Five Steps To Successfully Immigrate to the U.S. As A Technology Startup Founder

Five Steps To Successfully Immigrate to the U.S. As A Technology Startup Founder
9 min read

Technology startups have become increasingly popular in recent years, and many entrepreneurs are interested in relocating to the United States to start a business. However, the process of immigrating to the U.S. can be complex and overwhelming. 

In this blog post, we will discuss the different options available to technology startup founders who are considering immigration to the United States. We will explore the various paths to U.S. immigration, and the qualifications and requirements for each. 

 

Step 1. Start Researching Early

 

Obtaining a nonimmigrant or temporary U.S. visa can often be the first step in preparing to file an immigration application. Start your research early. This post will help you to learn more about available visa options that work best for you.

 

Step 2. Start with a nonimmigrant visa

 

A nonimmigrant visa is a document that allows a foreign citizen to travel to the United States for a temporary period of time for a specific purpose. Temporary employment visas can provide an option for technology startup founders who need to stay in the US but are not yet eligible for permanent residency. 

 

Below we’ll discuss the different types of temporary employment visas that are available, the requirements for getting a visa. Read on to learn more about the options available to you.

 

Nonimmigrant (Temporary) Visa Options

 

  1. E-1/E-2. The E-1 Treaty Trader visa is a great option for individuals or businesses who engage in substantial international trade between two countries that have a treaty of commerce and navigation. To qualify, the treaty trader must carry out international trade in a “substantial” volume, which generally means that the trade is regular and continuous and makes up an important part of the business.  With an E-1 visa, treaty traders may stay in the US for up to two years at a time, and the visa may be renewed indefinitely. Additionally, E-1 visa holders may bring their spouses, and children to live with them in the US. You can find the list of eligible countries in this E-1 Visa article.

If you are planning to create and oversee a business in the United States and have already invested or are in the process of investing a significant sum of money, you can apply for a Treaty Investor Visa (E-2). This visa can be renewed every five years without any restrictions. E-1 and E-2 visa are somewhat similar and you can apply for either one depending on your startup background.

  1. L-1A. The L-1A Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager visa is a great way for foreign executives or managers to temporarily work in the United States for their foreign employer’s branch, affiliate, subsidiary, or parent company. To qualify for the L-1A visa, the foreign national must have been employed abroad for at least one year out of the last three years, and must be going to the US to work in a managerial or executive capacity.

The L-1A visa provides the foreign executive or manager with the ability to stay in the US for up to seven years, with the possibility of extending the visa if needed. In addition, the spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age of the foreign executive or manager are eligible for L-2 visas and can accompany them to the US.

  1. L-1B. The L-1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa for individuals who have specialized knowledge and have been employed by a qualifying organization abroad for at least one continuous year in the three years prior to obtaining the visa. This visa allows the employee to establish a U.S. office of the same company if one does not already exist. The employer must provide evidence of the employee's credentials and expertise to be able to open the new branch. The initial stay for those seeking to establish a new office is limited to one year, and all other qualified employees have a three-year initial stay. Extensions of stay for those with an L-1B visa can be granted in two-year increments up to a total of five years.

  1. H-1B. The H-1B visa is a type of nonimmigrant visa that allows U.S. employers to hire foreign professionals for a specified period of time. H-1B visa can be initially issued for three years and can be extended for up to 6 years total. The visa is intended for those who work in the fields of specialty occupations or fashion models of distinguished merit and ability. The employers must file a petition to sponsor foreign nationals for temporary employment in the U.S.

  1. TN. The TN visa is designed for Canadian and Mexican professionals to temporarily enter the United States. In order to be eligible for the visa, applicants must be able to demonstrate that the position they are applying for is on the approved NAFTA TN visa professions list. Furthermore, arrangements must have been made between the potential employer and the nonimmigrant applicant prior to applying for the visa. To be eligible applicants must possess the necessary qualifications, certifications, and meet the criteria of their specific profession. The TN visa is valid for up to three years and can be renewed indefinitely.


Step 3. Choose the immigrant category that fits you best

Before beginning the application process for permanent residency, it is important to become familiar with the different types of immigration options available. Each category has its own specific requirements, so it is important to choose the option with the greatest chance of approval.

 

Immigrant (permanent resident) options

 

  1. EB-5. The EB-5 process has a total cost that includes a minimum investment of $800,000 for projects located in Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs), which are rural and high-unemployment areas, or $1,050,000 if the project is located elsewhere. The success of the EB-5 program can depend on various factors. Between fiscal years 2018 and 2020, the approval rate for I-526 applications was 92%, 90%, 78%, and 75%, respectively. Citizens of any country can apply for the EB-5 immigrant investor visa.

  1. EB-1C. EB-1C visas are for certain multinational managers or executives. To qualify, you must have either been a manager or executive of a company abroad that has some connection with the United States, or you must have already been employed in the United States. The business entity you have worked for must be associated with, or have a branch or subsidiary of, a business in the US in order to be eligible for an EB-1C. The business you worked for abroad must also be the same business you are employed by in the US.

  1. EB-1A. An EB-1A visa is designed for individuals with exceptional talents. To be eligible for an EB-1A, you must be able to show extraordinary skill in the fields of science, art, education, business, or athletics. This can be demonstrated in a variety of ways, but all must be backed up by significant recognition at a national or international level.

  1. EB-2 NIW. Obtaining a National Interest Waiver (NIW) allows you to become a United States lawful permanent resident (LPR) via an EB-2 green card, without requiring employer sponsorship or a labor certification. To qualify for an NIW, three key criteria must be met: it must be demonstrated that your reason for applying for an NIW has national importance; you must show that you have the ability and position to carry out your plan; and it must be established that the United States will benefit from your individual role, which warrants dispensing with the requirement of a job offer.

 

Step 4. Start building your case

 

If you are a technology startup founder seeking a nonimmigrant or immigrant visa, you must demonstrate your eligibility by providing strong evidence to USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services). This is done by collecting, organizing, and compiling a large number of documents. The sooner you start building your case, the more likely your visa will be approved.

 

Step 5. Stay positive!

 

The U.S. immigration process can be intimidating and stressful, but don't let it get you down. Many foreign entrepreneurs have achieved their American dreams, and you can too! Keep a positive outlook and envision your success.

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Oleksandr 675
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