We had a short info session on US immigration. This session is meant for those who are looking into expanding the business into US. Warren Woo, an immigration attorney from Silicon Valley, gave us a brief introduction of different ways of getting visa and have a business in the country.
As many of you aware that visa is one of the issues in expanding your business to another country. There is usually a general visa for travelling into another country and explore the market space, but when it comes to a longer relationship in the country, it might get a little tricky.
There is a general perception that the B visa allows you to stay in US for no more than 3 months within one-year time frame. This might not be correct, as there are circumstances where a business person travels in and out the country frequently and exceeded the time frame. One would definitely need to make sure there is a valid reason for each visit, and that he/she is not working there and displacing a local employee.
Among all the different visa, L1 is one of the easier route in expanding a business into US. Beware that the formation and structure of the US entity, such as sole proprietor/LLC/Inc, would affect the eligibility of the visa.
As a non-Malaysian, such as an Australian citizen, the visa issue is a little different. There is a category call Treaty Investor (E-2) visa, which is not as strict as the H1 visa. This allows an executive to stay in the country as long as his/her company remains financially viable throughout his/her stay.