Banging my head against the wall understanding the US immigration system – ClearTips

Banging my head against the wall understanding the US immigration system – TechCrunch

Here is another version of “Dear Sophie”, the advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working in technology companies.

Silicon Valley immigration attorney Sophie Alcorn says, “Your questions are critical to the spread of knowledge that allows people across the world to rise above boundaries and chase their dreams.” “Whether you guys are in ops, a founder or looking for a job in Silicon Valley, I would love to answer your questions in my next column.”

Additional Crunch members receive a weekly “Dear Sophie” column; Use the promo code ALCORN to purchase a one- or two-year subscription for a 50% discount.

Dear Sophie:

Now that a new president is coming to America, whose policies are more welcoming to immigrants, I am considering coming to the US to expand my company after COVID-19. However, I am struggling with the online information front which has bits and visa types and procedures.

Can you please take a look at the US immigration system and how it works so that I can get the big picture and understand what I am doing?

– Flexible in Romania

Dear flexible:

We welcome you to America! Our country benefits greatly from international entrepreneurs like you who expand here, do new work, develop the global economy.

I followed in my father’s footsteps and became an immigration lawyer to fulfill my personal mission of helping people live the life of their dreams in America. A large part of creating is to give individuals the information and tools they need to clearly set their immigration goals and reach them quickly.

Check out my recent podcast where I provide a brief, high-level overview of the American immigration system. The United States is a nation founded by immigrants. The immigration system is based on many of the same values ​​and principles enshrined in our Constitution.

In 1965, the US Congress passed the Immigration and Nationality Act, the foundation of all our immigration laws today. Although some amendments to the Act have been made since more than 50 years, the immigration system still operates under the same framework that was created then. One of the things I appreciate about this framework is that there are a lot of legal avenues that are available to the US.

There are several visa and green card categories that you can use to chart your course. As a creative lawyer, it offers many options to work with lots of lead time before someone moves to the US. The law does not ban people; It can be used as a tool for construction.

Therefore, even though the system has its own challenges and can be improved a lot, it is possible to successfully navigate the system. From individuals to founders, CEOs at startups, and giants like HR and Global Mobility, families and couples in love – you just need to get the right questions and information to ask to find the right immigration path.

My father always used to say that there are five main areas of immigration law:

  • Business immigration
  • Family immigration
  • Hospital
  • The appeal
  • Expulsion and deportation

I have worked on matters in each of these areas, but my firm focuses primarily on business and family immigration. Business immigration includes both visas and green cards, while family immigration only includes green cards that are based on an individual’s relationship to a US citizen or permanent resident (green card holder), including fiancé visas and green There are different routes to the card.

At a higher level, the US offers two types of visas: non-immigrant visas and immigrant visas. Immigrant visas are also called green cards.

Non-immigrant visas allow temporary stay in the US. Each non-immigrant visa that allows its holder to work in the US is required to sponsor an employer personally and hire them upon approval and arrival Need to be taken. Each non-specific person is designed to allow an individual with certain skills, education, or expertise that would benefit the employer, the employer’s industry, or the US in general, such as a multinational executive (L-1). A person in specialized occupation (H-1B)) or with exceptional ability (O-1).

Some non-immigrant visas are based on the candidate’s home country or whether the individual has a trade agreement with the US in their home country, each work visa has different requirements for renewal. I discuss these and other startup-friendly visas and green cards in more detail, in a podcast on the most startup-friendly visas and green cards.

A green card allows its holder to live and work permanently in the US and is the first step to obtain US citizenship. Some non-immigrant visas lead directly to the green card. However, many do not. So it is important to be creative and strategic from the beginning of your US immigration journey.

Most employment-based green cards require an employer sponsor. Two exceptions are the EB-1A Green Card for exceptional ability and the NI-2 NIW (National Interest Waver) for exceptional ability. Individuals can apply for these green cards without an employer sponsor or job offer. We cover both of these green cards, as well as O-1 non-immigrant visas at exceptional capacity bootcamps, an online course that includes O-1A non-immigrant visas, and one in EB-1A and EB-2 NIW green cards. Takes a deep dive. For which you may be eligible to apply.

Most international founders and entrepreneurs typically qualify for E-2, L-1 or O-1 visas or EB-1A, EB-1C or EB-2 NIW green cards. Take a look at the immigration options chart we have created, which outlines the most common Visa and Green Card categories that apply to founders, investors, and talent.

Apart from the various visa and green card options, you should know that you can apply for a visa or green card while living outside the US or while living inside the US, you can apply for a visa or green card An American embassy or consulate, called consular processing. Once residing in the US, you can apply to change the status to another visa or to adjust the status in a green card. For more information about specific visas and green cards and how to navigate the US immigration system, check out my weekly podcast.

Even during COVID, I am confident that you will find your way to America to begin your journey of expanding your company. I wish you good health and much success in 2019!

Best regards,


Have a question? Ask it here We reserve the right to edit your presentation for clarity and / or location. The information in “Dear Sophie” is general information and not legal advice. For more information about “Dear Sophie” limitations, please see our full disclaimer here. You can contact Sophie directly at Alcork Immigration Law.

Sophie’s podcast, Immigration Law for Tech Startup, is available on all major podcast platforms. If you want to become a guest, he is accepting applications!

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