Foreign Nationals Can Work for Their Businesses in New York

If you are a foreign national living in New York, it is not impossible for you to start a business. Starting a business, in New York, does not, in most case, even require residing in New York or even having the legal ability to reside in New York. If you are looking to start a business in New York as a foreign national or resident alien, it may be advisable, however, to be aware of the immigration requirements before you get started, since you may wish to live, work and reside in New York in order to conduct your business.


According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, aside from U.S. citizens or naturalized citizens, if you are an individual with the following immigration status, then you can work for your business in New York:

Green Card Holders – Also known as “permanent residents,” green card holders can work, live and study in the U.S. while maintaining their foreign citizenship. They can also join the armed forces and work for a business they started. 

EB-5 Investor Green Cards – The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USACE) and enables entrepreneurs, their spouses, and unmarried children under 21 to apply for a green card. Up to 10,000 visas are issued each year. Applicants have to meet very specific criteria including making an investment in a commercial enterprise in the U.S. ($1,000,000, or at least $500,000 in a targeted employment area (high unemployment or rural area) and plan to create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs. The process is fraught with pros and cons. Consult an immigration lawyer to understand the full implications of an EB-5 green card. Learn more about getting a green card through investment.

Other Immigrant and Non-Immigrants Visas – The USCIS’s Entrepreneur Visa Guide provides a menu of possible visa pathways for foreign entrepreneurs. Whether you are looking to explore or start a business, or are already in business and want to immigrate permanently, your options are extensive.

We agree with the SBA when it says that it’s advisable to seek help from an attorney to help you get started on your American Dream.  We shall have additional articles on starting a business in New York.

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