It is possible for H-1B visa holders to earn income in addition to their primary H-1B sponsored job. However, these additional opportunities are subject to restrictions within the terms of the visa itself.
H-1B Visa Allowances
In order to remain compliant with the terms of an H-1B visa, individuals must refrain from taking advantage of certain opportunities. However, there is a significant amount of flexibility allowed under H-1B visas when it comes to number of hours worked and number of employers one may work for at any given time. As long as each formal occupation meets the criteria for an H-1B position and each employer serves as a sponsor under the H-1B obligation requirements for businesses, an individual may essentially work as much as he or she wants as long as a visa remains valid.
In addition, visa holders may take advantage of less traditional money-making opportunities, provided that these opportunities meet certain criteria. For example, if an H-1B visa holder is interested in earning income as an Airbnb host, this opportunity may generally be embraced as long as hosting only occurs occasionally and the act of hosting is not treated like a business. Occasional babysitting, lucrative creative opportunities and similar situations are generally permissible as long as they are not treated as a business. But as it is vitally important to respect the terms of a visa, it is advisable that you run any money-making opportunity by an attorney if you are concerned that participating may compromise compliance with your visa’s restrictions.
H-1B Visa Prohibitions
The process of remaining compliant with the terms of an H-1B visa is complex and fairly restrictive. For example, because H-1B work rules require visa holders to be placed in an employer-employee relationship in all of their work-related endeavors, they may not work on a contract basis. When in doubt, make sure that you are technically on an employer’s payroll, have filled out a W-2 form in connection with the position and that your employer meets all H1-B obligations for businesses.
It is also worth noting that every employer a visa holder works for must submit a separate H-1B employer petition. Some of the most strictly enforced H-1B restrictions involve the submission of highly-detailed and specific paperwork. Oftentimes, H1-B visa holders may make money in a variety of ways, provided that the H-1B legal paperwork associated with those opportunities is accurately and completely filled out and submitted properly.
Finally, be advised that spouses and children of H-1B visa holders are subject to strict work restrictions. Consulting an attorney is recommended before affected family members apply for any kind of employment.
Immigration Assistance Is Available
If you have questions about employment-based immigration matters, please consider reaching out to the team at LawTrades. No matter what your legal needs may be, if they are related to employment-based immigration, an immigration attorney can help and/or direct you to valuable resources unique to your situation.