How to Make Passive Income on H1B? 10 Ways for H1B Passive Income

Yes, H1B visa holders can earn passive income. There are no restrictions on H1B visa holders earning passive income. Explore 10 ways to generate passive income while on an H1B visa in our comprehensive guide.

Passive Income on H1B

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As an international professional working in the US, you may wonder if it’s possible to create passive income on an H1B visa. The answer is yes! Passive income streams can supplement your earnings and secure your financial future.

However, it’s crucial to consider the potential risks and benefits before making investment decisions. Read on to explore the world of passive income on H1B Visa.

Can H1B Holders Have Passive Income?

Yes, H1B visa holders can have passive income. There are no restrictions on H1B visa holders earning passive income. However, it’s important to note that H1B visa holders must still comply with all U.S. tax laws and regulations related to passive income. Additionally, H1B visa holders must still maintain their primary employment and comply with all the requirements of their visa status.

How to Make Passive Income on H1B

Now let’s explore some investment and business opportunities that can help build a passive income on H1B Visa.

Passive Income on H1B Ideas

1. Invest in Real estate, including rental properties, REITs, and crowdfunded platforms

Investing in real estate is a way to make money without working every day. You can buy a house or apartment building and rent it to others. Here are some different ways you can invest in real estate:

  • Rental properties: This means you buy a property and rent it out to people who need a place to live. You can do this yourself or hire a property management company to do it for you.
  • REITs: A REIT is like a stock that invests in real estate. You can buy shares in a REIT and earn money from the rent paid by the tenants.
  • Crowdfunded platforms: This is where a group invests money together to buy a property. You can invest as much or as little as you want and earn a share of the profits.
  • The average annual return on investment for real estate is around 8% but can vary based on location and market conditions.

Also Read: Can an H1B Visa Holder Invest in a Rental Property in the USA?

Tax implication

Income Tax: All property income is taxable income (10-37%) and must be reported on your tax return.

State and Local Taxes: Rental income and property may also be subject to state and local taxes in addition to federal taxes.

Capital Gains: If you sell a rental property, you may have to pay capital gains tax on the profit, but you may be able to defer or reduce the tax by doing a 1031 exchange.

2. Invest in dividend-paying stocks, mutual funds, or ETFs

  • When you buy stocks, you become a part-owner of a company. Some companies pay a portion of their profits to their shareholders as dividends.
  • Mutual funds and ETFs are investment products that pool money from many investors to buy a portfolio of stocks. Some mutual funds and ETFs invest in dividend-paying stocks, meaning they can pay their investors dividends.
  • Dividend-paying stocks, mutual funds, and ETFs can provide a steady income stream without you selling your shares.
  • Investing in stocks, mutual funds, and ETFs does carry risks, including the potential for loss of your investment. It’s important to research, diversify your investments, and consult with a financial advisor before investing your money.
  • The average annual yield for dividend-paying stocks is around 2% but can range from 1-5%.

Tax Implication

Qualified dividends from stocks you have held for a certain period are taxed at the long-term capital gains tax rate. This can be as high as 20% for those in the highest income bracket.

Non-qualified dividends, which come from stocks you have not held for the required period, are taxed at your regular income tax rate, which can be as high as 37%.

Mutual funds and ETFs can also generate capital gains, which can be taxed at the long-term or short-term capital gains tax rate, depending on how long the fund has held the investment.

3. Participate in peer-to-peer lending platforms

  • Peer-to-peer lending platforms are websites where people can lend money to each other directly.
  • If you have some extra money, you can lend it to someone who needs it and earn interest on your loan.
  • If you need money, you can borrow it from someone on the platform and pay interest.
  • The platform takes a fee for connecting lenders and borrowers.
  • Peer-to-peer lending can be a way to earn passive income on h1b, but it also carries some risks since loans may not be paid back on time or at all.
  • The average annual return for peer-to-peer lending is around 3.5-7.5% but can vary based on the platform and the risk level of the loans.

Tax Implication

The interest earned on loans is generally taxable as ordinary income. The platform may provide a 1099-INT form to report the interest earned, which must be included on the borrower’s tax return. The borrower may also deduct any loan defaults or fees paid to the platform.

4. Online Businesses and Affiliate Marketing

For H4 Visa Holders with an EAD, starting an online business and selling or affiliate marketing can also be a great way to earn money by promoting other people’s products or services.

  • You find a product or service you like and share a special link (called an affiliate link) with others.
  • If someone clicks on your affiliate link and buys the product or service, you earn a commission on the sale.
  • You can promote products through blogs, social media, or other online platforms.
  • Promoting products or services you believe in and that are relevant to your audience is important.
  • Affiliate marketing can be a good way to earn passive income on h1b, but building an audience and promoting products effectively requires effort and time.
  • The average commission rate for affiliate marketing programs is around 1-20% but can vary based on the product and the company.

Remember, it’s important to be honest, and transparent when promoting affiliate products and to disclose that you may earn a commission from purchases made through your affiliate link.

Tax Implication

Any income earned is taxable as self-employment income for online businesses and affiliate marketing.
This means the individual must pay self-employment taxes, including Social Security and Medicare.

5. Create and sell digital products or online courses

Creating and selling digital products or online courses is another way for International Professionals to make passive income on an H4 visa with an EAD. Here’s how it works:

  • You can create content on a topic you’re knowledgeable about and sell it online.
  • Some popular platforms for selling digital products include Udemy, Teachable, and Amazon Kindle.
  • Examples of digital products you can create and sell include ebooks, audiobooks, and video courses.
  • Creating high-quality content takes time and effort but can generate passive income on h1b as people purchase and download your products.
  • The potential income from this method can vary widely, but some successful online course creators have reported earning upwards of $10,000 per month.

Remember that creating and selling digital products or online courses requires a specific skill set and may not be suitable for everyone. It’s important to do your research and create content that’s high-quality and valuable to potential buyers.

Tax Implication

When you earn money from selling digital products or online courses, you must report the income on your tax return and pay taxes on it. The amount of taxes you owe will depend on several factors, such as your total income, deductions, and credits.

6. Participate in a dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP)

If you want to earn money without doing much work, you can participate in a dividend reinvestment plan or DRIP. Here’s what that means:

  • A DRIP is a program offered by some companies that let you reinvest the dividends you earn from their stock back into more shares of the same stock.
  • This means that instead of receiving cash from your dividends, you’ll receive more stock in the company.
  • Over time, the number of shares you own will increase, and you’ll earn more dividends because you own more shares.
  • DRIPs can be a good way to build wealth over time, but it’s important to remember that all investing comes with some risk.
  • The potential income from this method will vary based on the stock or fund but can be significant over the long term.

Tax Implication

Dividend income is generally taxable in the USA and is subject to different tax rates based on the dividend type.

7. Invest in high-yield savings accounts or CDs

Investing in a high-yield savings account or CD can help you earn extra money without much work. Here’s how it works:

  • A savings account is where you can keep your money and earn interest.
  • A high-yield savings account is a type of savings account that pays a higher interest rate than a regular savings account.
  • A CD (Certificate of Deposit) is a savings account where you agree to leave your money in the account for six months or a year.
  • The bank pays you a higher interest rate than a regular savings account.
  • The average annual percentage yield (APY) for high-yield savings accounts is around 0.5-1%, while the average CD APY is around 0.5-2% but can vary based on the term length and the bank.

Investing in a high-yield savings account or CD is a safe way to earn some extra money on your savings, but it’s important to remember that you won’t make a lot of money quickly. It’s more like growing a garden than winning a race!

Tax Implication

Interest earned on these investments is generally taxable in the USA and subject to federal income tax, but some state tax laws may differ. Your interest rate may be higher or lower than inflation, meaning your actual return could be negative if inflation exceeds your interest rate.

8. Participate in a master limited partnership (MLP)

Participating in a master limited partnership (MLP) means investing in a company that manages energy or natural resource assets. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • MLPs offer high yields but carry more risk
  • You can invest through a brokerage account like a stock
  • MLPs distribute income to their investors, called unit holders
  • MLP income is taxed differently than other investments
  • MLPs may be a good choice for investors seeking high yields
  • The average yield for MLPs is around 6-8% but can vary based on the specific partnership and market conditions.

Tax Implication

MLP income is generally taxed as a partnership income and subject to different tax rates, including self-employment tax for some investors. MLPs are generally more complex investments and carry more risk than other investments.

9. Buy and hold fixed-income securities or bond funds

Fixed-income securities or bonds are investments that allow you to lend money to a company or government in exchange for interest payments.

  • When you buy and hold fixed-income securities or bond funds, you’re essentially investing in a portfolio of bonds.
  • This type of investment can provide a steady income stream with less risk than investing in stocks.
  • However, it’s important to research and chooses a bond fund that matches your risk tolerance and investment goals.
  • Aggregate Bond Index to return an average of 4.1% to 5.1% per year and for currency-hedged international bonds to perform substantially the same.

Tax Implication

Interest income is generally taxable in the USA and subject to federal income tax, but some state tax laws may differ. Bond prices can also fluctuate, meaning your investment could lose value if interest rates rise.

10. Invest in a dividend ETF (Exchange Traded Fund)

  • A dividend ETF is like a basket of stocks you can buy simultaneously.
  • ETFs invest in stocks that pay dividends, a portion of a company’s profits paid to shareholders.
  • By investing in an ETF, you own a small part of all the stocks in the basket.
  • When the stocks in the ETF pay dividends, you receive a portion of those dividends in proportion to your investment.
  • A dividend ETF can provide a steady income stream but carries risks and rewards like all investments.
  • The average annual dividend yield of the top 5 high-end dividends-ETF ranges between 3 to 4.5%.

Researching and understanding the risks before investing in any ETF is important.

Tax Implication

Dividend income is generally taxable in the USA and subject to different tax rates based on the dividend type. ETFs also carry market risk, meaning the value of your investment can fluctuate.

Also Read: How to Generate Passive Income as an F1 Visa / OPT International Student?

How to Start Own Business as an H-1B Visa Holder?

Starting your business as an H-1B visa holder is possible but requires careful planning and compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. The H-1B visa program is designed for foreign workers to come to the United States to work for a specific employer, but this rule has some exceptions and nuances.

For example, if you own the sponsoring company, you may be able to work for that company as a self-employed individual or business owner.

However, if you plan to start a new business, you will need to carefully consider the legal and financial requirements and consult with an immigration lawyer to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

Also Read: 7 Small Business Loan Options for Real Estate Investment

Benefits of Building Passive Income with an H1B Visa

Building passive income streams can provide several benefits for international professionals on H1B visas, such as:

  1. Supplementing your earnings: Passive income can provide an additional source of income, which can help you pay bills, save for retirement, or achieve other financial goals.
  2. Diversifying your income: Relying solely on your salary can be risky. Building passive income streams can help you diversify your income and reduce financial risk.
  3. Achieving financial freedom: Building enough passive income can help you achieve financial freedom, which means having enough money to support your lifestyle without having to work.
  4. Creating opportunities: Passive income can allow you to invest in things you’re passionate about or pursue other interests you might not have had the time or money for.
  5. Building wealth: Passive income streams can help you build wealth over time, which can help you achieve long-term financial stability and security.

Potential Risks to Consider Before Investing

This section will discuss some risks that h1b visa holders should consider before making any annual income investment. Here are some important points to keep in mind:

  • H1B visa holders are only allowed to work for their authorized employer, so any additional income streams must comply with immigration laws.
  • Economic or real estate market changes can affect passive income from investments or rental properties, impacting overall financial stability.
  • Investing always carries a risk of losing money, so it’s important to carefully consider your investment decisions and the potential returns before making any investments.
  • If you don’t follow all the legal requirements and pay the necessary taxes, you could face penalties or legal trouble with the IRS.
  • Unauthorized employment or engaging in activities outside of the terms of your visa could result in negative impacts on your visa status or even deportation.

Understanding the legal requirements is important to avoid unauthorized employment or negative impacts on your visa status. Here are some key legal requirements to keep in mind:

Working with Immigration Attorneys and Investment Professionals:

If you earn passive income on h1b. You may also need help from an immigration attorney to ensure you follow all the immigration laws about passive income. It’s highly recommended to work with immigration attorneys and investment professionals to help navigate legal requirements and ensure compliance with immigration laws.

Obtaining an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN):

As an H1B visa holder, you may need to obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to report income and pay taxes as a separate business entity. An ITIN is a tax processing number issued by the IRS to foreign nationals who must have a U.S. taxpayer identification number but do not have a Social Security number.

By following these legal requirements, H1B visa holders can earn passive income and achieve their financial goals without jeopardizing their visa status.

Tips for Making Passive Income on H1B

When making informed investment decisions, several resources and services are available, like online gambling, even for international professionals who are H1B, visa holders. Here are three ways to start your research:

Seeking Professional Advice

One of the most effective ways to obtain advice on investment decisions is to consult a financial advisor or any relevant professional. You must make an informed decision to make a profitable passive income on H1B.

Researching and Educating Yourself

Another way to make informed investment decisions is to research and educate yourself about different options. Reading investment blogs, attending seminars, and reading investment books can provide valuable insights.

Networking with Other Investors

Networking with other investors can learn about different investment opportunities and gain insights from experienced investors. You can join investment clubs or attend investment-related events to connect with other investors and discuss investment strategies.


Building passive income on an H1B visa can offer diversification, wealth-building, and financial stability. However, tax implications, currency exchange, and regulatory risks should be considered.

To build a sustainable passive income stream, take action by investing in real estate, stocks, P2P lending, or online businesses. Financial goals take time, effort, and dedication, but resources are available to help.

Key takeaways: start building passive income today, be informed, and seek guidance when needed.


1. Can I monetize Youtube on H1B?

H1B visa holders can make money on YouTube through ads, sponsorships, and affiliate marketing. But they need to ensure it doesn’t conflict with their visa terms.

2. Can H1B visa holders have side hustles while working in the United States?

They can work on side hustles or other jobs, but it should be legal. They may need additional work authorization from USCIS if it’s unrelated to their H1B employment.

3. Is investing in the US stock market on an H1B visa possible?

Yes, H1B visa holders can invest in the US stock market. However, they must consider additional tax considerations and filing requirements when investing.

4. Can I freelance or work as an independent contractor on an H1B?

You can work as a freelancer or independent contractor on an H1B visa but obtain necessary approvals and authorizations from the USCIS.

5. Can an H1B Visa holder legally do Airbnb while on an H1B visa?

Yes, H1B visa holders can legally rent on Airbnb while on an H1B visa if they comply with all applicable immigration, tax, and housing laws and regulations.

6. Do H1B Visa holders need to set up LLC for Rental Income?

Setting up an LLC may offer some legal and tax benefits, but it is not required to earn rental income.

7. Can H1B visa holders play Powerball or Mega Millions?

There are no restrictions on playing the lottery for non-citizens, including H1B visa holders. However, if you win a large amount, you may need to consult a financial advisor and/or an immigration lawyer to understand any tax or legal implications.

8. Can H1B earn foreign income?

Yes, H1B visa holders can earn foreign income while working in the US as long as they comply with all U.S. tax laws and regulations related to foreign income. However, the US does have tax treaties with many countries that can help to reduce or eliminate double taxation.

9. Can I buy land in the US on H1B?

Yes, H1B visa holders are generally allowed to buy land in the U.S. There are no restrictions on H1B visa holders owning property in the US, including land.

10. Is it illegal to work 2 jobs on H1B?

H1B visa holders can work multiple jobs in the U.S. under certain circumstances.
If an H1B visa holder wants to work a second job, they must obtain approval from their primary employer who sponsored their H1B visa. This is because the H1B visa is tied to the specific employer who sponsored the visa, and the visa holder must continue to work for that employer to maintain their visa status.

However, It’s important to note that working multiple jobs while on an H1B visa can be complex because you need to comply with all US immigration and labor laws.

11. Can H1 B start a side business?

Yes, H1B visa holders can start a side business in the U.S. However, certain rules and regulations must be followed to comply with U.S. immigration and labor laws.
1. Obtain approval from your primary employer before starting a side business.
2. Comply with U.S. labor laws if the side business involves providing services or labor.
3. Ensure that the side business does not interfere with your ability to perform your primary job duties.

12. Can I work remotely in another country on H1B?

You can, but H1B is tied to your job in the US, so you have to maintain that. Also, you need to comply with the US tax and foreign income laws.

About the author:
Debjit Saha is the Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of HomeAbroad. With a passion for technology and a deep understanding of US immigration laws, he strives to empower individuals in their journey to the United States. He is also a Certified Immigration Expert.

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