Can I begin an organization or a aspect hustle on a TN visa? •


Sophie Alcorn is the founding father of Alcorn Immigration Legislation in Silicon Valley and 2019 World Legislation Specialists Awards’ “Legislation Agency of the Yr in California for Entrepreneur Immigration Companies.” She connects folks with the companies and alternatives that develop their lives.

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Right here’s one other version of “Pricey Sophie,” the recommendation column that solutions immigration-related questions on working at technology corporations.

“Your questions are important to the unfold of data that permits folks all around the world to rise above borders and pursue their goals,” says Sophie Alcorn, a Silicon Valley immigration lawyer. “Whether or not you’re in folks ops, a founder or searching for a job in Silicon Valley, I might like to reply your questions in my subsequent column.”

TechCrunch+ members obtain entry to weekly “Pricey Sophie” columns; use promo code ALCORN to buy a one- or two-year subscription for 50% off.

Pricey Sophie:

I’m a Canadian citizen working beneath a TN visa as a software program engineer within the U.S. I wish to begin my very own firm or no less than earn cash by means of a aspect hustle.

Is that this potential on my TN, or is the one means I can try this by way of a inexperienced card? If that’s the case, is it potential to get everlasting residence because the TN is for non-immigrant intent?

— Intelligent Canadian

Pricey Intelligent,

There are numerous issues that the fashionable U.S. immigration system was not designed for, together with (however not restricted to): the web, e-filing and blockchain, working remotely, working from dwelling, the fashionable gig financial system, startups, versatile work preparations and contractor work.

You could know that our present system of legal guidelines was usually created by the Immigration and Nationality Act in 1952, again when all the pieces was a lot less complicated. The authorized historical past at play right here consists of judges making choices about tailors from China crusing to San Francisco to take measurements for fits that may be sewn months later once they returned dwelling.

I’ll get straight to the purpose: You can not do any work beneath your TN for anybody apart from the employer that sponsored you for the TN. So, my academic message is that this: No aspect hustles or founding of startups whereas in your TN.

A composite image of immigration law attorney Sophie Alcorn in front of a background with a TechCrunch logo.

Picture Credit: Joanna Buniak / Sophie Alcorn (opens in a brand new window)

Two TN visas on the similar time?

Sure, it’s potential. Underneath immigration regulation, you’ll be able to have two TN visas on the similar time — one out of your present employer and one from one other employer; say, your startup. Nevertheless, that is very tough to attain and comes with two essential caveats:

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