and agreements designated by the President under the International Organizations Immunities Act…”. I would say check with your immigration attorney for better understanding what activities you can participate in that would not jeopardize your legal presence in the US.

As far as getting the estimate for incorporation fees I invite you to check our article dealing with selection of state where to form your company, and then you can click on the various states and see how much an LLC or a C-Corporation would cost for you to form with us.

Finally, you might not need an attorney at first, but if you do we typically recommend the services of our contributor attorney Roman Fichman, Esq. (see his ad on the right side). Also, we offer a free tax webinar for non-US entrepreneurs that you might find very useful.

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