Pricey Sophie: Can I begin an organization or a aspect hustle on a TN visa?

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

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

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

Pricey Sophie:

I’m a Canadian citizen working underneath a TN visa as a software program engineer within the U.S. I wish to begin my very own firm or a minimum of earn cash by means of a aspect hustle.

Is that this attainable on my TN, or is the one manner I can try this by way of a inexperienced card? In that case, is it attainable to get everlasting residence for the reason that TN is for non-immigrant intent?

— Intelligent Canadian

Pricey Intelligent,

There are lots of 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 house, the fashionable gig economic system, startups, versatile work preparations and contractor work.

You might know that our present system of legal guidelines was usually created by the Immigration and Nationality Act in 1952, again when every little thing was a lot easier. The authorized historical past at play right here contains judges making selections about tailors from China crusing to San Francisco to take measurements for fits that will be sewn months later once they returned house.

I’ll get straight to the purpose: You can not do any work underneath 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 new window)

Two TN visas on the identical time?

Sure, it’s attainable. Below immigration regulation, you possibly can have two TN visas on the identical time — one out of your present employer and one from one other employer; say, your startup. Nevertheless, that is very tough to realize and comes with two crucial caveats:

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