Click here for another part Advice for answering immigration-related questions about working for tech companies Dear Sophie column
“Your question is essential to the dissemination of knowledge that enables people around the world to pursue their dreams across borders.” Sophie Alcorn, an immigration attorney in Silicon Valley. “Whether you’re an HR person, a founder, or someone looking for a job in Silicon Valley, I’d be happy to help. answer your question in the next column
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I lived and worked in the US for 1 year in L-1B, then switched to H-1B for 2.5 years before returning to India (where I am a citizen) and founding a startup.
Now I want to go back to the US and raise funds for my startup. What are my options for returning to the US as a founder?
— Fast-Moving Founder
Congratulations on making the move to launch your own venture and return to the US to expand your startup and secure investors! It is recommended that you decide We also recommend working with a corporate attorney to discuss the best structure for your startup’s U.S. entity to be attractive to investors. We prefer to invest in our US-based parent company, which is a C Corporation.
Depending on the nonimmigrant visa you obtain, you may be able to avoid an in-person interview at a consulate until the end of this year through the interview process for the L-1B Intracompany Transferee Specialist Worker visa. The US State Department has extended the visa interview waiver program through the end of this year. If the beneficiary has never been previously issued and denied a visa, the consular officer has the discretion to waive the visa interview requirement for certain work visas such as O-1A and H-1B. Unfortunately, it is not possible to waive the interview for an L-1 visa.
There are several visa options for returning to the United States as a founder.
Whether you want to form a U.S. corporation for your startup, find office space, or meet prospective investors, you can do business with a B-1 Visitor visa. A B-1 allows you to enter and stay in the United States for up to six months. However, you cannot work while riding the B-1. Your immigration attorney can tell you what activities are permitted.
When you arrive in the United States, be prepared for U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at the airport to ask what business activities you plan to conduct during your stay.
While you are in the United States on B-1, you can change your status to one of the following visas without leaving the United States.