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This 38 message thread spans 2 pages: 38 ( [1] 2 > >     
Any adsense publisher with H1-B visa here?
Is it legal to get extra income from adsense?

 12:33 pm on Jun 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

I am going to receive my PIN in a week.
I would like to know, whether it is legal to accept payment other than your employee?



 4:29 pm on Jun 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

You are only allowed to receive renumeration for work authorized under your approved petition
and visa... even if you do it for free. This also prevents you from starting your own LLC / LLP.


 5:05 pm on Jun 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

Just do it and don't sweat it. Let's say you started your website back when you were in <the home country>. Then you got a job in US and changed your address so the checks would arrive to US. Your only obligation would be to pay taxes on AdSense income in US since you live there and the money gets deposited to a US bank.

Starting a website is not starting a business. You aren't getting another job or starting a company or getting self employed. It does not violate any immigration rules so enjoy your extra income and the fact that you are living in this country.

[edited by: Woz at 2:15 am (utc) on June 20, 2005]
[edit reason] TOS#4 [/edit]


 5:43 pm on Jun 16, 2005 (gmt 0)


I suggest you seek advice from an immigration attorney. It's clear that DavidDeprice is not one. Although it's true you might 'get away with it', his advice is wrong. I also question his motives with the reference to 'a mythical country'.

Immigration law says you are NOT allowed to earn additional income while on an H-1B visa. As with most things, there are a few exceptions to this - some examples are foreign earned INVESTMENT income, income from a trust fund, royalties on a book that you perhaps wrote a couple of years ago.

In addition to reading the US governments immigration site (uscis), you might also want to read through the discussion forum on the site in my profile. There are plenty of qualified attorneys there.

[edited by: Woz at 2:16 am (utc) on June 20, 2005]
[edit reason] Tidying up. [/edit]


 7:37 pm on Jun 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

I am not a lawyer, but I was in immigrant living in California for over six years and I can to consult with a lot of immigration professionals. You are absolutely allowed to have extra income - not only from investment or royaltees from a book you wrote two years ago. Believe me or not, but you are absolutely allowed to write a book right now and receive income from it and it will not be a violation of your visa status. You can buy a house and sell it for a higher price and pocket the difference and you won't be deported. Believe me or not, you can even take a trick to Las Vegas, play the slots and the white Chevy with Immigration officers won't be waiting for you ourside. A lot of ways to profit without getting deported back to Crappystand, some are exotic like selling your hair to wigshop, but I'd say AdSense is the way to go. If you have a spare hundred bucks, go ahead and waste it.
Or just read what the government says about what you can and can not do at


 8:25 pm on Jun 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

You are only allowed to receive renumeration for work authorized under your approved petition
and visa... even if you do it for free. This also prevents you from starting your own LLC / LLP.

That's not true either. Nothing prevents you from investing into your own limited liability partnertship or corporation. That's a bunch of nonsense. Here is the complete scoop

"A person on an H1B is allowed to invest money in ANY business. HOWEVER, s/he is not allowed to start working for the business or do any work on behalf of a separate entity unless and until s/he obtains an H1B approval for the other entity. The legal entity that the foreign national helps to create is different in law than the foreign national as an individual. Assuming that the foreign national complies with the state requirements for a Corporation, Partnership, or LLC, the foreign national can create a legal entity. However, in order to work for the company in any fashion whatsoever, the applicant will require a work visa (H-1 or other relevant work status) since a nonresident alien cannot work without prior INS or DOL permission. Generally, it is better to work closely with a U.S. citizen or permanent resident who can actively develop the business to the extent necessary to obtain an H-1 or L-1 approval."


 8:35 pm on Jun 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

H1B holders or for that matter even persons outside US can invest or start a business in USA...But *to work* for the business you need some sort of work permit .Clearly with adsense/webmastery ,you are not a passive investor but work in the business and an INS officer may consider it a violation. Trust me ,this things will come up when you show your past tax returns during your visa revalidation or in your greencard process ( that too if your business income is substantial compared to your salary)

But as in any other area there are some *grey* workarounds :) ...One idea would be to start a C-corp ,receive adsense income thro it and keep the money in the company without redistributing to yourself . This way this extra income dont show up in your personal tax return and there is no way for INS to find it. Once you get a EAD or GreenCard , take the money out of the company and pay yourself...another idea would be to simply run adsense thro your loved ones in your home country!.


 8:58 pm on Jun 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

You are talking as if he'd be working for AdSense (Google, that is). No immigrant's can have their own website? What a bunch of nonsense. Forget AdSense for a sec (I hope you are an immigration lawyer). Can an immigrant buy a domain? Yes he or she can. Can an immigrant start a web page? Yes, he or she can. Now, if I decide to buy the domain name (or the website) for, say $100, or $1000, or $10000 - will the poor *** from Crappystan get arrested by the Immigration enforcement officers? No, he or she isn't. I was once a poor immigrant from, well not Crappystan, but another country near by. My very good immigrant friend bought a house after renting for two years. He fixed up the house in 18 months and sold it, pocketing 25 grand I think. Well, the housing prices went way up, so I don't know how much of it was attributed to new appliances he installed. That person had extended his H1-B for another 3 years and now is a permanent resident (perhaps even a citizen, it's been five years since I saw him last). No problem with the Department of Justice whatsoever.

[edited by: eelixduppy at 9:46 pm (utc) on Feb. 18, 2009]


 9:14 pm on Jun 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

David , there is a big chance that an immigration officer may consider running website as working in a(your) business .So its better to employ strategies to avoid future problems than just hoping for the best!.


 9:18 pm on Jun 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

What about an F-1 visa? Student visa as is. :>


 9:28 pm on Jun 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

I originally came to the US on a F-1 visa. I had a buddy who patented something (he was an engineering student) and received royaltees that were pretty big - I remember he made fourty grand his first year. I am not sure if he still had F-1 visa by the time he started receiving payments or H1-B, but it's not really all that important.
He lives in LA and immigratin officers aren't stalking him either.
The AdSense case is a no-brainer to me. You start a site and it's a hobby. You then put AdSense code and the money starts rolling it. It's not a job, it's not a form of (self)employment, it's not a company. It's a lot like royaltees, though it's not. Try finding a single immigrant who got deported for receiving a check from Google. If you find one, let me know.


 10:21 pm on Jun 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

Do not make it unnecessarily complicated.
There should not be any problem. Look at all those hordes of people on H1B being sucked in to the mLM scams.


 11:19 pm on Jun 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

David Gopi and all,
I will definetly seek a lawyers advise.
But here is my own example.

For the past 3 years, i was heavily into stocks (14 hrs a day). Lost $50K. I did file taxes on gans and losses for the past three years. If i can invest in stocks and i can buy/sell on eBay, then why can't i make some money on adsense?

I am inclined to believe that we can.
In anycase, if INS wants to screw me UP, he can do it anytime. Even a Cop can screw me for speeding.

Thanks for all your cooperation.


 11:49 pm on Jun 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

I don't know the answer to your question, but capital gains and capital losses are very different from self-employment income. The stock market analogy is not relevant.


 1:45 am on Jun 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

>> capital gains and capital losses are very different from self-employment income.

Very True , so its not that big of a problem if you trade stocks or flip houses because its all capital gain so you can argue its passive investment income .But business income is very different!.

Said all that if your adsense income is less say like 6-7k/yr then it should be ok but something like 20k may sure get into the eye of an INS officer looking your tax return during a visa revalidation or during your GC process.


 3:06 am on Jun 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

I will see lawyers advise, if i reach or exceed 7K, which i feel is not even remotely possible for me at this stage.

But thanks to all those aho responded.


 4:04 am on Jun 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have another interesting situation.

At present I am in India working for an IT firm. I have applied for H1-B and may get it in the coming months. I run Adsense on my hobby website and receive the check for a small sum.

What if I move to US on H1-B in the coming months? Should I inform Google about this? or will it be OK to use the same mailing address in India for check delivery? My wife can deposit the check in Bank. However I may login to adsense account from US to maintain website and ads. Is it OK if I do like this?
or Google will have any problem as mailing address is different from the Adsense account login IP address?


 5:58 am on Jun 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

That's a perfect illustration to the fact that AdSense income is a lot more like royaltees or investment, not real job. My best argument would be that it's not a job because there aren't fixed wages. And you aren't working as a contractor because you don't set any fees - Google decides how much to pay you. If you can demonstrate that you had the income prior to entering the United States, you have nothing to worry about.
I just had another thought, too. Let's say you become a consultant to an Indian IT company, move to the states, but keep consulting them via the web and telephone (but they deposit the money to your bank account in the US). That certainly does not look like it would violate your H1-B, because you aren't working for another US company.
I knew a professor who tought at UCD and wrote articles he got paid for in Russia and that was fine - although he did not have H1-B visa, but some funky visa for the scientists.
I know of a lot of tech immigrants who make tons of money from eBay, because you can buy stuff in US very cheap and resell it in your home country and it's fine.
I just don't see any legal grounds to punish an H1-B worker for receiving extra income from AdSense or eBay, because it's not work.


 8:53 am on Jun 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

but something like 20k may sure get into the eye of an INS officer looking your tax return during a visa revalidation or during your GC process.

So if i make more than 20k per year, i should file a report? But the tax season was over and i guess i could not do anything except to wait for next year, is that right?


 11:33 am on Jun 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

Paying taxes and informing your immigration officials are two different things. You absolutely have to pay taxes on your AdSense income, but you don't have to inform an immigration official or your advisor at school about it. Back when I was on F-1 visa, my parents would send me fourteen grand a semester to pay tuition and for living expenses and it never was an issue. I worked on campus 20 hours a week and that was fine and later (after graduation) I obtained a work permit and worked full time for a major corporation for a year. So far I see no evidence to support the claim that AdSense income or eBay income would be considered a violation. And certainly nobody mentioned any prosecution, so to me it's a non-issue.


 3:41 pm on Jun 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

>> So if i make more than 20k per year, i should file a report

You should report your income to IRS regardless of how much you make ...Google will send you a 1099 to you and IRS ,so uncle sam know how much you make!


 7:16 pm on Jun 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

Well, I am a Lawyer, apart from anything else, and although I am in Europe, and not the U.S, I do own a California Corporation, and my advice to all the desktop Attorneys who have posted here is not to think you know the answer. This area of law is very complex, and all I would say is don't screw around with U.S Immigration thinking you know more than them. owning and running a website is a business for the purposes of the IRS, and the chances are it is also a business from the immigration point of view.

I feel a true story coming on::

A few years ago the wife of a Multi, Multi millionaire set up a pitch in 5th Ave to sell Xmas trees for a Childrens charity.

She got picked up, arrested for working without the neccessary papers, and then deported. So Think about this before you make rash decisions!


 2:56 am on Jun 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

Wow, James, for a lawyer, you are too sloppy with your words. What do you mean "owning and running a website" is a business for IRS. So any person who has a homepage is a business owner? Don't make me laugh. Why don't you point me to the source where you got that nonsense from? Were do I have to file my ficticious business name application :) Clearly not every website is a business by IRS or any other standards (for tax purposes or otherwise).

Your example with a wife of a multimillionare sound fishy to me, too. You mean she volunteered for the charity and got deported? Ha-ha and you expect me to believe that?
Because if she did not volunteer but obtained a job she was paid for, well, that's a clear violation of her status if she did not have a work permit and it's a clearcut case.

The funny thing is that nobody can come up with a precedent when a person with H1-B got deported for receiving income from AdSense or eBay, nor quote H1-B regulation that would clearly ban that type of income.
What are we talking here about then?


 5:26 am on Jun 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

I will see lawyers advise, if i reach or exceed 7K, which i feel is not even remotely possible for me at this stage.

That $7,000 figure is not gospel; Gopi just pulled it out of the air. I strongly advise you ignore DavidDeprice's posts and get a legal opinion before accepting any payments. If the amount isn't large enough to justify seeing a lawyer, then it can't be large enough to risk your immigration status over.


 9:03 am on Jun 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

If i am interested to consult a lawyer, anyone knows how much does it cost? And should i give them all the details about my business(website) here? Like when i started? Or how much do i earn?


 11:06 am on Jun 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

Ignoring my advice is always a good advice. And I can pretty much guarantee you that you may get a totally conflicting advice from different lawyers. But let's forget the H1-B visa thing for a moment. Let me ask another question.
Are there any good old Bible-thumping, tobacco-chewin', "born in Kansas" Americans who receive their payments outside of the United States? The answer is yes, there are quite few USA citizens who hit the AdSense jackpot and decided to move it where the climate is better. Some live in Bahamas, Mexico, some in Europe and a few made it to exotic countries.
OK, now, let's ask another question. How many of these people got some sort of employemnt permit? Probably none. How many are harrased by the immigration officials in these countries? None. How many got deported? None.
We have a lawyer from Europe here. The person is certainly qualified to answer a simple question. If a US citizen was to enter ... (european country name here), would he get deported for receiving paychecks from AdSense? We all know that the answer to that is NO. Believe me or not, you can take a trip to London, stay there for a few months, blog about British pubs, get your AdSense check, deposit it and you won't be breaking any rules. Heck, you can even go to Paris and do that. Milan and Praga, too.
Anyone knows otherwise?


 3:32 pm on Jun 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

In the U.S, as far as immigration matters are concerned one does not even have to earn an income from doing something to be classified as,"Working", and if that "working", is considered a breach of the terms of a VISA issue, then the worker is very likely to get kicked out.

In the UK, to answer the question, If a U.S person visited or lived in the UK, without permission to work, and he or She, started making money with his or her computer,in particular using UK facilities, and made money, that could be considered working, which would be liable to income tax in the UK, and the possibility of being deported. That is the law as it stands, whether or not somebody would impose it is another matter, ( But it would be unwise to test them on the point).

In the States I would guess legal advice from an attorney experienced in the field, could cost $1000-$1500 by the time he is finished.

May I suggest based on the somewhat cocky way DavidDeprice replies to this thread, he would be a prime candidate for causing himself a problem with the authorities should he be interviewed by them. They just love such a, "Know it all", attitude. All I am saying is that the rules are very complex, both in the UK and the U.S, and professional advice should be taken, and not listen to people like DavidDeprice in such matters.


 3:55 pm on Jun 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hogwash. There are some clear rules about what you can do and what you can not do and earning income from your website is certainly won't get you deported. Petty theft, for instance, will get you deported. Smoking a join will to (plus a 10 year ban, a believe).
What you are saying that is totally absurd. Essentially, what you just wrote means that any non-Brit who'd visit UK and accessed his AdSense account or own website or e-mail via internet cafe, or better yet, public library, he'd be violating British law. This is simply not true.
And we know it's not true because people who make money from their own website (a good just of them), choose to travel and live in different countries - I believe some of them are from this very forum and nobody ever got in trouble. That's because they aren't breaking rules. They aren't violating employment or immigration laws.


 10:05 pm on Jun 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

Read what I said please:

"If a U.S person visited or lived in the UK, without permission to work, and he or She, started making money with his or her computer,in particular using UK facilities, and made money, that could be considered working, which would be liable to income tax in the UK, and the possibility of being deported."

I said using his computer to make money whilst in the UK.

If the adsense business was simply running in the background with no UK intervention, for example editing etc, then possibly the webmaster would only answer to the IRS, but if he is in the UK as you said for months, and actively working on the websites, in an attempt to increase the revenue for instance, then....He could well be liable for tax in the UK.

The UK and the IRS can very easily put up a case if they wanted to,to show the website owner owes them money, and most small website owners have not got the financial resources to mount a full defence to rebut it.

I don't intend to continue this discussion save to say, don't play with their nerves in the U.S or the UK, they can have a very sharp bite if they want to ( Remember Al capone?).


 1:55 am on Jun 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

What should I do?

As I mentioned in my previous post, I may go to US on H1B in the coming months/years.

In that case what should I do?

Should I remove Adsense from my websites while I am US as I should not earn any other income other than salary? or Should I continue to use Adsense and continue to receive checks at Indian address?

If I choose the second option, will Google object it? To avoid problems will it be better to not login into Adsense account from US ata all? (This would be the last option)

Please advise.

This 38 message thread spans 2 pages: 38 ( [1] 2 > >
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