4 Visa Options for Indian Startups To Enter USA


USA is the ‘promised land’ when it comes to entrepreneurship; no other country supports and encourages these rare breeds more than USA. Between 1996 and 2004, there were 550,000 small businesses and startups which started in USA every month. There are reportedly more than 17 million sole-proprietorships in USA alone, and around 22 million small businesses (employees less than 500), which is just mind blowing data for any entrepreneur looking forward to open a business.

Under these circumstances, it makes sense to start a new venture, in a place where it is being appreciated and chances of success zooms ahead.

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Here are 5 visa options, which any Indian startup can utilize to enter USA and make it really big:

B-1 Visa: This type of visa is granted by US government to encourage entrepreneurs to visit USA and do business. It is a temporary visa, which can be extended upto 10 years. A person who enters USA using this visa cannot work for anyone else and can have a maximum stay limit of upto 6 months in one visit.

In the year 2011, out of 5.6 million applicants of B-1 visa, 4.6 million or 76% were approved. It costs $160 to apply for B1 visa, besides an issuance fee.

L-1 Visa: This is a visa type provided by US government for intra-company transfers. If you want to apply for L-1 visa, then you have to be employed by a related company in the native country for atleast 1 year. For Indians, this visa can be extended upto 5 years.

The costs associated for this visa are: filing fee of $325, an anti-fraud fee of $500, and an optional $1225 fee for premium processing. In 2010, out of 91,086 applications, US Govt. approved 74,719 visas or 82%.

O-1A Visa: This is a temporary worker visa provided by US government to those, “who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements”.

H1-B Visa: This is the most popular and widely known visa for employing foreign workers inside USA. But the issue with this type of visa is that, normally large companies or established and well funded startups are granted this type of visa. Only 65,000 are issues every year, and 20,000 more for those who have studied in US universities.

There are several inherent advantages of starting a new business in USA; the most prominent being that everyone in USA supports and encourages “entrepreneurial spirit”. Failure is not end of life and in fact they celebrate failures like no one else does. Venture capital is in abundance and small business owners provide maximum employment. They support immigrants and their ideas regarding startups and entrepreneurship. As per Vivek Wadhwa, between 1995 and 2005, 52% of all startups in USA were opened by immigrants, and Indians have 33.5% share among all these immigrant’s fueled startups. Almost 60% of them were funded by American VC funds!

Does America excite you as an entrepreneur? Will you apply for visa to enter the USA and start a new business? Do share your views right here!

  1. Kaylee says

    Thank you very much for offering us with such an useful content. I’d really like to begin a start-up in the US. I would like if you could come up with same type of content but with the UK charge details. Thanks!

  2. Mohul says

    Thanks a lot for comment and encouragement, Mahesh! Yes, we will try to post another one for UK specific.. Keep in touch!

  3. Gaurav Gurbaxani says

    When we were considering moving our Internet Marketing company to Austin we did a ton of research online. However, none that have been so precise and easy to understand. Thanks for putting this together, im sure its going to be really helpful for a lot of people..

  4. Abhinav says

    Hi Mohul,
    thanks for providing such a valuable info on USA visa.. I came across to know about lottery visa for USA. is this true that USA organise a lottery for visa applicant every year??

  5. Mahesh says

    Thank you very much for providing us with such an informative article. I’d love to start a startup in the US.

    I would like if you could come up with same kind of article but with the UK visa info.


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