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Jane Doe Deer
Jane Doe Deer, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 3896
Experience:  Atty since 1986. Real estate, tax, and other business law questions
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I would like to know if I have permissions to have my ...

Resolved Question:

I would like to know if I have permissions to have my business in USA. The situation is as following. I have H-1B USA visa (so I am not a USA citizen). I work as a researcher in a university. I want to make a web-site which will provide a service on a paying basis. I assume that visitors of my sate will pay me via PayPal. I do not plan to register my activity as a firm (I would like to act as a "sole proprietor"). Is that possible? Is that legal? Does the answers on my questions depend on how much I will earn?
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Jane Doe Deer replied 9 years ago.

I know all the answers to all your questions with the exception of whether being here on a VISA makes a difference.

Would you like me to answer all the others first, and then research the visa issue? While I'm at it, do you know how to get a business license for your type of business? You'll need one for the state and maybe city and county for many types of businesses.

I'll wait to hear back from you,

Jane Doe, Deer

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
It is OK, if you first answer on other questions and, afterwards, add the information about the influence of the H1-B visa. I think, that the "visa part" of the answer is the most important and critical. The question about the visa is the main part of the question, since I think that my status in USA can change a lot. I also would like to emphasize that I do not want to have a firm. I do not plan to employ other peoples (because I think it will make everything more complicated from the bureaucratic point of view).
Expert:  Jane Doe Deer replied 9 years ago.

I'm a sole proprietor, too.

Even if you're a solo, however, you need to obtain any required businesses licenses from the state, cities, and whatever. What city, county and state will your business be located in? And will it be in your house or will you be renting? When you let me know I'll look up everything for you. Then it's up to you what to do next.



Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I am live in New York City. But I do not know how to define the location of my business (because I plan to earn money with my web site). So I plan to have a purely online business. I plan to work on my web site from my home, from my office in the university and even from the Star Bucks. By the way, what if the website already exists, so I do not even need to work on it. I just want to earn money with that. If it is important, I rent a server for my website from one of the hosting companies (so I do not really know where the server is located, presumably it is somewhere in USA).
Expert:  Jane Doe Deer replied 9 years ago.

Here is a website where you can find out what licenses you need to start a business.

You should be able to find out the answer to your visa question here, too. New York would be the business location because that's where you are.

Just Answer is also an online business, as are many other businesses. The office website address should be able to answer all your questions.

I used to run a website business myself in Washington State. I did not need a business license to run it from my home; maybe you won't either.

Now I run my law practice from my home, and I DO need a business license.

Every state has its own peculiarities.

Best of luck,


If I sufficiently answered your question, please "accept." Otherwise, please write back with any followup questions you may have.

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I tried to search the information about the H1-B visa on and I cannot find it there. Moreover, I did not get the definition of the "business". If a person transfer me 3$ (from his PayPal account to my PayPal account) it is probably not a business yet and I do not have to register that. When the business starts? In the case if the transfered amount is higher than some value? I heard that if a "sole proprietor" transfer moneys to another "sole proprietor" (like me) it is not a business yet (no matter how much is transfered). Is that true?
Expert:  Jane Doe Deer replied 9 years ago.

No, that's not true. As soon as you start "doing business" - advertising and providing a service - you are "in business."

You don't have to make money to have a business. In fact, you can write business losses off of your other income. You can also use your business to buy things to use in your business.

If someone transfers $3.00 to you to pay for goods or service it is income and has to be reported on your taxes unless it is a gift.

If you barter an hour for an hour for something, it's still considered income even if you call it bartering.

I didn't mean for you to search the website on the VISA question. I think you should call them.


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