Can You Start A Business Without A Work Permit?

New immigrants to the United States are far more likely to start a business than US citizens. A new study released by the National Foundation for American Policy, an organization which does research on trade and immigration, found that immigrant entrepreneurs started over 44 ($1 billion) startups. This equals to 51 percent of the total companies surveyed. If this isn’t impressive enough; children of new immigrants are more likely to start a business than their American counterparts.

There are many reasons for the rise in entrepreneurship among new immigrants. You may want to begin working as soon as you land in America so that you can support your family. Others may have a hard time finding a job because they are still grasping the English language. Whatever the reason, starting a business can be a great short or long term solution for income generation.

In my case, I received the EAD card within 2 months of applying for adjustment of status. Yes, this was fast but not unusual. I then applied for many jobs and landed one within 3 weeks (and this was back in 2013). Of course, it can take a lot longer for some immigrants to find a job in their state based on the health of the local economy. Interestingly, you don’t need an employment authorization card if you are starting a business. This is a great incentive to get creative and outsource your skills to clients right away.

You can start the business out of your basement, garage or kitchen. In most cases, you don’t need a business license until your sales start picking up and want to begin filing your quarterly taxes. I know a few people who started a hobby that turned into a full fledged  business that supports their lifestyle to this day.

Can’t Find A Job? Create One.

Turn on the TV and you are bound to hear how the economy has improved greatly from 2007. However, what they don’t tell you is how hard it is for new immigrants to not only land a job, but just get their foot in the door for an interview. The economy is not good for everyone. Yes, it has improved but there is still a lot of unemployment and under employment that is not being talked about.

If you find yourself if this predicament, why not start a small business and employ yourself? One thing that I have heard over and over again is: you’re employer will NEVER immigrant-owned-businesspay you what you are worth. This rings true in so many ways, especially when you begin to hire people yourself. My parents immigrated to Canada back in 1991 and they started a small clothing store within our community. I was so very proud of them for achieving their goal of being immigrant entrepreneurs. You know what’s weird though? They didn’t want me following in their footsteps, but instead, wanted me to go to college and get a “good job”.

This is common for immigrant parents who own business to want their children to do better than them. They mistakenly think that having a job is the safe and secure bet on your future but this isn’t the case. Self-employment may be volatile when it comes to monthly income but the growth potential makes up for it. A job will only pay you what the market rate is for your skill set. Not a dime more. Why do you think that average incomes really haven’t increased all that much over the last 30 years?

If you have the personality to handle the initial stresses of starting a business – do it! I started a small web design business while I was still in high school and I was able to make enough money to buy clothes, food and entertainment without a job. Although, I am now working in corporate America, I know that I’ll eventually start a business again. Find out what you are passionate about, start small and watch it grow.

Be In Control Of Your Future

I use to think that starting a business was too risky. I liked the safety of getting a paycheck every two weeks without risking everything. Although this makes sense to most people who have financial responsibilities, it no longer rings true to me. I think the fear comes from the statistics that say 90% of new business fail within the first few years. Well, if you’re waiting for your work permit… what do you have to loose by starting a business now?

Keep in mind that you will need to report any business income once you reach the $600 range within the year. For most people, they will hit this income in a year and will need to pay taxes on their business income. The best way to keep track of your business income is by having it deposited in a completely separate account. It’s important to keep your expenses separate too; once tax season comes around you’ll be glad you did!

If you want to minimize your initial start up costs you can opt for an online business or consulting. This type of business requires very little startup capital and you can start right away. Include your fiance(e) or spouse in your online business so you don’t feel like you are going at it alone. Once you get to a point that you are able to pay most of your bills with your new business, you can start thinking about taking it to the next level of growth.

Starting a small business is not an easy task. Many people will fail or give up. It’s up to you to decide what your future will look like and how you want to spend your time on this planet. Remember, you don’t need a green card or work permit to start a business; you just need the drive and focus to make it happen.

Create Your American Dream Now

Ah, the American dream. It’s this magical story that we all want to take part in. Think about it: you are new immigrant that has moved to the United States that is starting from nothing. You and your partner want to build a new life together; own a home, have a few kids, white picket fence maybe? Although this dream isn’t a reality for some people, many still want to achieve it.

There is no reason why you can’t. Your success is based on how hard you work in America and the decisions you make along the way. Sometimes new immigrants have an advantage because they have so many hopes and dream for their new life. They don’t get stuck in the rut of work and family just yet. Use this as leverage to make your dreams come true.

Once you arrive in the U.S., you will have a lot of time to yourself while you wait for your green card. Why not use this extra time to come up with a business idea and a plan of action to make it work. If I could go back to those 7 months that I had, I totally would have done something. Instead, I was watching Netflix and touring my new city. I don’t regret it but I could have dedicated more time into doing something more productive. One thing I am glad I did was volunteer for 4 months because that helped me make some new friends and references.

If your goal is to start a business; start now. Don’t wait for the “perfect time” because I guarantee you that you will be putting it off for a long long time. Jump in with both feet and you won’t regret never trying in the first place.

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Hi! I’m a foreign born Canadian that has immigrated to the United States to marry the love of my life. I successfully navigated the U.S. immigration system all the way to U.S. citizenship. Immigration is a privilege not a right!

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