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Immigration Issues/US Citizen hire/partner with a UK Citizen to provide a visa


I am an American citizen and my boyfriend is a British citizen. He currently has a 10-year multiple entry visitorís visa but we are trying to find a more permanent option without being forced to marry. We will likely marry down the road but not the near future and would rather do so on our terms and not because we have to. We have considered going into business together- I have a small business (Partnership LLC) established but it is not yet up and running and therefore not bringing in any income. Iím wondering if I can I hire him or have him be a partner (being paid by  of future sales and not salaried since I canít pay him) or a manager of the UK aspect of my small business. We want to make sure we are following the laws but as his background is as a Corporate Solicitor, he is unable to get a work visa here without passing the bar and can not afford to to so and is actually looking to move away from law. I do want to take my business international once itís running and purchased the uk urlís a year ago. He is able to offer uk law advice but has also been assisting with all my legal contracts. I just want to sort out what our options are in regards to him being able to work with/for me and if I would be allowed to sponsor some sort of visa. He is also willing to set up his own business if that makes more sense. Neither of us is currently working and therefore have not been able to afford meeting with a lawyer but have done a great deal of research on our own.

Eileen Chun-Fruto, Los Angeles immigration attorney writes:

Dear Annette,

You and your boyfriend could choose to pursue an E-2 visa, but that visa, as you may know is based on whether you and he have put in a substantial amount of money that is already "at-risk."

Your second option might be to hire him on as an H-1B, however you will run into many difficulties with an H-1B application since your company is new and in fact is not active.  You could argue that the company intends to be active once he is employed because as you state, he will be providing advice and services to your company and he cannot do so until he is work authorized by the USCIS.  This would be a very difficult case to present but if it's your best option, you should think about it.

I have said this a few times before, but many immigration law firms will give you a free initial consultation and many law firms will work with clients who are outside the US or outside of the state in which they are located.  My firm for instance provides initial consultations via telephone to people who are still looking for options and researching possibilities.

I encourage you to do some additional internet research and look for attorneys who can give you a more meaning assessment of your options.  Sometimes, I work with clients before they are ready to file their cases, but I am able to give them advice and suggestions on how to actually "build" a more successful case.  It's not easy, but it is an option.

Good luck,
Eileen Chun-Fruto

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Eileen Chun-Fruto


I can answer any employment-based immigration question including questions about PERM labor certifications, H-1B skilled workers, L-1A multinational managers or executives and L-1B specialized knowledge, R-1 and I-360 religious workers, investor cases (E Treaty Trader and E Treaty Investors and EB-5 "million dollar investors") and O-1 extraordinary ability cases. I can also answer any questions regarding family-based immigration, such as adoptions, waiver cases, consular processing (using foreign consulates to enter as an immigrant), marriage and fiance/fiancee cases, 245(i) cases, VAWA (Violence Against Women's Act), battered spouses, and Child Status Protection Act (CSPA).


I have over 12 years of experience in business and family immigration. I was a former law clerk for the Executive Officer for Immigration Review (the immigration courts) in San Francisco and I current serve as the California Service Center's (CSC) liaison on behalf of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. I represent individuals and corporations alike, ranging from professionals in the high tech, science, liberal arts fields. I have a special niche in working with start-up companies and individuals with more complex immigration issues.

Member, American Immigration Lawyers Association Member, Los Angeles County Bar Association, Executive Committee on Immigration

J.D., University of California at Davis - King Hall School of Law (1997) B.A., University of California at Irvine, cum laude (1994)

Awards and Honors
2005, 2006, 2007, 2008: Selected to Southern California Rising Star - Super Lawyers List (an honor shared by no more than 2.5% of the attorneys practicing in the entire Southern California region) Faculty/Moderator on various AILA and LACBA continuing legal education seminars in the following topics: H-1B, O-1, religious workers, business immigration visas

Past/Present Clients
My typical business clients can range from a start-up company, established engineering and software research and development companies, manufacturing, trade and distribution companies, public and private schools, and religious organizations. Family clients include spouses, parent-child petitions, siblings, naturalization, and most especially, representation of abandoned and neglected children viewed as orphans under the immigration law. I have represented many clients who relied on special provisions of the immigration law to preserve or "grandfather" benefits to family members in limited (and complicated) circumstances, to avoid re-application fees and longer waiting times.

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