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Video: Startup Immigration 101

Posted by Early Growth

April 26, 2017    |     3-minute read (621 words)


In this webinar on our YouTube channel discussing the various paths and challenges faced by our international colleagues, our very own Jason Kennedy talks with Immigration lawyer and founder of  Alcorn Immigration Law Sophie Alcorn. She provides valuable and powerful insights into what any non-US citizen entrepreneur needs to know if they are looking to immigrate. From going over the basics, to discussing some new and evolving steps available, she has the background and depth of knowledge that is crucial to making a challenging situation less difficult journey.


Ground Covered:

“We'll be focusing on the three major things that people at startups need to know about how to navigate the U.S. immigration system. We're going to be talking about immigrating through investment, how to get a visa if you're broke and how you can actually use your work at your startup and pivot to getting a green card through your startup.”

On Motivation & Understanding:

“So why do I care? Well I am the daughter of an immigration lawyer and an immigrant. My dad was an immigration lawyer, during his lifetime he was an inspiration to me. He was an expert in his field and he taught me what I know. I also had experienced what it feels like to be an outsider and to feel afraid, worried, rejected, voiceless, trapped and I know that those are the feelings that a lot of my clients experience when dealing with the United States immigration system.

Why Immigrants Are Essential:

“I believe that immigration causes innovation and Silicon Valley's unicorns and top startups both here in the Bay Area and all around the country have immigrants in their founding team. This is crucial to developing new companies, having the diversity of thought and of ways of thinking that can lead to growth and innovation.”

E2 Visa

“The E-2 visa is a temporary nonimmigrant status for investors to be able to invest in United States companies, come here, live here, work at the company and grow the company. There are  a lot of countries that are eligible but it's kind of random, if you want to see the full list you can google E2 treaty”

On EB-5 Green Card Problems:

I would say the biggest problem that people have is overstaying their visas, once you've overstayed it is excruciatingly painful to try to fix the situation. If you have a scenario coming where you can see “like oh my god my visitor status is going to expire in a month! I don't know what to do.” you definitely should talk to a lawyer. You can reach out to us, at a minimum we can try to extend your visitor visa for another six months.

H-1B Alternatives for Founders:

“[There’s an]other program which is an H-1b, but it's to remove startup founders from the

lottery to be able to get a visa. (it’s) without the hassle, the worry and the risk of going through the lottery and this is something called a global entrepreneur in residence program. It's a nonprofit that is starting entrepreneurship mentoring programs at universities across the country. It's established in Massachusetts, they recently opened at San Jose State University in Silicon.”

Topic Timeline:

(2:25) Start-Up

(4:10) Startup Immigration

(5:32) Introduction/Background Alcorn Immigration Law

(7:05) Immigration causes innovation

(9:12) Startups worked with    

(9:55) Investor Immigration     

(17:22) E-2 Visa

(23:33) EB-5 Green card

(31:35) Immigration Alternatives

(40:00) O-1A

(42:20) L-1A

(45:22) J-1

(47:00) [STEM] OPT

(48:00) TN

(51:45) Startup Green card 3 requirements

(54:20) International Entrepreneurial Parole

(56:55) Contact email info

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