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Dear Ajay,

I have 2 questions.

1. I am in FL on H1B visa. Let us assume, in my spare time, I sell something on ebay.com and make $2 in that. Is it legal for me. How I am going to report this income.

And what abt sales tax..how I am going to pay to state govt.

2. From long time, I have a dream to start some business of my own. My wife is on H4 visa and she can also help me. What type of business or any thing like this I can start.

One of my friend is in India..He is exporter of Beads and Glass items. He wants my help in expanding his business here. How I can help him legally.

Thanks a lot for yr time and efforts.

Thanks,
Prashant

Answer
Hi Prashant:

You can sell on ebay without a problem unless you spend a substantial portion of your time doing this in order to generate profit (as opposed to a hobby). The $2 is income and must be reported as per IRS rules. An accountant would be better able to advise about the sales tax issue.

Anyone in any status can open a company, but you cannot be "employed" by this company and you cannot also be involved in the day-to-day active hands-on management of this company unless you have H-1B through this company. The following excerpt from our website at http://www.h1b1.com/faq.htm#myself is helpful:

CAN I SPONSOR MYSELF FOR THE H-1B VISA?

You must be sponsored by a "U.S. employer." What if you are the employer in the form of a company that you establish? INS regulations define employer as "a person or entity...who engages the services or labor of an employee to be performed in the United States for wages or other remuneration."

Since the H-1B petition must be approved prior to commencing employment, and it is difficult, although not impossible, for a "paper" company with zero employees and no income to be considered an employer capable of sponsoring an H-1B applicant, the dilemma to overcome is establishing a company with enough viability to be approved by the INS without technically being employed in the interim. One way to remain within the law is to establish a company with the help of other investors. The most conservative position is to be only a "passive investor" as opposed to exercising substantial decision-making power in the company. An individual cannot be accused of being employed without authorization if he or she is only a passive investor in the company that will sponsor him or her for the H-1B visa. To summarize, an individual cannot be "employed" until his or her employer petitions for and receives H-1B approval.


Regards,
Ajay K. Arora, Esq.
www.H1B1.com

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Ajay K. Arora

Expertise

I can answer your questions on employment and family-based U.S. Immigration Law. Expertise in various immigration categories includes the following: H-1B, L-1, O-1, PERM (labor certification), EB-1 to EB-3 I-140 employment-based immigrant petitions, family or fiance(e) or spousal sponsorship, visa extension or change of status, adjustment of status, naturalization (citizenship), etc.

Experience

Ajay K. Arora attended Pennsylvania State University and the University of Wales at Swansea (United Kingdom), and earned his law degree at Temple University School of Law, Philadelphia, in 1993. Mr. Arora has practiced Immigration Law since graduation and is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association since 1995.

Organizations
American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) full member since 1995.

Education/Credentials
Ajay K. Arora attended Pennsylvania State University and the University of Wales at Swansea (United Kingdom), and earned his law degree at Temple University School of Law, Philadelphia, in 1993. Mr. Arora has practiced Immigration Law since graduation and is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association since 1995.

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