October 16, 2017 | 4-minute read (752 words)
Immigration is a hot-button issue in both politics and United States public discourse. Listen to the webinar linked below to hear expert Silicon Valley immigration attorney Sophie Alcorn weigh in on the changes happening in immigration law including current issues, likely consequences, and next steps. She examines how startup founders, investors, and employees can still legally obtain immigration solutions, such as visas and green cards, in the current environment. Sophie also discusses topics such as DACA, visa and green gard obtainment (including H-1B extension), and why EB-5 fraud is in the news and what investors can do about it.
About the Speaker
“I believe that immigration causes innovation.” Sophie Alcorn is a Stanford-educated, New York Times-featured expert on United States immigration law who is inspired to practice immigration law because of her commitment to innovation and through her personal experience raised as the daughter of an immigrant mother and a father who practiced law. Ms. Alcorn believes strongly that different people bring different ideas to the table, thus are essential to continued innovation. She created Alcorn Immigration, Silicon Valley's premier immigration law firm. Alcorn Immigration works with a variety of organizations including Veloxity, Autovision, RCD, Mind The Bridge, the de Young Museum, and more.
Here are some key words and terminology that folks involved in the startup process - from investors and founders to HR managers, especially those hiring students on OPT (Optional Practical Training) - should know:
Visa: A visa is obtained at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy of the Country you are originally in and it allows you to come to the United States. Once you are here you may apply to extend your status for a longer period of time or for a Change of Status from one nonimmigrant status to another nonimmigrant status.
I-94 Date: This is the stamp you receive in your passport upon arriving in the U.S.. This is the date you must leave by. It is possible that the I-94 date stamped in your passport may not match the government's online database. If this occurs, a firm such as Alcorn Immigration can assist.
Enter without inspection: The legal term for those who enter the U.S. without a visa.
Green Card: A permanent resident - you can live and work in the U.S. and have the ability to eventually become a citizen. You can get a green card here through the Adjustment of Status process or you can do it outside of the U.S. at a consular post or embassy. Once you have your green card for 5 years, you can then apply to become a U.S. citizen.
Challenges Affecting Startups
One of the major topics in immigration currently is the status of DACA. As of a few weeks ago, the Trump administration announced it is changing and closing out the program. At the time of writing, October 5th 2017 was the final date to request a DACA renewal. Investors and founders need to be particularly concerned if they do not want to lose talent and key contributors due to expired work permits. A firm, such as Alcorn Immigration, can help startups and other organizations facing the challenge of this changing landscape by co-auditing their I-9’s, helping ensure a good start to the hiring process, and finding creative ways to ensure all members of the organization can stay.
Non-DACA visa denials, including H-1B and others, are also on the rise. A major risk when a visa is allowed to expire and is not renewed properly is that the individual may be barred from ever entering the U.S. again.
With good help, it is still possible to obtain a Visa. To figure out the best option for your needs, it is a good idea to have a strategy meeting with an immigration firm. Individuals eligible for green cards can receive assistance in the form of legal accompaniment during the required green card interview. This can make the interview go much faster and more smoothly than it might otherwise. (Interviews are required as of October 1, 2017.) An immigration lawyer can also help companies with the current increase in audits and ICE company visits, including assistance in getting documents in order before these surprise visits.
We recommend viewing our webinar with Sophie Alcorn in entirety for more details on these topics we’ve just covered. Feel free to contact us directly or visit Alcorn Immigration’s website if you have any specific questions!