H-1B Checklist for Start-Up Company

By Susan Cohen

Company Information & Documentation

  • Proof of funding: signed term sheet, bank statement, press releases or articles about recent rounds of financing.

  • Where the beneficiary is an owner of the company, proof of company's "control" over the beneficiary of the visa petition: agreement documenting terms for review of the beneficiary's job performance and provisions regarding termination and/or independent board of directors.

  • Payroll records showing the company already has employees.

  • Proof that the company is actively hiring: engagement of headhunters or recruiters, ads, etc.

  • Proof of engagement of public relations, advertising, accounting, web development, consulting, and/or law firms.

  • Contracts or agreements with customers or clients showing future revenue stream into the company. If none, include letters of intent or draft agreements.

  • Signed office lease and, where possible, a brochure or photos of the office space.

  • Newspaper articles or other press about the company.

  • Business plan that explains the mission of the company, staffing targets, expenses, and cash flow and revenue goals for the next three years.

  • Patents related to the Company's product, if applicable.


If there is a parent company overseas, then please provide the following:

  • Annual report of the parent company.

  • Parent company's financials: audited financials and/or tax returns, if an annual report is not available.

  • Recent bank statement of the parent company.

  • Statement of financial support by the parent company for a US subsidiary.

  • Wire transfers to U.S. subsidiary to show funding.

  • Newspaper articles or other press about the parent company.



Petitioning Employer Must Pay Required Wage

  • Must pay at least the prevailing wage for the offered position.

  • Compensation can be an hourly wage if part-time employment.

  • Wages must be paid in regular payroll increments.


Beneficiary Information & Documentation

  • Foreign national's e-mail address: we will use this e-mail address to supply the prospective employee/H-1B candidate with a User Name and Password for our Immigration Questionnaire.

  • Copy of the prospective employee's valid passport and any expired passports with US visas.

  • Copy of each dependent's valid passport and any expired passports with US visas.

  • Copy of the prospective employee's marriage certificate (if applicable) and a copy of each dependent child's birth certificate (if applicable).

  • Copies of the prospective employee's diplomas, transcripts and translations, including any previously issued credentials or degree evaluations, and letters verifying his or her experience.

  • Resume with a complete employment history.

  • Full copy of any petitions previously filed with US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

  • Copies of previously issued US visas and other related immigration documentation (e.g., Forms I-797 Approval Notices, Forms I-20 or DS-2019, Employment Authorization Documents, and Forms I-94).

  • If in the US: Copies of the prospective employee's and dependent family members' paper Forms I-94 or automated Forms I-94 obtained online here.

The job must meet one of the following criteria to qualify as a  specialty occupation:

  • Bachelor's or higher degree or its equivalent in a particular field of study is normally the minimum entry requirement for the position;

  • The degree requirement for the job is common to the industry or the job is so complex or unique that it can be performed only by an individual with a degree;

  • The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position; or

  • The nature of the specific duties is so specialized and complex that the knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree.

The proposed H-1B employee must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Have completed a US bachelor's or higher degree required by the specific specialty occupation from an accredited college or university;

  • Hold a foreign degree that is the equivalent to a US bachelor's or higher degree in the specialty occupation;

  • Hold an unrestricted state license, registration, or certification that authorizes the proposed H-1B employee to fully practice the specialty occupation and be engaged in that specialty in the state of intended employment; or

  • Have education, training, or progressively responsible experience in the specialty that is equivalent to the completion of such a degree and have recognition of expertise in the specialty through progressively responsible positions directly related to the specialty.