32 minutes | Sep 29th 2020

037: What is U.S. startup founder immigration? A step-by-step guide for beginners

In this episode of Immigration Law for Tech Startups, I share some of the immigration strategies that we have used to help startup founders successfully come to or remain in the U.S. to create or grow their startups. Unlike other countries looking to spur innovation and job creation within their borders, the United States does not have a startup visa. So, startup founders must work within the existing immigration framework and find a visa or green card that best fits their situation and goals.


Most of the startup founder clients we work with are in the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa, such as B-1/B-2 visitors for business or pleasure, F-1 for students, J-1 for researchers, L-1, TN, H-1B, or O-1. Many of those individuals on an H-1B were born in China or India and are facing long waits for green cards due to annual numerical and per-country caps, but are itching to start their own companies.


Whether inside or outside the U.S., startup founders can self-petition for an EB-1A extraordinary ability green card or EB-2 NIW (National Interest Waiver) exceptional ability green card. I’ll delve deep into how to qualify and succeed in getting one of these green cards or the O-1 exceptional ability visa during my Extraordinary Ability Bootcamp. Register to receive updates! Use promotion code ILTS for 20% off the enrollment fee.


Although the current realities with the halt to issuing some visas and most green cards to individuals outside the U.S. and travel restrictions are discouraging, immigration is still possible. Please share this episode with any startup founders or entrepreneurs who can benefit from it. Reach out to us if we can help you determine your immigration options whether you’re in the U.S. or abroad.


In this episode, you’ll hear about:
  • The visas and green cards offering the best options for startup founders
  • Doing a cost-benefit analysis when evaluating visa and green card options
  • Options for startup founders in the U.S. on ESTA or a B-1 visitor visa for business
  • The prospects for startup founders to come to the U.S. on a B-1 visitor visa
  • Options for startup founders who qualify for an E-2 treaty investor visa
  • Why the H-1B has become a more affordable and less risky option for startup founders—and remains available to startup founders abroad
  • Why the O-1 may be easier for startup founders to get than an H-1B
  • Strategies for F-1 student on OPT or STEM OPT to start a company
  • Why startup founders outside the U.S. should pursue an EB-1A or EB-2 NIW green card now even though the issuance of green cards abroad remains at a standstill


Don’t miss my upcoming conversations with top Silicon Valley venture capitalists, startup founders, professors, futurists, and thought leaders on Immigration Law for Tech Startups. These Silicon Valley experts will share their stories and offer their insights. 


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