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I'm Peter Roberts, immigration attorney who does work for YC and startups. AMA
352 points by proberts 367 days ago | hide | past | web | 365 comments | favorite
Hi all,

We did an immigration AMA a few months ago and thought it might be time to do another. I'll be here for a couple hours to answer your questions about U.S. immigration. There are countless potential topics, but here's one I thought we could highlight today which is particularly important given the backlogs and delays in the green card process.

Two ways of getting a green card--the extraordinary ability and national interest waiver routes--are often very good options, and often overlooked because of a misunderstanding about the standards. Clearing up some of the misconceptions could be helpful to those of you in this community who might benefit from these routes to a green card. So if you're interested, ask me particularly about that, but I'll be happy to answer about U.S. immigration in general. As before, I can’t comment or provide legal advice on specific cases for obvious liability reasons because I won’t have access to all the facts.

EDIT: Thank you for participating in this AMA. It was very interesting and enjoyable for me. I hope that it was helpful. I need to sign off now but I’ll be checking in again later today.




Hi Peter,

I've received my green card through my sponsor company 2 months ago. (It's a highly reputable fortune 100 company and I am building their core web product)

And I have a project that's getting traction and really want to leave the company and commit full time to it.

But everything on the web says I need to wait at least 6 months before leaving the company after I receive green card, otherwise they can kick me out for fraud when I apply for citizenship later. But some people also say this is just a myth.

So the question: Is this true and I am stuck with this company for next 4 months even though I really want to go full time on my project? Any ways to get around this? Thanks!

p.s. I know this is not a type of question that you may be interested in answering since it's a minority case, but I would really appreciate at least a one line comment on what you think (or even saying it's not something you can answer). It looks like it's not just me, at least 6 people are interested so far, we will all be grateful to hear from you!


Similar question here!


No, you are not stuck at all. As long as your intent - and the intent of your employer - at the time that your green card application was filed was to work for the company in the sponsored position, you can leave at any time after getting your green card.


Wow this is such a great news to hear! Thank you so much!

Just one more thing, then does this mean all the "it will be problematic when you apply for citizenship unless you stay for 6 months" just an internet myth?


Pre-AC21 that was the general advice to avoid questions at the naturalization stage but that all ended with AC21. It's also a borrowed misunderstanding from the general GC portability requirements (which don't apply here) which allow one to "port" one's GC application after one's I-485 application has been pending for 6 months.


This was my case. 3 months after receiving the green card process I started my own company. As Peter has said, what matters is the intent.


You are welcome. Try googling Self Petitioning H1Bs. I used http://myimmigrationattorney.com/h1b-visa-requirements/ in case it helps.

I don't have citizenship yet, I have the GC right now. I needed to provide documentation regarding the company like business model, certificate of incorporation, bank statements and financial situation.


Thanks for sharing your experience, it's extremely hard to find a reliable piece of advice online.

Was there anything you had to document in order to prove your intent? Also did you end up getting the citizenship without any setbacks?


Thanks for the reply, but my question was more about what comes after the green card.

Just to clarify, I too have green card.

If you google online https://www.google.com/search?q=leave+company+after+green+ca... most people talk about the "6 months rule".

Basically they're saying it's ok to leave immediately as long as you don't apply for citizenship. The problem arises when it's time for citizenship and they blame us for being a fraud. Were you aware of this?


Yes, I am aware of it. Peter has already clarified the issue above. What matters is the intent. One friend of mine switched jobs less than a month after obtaining his GC and he didn't run into any issue whatsoever.

"No, you are not stuck at all. As long as your intent - and the intent of your employer - at the time that your green card application was filed was to work for the company in the sponsored position, you can leave at any time after getting your green card."


Did you have some agreement with your employer (maybe just verbal) like not to leave for at least X months when you applied for green card?


I'm a UK citizen that has been looking at EB-1A all week (because of Brexit), I'm now sure I do not want to continue living here if we in fact do withdraw from the EU. My questions:

- How many of the 10 criteria must you actually satisfy? Is it a binary decision, i.e. proving 3/10 is the same as is the same as satisfying all 10. Is a positive decision 100% guaranteed is at least 3 criteria are proved satisfactorily?

- What is the standard of proof?

- When would my obligation to complete a IRS tax return begin, i.e. is it when the consulate adds an MRIV I-551 to my passport, when I arrive in the US an immigrant and CBP endorses it, or another time. This might impact when I would apply.

- How long would the EB-1A process take, how long does it take for a permanent resident to sponsor a spouse, can these applications happen concurrently, and are both categories current?

- What are the indicative costs?


All good questions, responded to in order:

- it can be enough if one meets 3 of the criteria but even if one meets 3 criteria there's an additional subjective requirement of extraordinary ability but in my experience, if one clearly meets 3, his or her application will be approved

- the legal standard is a preponderance of the evidence but the actual standard as applied is pretty inconsistent and can seem arbitrary but even with this, in my experience, if the case is strong, it's rare that an application isn't approved.

- sorry but I can't answer tax related questions

- the EB1A category is current for all nationalities and at present the entire process (which can include the spouse) can take as little as 3 months and as long as 8 months (excluding RFEs)

- see response to previous text but the range can be wide, on average $5,000 to $15,000


I am not an immigration lawyer or a tax advisor, that being said, I am familiar with the process. You become permanent resident when the CBP officer stamps the MRIV on arrival. From that point on you have the same tax obligations as any other US person. That being said, you should probably consult an actual US immigration lawyer.


This.

I've dealt with tax issues between GB and US. Long story short - it's hairy...get some professional advice.


Hi, my sympathies about the Brexit thing, I can see why you'd be looking around. I think Peter summed this up nicely. To elaborate a bit on the 10 criteria:

-It's not binary. The more high-quality evidence you provide, in more categories, the "bigger" you look, and the better your chances of success.

-It's not 100% guaranteed if you meet the minimum 3, because the adjudication is very subjective. Your aim is to create an overall impression of achievement, recognition, prominence, and impact on your field - and to do that within their 8 narrow, arbitrary evidence categories.

-While more categories generally are better, it will hurt the case to throw in low-quality evidence (i.e., employee-of-the-month awards, hyperlocal news stories) just to add another category. Basically bad evidence makes you look small, which is the opposite of what you want.

-You can start right away, compiling evidence of the cool work you're doing, plus its impact on your field and how it makes peoples' lives better. Get some media coverage. Enter some contests. Judge some contests. Write some articles.

HTH clarify a bit.


I wonder how many people are roughly in your situation and researching the same options.


If they don't want to be in the UK because it's not part of the EU, why would they consider the US, which is also not part of the EU?


I think the problem isn't so much being part of the EU as it is not being part of an isolated UK.

I must admit I'm in much the same boat - remaining in London is a lot less attractive if lots of the jobs are going to dry up (when companies relocate to the EU) - in that case, the US begins to look more attractive; it's an English-speaking country with lots of tech opportunities.


Why would companies leave? Is not there benefit to waiting and seeing how the dust settles? I have lived long enough to know that any change is always disruptive and after time passes the initial reactions also pass.


Financial companies have a large incentive to leave if the passport scheme, which allows them to sell their services in the EU, isn't retained in its current form. Other companies - if you do business with the EU, and the trade agreement isn't so favourable, then relocating again makes sense.

There is benefit in waiting, but companies will be planning for the worst-case scenarios.


Personally it's because I don't feel English. I don't want to be isolated on this little island, I don't feel a connection to the public anymore, it doesn't feel like the place I want to call home. Over the next few months I'll find a new home if I can.

I appreciate it's an emotional feeling but it's how I, and others I've spoken to, feel.


I'm the same, if I didn't have my company here I'd be looking at moving but I enjoy working with my business partner and he is tied here due to family.


My wife and I are for one, there is so much discontent within our generation over what has happened...

We are seriously considering between the US, Canada, Ireland (she's Irish by birth) and Scotland (in anticipation of it leaving the UK and joining the EU).


Hi Peter,

Thanks for taking the time out to answer questions!

I am from India and am in US on H1B with gc process underway in EB2 category. I (along with a fellow friend) have been thinking of doing something on our own but are always discouraged by the immigration process. If we were to start something on our own, what are our options? H1b where you have a majority stake seems to not be an option. Is there an alternate way to do this?

I don't seem to satisfy requirements for O1.


An H-1B might still be an option. Ownership is not a bar unless it rises to a controlling interest.


Thanks for the answer! A followup question:

So would something like this work?

Owner 1 (<50% ownership, say 49%) on H1b

Owner 2 (<50% ownership, say 49%) on H1b

Investor 1,2 (>0% ownership, say 2%)

(I understand that things vary from case to case but trying to get general idea here)


That's the general idea but USCIS also will want to see a board of directors that neither you nor your co-founder can control so if the two of you are on the board, there needs to be a third board member at a minimum.


Then it is a non-starter, right? If you are starting a company, then you do have controlling stake.


Just needs to be <50%


yeah, this is my line of thought as well. But it gets complicated when there are two co-founds in the same boat :)


[Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. I am especially not your lawyer, or anyone else's. This is not legal advise. I recommend anyone in this situation retain an attorney and ask them for legal advise on this subject.]

Get an angel check. One share in a billion leaves neither cofounder with a controlling interest.

For what it's worth, I recommend giving more like 2% for a sole angel, assuming their contribution runs little further than satisfying this control problem. But technically speaking, whatever somebody agrees to should solve the control problem.


not if there are multiple co-founders and possibly some investors involved.


The fact that you are suggesting this itself is a joke. I would never suggest any one with a family from India on H1B to start a company.

Because failure is not an option. If then, `he` will have to find another job in 10 days or leave the country.


Failure never happens instantly. You know exactly when you are going to run out of investment or personal savings, and can plan accordingly.


Hi Peter,

I'm a Canadian citizen with a four year computer science degree. I've gotten a TN work permit twice, with two different companies over the past three years.

If I started a company with an American citizen and they opened it up, could they then hire me as a Computer System Analyst? Is there a minimum salary they'd have to pay me (e.g. could I get a TN and still only get paid $10/hour)? Is this a common way for Canadian co-founders to enter the United States or is there a better route?


I'm not the OP, but as I understand it a founder of a company would be eligible for immigration on an EB-5 visa. From this website ( https://www.uscis.gov/green-card/green-card-through-job/gree... ), they would be eligible if they plan to create/preserve 10 jobs and invest $1m (or $500k in a "targeted high employment area". This is pretty similar to most developed nations--provide enough investment money and you can immigrate without much question.


jameshush would need to have $1 million or $500k (if he wants to open his startup in a poor/remote area) to get this visa.

I don't know about jameshush, but most people don't have that level of disposable assets lying around that they can just expend on a business venture.

Also, FYI, you cannot get $500k of investment and qualify for the EB-5 visa. The $500k has to be your own money.


(recalling verbatim from a friend): TN-1s are not available for "owners" of a business. Technically, ownership is defined as > X% of a business (X is some number I can't recall like 30 or 40). Recently, some Canadian founders have had their TN-1 revoked at the border at the discretion of the officer because they were founders, even though they didn't have sufficient % of shares to be owners as per the definition.


Also curious about this.


Excellent and important issue. Ownership in and of itself is not a bar to TN classification - to be a bar the ownership is supposed to rise to the level of controlling - but USCBP (at the "border") and even USCIS sometimes (and more and more) take the position that it is or conclude that if one is a founder or has an ownership interest, one is a "manager" and not an "engineer" and therefore ineligible for TN classification because there's no NAFTA occupation for managers.


Thanks Peter! So then would you suggest to wait on (fingers crossed) getting an H1-B from an employer and then transferring to the new startup?


Not necessarily because the law is clear that a minority non-controlling interest is not a bar to TN classification (and where the law is on your side, it's usually worth pursuing/arguing).


So what does extraordinary ability mean? Are we talking PhD level ability here, or Turning award level ability, or somewhere in between?


Something lower and different really. For those who have not won major awards, it's really a mix of media coverage, publications, awards, good work, etc. To put it in perspective, we've obtained green cards for those without degrees and under the age of 25 but who've created really cool companies. It's very fact-specific and in the end it's a feeling that someone is very bright and doing interesting work.


Yes, this. As a practical matter, they generally look for the top 15% to 20% of the field, and you have a lot of scope in defining your "field of endeavor."

A successful petition tells the adjudicator the STORY of your rise to success. It's basically a narrated guide to the high-quality evidence you've provided in at least 3, preferably 4 or 5, categories: contributions, awards, media coverage, judging, authorship, etc.

The adjudication is subjective, but there's definitely a formula you can follow to maximize your chances of approval.


I have a startup abroad, and have appeared in media all over the country. We've raised several rounds, and may be building an investment fund. What else can I do to increase my chances of getting an O-1 having a business background.


It sounds strong already. The best thing is really just to continue to build a strong company - the company's interests are really aligned with your immigration goals. many founders get O1s and green cards solely on the basis of the company that they founded.


Yes, it sounds quite strong, especially with the media coverage. VC or other funding can be considered a "prize or award" if documented right. Other things you can do:

1. Continue seeking media coverage, the more prestigious the better.

2. Document the specific impacts your product has in making the world a better place. How has it made a dent in the universe? Factual evidence of specific, industry-wide impacts can really skyrocket your chances of success.

These impacts are hard for many applicants to explain and document, so if you can do it, it will really make your petition stand out.

3. Enter some competitions and win some awards (including, but not limited to, funding, admission to prestigious accelerators, etc.).

4. Judge some competitions or submissions: Hackathons, pitch competitions, applications for funding, peer review, anything in your industry.

5. Write and publish some articles, either on technical topics in your industry (better), or general-interest media articles and blog posts (good).

6. If you're making money, think about how to frame your compensation as higher than the norm in your industry. You have to prove, not only that you have high compensation, but that others similarly placed have lower compensation. There are a number of ways to present this, so it's good to start thinking about how to show a "pyramid."

HTH.


That's very encouraging. I'd like to ask, what kind of extraordinary abilities are behind these cool-companies and their owners (employment, investment capability)?


It's a mix but some investments by investors (as opposed to family and friends) is important and also really that the product developed/being developed is interesting and grabs the attention of the adjudicator.


Outside funding can definitely be framed as a "prize or award," and in fact, adjudicators are trained to recognize this.

Interestingly, the O-1 and EB-11 categories don't consider US labor issues at all, the way that other categories do. For example, the number of US jobs you create isn't relevant, except as evidence of your success. Neither is the question of whether you're in a shortage occupation, or whether an American is available to fill the position.


The bar for 01 (called Evidentiary Criteria) is much much lower.

I know of several people who went the O1 route and basically the process was this:

- A job offer with a "high" salary (basically it seemed anything over 100k would do the trick)

- Judged a hackathon

- "News" coverage of the hackathon

Then a big check to the immigration attorney who wrap it up in a bunch of legalese and send it off to the immigration officials who don't have enough knowledge or insight to question any of it.


This is awesome info.


Definitely, yes, that can happen but there's little consistency and weak applications also are often denied (but people tend to talk more about their successes than their failures so there's often little "press" about these failures).


Yes that is what the immigration attorneys do, turn a seemingly weak application into a stronger one with massive amounts of supporting documents with various expert opinions and legalese.

From my point of view the goal is to essentially beat the immigration officials over the head with information until they just pull out their stamp and move on to then next application.

Not to say it is a loophole (though the folks I know that did go through it sure have the smug attitude that they beat the system), I think the Evidentiary Criteria is purposefully broad to leave it open for interpretation.


What would be your stance be on prospects then if you can't say that you're going to get a 'high salary' in the proposed job here?


I disagree with the comment above. Massive amounts of materials without much to them often don't work in fact. It's more than that. It's really conveying - supported by evidence - what is really interesting and significant about the work and achievements of the applicant and conveying the applicant's passion. And most talented founders who are truly passionate about what they are doing have a good faith basis for proceeding with an O1 (although sometimes there's just not enough there to get it over the line).


+1. Many denials come from throwing together a bunch of low-quality evidence that vaguely looks like it might meet the criteria. These cases also tend to be poorly organized, poorly presented, and lacking any narrative.

Adjudicators see these cases all day long. They aren't fooled, and they won't approve them.

You can really make your adjudicator's day - and secure a quick approval - with an organized, nicely presented, high-quality evidence package, that's tied together with a compelling narrative.


Hi there, "high salary" is only 1 of the 8 O-1 criteria, so it's not mandatory. Lots of O-1s get approved without the "high salary" evidence. You have to show a minimum of 3, and preferably 4 or 5, categories, but not necessarily money.

I'd focus on showing how your work is new and cool, how it makes an impact on the world, and what acclaim you've gotten (media coverage, awards) for doing it.

HTH


I can answer because I had an O1 visa, and from what I've understood the equivalent green card has roughly the same requirements. If I wanted to apply for a green card while on my O1 visa, I could have went to the same process (I chose to move back to Europe instead). Interestingly going from an O1 visa to the equivalent green cards doesn't require a corporate sponsorship.

Basically if you have something like a Nobel price or a Turing award, you don't need anything else to get the O1 (and probably the green card). If you're like most people and don't have this kind of award, you still have a shot but you need to gather as much evidence as possible. From what my attorney told me at the time, weight matters.

That includes, for science:

- publications

- recommendation letters (preferably a blend from business, research and politicians)

- awards (even things like "the best paper" of a small conference with only 30 papers from local researchers)

- interviews

- be a member of an association only open to certain persons (for example with a Ph.D. you qualify for IEEE membership, and they will deliver a good-looking membership certificate)

So having a Ph.D is not enough, but if are a decently successful researcher and have a good network for the recommendation letters (or your future employer), you can get it without being of Turing award level.

The "extraordinary ability" is applicable also for athletics or business, but I don't know much about those.


(for example with a Ph.D. you qualify for IEEE membership, and they will deliver a good-looking membership certificate)

Unless something has changed very recently, you do not have to have a Ph.D. to be an IEEE member.

Source: long-time IEEE member without a Ph.D.


Thanks y'all for mentioning the IEEE as an example. It's a great illustration of how the "exclusive memberships" category works (and doesn't work).

Preface: The "membership in associations that require outstanding achievement" category is, interestingly, one of the hardest to satisfy. Adjudicators are trained to focus on minute details of the organization's criteria for membership, and the extent to which they're governed by "recognized experts" in the field.

This has resulted in some incredible nit-picking by USCIS about how "outstanding" you have to be, to qualify for membership, and who chooses you.

In general, organizations that require only a degree (even an advanced degree), or the payment of dues, don't meet the criterion.

However, the IEEE is an interesting case study, because it has multiple levels of membership. http://www.ieee.org/membership_services/membership/qualifica...

The highest tier, "Fellow," "recognizes unusual distinction in the profession and is conferred only by invitation of the Board of Directors upon a person with an extraordinary record of accomplishments in any of IEEE’s designated fields of interest."

THAT is exactly what USCIS is looking for, and it definitely meets the criterion.

The second tier, "Senior Member," "is the highest for which application may be made and requires experience reflecting professional maturity." This level requires that "the candidate shall have been in professional practice for at least ten years and shall have shown significant performance over a period of at least five of those years, such performance including one or more of the following: [list of major professional accomplishments]."

I'd argue that this "Senior Member" tier is also an "exclusive membership," because of all the ways it requires "outstanding achievement" of its members at this level.

All the other levels of IEEE membership are non-exclusive, and I wouldn't bother including them, as they would weaken your case.


You can be member without a Ph.D, but if you have one you qualify.


Thank you, but to clarify: while the criteria look alike, the standard for EB1A is much higher than the standard for O1. So, for example, while a handful of media mentions might be enough for O1 purposes, they might not be enough for EB1A purposes.


What are your reasons for returning to Europe instead?


How long did the process of getting an O1 visa take?


A friend of mine did it in the field of music production. He had no publications or anything. He hired a lawyer ($15,000) and the company he was interning at got a recommendation from some really higher up in Sony. The lawyer wrapped it all up in a few days and sent it along with the expedited processing fee. He had his "your EAD card is on the way" message displayed on USCIS case tracker, so basically "APPROVED" two weeks after filing.

Listening to him talk about it really did feel like he was cheating the system.


I was told in the last edition that I'd have a high chance to qualify since my extraordinary ability was winning a NASA competition.

I see it as independent from the studies level, but I see both of them as important points. So I'll include this competition (and others), my degree in Spain+Japan and the community I founded at my University ( http://makersupv.com/ ).


What was NASA competition you won? NASA SpaceApps Challenge? I have been awarded second place 2 years in a rown on my country.


Yes, I was awarded 1st place 3 editions back in SpaceApps. I have no idea if 2 seconds = 1 first for the relevant administration though.


Without knowing more, it sounds like you would have a strong O1 or EB1A application.


Thanks. Right now I'm working as a freelancer doing things I love though for a USA company. So maybe 6-12 months later I'll try to get a fulltime job and Visa, but right now I'm not so interested. I'll also save this thread in favorites, thank you.


Hi, I took a look at your site and the NASA Space Apps site. You have some very impressive accomplishments. I agree with Peter that you are well on your way to an O-1.

The NASA award is definitely strong enough to build a case around, if you file in the next year or two, so that the evidence is not stale.

The Makers UPV website is very cool. With proper documentation it could be counted as an "original contribution of major significance." It would be good to start collecting specific examples of its impact on the field, how it's helped people, and what it has created, that was not there before.

In general, other student-level accomplishments aren't considered O-1 caliber. Phi Beta Kappa, academic awards, student papers, etc. are considered by USCIS to be at a preparatory or entry level. They are best omitted, as they will weaken your case and make you look small.

Instead, I would focus on your substantive accomplishments - things that you have made, and how they have helped people, or made an impact on the world.

Also consider seeking some media coverage for your stuff in tech publications or general-interest media.

Write some papers, or do some podcasts or videos, that showcase your work and show its practical applications.

BY FAR the biggest O-1 challenge faced by makers, engineers, and developers, is explaining what you did, and why it's cool, in language that a 7-year-old can grasp and understand right away.

When your O-1 application hits the adjudicator's desk, you will have 5 to 15 minutes to make your case. He doesn't have a clue about JS or Angular. It's very difficult to explain why your work is new and different and cutting-edge, when you have such a limited window to explain it. Yet that - plus your evidence - is THE key to O-1 success.

My best advice: Practice on your grandma. Or your artist friend. Or your GF. Explain it, and explain it, and explain it again. Just bore the crap out of them, until they finally say, OH, I get it! That's so cool!

TL;DR, but hope you can use this in the future. Best of luck.


Second place totally counts as a prize or award.


Ha! When I was getting my L1, there was someone who got an 01 because they had more than 2 million hits on YouTube and they wanted to pursue a career in Hollywood as a rapper.


O-1s are great in that way. They reward creativity and niche occupations for sure. Well-documented, totally legit O-1 applications have been approved for burlesque dancers, motocross mechanics, and water sommeliers (yes apparently that is a real thing).


I'm an English programmer working in the UK for a site owned by, via another company, a very large privately owned US company. I have a child and a partner I am not married to. I have no criminal record.

I'm unsettled by the brexit, and am considering a US move - if my company's parent wants to take me on how difficult is the immigration process likely to be?


The required corporate relationship between the US and UK companies needs to exist but assuming that it does, then an L-1 transferee visa might be an option - although USCIS (if the US company isn't a "blanket" approved company) can be really tough on L-1s so the outcome isn't necessarily guaranteed.


Thank you Peter, that is very useful. Much appreciated.


The good news is that the L1 visa is a fantastic visa. It's dual-intent meaning you can apply for greencard (as opposed to TN). Also your spouse can work! That is huge.


To be clear, one can proceed with a GC application even if in TN (or another non-dual intent) status. Such a filing however compromises travel (in the short term) and can impact the ability to renew the TN in the future if the GC application fails.


OTOH you cannot switch employers. That is the most significant drawback IMO.


Have you considered to move to other European countries instead? Could be less a hassle.


We have, but it didn't seem all that relevant in this thread ;)


I know that Australian citizens can use the E3 visa for working in the US. Do you know if Australian citizens can start companies in the US using the E3 visa? Is it something like, you work for the company you founded? What happens if the company fails, or runs out of money?

EDIT: Updated question.


You may find these resources useful:

http://eliasbizannes.com/blog/2012/07/how-to-become-a-full-t...

https://geoffmcqueen.com/2011/09/28/e-3-visa-for-australians...

Essentially, you elect a board that hires (and, importantly, can fire) you.


1) Here's a good blog post on exactly your situation: http://www.jamesmorrell.com/blog/e3-visa-self-sponsorship

2) The E-3 visa application requires filing you file a Labor Condition Application (LCA) attesting that you will be paid at least the prevailing wage for the job title -- i.e. you must be making at least as much as other Americans make doing the same job.


The same rules apply to the E3 that apply to the H1B, that is, one can't self-petition so it can be a problem if one founds and owns a controlling interest in a company. But Consulates as opposed to USCIS are much more receptive to visa applications by founders/owners (but again the founder/owner can't control the company). I'd be happy to speak with you about this.


You may run into issues if the petitioner is the same as the beneficiary.


Hi Peter,

I live in Central America, I have been working as a remote worker for US-based companies for around 5 years now, the past 1.5 years working for a company on Seattle, I haven't signed any formal work-contract but my current employer is willing to help me to obtain a VISA to inmigrate to the US (I only have a tourist VISA right now).

I'm also in the way to co-found a company with my employer as partner, I will get 16% of ownership over it.

What are my best options to move to the US?

May I still apply to an H1B visa despite not having a formal work-contral? (the payments records, Skype logs and emails are the only proof I have)


That arrangement sounds highly irregular. I hope that you will consult with a lawyer before entering into any agreement with your employer.

At the very least it seems like they should have recorded your employment for tax purposes. Even if you aren't obliged to pay any taxes to the US government, there must be some bare minimum for accounting purposes and internal audit controls.

Of course, I am neither a lawyer nor experienced in administrating the employment of foreign nationals


Hi Peter, Thank you for taking the time to do this AMA.

The company that I currently work for has offered to start processing my GC, but only under an EB3. I have a masters degree in computer science from an American University, (and I have about 4 years of work experience) so I am technically eligible for an EB2 (and since I am from India, EB2 vs EB3 makes a big difference).

My question is, if I go ahead with the processing, Once I have my I-140 and priority date, would it be possible for me to switch jobs keeping the same priority date? If I move to a company with the means (and willingness) to file for a GC under EB2, would they be able to keep the same priority date?

Just trying to understand if this is something worth fighting for? Or if I should just accept the EB3 filing, get my I-140 and eventually move to a company that will re-file it under EB2?


I should have put this in my opening comment but one way to deal with this is to "upgrade" the green card application - at the I-140 stage - after the PERM application is approved through the "exceptional ability" route. This is a reachable standard for many professionals and can transform an EB3 filing into an EB2 filing.


Hi Peter,

Thank you very much for doing this! I have two questions about Canadian citizens looking for jobs in America. Possibly, looking to immigrate to Americain the future. Also, If possible getting double/triple citizenship.

Let's pretend you are a Canadian citizen, recently graduated from computing science, that is currently living in Alberta, Canada. What is the best way to get a job in America? Should I apply for a visa as well or should they offer a visa sponsorship?

Then, let's say I get hired. What's the best way to get an American citizenship with the goal of maintaining my Canadian citizenship? I was originally born in the Philippines; would it be wise to get three citizenships (America/Canada/Philippines)?


The easiest way to get a work visa to the US is to first get a job offer from a US tech company. Then all you need to do is get a TN visa from the border and you can work and live in the US. A TN visa has to be renewed every 3 years and does not get you American citizenship nor can you apply for it. To that you must get your employer (once you start working for them on your TN visa) to sponsor you for an H1-B visa. That is lottery based and if you are lucky enough to get one, then you can start your journey towards a green card (this may take up to 8 years).

In short, apply to jobs in the states and once you have an offer you can think about getting a visa. You don't need to worry about three citizenships. That is a long long process. The real challenge is finding a job.

Being a Canadian, the Toronto/Waterloo region as a multitude of job openings right now for CompSci grads.


Some of these are wrong.

- You can go from TN to EB3; it just gets hairy for the period of time that your AOS is being evaluated. I was going through the process when my H1-B got approved and switched to that. There's a 60 day wait period after you last enter on TN, and you cannot leave the country when the AOS gets filed until you get your EAD and AP or GC, whichever comes first.

- Green card will not take 8 years unless you were born in India, China, or the Philippines. EB-3 priority date for rest of world is March 2016, and it takes longer than 3 months to get PERM approved, so by the time it gets approved it would be current. After that, it takes about 6-9 months to get the AOS approved (and you usually get your EAD/AP a little earlier).


>Green card will not take 8 years unless you were born in India, China, or the Philippines

What if you have a Canadian citizenship? Is it still 8 years?

>There's a 60 day wait period after you last enter on TN, and you cannot leave the country when the AOS

So, when I first get my TN visa, I cannot leave the country without any of those papers? How long does my first TN visa last and if that expires I have to wait for 60 days before I get a new one?


It's not based on citizenship, purely birth country. You can search for priority dates and they get updated monthly. It will take a few years for China, India and the Philippines but if you were born outside those three countries you just have to wait through the processing.

Your visa will initially be valid for 3 years. It can be extended a few times. Ideally you'd have at least a year left on your current visa when submitting the AOS application since you cannot reenter on TN once that happens.

Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer, I'm going through the process now and using time spans quoted by my lawyers and my own research.


Is hong kong lumped in with the rest of china in regards to this?


Thanks Vlad! It was very informative and helpful!


Very helpful!

Most of the companies would ask something along the lines of are you allowed to work in America. For this question, am I allowed to say, "yes I am". Given, I do not have a TN visa yet?


Yes for the question "Are you authorized to work in the US" you can answer yes.

For the question "Do you require sponsorship" you can answer NO.

This is ok as long as your are TN visa eligible.


That answers all the questions I can think about at the moment. Thank you very much for the help, it was informative and very helpful!


Can a H1B visa holder start a company? What are the options for H1B visa holder to do side projects for money?

Thank you.


No, you cannot start a company. You also cannot work (i.e. get an H-1B approval) for a company that you own or control in any way.

Regarding side projects for money, I'll copy my answer I gave elsewhere[0]:

You will get deported and effectively be permanently banned if you receive income from any other source besides your H-1B / L-1 / other-visa sponsoring company/employer. Income from all other sources are prohibited while you are on a visa. With a green card or U.S. citizenship, you have the freedom to sell apps, have income-generating side projects, etc.

Companies are required to report any income you earn while you are in the US. If you make money selling apps, Google/Apple is required to tell the U.S. government about the money you make on the App Store income (primarily for tax purposes).[1] The tax people (the IRS, Income Revenue Service) share income data with the immigration agency. The immigration agency checks to make sure you only got money from the company your visa allows you to work for. If the immigration agency finds out you have income from other sources (app store), they will deport you, and you will effectively be banned. See: http://www.murthy.com/2014/01/28/home-based-businesses-inadv...

If you look at the link above, you'll see a lot of people have inadvertently screwed over by having non-authorized income. An extreme example from the link above are multi-level marketing companies. For example, you recommend your friend that he/she buys some product. Your friend buys it, and for the referral, the company gives you a tiny amount of money (e.g. $5) You could get deported and banned because of this. Because it is considered income, and all income not from your job associated with your visa is completely prohibited.

----

Now you might be wondering if you can set up your company and receive income from the App Store in another country, and have it deposited to your foreign bank account. You might be thinking that if you do that, your income likely won't be reported to the US government, and you won't get caught and get deported.

The problem with that is that by having un-reported income in another country (from the App Store) you are breaking two sets of laws: (1) tax laws, (2) immigration laws.

Firstly, if you live in the U.S., you have to pay taxes (~35%) on your total worldwide income -- income that you make in every country. Even on the interest you receive in a bank account in a foreign country. If you do not report your non-U.S. income, you break tax law. The punishment for breaking tax laws is severe. In addition to being deported and banned, they can take money out of your bank account, seize your property (your house, your car, etc) to pay for the unpaid taxes + the severe fines for hiding and not paying taxes.

Secondly, U.S. immigration law generally prohibits H-1B, L-1 and other visa holders from doing any kind of productive work outside their H-1B/other-visa job. Even repairing your own house by yourself, if it involves a lot of work, is illegal for a visa holder. You have to hire a U.S. worker to repair your house. Foreign income for remote work is prohibited. Working on your own app and making money selling it is prohibited.

----

[1] I don't know if you are in the U.S. -- so just to clarify: everyone in the U.S. who has permission to work (citizens, LPRs, H-1B/L-1/etc visa holders) is issued a Social Security Number ("SSN"). This number is used to report any income you earn to the government. You have to provide this number to receive income from any company in the US. If you try to set up a U.S. Google App Store account, they will ask for your SSN. Your SSN is used to report your income to the government, and as a general universal personal identification number.

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11974074


As a US citizen an HN community member, this super sucks.

What is the likelihood that someone is deported within a 5-10 year period for having an app on the iOS/Android stores, provided that app isn't like a huge company? (eg. < $50k annual revenue)

I ask specifically because its silly for the US to have those restrictions. We (I) want people like this to join our economy!

How can I help?


Any income (above 0) that is a result of working in the United States is illegal, unless it is for the company sponsoring the visa. Even a mere $100 of income from the App Store will be considered unauthorized, and could lead to deportation and potentially make them "inadmissible to the United States" (i.e. permanently banned). Please see: http://www.murthy.com/2014/01/28/home-based-businesses-inadv...


To give other point of view. During my previous startup I was on an F-1 visa, then we got funding and I got an H1B from my startup. You can sponsor yourself through your own company, you just need to prove the relation and provide enough documentation about the investments, incorporation...


Hi Peter,

I have heard different answers to this from different people. Can I earn income from apps on apple store/android etc. if I am on a work permit in the USA? Does it matter if the app was initially launched when I was in India (my home country) or after I moved here?

Thanks!


You will get deported and effectively be permanently banned if you receive income from any other source besides your H-1B / L-1 / other-visa sponsoring company/employer. Income from all other sources are prohibited while you are on a visa. With a green card or U.S. citizenship, you have the freedom to sell apps, write books, etc.

Companies are required to report any income you earn while you are in the US. If you make money selling apps, Google/Apple is required to tell the U.S. government about the money you make on the App Store income (primarily for tax purposes).[1] The tax people (the IRS, Income Revenue Service) share income data with the immigration agency. The immigration agency checks to make sure you only got money from the company your visa allows you to work for. If the immigration agency finds out you have income from other sources (app store), they will deport you, and you will effectively be banned. See: http://www.murthy.com/2014/01/28/home-based-businesses-inadv...

If you look at the link above, you'll see a lot of people have inadvertently screwed over by having non-authorized income. An extreme example from the link above are multi-level marketing companies. For example, you recommend your friend that he/she buys some product. Your friend buys it, and for the referral, the company gives you a tiny amount of money (e.g. $5) You could get deported and banned because of this. Because it is considered income, and all income not from your job associated with your visa is completely prohibited.

----

Now you might be wondering if you can set up your company and receive income from the App Store in India, and have it deposited to your Indian bank account. You might be thinking that if you do that, your income likely won't be reported to the US government, and you won't get caught and get deported.

The problem with that is that by having un-reported income in India (from the App Store) you are breaking two sets of laws: (1) tax laws, (2) immigration laws.

Firstly, if you live in the U.S., you have to pay taxes (~35%) on your total worldwide income -- income that you make in every country. Even on the interest you receive in a bank account in a foreign country. If you do not report your non-U.S. income, you break tax law. The punishment for breaking tax laws is severe. In addition to being deported and banned, they can take money out of your bank account, seize your property (your house, your car, etc) to pay for the unpaid taxes + the severe fines for hiding and not paying taxes.

Secondly, U.S. immigration law generally prohibits H-1B, L-1 and other visa holders from doing any kind of productive work outside their H-1B/other-visa job. Even repairing your own house by yourself, if it involves a lot of work, is illegal for a visa holder. You have to hire a U.S. worker to repair your house. Foreign income for remote work is prohibited. Working on your own app and making money selling it is prohibited.

----

[1] I don't know if you are in the U.S. -- so just to clarify: everyone in the U.S. who has permission to work (citizens, LPRs, H-1B/L-1/etc visa holders) is issued a Social Security Number ("SSN"). This number is used to report any income you earn to the government. You have to provide this number to receive income from any company in the US. If you try to set up a U.S. Google App Store account, they will ask for your SSN. Your SSN is used to report your income to the government, and as a general universal personal identification number.


Thanks. That is ridiculous though. I believe I can earn rental income from my property in India. How is app-store income different, say if I register my app in India?


This has to do with "passive income".

What is prohibited is working[1], not income[2] per se.

You have to report rental income when you file your U.S. taxes. Work visa holders are allowed to have rental income, but that income has to be passive. I can buy a house in the US, and rent it out, but I cannot manage the property -- I have to hire a property manager. If a pipe breaks in the house, I am not allowed to fix that pipe myself -- I must pay a U.S. citizen or green card holder to fix it.

The same rules apply for apps and other sources of passive income. If you do zero work on your app while you are in the U.S. (not make any updates to it, etc), you might be able to pass it off as "passive income". But like kspaans you absolutely need to hire a lawyer.

[1] Working for free is illegal as well. If you do something that is normally paid, for free, you will get deported and banned. (As some foreign students who do this for experience sadly find out.)

[2] Having any income reported to the U.S. government with your Social Security Number (SSN) by any company that is not your visa-sponsoring company puts you on a road to getting deported and banned.


> [1] Working for free is illegal as well. If you do something that is normally paid, for free, you will get deported and banned. (As some foreign students who do this for experience sadly find out.)

Whoa, wait a second. What about open-source contributions? Are they banned as well? Open-source work can be, but is not "normally" paid though.


If the work is normally unpaid (like contributing to open-source projects), then it's fine.

Quoting from http://www.cilawgroup.com/news/2013/10/15/unpaid-volunteer-w... :

"As a general rule of thumb, one should look at whether Americans would perform the same job without pay and under similar circumstances and if the answer is “yes,” then a foreign national in an employment-restricted status can volunteer and work without pay."


Thanks for the answer winter_blue. Very helpful!


The advice I've heard is that you can do this, but you MUST lawyer/accountant up. My understanding is that it is reasonable for you to have foreign, pre-existing income, but you need the experts to file the right paperwork for the IRS to see it as reasonable. Just like your rental income, except more complicated to report properly.


Is this true? I know that as a US Citizen I'm required to pay taxes on worldwide income; but any lawful resident of the USA has the same burden? I'm a little skeptical that someone not on a permanent immigration path would be subject to this, but I'm neither an attorney nor an accountant so...


Yes; in addition you might want to ask your accountant about FBAR and FATCA reporting requirements. Those usually kick in if the sum of maximum balances of your foreign holdings over the year exceeds 10k (including retirement and market accounts, and yes, this does apply if you move one dollar between ten thousand accounts over the course of the tax year).

Edit to add: As a US citizen you are required to pay taxes on worldwide income even while not living in the US. As a US tax resident, you are required to pay taxes on worldwide income only as long as you remain a US tax resident, i.e. you file a US tax return.


Thanks for all the valuable information, winter_blue. But, (like open-source contributions, I guess) what about volunteer work?


Thanks a lot for this answer, very helpful!

What about side projects that you're not earning money on? What if they are later used for a startup once you have a greencard? What if they are published for free on some sort of market place?

Again, thanks a lot!


I never had a formal university education, what are my real chances of being accepted for a work visa.

I think that I'm pretty good but and have a pretty interesting CV probably not "extraordinary".

What are the chances of me working in the USA? Does it really nullify my chances?

I have been working since I was 17 in jobs related and then very specific to programming, I'm 28 now.

I also have a uruguayan and spanish/european nationality, which would be better for an application?


Not having a degree does not nullify your chances. I have no degree, and got an H1-B and subsequently a green card. To qualify for the H1-B, I had to show 12 years of work experience (immigration equates 3 years of work to 1 year of school), and then have my work experience evaluated by a professor. The professor had to establish that my work experience left me with the same experience as someone who would have had a degree.


This is a much longer conversation but the short answer is that lack of formal education is not a bar to getting a US work visa. It's possible that you might have the equivalent based on your work experience for H1B purposes or even qualify for an O-1 visa.


Hi Peter, Thank you much for doing this. I am a startup founder who plans to obtain E-2 visa and uses it for residency during the first 2 years of business. I hope to transfer to EB-1 or EB-2 with National Interest Waiver (NIW) as soon as possible.

1) What are the possibilities and timeline for applying to EB-2 while holding E-2 with majority interest in the startup? (I have a Masters in CS from a major US research university. It seems to be a challenge to qualify for EB-1 within the next 2 years, but NIW looks quite possible to me.)

A major reason for the plan is that E-2 treaty with my country limits the period of travel out and back into the US to 6 months after the visa approval. After 6 months, it appears that I will need to renew the visa every time I wish to come back to the US, which would be a major time sink.

2) Would EB-2 give its holders complete freedom to travel back to the States without issues and to stay as long as they wish?

3) Are EB-2 holders required to maintain employment with the original employer?

If you have time: I would strongly consider to become a US citizen after receiving an EB-2. What is the typical timeline and conditions to transfer from EB-2 to US citizenship?

Greatly appreciate it.


EB-2 like any other green card entitles you to stay in the USA indefinitely. But if you travel outside the USA for long periods, you may be deemed to have abandoned your intention to reside permanently in the USA and lose your green card: http://www.immihelp.com/greencard/retain-greencard.html

After five years uninterrupted residence in the USA on a green card you can naturalise as a citizen.


Hello Robert! Thanks for doing this (again). I got two questions, but any answer is appreciated!

1st: I’d love to stay in the US as a “digital nomad” for some months. I’d have to work on my own projects and maybe on some client ones while doing this (all of them outside the US). Which kind of VISA would I need?

2nd: Are there any chances to get a work permit if you don’t own a University degree? (Eg. starting my own company in the US?)

Thank you!


Hi Peter. I am on H-1B (currently going through PERM labor certification application). My wife is on TN-1. Could it be a problem at the border (exit then reenter US) because I have dual-intent and she does not?


Quoting from http://www.hooyou.com/news/news021709tn.html :

"A recently published authoritative letter from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) addressing the TN nonimmigrant visa category offers new and definite insight on the CBP’s policy for determining immigrant intent. In the letter, dated April 2008, the Executive Director of Admissibility and Passenger Protection Programs details clearly that filing an immigrant petition (I-140) alone is not automatically considered a demonstration of immigrant intent, and aliens with pending I-140s may still be admitted into US with a TN visa."

Under current CBP regulations, it seems that the current policy is to allow people to enter the country under TN status even if they have a pending green card application.

Also be cognizant of http://www.hooyou.com/tn/limitations.html :

"...a pending or approved employment based immigrant petition (Form I-140) or family based immigration petition (I-130) does NOT impute immigrant intent. The TN alien is eligible for TN extensions & to be admitted as a TN alien until the adjustment of status application (Form I-485) is filed or the applicant applies for the immigrant visa. While other types of status holders (such as H-1, L-1 or O-1) may apply for Adjustment of Status (AOS) as soon as they wish once entering the country, those of TN status have at least a 30 to 60 day waiting period upon entering the United States before they may apply for AOS. Any applications before this waiting period is over will be considered an attempt to gain fraudulent entry by the USCIS. Additionally, the U.S. consulate may deny a TN visa application if the alien has previous applied for an immigration petition or AOS. Those on TN status who wish to file an I-140 immigration petition should not travel outside of the country because they will encounter issues upon their re-entry. If an alien on TN status has an approved I-140 petition and is currently waiting on their AOS petition to be approved, they must be sure to apply for Advanced Parole to travel outside of the country. For more information on AOS, please click Adjustment of Status."

These are Executive Branch regulations and can change easily unlike the fairly set-in-stone congressional statutes, so it's best to keep up to date on what the current state of affairs is.

It's best to hire a good immigration lawyer and ask them how to proceed.


I'm a Mexican citizen living in the US working as a Computer Systems Analyst. Been here for 1 and a half year and my wife and daughter joined me a year ago. I just recently moved jobs and the UCSIS approved me a work permit and I-94 until 2019. I came here as a TN visa, and I am worried if asking for a green card would get me and my family in trouble.


IANAL. I have been on TN status a couple of times as well as H1-B. Pertinent facts: TN is strictly temporary; you are not allowed to have immigrant intent. H1-B, while temporary, allows you to have immigrant intent. So, the situation as I understand it is:

You can apply for a green card while on TN. While your application is pending, there is no problem. If you apply for advance parole, there should be no problem leaving and re-entering the country. If the application is approved, well, you are on your way to a green card. However, if your application is declined for any reason, you have a problem. You've shown immigrant intent by applying for the green card and that is incompatible with your TN status. For this reason (the possibility of being declined), it is typical to convert to H1-B first. Because H1-B allows "dual-intent," it remains valid even if you're green card application fails.

TLDR: you can apply for a green card while on a TN, but it is risky if you're application gets declined.

Your current employer should hopefully be willing to sponsor you for a H1-B and ultimately a green card. If not, you might wonder why not.


IANAL, but am a Canadian. My belief is that TN status is a "non-immigrant" status. It is, by definition, temporary. Applying for a GC declares immigrant intent. H1B, by contrast is 'dual-intent'.

OTOH, I don't think they actively seek you out to revoke your TN status, but it would make border crossings pretty much a non-starter.

All this is remembered from when I was on a TN status from Canada ~5 years ago.


how do border crossings go for TNs. I'm about to get one, and am planning on visiting back reasonably frequently. Is that a problem at all?


My friends recommend signing up for the Nexus program to facilitate speedy crossings. As I understand it you are effectively re-applying for your TN at every re-entry and could be rejected. That said, my friends all go back to Canada many times a year without issues.


Not a problem in practice. I crossed the border dozens of times with a TN (I actually lived in Canada but worked in the US) and know of many others. Generally as long as you aren't in violation of the intent of TN you should have nothing to worry about.


I had a similar situation (I am Canadian and was on TN). I successfully applied for a status change via marriage on account of my wife being a US citizen. My attorney said that to get around the temporary intent of the TN status, I had to wait at least 2 months after entering the country before applying for the change of status, in addition to her legal footwork. This meant being able to stay in the country for at least 8 consecutive months (2 months wait, up to 6 months for travel authorization documents), which may be complicated for some. It is possible though.


I know personally that the TN is a non-immigrant intent visa. Typically you have to switch to an H-1B ("dual intent") first.


I would need to find a workplace that I love first


I'm in a similar situation, except Canadian. Did it take you 6 months to get your wife's TD status? I applied for my wife back in March and we are still waiting for her TD (she is not Canadian). :(


Woah! My wife and me got it together. She came in 6 months late because moving was an ordeal (we have two big dogs).


Yeah we had to apply for permission for my wife to enter the US to ask for her TD status. It was supposed to take 7 days but we are still waiting.


Did you applied remotely? That usually takes a bit longer.


I went to the US first to get my TN, before returning to London, UK where we were living. We then applied at the US Embassy for my wife's "pre-TD" if you will. The consular officer there told her she was approved and would get her passport back in 7 days. Then we discovered her application is in Administrative Processing, and we've been waiting ever since.


I have a TN and I would like to learn more about the legality of passive income forms like advertising, affiliates, etc. Where or who is the right place to get info on this? Thanks!


Yes I am curious to know more about this too. In my case, I have a Canadian incorporation that generates passive income from websites.


Copying from another answer[1]:

You will get deported and effectively be permanently banned if you receive income from any other source besides your H-1B / L-1 / other-visa sponsoring company/employer. Income from all other sources are prohibited while you are on a visa. With a green card or U.S. citizenship, you have the freedom to sell apps, write books, etc.

Companies are required to report any income you earn while you are in the US. If you make money selling apps, Google/Apple is required to tell the U.S. government about the money you make on the App Store income (primarily for tax purposes).[1] The tax people (the IRS, Income Revenue Service) share income data with the immigration agency. The immigration agency checks to make sure you only got money from the company your visa allows you to work for. If the immigration agency finds out you have income from other sources (app store), they will deport you, and you will effectively be banned. See: http://www.murthy.com/2014/01/28/home-based-businesses-inadv...

If you look at the link above, you'll see a lot of people have inadvertently screwed over by having non-authorized income. An extreme example from the link above are multi-level marketing companies. For example, you recommend your friend that he/she buys some product. Your friend buys it, and for the referral, the company gives you a tiny amount of money (e.g. $5) You could get deported and banned because of this. Because it is considered income, and all income not from your job associated with your visa is completely prohibited.

----

Now you might be wondering if you can set up your company and receive income from the App Store in another country, and have it deposited to your foreign bank account. You might be thinking that if you do that, your income likely won't be reported to the US government, and you won't get caught and get deported.

The problem with that is that by having un-reported income in another country (from the App Store) you are breaking two sets of laws: (1) tax laws, (2) immigration laws.

Firstly, if you live in the U.S., you have to pay taxes (~35%) on your total worldwide income -- income that you make in every country. Even on the interest you receive in a bank account in a foreign country. If you do not report your non-U.S. income, you break tax law. The punishment for breaking tax laws is severe. In addition to being deported and banned, they can take money out of your bank account, seize your property (your house, your car, etc) to pay for the unpaid taxes + the severe fines for hiding and not paying taxes.

Secondly, U.S. immigration law generally prohibits H-1B, L-1 and other visa holders from doing any kind of productive work outside their H-1B/other-visa job. Even repairing your own house by yourself, if it involves a lot of work, is illegal for a visa holder. You have to hire a U.S. worker to repair your house. Foreign income for remote work is prohibited. Working on your own app and making money selling it is prohibited.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11974074


You have repeatedly c/p this answer in this thread. I apologize if this comes off as rude, but why are you doing that? What is your experience or qualifications to provide such advice?


Hey Peter!

I'm moving with my company (large Washington-headquartered tech firm) from London to California. They're applying for an L1B specialized knowledge visa as a blanket application. What sorts of reasons are people rejected for L1s? I'm very nervous I'll be turned down as I've heard horror stories about USCIS. Does it being blanket improve my chances? What % of people are turned down? I married an American a few years ago and was intending to move to the US to be together but it didn't end up working out - I don't think the paperwork ever got sent in the end. Would something like this impact my chances? I'm probably worrying unnecessarily. I'm 26, worked at the company for just over a year and have worked for a couple of other large tech firms in London before that.

Thanks


I'm on L1. Worked in Canada for 2 years. The interview was so short. As long as the company is legit and you don't have any bad records on you it's fairly straight forward. You do have to write why your knowledge is specialized though and no one else can do it. For me I wrote about the internal systems that I had a deep understanding and some I wrote. Someone else would have to train for at least an year to do the same. The lawyer sprinkled the jargon but that was the gist.


Thanks. Yeah - I had to write about 2500 words for the lawyer to do with what they will


Hi Peter, first of all thanks a ton for doing this.

My first question is how much time it takes to get green card through employment for someone who's not from India or China.

My second question is, does it make any difference to complete my MS before starting the process, or it doesn't change the approval chance and/or delay at all? (MS is from a middle eastern uni, not US)

-- Here is a bit background about me: applied H1-B 3 times, didn't get selected. Now the company that applied for H-1B for me is preparing to apply for GC for me next month. I have a BS in CS and 3 years of experience, and almost done with a MS degree outside the US, just need to complete my thesis.

Thanks a lot again!


Thanks for taking the time. For Canadians or Europeans with PhDs and a sufficient track record to make EB1 feasible, is it better to work at a research institution while one gets a green card, or is it better to just plow ahead with a startup and then do the EB1? Can you discuss pros and cons? I've seen many colleagues delay their startup aspirations while they wait for immigration reasons .. I want to understand if this is being prudent or a folly. I've heard the green card that you get as a researcher is nominally approved for that job title. Are there issues people face when they eventually attempt to become naturalized?


Interesting question but it really varies. There are advantages from a green card perspective to starting your own company because the successes of the company can be attributed to you. That being said, the esteem of getting a PhD or doing a post-doc at a prestigious institution also helps. My general feeling about all this is not to let immigration drive these decisions because immigration usually takes care of itself if one does what one loves and wants to do. This is a general statement but I rarely see a positive outcome when one defers making a decision, whether to start a company or change jobs, because of immigration considerations.


Hi Peter,

Thanks for doing this! I am currently looking at a unique situation, so I'm not sure if you would know about this. All I'm asking is if you would know anything from your experience.

I'm an h1b visa holder from India and I recently got arrested and charged with a DUI. After talking to my lawyer, he looked at the evidence (videos, breathalyzer tests) and says its basically a 50% chance at a trial. So I'm looking at a plea bargain. How would this affect my immigration prospects? The DUI itself was my first one and it was a simple DUI, i.e. noone else was harmed or injured.

Thanks


PLEASE talk to an immigration attorney ASAP about the consequences of pleading guilty. It's complicated, and it's REALLY important to have it explained by an attorney who understands the (sometimes terrible) immigration consequences of a plea.


Hi Peter,

If I am a UK contractor with my own Limited company, what visa - if any, do I need to be able to do a 6-month contract in the US?

Thank you.


I don't think there is a visa for something as short as a 6-month contract. The closest viable option I can think of is a "New Office" L-1 (intra-company transfer) visa. You'd have to open a new office in the US, and this is a longer term visa (5- or 7- years).

It's also relatively hard to get. You'll need the help of an immigration law firm to prepare the documentation needed to apply for the visa. The application process alone could take 6 months.

Also, just FYI: coming here as a visitor (on VWP/ESTA or the B-2 visa), then working (or doing a contract) here without permission would be violation of U.S. immigration laws, and can get you deported and effectively banned.


Hi Peter,

First of all, thank you very much for doing this.

My questions are about the USA Diversity Lottery (https://www.dvlottery.state.gov/), as I rarely see any discussions about it:

- Out of all the people you have seen who obtained a green card, roughly what is the percentage of them getting it through the lottery?

- Roughly how much time and money would the process cost? (I would assume it's similar to the ~2-4 years and ~$15K that a regular green card application cost?)

- Any other general comments you have about the lottery?

Thank you.


In case it's helpful: we have family friends who came on a diversity visa from Albania, and it cost them much less than that. Somewhere around $1500-$2000, with processing time <1 year. The lottery entry has no fee, and, once selected, the various visa fees added up to about $500/person. Their only other expenses were going around getting certified copies of documents, and paying a local lawyer to double-check things.


I recommend browsing official DV statistics [1] to see more detailed data. Unfortunately, there are only lotteries which has ended.

[1]: https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/immigrate/diversit...


Do you see new OPT STEM extension (24 months) and it's requirements be something that could be met by most F-1 student entrepreneurs on OPT?

Background: The new 24 month STEM OPT Extension [1] (effective from May 10, 2016) which requires employers to fill I-983 [2] (Lengthy Training Plan) has created additional barrier for foreign students intending to start/work with startup companies on STEM OPT Extension (which earlier was for 17 months with less regulations). Being an F-1 student myself I can say that, these regulations could certainly influence more potential F-1 entrepreneurs down the "job seeking" path as opposed to "job creation/entrepreneurship" path because it is much easier for bigger companies with resources to satisfy the USCIS training plan requirements/I-983 as opposed to newly born companies.

[1] https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/students-and-exc...

[2] https://www.ice.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Document/2...


How much does the whole process cost? As an international founder, that's my only major concern.


That is of course a major factor. The costs all in, including legal fees and filing fees, vary considerably from attorney to attorney but the average, as far as I can tell, for an I-140 extraordinary ability petition is between $5,000 and $15,000. This is the same range for an I-140 national interest waiver petition.


> That is of course a major factor. The costs all in, including legal fees and filing fees, vary considerably from attorney to attorney but the average, as far as I can tell, for an I-140 extraordinary ability petition is between $5,000 and $15,000. This is the same range for an I-140 national interest waiver petition.

Where does that money go? Fees associated with the application or general attorney fees?

Is it possible to complete this process without an attorney? $5-15K is peanuts for a larger organization but it's a decent chunk of coin for a small business.


I agree, it's a lot of money and we do have clients who handle their applications successfully on their own but these are generally clients in fields where there's lots of pre-existing evidence that does not need to be explained such as artists or athletes or widely published /cited scientists. Where the evidence needs to be explained or supported by expert opinion letters, an attorney probably should be involved. The EB1A filing fees are $580 for regular processing and $1805 for premium processing.


Hello Peter!

I am so happy to find you and this thread. here's my story: I am a Swiss and Sri Lankan national, female, been in the U.S. uninterrupted since 2002 on several different visas. F1-while at Wharton getting my MBA, then G4 working for the World Bank, then three different H1-Bs (2 corporate, one research think tank) and then since 2012 I have been on an E-2 for my start-up business.

So basically I have been in the U.S. for 14+ years already, paid taxes in the highest tax bracket, own two properties here, started a business and grew it to profitability in 4 years, so far provided employment to 6 part-time American workers. Additionally my start-up business is in career coaching and job search- and so I have helped over 400+ Americans land good jobs, including for positions at the State department, DoD, and the U.S. Foreign Service. My company has partnerships with universities like Georgetown and my team coaches close to a 1000 American students every year.

What are my chances of applying successfully for an Extraordinary Ability EB1 Green Card? Or EB2?

Thank you in advance!


IAmNotA lawyer and this is not legal advice:

1. OP has closed this AMA and will not be replying.

2. OP specifically stated that he would answer questions only on immigration in general and would not comment or provide legal advice of specific cases, which is exactly what you are asking for. No reputable attorney will do this for randoms on the Internet. Not only is it a liability issue, but rules on ethics, attorney-client relationship, and practice out-of-state prevent this.

3. If you are this successful, you should privately consult with an attorney who can answer all your questions and represent you in your application to USCIS.


Hi, it sounds like you might build a strong case for EB-1A extraordinary ability. I wrote a blog post recently that gives an overview of what you have to prove. (It's about O-1s, but the process is the same for EB-1As.) http://visabuilder.com/blog/escape-from-h1b-hell-5-things-im.... Hope this is helpful.


Thanks for this AMA!

I wonder what is the best structure for a US based company to have employees living in an EU country, such as Germany or Italy?

I mean, I assume they don't necessarily need a visa, and they can come to the US for limited time periods under the ESTA.

What is the best way to give them a salary and/or other common benefits? (health insurance shouldn't be needed, but 401.k or equivalent in their country would probably be a good perk).


That's more of a payroll/tax question but from an immigration perspective there's no issue - no immigration requirement - with putting people on the payroll of a US company if they are living/working outside. They can be employees without US work authorization. The challenge is when they need to come to the US because once they step on US soil, US immigration law applies so it's problematic for them to enter as a visitor under ESTA.


Thank you!

If I understand correctly, there might be an issue because they come to the US and they are working for (and receiving a salary from) a US company -- no matter if the money are paid abroad. Which violates the ESTA condition. Is that what you meant?

To the contrary, if they were working for a EU company (sister of the US company), then they could come to the US under ESTA/working, correct?


why is it a challenge?


Hi Peter ! Thanks for doing this, I do have a couple of short questions.

I'm an employee of a large US Corporate and got a O1 Visa which I'm currently employed under. I understand that my spouse will be able to move here as a O-dependant, but won't be able to work which is a huge issue for us and will probably prevent us from moving out to the US unless we find a permanent solution.

I do wonder, what are my options of getting her a work permit besides her finding a job that would endorse her and going through the entire process?

From what I've read seems like the two options I have are:

- H1B so she could get a H4. I understand that last year Obama approved some H4 recipients can work, but I'm not sure what the criteria is. I know that it's only able to be filed by 1st of April, but I also understand that there is a premium fee that could be paid to rush things up. Would love your input on this from your experience.

- L1 so she could get a L2. Best solution it seems but getting a L1 is a lengthy process and needs a 1-year employment period which I might not have by the time we want to move.

Thanks for reading this, I would really appreciate your professional opinion on this !

Shai.


Looks like you missed the window where Peter was answering questions, and I'm not a lawyer (so please talk to one!), but:

I think you could look into doing an EB1 green-card in the extraordinary ability category - the requirements are similar to the O-1 (just reviewed a bit more thoroughly), and it'd give your wife a work permit if you file the paperwork together. In theory that process can be done in ~3 months (for the EAD card, which would allow her to work) when you file the I-140 with premium processing.

See also https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/permanent-worker...


Agree, if your O-1 evidence is strong, pursuing an EB-1A is the fastest way to get your spouse work-authorized.


Hi Peter,

I am from the United States and recently discovered that my cofounder is an undocumented immigrant. What should I do? Are there legal consequences to this?


Hi Peter! I am so glad I found this thread.

I have been in the U.S. uninterrupted since 2002 and would like to figure out what my chances are for an EB-1 (or EB-2) green card. I was first on an F-1 while at Wharton getting my MBA, then on a G4 working for the World Bank, then sponsored on three different H1-Bs (2 corporate and one research think tank, and finally since 2012 on an E-2.

So I have been the U.S 14+ years, educated at a top school, paid taxes in the highest tax bracket, own two properties here,and started a business that has provided employment to 6 part-time American workers. Additionally my business is in career coaching and job search- and so I have helped over 400+ Americans find employment, including for the State Dept, DoD, and the U.S. Foreign Service.

I am trying to explore paths to a Green Card.. thank you in advance for your reply!


Hi, it sounds like you might build a strong case for EB-1A extraordinary ability. I wrote a blog post recently that gives an overview of what you have to prove. (It's about O-1s, but the process is the same for EB-1As.)

http://visabuilder.com/blog/escape-from-h1b-hell-5-things-im...

Hope this is helpful.


1. I studied in a HCI (Human computer interaction) program where there were a mix of programmers and designers. I found that after graduation a lot of the designers were applying for O1B and were easily getting those whereas programmers generally stuck to H1B's even though some of the projects that were being shown as part of the application documentation were group projects. Is it harder to receive an O1A for people in sciences because their work is generally not visual in nature vs O1B which is for arts (or designers)?

2. My OPT ends this month (June 30th) and my employer filed for H1B starting Oct 1st. My university issued another I20 (called CAP GAP extension) which start July 1st. But currently I am thinking about changing jobs immediately as my current employer is suffering financially and I am not sure how long they may survive. Is it ok to do that during the CAP GAP period if my new employer is willing to sponsor H1B? I have read online where some people say its ok but others say its not.

Thanks for the AMA


Hi Peter! Thanks for the AMA!

Can you please describe briefly about the process to establish a company here while on H1-B. From incorporation to founder's visa status. Whether there has to be a American co-founder or if it helps to have one. If funding helps in getting a visa etc.

The description about the 2 visa's for GC is clear, i just wanted to know about initiating the process.

Thanks in Advance!


That's a long response but the key point is that one can't self-sponsor so it definitely helps to have other owners (whether US or not) to diffuse the ownership and control.


Is there any reasonable explanation for not being "allowed" to leave the US, after filing for adjustment of status? Without advance parole, that is. Especially when a different class of visa (say an O1, while applying for EB1A) would still allow reentry? That can be rather annoying both for professional and personal reasons.


No good reason, just the law. Note that this prohibition doesn't apply to dual intent visas such as the H1B and L1.


While often treated as such, the O1 is not officially a dual intent visa, right?


Hi Peter,

My name is Gary. I am currently working under a H1B1 visa. My sponsoring company has tried without success to apply the H1B visa for the past three years. The lawyer is advicing that I proceed to applying for the green card.

The lawyer states that at this point, even if I get awarded the h1b visa since the time under the h1b1 will be counted towards the h1b, I will not have enough time using the H1B to get thru the green card application process

Also during this green card application process, it's advised for me to remain in the US otherwise I will get in complications when entering to with a H1B1 that has a outstanding green card process

I have two questions: 1. Is what she said about the h1b1 time contribution to the h1b true?

2. Is what she said custom complication true?


Hi Peter, thanks for doing this!

My company currently employs a brilliant, in my opinion, Argentine scientist. We'd love to bring him to the US periodically, but he can't get a visa as he owns no property in Argentina, isn't married, etc. Short of meeting in a more neutral country do we have any options?


I'd look at getting him an O-1.


I am on h1b and have a blog with pretty good traffic. Can I have a google adsense account and earn ad $$ ?


Why can't you get the $$ through your home country?


I have a O-1, how hard is it to get a EB1A. In what percentage of cases will a O-1 person get a EB1A.


I view the O-1 as laying the foundation for the EB-1A. It's like your outline or first draft. It's super helpful to have your basic categories and narrative laid out in the O-1. The O-1 approval also provides some validation that you're on the right track.

You can then construct your EB-1A by fleshing out the categories with even more high-quality evidence (media articles, awards, salary, etc.), and perhaps adding a few more categories.

Unless the O-1 package was very strong, I wouldn't just resubmit it as an EB-1A. I'd take the time to amplify and strengthen it.


There's really no connection between the two because although the criteria are similar, the standard for an EB1A GC is much higher so there are many people who qualify for O-1 who won't qualify for an EB1A GC.


Is popular github repo enough for o1 visa? it is significant achievement in programmers community)


You could frame it as an "original contribution of major significance in the field." The adjudicator would want to see (1) your original work, explained in plain English, and (2) the work that others have created, based on your original work.

In this situation you're not necessarily proving popularity, but the influence of your work on the major creations of others.

This could be a good foundation for an O-1. You'd have to show at least 3 of the 8 required elements, so you'll need a minimum of 2 more (media coverage, awards, judging, authorship, etc.)

HTH


> the extraordinary ability and national interest waiver routes--are often very good options, and often overlooked because of a misunderstanding about the standards.

Can you please clarify that, especially about the extraordinary ability criteria / standards? Is there a yard stick that one can measure themselves against, to get a realistic assessment of what their chances are?

E.g may be an example persona of someone who qualifies? The examples that are given by the immigration website are olympic atheletes and such. That's probably someone who is way overqualified though. What's an example of a person who just barely qualifies, or who neither under nor over qualifies?

P.S can I hire you to be my attorney for my EB1?


Hi, I agree that the USCIS website isn't super helpful when trying to figure out how the system really works.

I think that what Peter meant, was that these categories are often perceived as unreachable or too hard, when in fact they're a good option for high achievers, especially those who are proactive, motivated, resourceful, and detail-oriented.

You're right, it WOULD be helpful to see a yardstick, and some examples on a continuum of high-medium-low qualifications.

Here are a few news stories I've collected about real people getting their O-1 visas, and what the process was like. They give you at least a few snapshots of successful O-1 applicants.

http://goo.gl/ihb2U6

http://goo.gl/f2NDza

http://goo.gl/nXdX95

I also wrote a blog post that gives an overview of the evidence you need. http://visabuilder.com/blog/escape-from-h1b-hell-5-things-im...

HTH


It's impossible to draw a line in the sand for those who haven't won major awards or received major recognitions. It's really fact-specific. That being said, if one has a degree and several years of experience doing good work, it's always worth looking at. There's oftentimes more to an individual's background from an immigration perspective than he or she realizes.


And I'm guessing the answer to my last question is no?


Sorry about that, I'm not sure about the protocols of this but I'd definitely be happy to speak with you and then see where that leads.


No problem :) How can I reach you?


Hi, Peter! as a Mexican, could I get an E2 visa investing $50k of my own money into my startup? Or what's the lowest investment needed for an E2 visa? In order to reach that threshold, could my investment be complemented with VC or angel's money?

Thanks!


The investment requirement is "substantial" relative to the enterprise so there's no legal minimum but in my experience most consulates won't entertain E-2 visa applications where the investment isn't above $50,000. And understand that the investment has two components, the money transferred/invested into the U.S. company and the money spent by the U.S. company and a substantial amount needs to be spent and the percentage is higher the lower the investment. So, where the investment is as little as $50,000, most consulates will want to see nearly all of this spent. But to be clear, $50,000 is really low. And yes, the money can come from others as long as here the money is coming from Mexican citizens or Mexican-owned companies.


Hey Peter, thanks for this.

Have you heard about SimpleCitizen? (https://simplecitizen.com/)

My wife and I were recently married and are currently considering this for getting her green card.

Any thoughts?


Try the forums at visa journey.com as I used it myself in the past. If you are a citizen and your spouse entered legally then the process is quite straightforward.


I'm sorry but I haven't heard about this.


No worries; thanks for the reply.

Have you had experience with DACA + 245(i)? We're hoping that doesn't complicate things much.


Hey Peter,

My question is typical in the SF Bay Area, H1B founder:

I am an American Citizen. Opened up a startup C-corp. Company does not have a lot of press coverage yet. I have a friend who would like to join my startup as founder, but have doubts about immigration issues:

- H1B

- EB2

- originally from India

- graduated masters from a U.S. College

- currently software engineer for another big company. Has been for several years

- just starting the green card process

As a startup we don't have much revenue yet. He is willing to give up his salary (just as I did) to become a founder. I am worried about H1B's salary requirement preventing him from doing this.

What options do I have for bringing him on board to my startup as a founder? What would be the best way to do this?


Hi Peter, I've a few questions:

1. What's the relationship between O1 sponsoring entity and you? Do you've to be employed by the sponsoring entity? Can you run your own business while on O1? Can you get paid by someone else than the sponsoring entity while on O1?

2. How to determine if I should go with O1 or EB2? My attorney says if my EB2 gets rejected then there can be issues getting any other non-immigration visa.

3. If I already have O1, then what's the process like going from O1 to Green Card? When can you go from O1 to Green Card?

4. If I already have O1, are there tricks to stay in the US and never go back to home country to renew it?

Thanks!


Also, from my friend again:

I know O1 visa is very specific for example O1 for producing or or O1 for acting. If your O1 is for producing you cannot do acting under that visa. Currently I have only enough experience only for producing. But Ideally I want to get O1 for producing and acting. My question is if you have O1 for producing, while you are at O1 you want to apply O1 for producing and acting, if I get denied is my O 1 for producing still good or it get waive? Or can I just petition to add acting in my current O1? If I petition to add acting and get denied does my O1 as a whole gets cancelled?


Good question but very fact-specific so I'd need to speak with you and get much more information.


I'm sure my friend would be interested in setting up a consultation. How can we arrange that?


I'll send an intro if you email hn@ycombinator.com.


Hi Peter, Thank you so much for having this. This is really helpful. I have heard that if you could get into YC, O1 would be an option because being selected by YC means you have extraordinary ability. Is that true?


I work, remotely, for a private US software firm, and about a year from now, I'd like to move to Toronto to live with my partner. (Yay for long-distance relationships.)

Is it practical to work remotely for a US firm in Canada?


I don't know Canadian visa law, but I would assume that your US firm needs to have an office in Canada to be able to sponsor a Canadian work visa for you.


If you are not a US immigration attorney, which your profile does not seem to indicate once I traced through a couple github profiles, you should probably resist the urge to be a top level commenter on questions submitted to OP.

Sorry if this is abrupt, but it sounds like you are frequently posting your interpretation of legislation. US immigration realities are frequently different. Even if you've had your own experience, it would probably be more useful to OP to hear from the expert rather than one person's experience.


I'm just trying help as much as I can. I've avoided answering any questions that proberts has already answered.

IANAL, but I've done a large amount of research into this, and I think an immigration attorney would find the answers I've given so far to be quite accurate.

Not sure what you mean by "US immigration realities are frequently different" -- all immigrants are subject to a same set of US immigration laws.


Hi Peter,

I have a green card that will expire in August 2016. I also have a valid travel permit until 2018. If I do not renew my green card in August, and leave the country, will I still be able to return using the travel permit?


If you have a valid green card, what exactly is the travel permit? Advanced Parole? The reason I ask is you wouldn't need a travel permit if you have a green card (Permanent Residence Status). And, typically all prior status disappears once you get it (i.e. you couldn't use a valid H1-B visa to enter once you get a green card).

If you're worried about renewing, you can always go to the USCIS office and get a stamp in your passport that shows your Permanent Resident status (I-551 stamp). It's only valid for 6 months though.


Thanks a lot Peter.


Thanks for this AMA!

Who is behind the "Washington Alliance of Technology Workers" and why do they keep bringing lawsuits against STEM OPT for F-1 visas?

Is there any moves on increasing the H1-B quota or modifying the H1-B altogether?


Hi Peter,

I'm based in the UK and in talks with (UK Based) investors for a significant amount of seed money to start a company.

I want to setup a US based company as all of the business will be with the US and I want a local office.

What sort of "investment" for the US based company do I need to make, so that I can secure a visa and what type of E visa should I be trying to get.

I know higher the better is probably preferable. But where is the sweet spot? $100k, $250k, $500k?

I do not have a PHd, nor a Masters or even Degree. However I have 25 years of IT experience and I am the technical / founder of my company.

Thanks


There's no minimum and yes, the more, the better, but typically $100,000 is enough to support an E-2. But bear in mind, as I noted earlier, that a good chunk of the $100,000 invested must have been spent before the E-2 application can be submitted. Side note: most US Consulates and Embassies, including the Embassy in London, are really good on E-2s, reasonable, rational, and facilitative.


Peter. Thank you for the answer. Much appreciated!


Hi Peter,

I am an international founder just starting on OPT after getting a PhD and hoping to get an EB-2 NIW. I have a couple questions:

1. Does starting a (small-at-the-beginning) bona fide technology startup is grounds for NIW? How difficult is the process in general (for a PhD in CS from a US school) and how many paper/citations on average do you see in successful cases?

2. If I succeed in my NIW case, can I later employ my brother (from the same nationality under E-2) and bring him on board as a cofounder later? Does it require substantial cash on his behalf?

Thanks!


A friend of mine feels that the H1-B system is rigged, that the big companies will get as many H1-Bs as they ask for and that smaller companies essentially don't have the same degree of access to that labor pool. My impression is that he is wrong, but I'm no expert. As someone who deals with this regularly, what's your take—do you think big companies are practically guaranteed to get H1-B workers? How disadvantaged are smaller companies (esp those without access to YC resources)?


Hi, My questions is regarding a different aspect of immigration -- what are my rights if my company promised to sponsor an h1b visa but failed to do so (a mistake on their end). The company offered a compensation package for their error, but I'm not sure what's fair in that case. Should it be calculated on the months I've been there, or the value that could've potentially came if I got the h1b. (Ps the company's success rate with h1bs has been 100% so far)


I honestly don't think there is anything you can do in this case. I think this has more to do with laws of your country, than the US. If a company offers someone X, and doesn't give X to them, does your country's laws offer any protection, or require the company to compensate you for not giving the X that they promised in writing?


Is it possible for a person under an H-1B visa to have a money-generating side-project? I've read that it was absolutely illegal but I'd like to have an actual lawyer's opinion.

Thanks!


Peter, Can you evaluate my specific case? I am going to send my resume and also my google scholar citation page.

info:

- I have about 46 citations.

- Graduated last June 2015 PhD EE from a small US school.

- 5+ conference papers in top conferences in my field.

- 1 best paper award in a 250-paper conference.

- 1 best paper nomination in 200+-paper conference.

- 11+ conference/journal papers in Total.

- 3 approved US patents

Go or No-go on EB1-A?

I emailed this law firm for EB1: http://www.curranberger.com/ and they said I won't qualify.

What's your opinion?


I'd be happy to evaluate your background.


can you PM me your email?


Email hn@ycombinator.com and we'll put you in touch.


looked at your profile and it seems you are a mod. Sorry for my previous comment.


No apology necessary. We made a conscious choice for that not to be so obvious.

I've fallen behind a bit on emails but will send an intro soon.


You're not proberts. Are you trollin?


I'm the moderator of HN who set up the AMA with Peter. No trollin.


email sent.


I have several sponsored (H1B?) friends / co-workers who I would want as employees in my future startup. How expensive / difficult is it to take on sponsorship?


If I, in the US, found a US-based company with someone from overseas, what should we do to maximize his chances of eventually moving to the US on an L visa?


Hi Peter, I'm a software engineer and working under F1-OPT status. I didn't get H1-B in the lottery this year. But I can maintain work authorization by extending my OPT for 2 years from now(STEM). My company told me they would apply for my green card after a year from my employment. Do I need to have a H1-B so that they can start the process for my gc? Or can they start the process while i'm on OPT?

thanks


Not OP but yes they can start it on OPT.


Hello Peter, Thank you so much for offering this opportunity - this is really fantastic reading everyones Q+A's!

1.Re H3 'traineeship' visa. Is that a recommended route, in lieu of the o1a for business? Would an accelerator be able to satisfy this from your experience (i.e. 500 Startups) ?

2. Re H1B: Is it true that a more strategic month to submit it is around October? I am hearing conflicting opinions on the matter of timing.


Hi .. I am curious about how the final-part of the green card process works for a married couple living in different countries: say a dependent spouse is outside the country while the sponsoring spouse (say someone who applied via EB-1 or Eb-2) is inside the US. Is it possible for one (the dependent) to use consular processing and the other to do a change of status while inside the country? Thanks so much!


It is possible but the spouse outside needs to wait until the principal spouse in the U.S. is a permanent resident before proceeding although preliminary steps can be taken.


Hi Peter,

What are the odds of the H1-B lottery system changing under a Clinton/Trump presidency. What kind of changes can we expect from either of them?


Hi Peter,

Thanks again for taking the time to answer questions. I am currently on OPT and was lucky enough to receive a H1B in this year's lottery a month or so ago. It is scheduled as a change of status happening on Oct 1st. Can I leave my current company if I have another offer and transfer the H1B to that company before Oct 1st? I have heard conflicting stories. Thanks!


Hi Peter, I was born in the states but moved back to my country. I only have my birth certificate and I have recently come to the states under a B1/B2 visa. I have applied for jobs. How does it work in my case, can I apply for a working visa? My current visiting visa is valid for 6 months.


Hi peter,

I have an H1b petition approved till Aug 2017 but my visa hasnt been stamped.. can i get my petition extended even without having been travelled to US even once?

Also, if i have a valid visa but the petition gets expired. am i still eligible to work on the visa or the petition needs to be extended? can another employer get the petition extended for me?


I'm going to graduate with a B.S next year and already have a startup. We're raising a significant round late this year and i have a cofounder who is US citizen. Is it possible for me to have a majority stake in this company, work on it under OPT and file for an H1B or does someone need to have the ability to fire me?


Also wondering, thanks!


Hi Peter,

I am currently on f1 visa. I was declined for H1B visa by my company in 2015 so I went back to f1. I am currently going to school but I don't want to continue anymore since I want to work and get new experiences.

Can you give me advice on how can I overcome this challenge and make my greencard?

Thank You


Hi Peter,

I have two simple questions:

I am on H1-b and I have my I-140 approved (eb-2).

- I want to switch my job and before taking up a new job in USA I want a break. Is it possible to take break of 2,3 months w/o being un-employed? If not, is there a way to achieve this?

- Once I move to a new firm, what process I can follow so that my GC application continue in normal pace?


This would be better discussed privately because it is asking for legal advice on a complex and nuanced matter without my having all the facts.


So you suggest emailing you?


I have a 10 year B1/B2 visa, and I want to start-up in US asap. What are my options? I don't mind not being in controlling stake, that's not an issue. Is there any mandate around, If a company raises X, or creates Y jobs, they can stay in US. Thanks for all the answers


If I am a Colombian Citizen with a multivisit visa, and I don't have the actual visa because it is attached to an expired visa which is forgotten in the U.S. - What are the chances of re-entering USA? Is the visa information in the computer or is it useless without the physical stamp?


Is this a B2? And how does one forget an expired visa? Unless it was not attached to your passport or you actually left the US without your passport.

Of course, I am not a lawyer.


The Expired Passport contained the valid visa, forgotten in a desk in USA and the Current Passport is in my possession in Bogota.

It Is a B2. I'm hoping the valid visa is in my "electronic footprint" with TSA/immigration?

or am I stuck / delayed with getting a temporary visa to re-enter ?


Did you get your new Colombian passport while in the US? Otherwise it suggests you left without your passport? How is that legal?

In any case if you had a B2 in an expired passport, it is still valid (I came to the US with two passports, one expired but has my US visa). I was just lazy and did not transfer it, but there is no problem doing so. You just might have to explain your passport-in-the-US situation.


How did you manage to get back to Colombia without the passport with the visa? (I also have an expired one but TSA checked my Visa).


What guidance would you give to a Canadian applying to YC who doesn't plan to stay in SF after demo day? Is it possible to work in SF for the duration of the program employed by the startup, or is it best framed as a holiday? Can one pay oneself, or pay for expenses, in that time?


Dear Mr. Robers, I am a Spanish National, I have a small US Cloud startup company, we pay around 12K a month in services in the US, have invested around 500K in about 5 Years in Hardware are other items. Whats the best way for me to go about a biz / investor or work visa ?


Hi Peter, really appreciate your initiative. Is there any kind of conflict if I apply to O1 and L1 at same time, assuming I have all the requisites for both. In your opinion the option for Premium Processing Service decrease the chances to be approved? Best regards, RN


Hi Peter, thanks for your time.

I'm European and I live in London and run a small advertising business (business is just me). I have a PhD in STEM. I can code.

Given this, what would you advise is the best route if I want to work and live in the USA? Would getting a job at an American company be enough?

Thank you


Any thoughts or experience with the EB5 route, and founding a startup on arrival? (assuming you have the required 500k or 1m, and you are investing in something unrelated to the startup).

Is it a good choice for canadians?

What is the best way to find a qualifying and legitimate investment?


When you are self-employed and run a successful company, is there a way to immigrate on that basis? Or do you have to find another company to work for, who will sponsor your visa application.

UK citizen, looking for a way out after yesterday's EU vote.


I'm a US citizen and want to move to Australia for good. How can I find someone like you in Australia to get advice from on how to proceed? (I'd just be looking for a normal software/managerial job kind of like the one I have now)


When is the best time to incorporate and do a binding equity split for a new venture? I have a co founder and we've begun to talk about a 50 50 equity split as an S corporation. Before work is done, is it best to have a real entity formed?


Hi Peter,

Thanks for taking questions. I'm currently on F1 OPT and just lost the H1B lottery. Was wondering if it's legal for me to apply directly for a GC instead. If yes, are there potential risks during the process and in the future. Thanks


Is it even possible for someone to immigrate like the Ellis island days? It sounds like it is a complete stonewall if you don't have some exceptional skill and a lot of money ... how could a "normal" person immigrate now?


I am a high school dropout in India. How can I make it to the US with an H1B work visa (or some other country in EU) ?

I've had (technical) job offers from US, Germany, Denmark, Japan, etc. but all of them have had issues with this.


Please do get a bachelors degree. Don't dropout in India. Prepare for long term. Your career is 40-45 years. I have thought about this when I was studying in a not so great college in India. But I finished college and immediately got into Facebook and now doing great in Google.

I have made good connections in Google now who will quit with me to do a startup.


Hi Peter,

I want someone to join as a co-founder, to currently work nights and weekends. However, currently, he's under H1B, working for a US company, in the US. What, if any, are the risks to both the startup venture and the individual?


He could get a concurrent H-1B through your company.


Hi Peter,

What options does a person without a bachelor's degree (or similar) have to immigrate?


How does O1 and EB1 visa relate? Being on an O1 Visa make the EB1 visa process any easier? E.g: the qualification for the outstanding need to be reassessed (basically redo everything) or they just accept their previous decision?

Thanks


I went from O1 to EB1 and had to resubmit all evidence (and then some). There is definitely an opportunity for reuse, so assuming you didn't throw it all away, it should be easier to assemble your case than if you were starting anew. (I'm not a lawyer. Sample size N=1.)


See earlier comments. The standard for EB1A is much higher. That being said, the evidence used for an O1 often can support an EB1A.


Hey Robert, My question is what all are the different ways for a student under F-1 visa to be co-founder for a start up and will I be able to do it as an OPT and apply for a H-1B visa at the same time. Thank you


Hey, I have done BS CS and six years of industry experience outside of US. Can you refer some existing documents/link that can help me understanding and starting this whole process. Thanks for your time.


Hey Robert, My question is what all are the different ways for a student under F-1 visa to be co-founder for a start up and will I be able to do it as an OPT and apply for a H-1B visa at the same time.


I'm hiring a Canadian SW developer (w/ a Canadian CS degree) on a 6-month contract (currently has no right to work in US). Can she generally qualify for a TN visa for contract work?


Here's Peter's previous AMA, for reference:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10719080


Hi Peter, I am a L1B Visa holder, at present. My company is preparing to apply for my GreenCard. I being on L1B visa, would I be eligible to change my employer, once I get I-140 Status?


The two are unrelated. An approved I-140 while in L-1B status doesn't help with job changes and the new employer would need to start the green card process from scratch.


I have been a green-card holder for 9 years and coming up on my expiration date in exactly 10 months. Will I face any trouble if I want to get the ball rolling on becoming a US Citizen?


Not at all.


Hi Peter. I am on H-1B. What are the legal source of revenues other than the salary I receive from my employer (H-1B sponsor)? Is it ok to have capital gains, dividends, interests?


These can be permissible if they are given to other employees in similar positions and don't transform you from an employee to an owner/self-petitioner.


Is it ok for H-1B holders to have a trading account (unrelated to my employer) and generate revenues by trading? (not day trading)


Wow, this was an awesome AMA. Peter it is super generous of you to share your expertise in a very opaque and confusing area of the law. On the topic of O-1 and EB-1A extraordinary ability, there IS a misconception that this category is too challenging for most people to consider as a visa option.

In fact, for entrepreneurial folks who are resourceful and achievement-oriented, "extraordinary ability" can be a great choice. The critical factors are

(1) understanding what the adjudicator's looking for,

(2) supplying organized, well-presented, high-quality evidence in 3 or more of the specific categories, and

(3) creating an interesting, easy-to-understand "success narrative" that guides the adjudicator through your evidence.

These quotes from Peter in the threads below sum it up nicely.

"For those who have not won major awards, it's really a mix of media coverage, publications, awards, good work, etc.... It's very fact-specific and in the end it's a feeling that someone is very bright and doing interesting work.... Also really that the product being developed is interesting and grabs the attention of the adjudicator."

"It's really conveying - supported by evidence - what is really interesting and significant about the work and achievements of the applicant and conveying the applicant's passion. And most talented founders who are truly passionate about what they are doing have a good faith basis for proceeding with an O1."

* * *

I'm also an immigration attorney (licensed, non-practicing) with a specialty in extraordinary ability cases. If it's OK with Peter and the mods, I'd be happy to continue answering questions on topics relating to O-1 and EB-1A.

I'm also in the process of building a DIY course on compiling your own O-1 evidence package. I'm actively seeking beta testers to tell me their stories, provide feedback on the materials, and help me create a kick-ass program that really helps people.

The course wouldn't be a substitute for hiring a good lawyer (which I highly recommend). I envision it more as a resource you could use to understand the O-1 requirements thoroughly, and begin compiling a great evidence portfolio right away.

Does this sound like a thing that would be useful to people? Please contact me (info in profile) if you have comments or would like to help me beta test. Thanks so much.

I'll also reply to some existing questions below. IAAL, but standard disclaimer: This isn't legal advice, and it doesn't create an attorney-client relationship.


As a Canadian citizen, working as a software developer for the past decade. I did not finish my degree in CS. Am I eligible to work in USA? What Visa would I need?


You could obtain a TN visa under the sci-tech category (which does not require a degree). Before I had my degree this is how I got my first TN.

It is a little less straightforward then the Computer Systems Analyst category but it can be done.


This is the exact situation I'm in and I'm on my 3rd TN. Get a good lawyer and this shouldn't be a problem.

If you do get this visa though, be very careful what you say to the border guards. You need to ensure that when speaking about your work, you always frame it as "work in support of scientific research/innovation".


I'm a Canadian working in software in the US with a B.Math, so I got in without a CS degree.


Hi Peter,

Thank you so much for taking the time. My question is: As a recent grad from an American U, can OPT and OPT STEM extension be used to start a new company?


There are some new requirements surrounding this but the short answer is yes although you really should check with your international student advisor and get his or her okay.


Hi,

If a Canadian is currently in the U.S on a TN visa, is it possible to get a green card? Or does one have to switch to a different visa first, as in a H1B?


What expectations can a startup founder have when preparing to make an offer to an international developer?

What steps do we need to take to get them here :)


Hi Peter,

As a Canadian with a bachelor of arts degree (I.e. non-CS degree), what kind of industry experience (if any) would be necessary to qualify for a TN-1 or H-1B?

Thanks!


It really depends largely on the kind of work you would be doing in the US and exact nature of your degree because you need to come within a NAFTA occupation.


I read recently that the Opt period is being extended. If I was on opt for undergrad, am I still eligible if I decide to go to grad school?


What are different visas an Indian person can apply for to work in U.S. and what are the prerequisites for that?


Do any of the following qualify as extraordinary abilities?

* Winning Academic Competitions * Breaking World Records * Building Very Large Digital Things


Winning academic competitions:

Generally not. USCIS considers academic honors to be pre-career, or preparatory for career. I'd omit these, as they can make you look small.

Exceptions might include very prestigious international competitions with a lot of media buzz, or cutting-edge postgraduate or fellowship work.

Breaking world records:

Interestingly, there's no O-1 category that this really fits into, even though it's clearly evidence of extraordinariness. I've had good luck fitting it into the "prizes and awards" category.

This works best if there is some media buzz around the event that features the record-breaker, that you can also compile in the media coverage category.

Building very large digital things:

Probably, if they ship, if they're successful, and if they make peoples' lives work better. This could be an "original contribution of major significance." You'd have to show specific examples of the impact of your work on the field as a whole, i.e., how it was a game-changer.


Hi! Thank you so much for doing this. My questions:

- Is it allowed for an F-1 visa student to start a company?

- If yes, can that company make money? Under what conditions?

Thank you!


Hi,

What are the visa options for an Indian citizen ( no U.S Visa ) who has registered a Delaware LLC to get into U.S for few months and doing businesses .

Thanks


It really depends on the nature of these activities, whether they constitute employment/work and therefore requiring a work visa or not.


Thanx a lot!!:

How hard is it for Africans who have never stepped in the US to relocated to san Francisco as Founders/Engineers for startups?


Really no harder or easier than citizens of other countries (with the exception of those from countries with their own visas, like Australians, Canadians, and Mexicans).


Hi there. Thanks for doing this Q&A! Is it possible you could recommend a good immigration lawyer in Germany? Cheers.


What best advice would you give to an early-stage French data visualization startup willing to candidate for W17?


Hi Peter,

Last September (2015) I received my Green Card thought the PERM process. If I was to marry someone today, could they apply for Green Card?

Thanks.


Can you please give piece of advice how to prepare response for RFE in case of L1 visa? Some tricks or typical mistakes.


Asking for a friend:

Hi Peter, I was wondering, if I have an O visa, and I applied for EB-1 but get rejected, do I lose my O visa?


Not necessarily but it can impact the ability to renew the O-1 visa and travel internationally.


Hi Peter!

Can small startup after are one year of operations immigrate to US (via L1)? What is required from a company to do so?


Hi Peter,

The 0-1 visa has many advantages for entrepreneurs. How would you advise positioning oneself to obtain one?


Hi, I wrote a blog post recently that answers this question. http://visabuilder.com/blog/escape-from-h1b-hell-5-things-im.... Hope this is helpful.


Hi Peter,

What is the approximate time that it takes for an H4 spouse to get EAD after H1B's EB1 GC process is kicked off ?

Thanks


About 2-3 months after the I-485 is filed.


What was the most difficult case you have ever faced in trying to acquire a visa for a founder?


Hi Peter!

I've got a github repository with couple of thousands stars, can this help me to obtain O-1?


Hi, a Github repository can be an "original contribution of major significance in the field." The adjudicator would want to see (1) your original work, explained in plain English, and (2) the work that others have created, based on your original work.

In this situation you're not necessarily proving popularity, but the influence of your work on the major creations of others.


Hi Peter

What would you recommend for a student who is on an F1/OPT STEM extension who wishes to found a startup ?

Thanks


Hi Peters:

I got my green cards 10 years ago. I have been working on my startup project for the past 3 years. I didn't make any money and didn't pay taxes. Now I want to apply for american citizenship. in the naturalization form, there is a section for past working places and tax paying history. What am I supposed to do with it?


I am on H1b how much time i have for job search if I quit my current job right now?


How long does it take to receive an O-1 visa and dependent O-3 visas?


How likely am I to have my application denied after an RFE? General numbers


How much harder is getting an extraordinary ability visa without a degree?


Unless the degree is a PhD, in my experience education is not really a factor.


Are there any firms your recomend for someone in the london area?


Can journalists/ editors qualify under the EB-1 visa?


Yes, certainly.


would a couple patents and a successful startup experience as CTO, (but not founder) qualify for an O1?


It sounds like you have a foundation to build on for an O-1.


Possibly yes but we'd need to explore the patents further, the nature of your work, your impact on the company, etc.


are there specialized agencies to deal with the paperwork as a service? I.e. for Australia you get a different agency to evaluate your skill plus you can get the help of accredited attorneys to facilitate the paperwork, in a neatly available list organized by country of origin.

anything of the like for the O1?


BridgeUS is doing some interesting work in this area. http://www.bridge.us/

There are other startups working on creating "Turbotax for immigration," such as Clearpath and FileRight. At this point they're focusing on the simpler US immigration forms that are easier to standardize.

O-1s are tough to streamline, since they're so personalized and one-off.


You should do the same UK focused. There will be like a million people who will apply for citizenship or need a visa this year!


on H1b visa can I accept prize money (say about $2k) if I win a online coding Hackathon ?


yes, you need to show it as prize when you file your TAX returns.


yo, NOBODY gets more free work requests than lawyers.


My WiFi isn't working, do you mind popping over to sort it out?

Also, all my websites fonts look weird on my mum's computer ???!???


How do I contact directly?

please advise...

bmaddigan@yahoo .com


Are you in CT.?


Hey Robert - My Question: What do you think would happen to tech in America if H1b's were done away with and all foreign workers had to leave?


Not Robert (and I defer to anything he has to say) but I teach a class that uses the LCA [H-1B] visa application database as a test dataset. If you banned all H-1Bs today, you would effectively be losing approximately half a million talented workers.

Now, some would like to argue that this would "free up" half a million jobs for U.S. citizens, but keep in mind that the H-1B is for skilled labor that an employer couldn't find a citizen for. There are H-1B abusers, like Wipro, Qualcomm, etc., but they only accounted for about 3-4% of the applications in 2015, and are (thankfully) being dealt with on an increasingly frequent basis.


I have never seen an H1B job posting that was truly for "skilled labor that an employer couldn't find a citizen for."

However I _have_ seen H1B postings so specific that one might wonder if the only missing information was the first and last name of the "chosen one" along with his birthdate, his second son's middle name and a traced outline of the birthmark on the back of his left shoulder.

In all instances the candidate had been chosen _before_ the job was posted publicly in the US. In some cases the chosen one was a relative of the person choosing, in others a crony of the one choosing.

The only reason for the US job posting was to bring in the requisite number of unsuspecting US citizen applicants who were then _always_ rejected.

So, using your number, if we banned all H-1Bs today, we would effectively be opening approximately half a million jobs for talented US citizen workers and selling half a million one-way tickets on boats or planes to other countries.


>I have never seen an H1B job posting that was truly for "skilled labor that an employer couldn't find a citizen for."

What exactly do you mean by these "H1B job postings"?

Job postings do not advertise visa sponsorship. A large portion of the H1B applicants were already working their job for some months before applying, under the OPT program. Also, a quarter of all H1B visas are only given to applicants with verified advanced education degrees (Masters, PhD, etc.).


To be clear, the H-1B does not require a test of the labor market (unless the employer is "H-1B dependent"). That's only required in the PERM/GC context. The standard is whether the offered job qualifies as a professional/specialized job and whether the individual has the right educational background.


> but keep in mind that the H-1B is for skilled labor that an employer couldn't find a citizen for at a price they were willing to pay

Trust me, there are a lot of abuses of the H1B program from "main stream" tech companies.


Let's assume I don't trust what you're saying at face value. What are some examples or sources?

The Disney debacle cost Infosys $69 million, and they're included in that 3-4% number I quoted if that's what you're thinking of.


I didn't down vote you but it really should be on you to inform yourself before you start making claims.

- http://cis.org/PayScale-H1BWages

- The fallacy of a labor shortage is apparent when you look at it in terms of any other market. I don't say there is a Porsche shortage if I can't afford one.

- 80% of H1-Bs come in at the lower 2 of 4 pay levels. In fact, there is so much variability in the salaries that you essentially have a very good case for hiring a software developer in SF for 60k or 140k and it's up to the employer to choose with little accountability. In fact, employers can provide their own wage survey data to support the wage on the application.

- H-1B is for the best and brightest, so why are they typically low man on the totem pole making an "average" wage working on low impact projects?

- The quality of foreign students, the bulk of H1B visa holders, has been studied and called in to question, http://www.epi.org/publication/bp356-foreign-students-best-b...

- Entry level CS graduate wages have fallen 3.7% between 2014 and 2015

- "main stream" tech companies have recruiting processes that essentially give excusivity to foreign students. (Masters degree+ requirement, 6 month internships, OPT extension, etc)

My feeling is we have plenty of unemployed and underemployed university educated people within our borders and I wish there was more of an effort from our government and industry to utilize those folks and only reach for the H1B when we really can't find the talent domestically.


I agree, hence asking for more information when someone backs their claims with just, "trust me".

- CIS is a anti-immigration think tank founded to provide numbers for the republican party. The study you link to is cherry picking data regarding location and prevailing wage.

- There is also no way to prove if there is or is not a labor shortage. I think we can agree that this is something that can definitely be improved on.

- Wages are long-tail distribution, so you're going to see lower tiers having higher enrollment. UCSIS reviews immigrants based on their experience and education levels, and will typically reject if the employer is under hiring.

- You may be confusing the H1B with the O (Outstanding) visa. H1B is for talented labor only, it doesn't mean manager-level , so I'm not sure why that's your assumption.

- Again, if you're assuming that you're filling the skilled labor shortage, that doesn't guarantee that you're hiring higher-quality skilled labor than the already-employed supply. The socioeconomic environment of skilled labor immigrants may be different enough to warrant such a gap, but that doesn't negate their current skills. We should definitely continue to question and evaluate the quality though.

- And how exactly is a 3.7% drop in CS wages attributable to the H1B program? H1B immigration caps (supply) haven't changed for years. H1B visa != outsourcing.

- You'll need to prove this claim with more than just "trust me" too.

This may come across as harsh, but your feelings don't really matter on the issue because they are likely biased. The U.S. is currently at a record low of unemployment, and the H1B caps haven't increased in years, meaning that the H1B visa holders are not likely causing whatever it is you're feeling.


Related question, would Donald Trump actually be able to do away with the H1B as he suggested he would a couple of months ago?


He did not suggest doing away with the H1B program. He did say he wants to end abuse of the H1B program.

H1B abuse typically involves posting an absurdly specific or unappealing set of requirements in a job ad tailored to the person you're trying to get a visa for. If any qualified US person actually does apply, they are rejected for whatever spurious reason. The employer can then claim "no suitable candidate can be found" and get a visa for their immigrant.

I'm not sure how this can be prevented.


> Related question, would Donald Trump actually be able to do away with the H1B as he suggested he would a couple of months ago?

The President can't do much, including defining or eliminating visa categories; most of what Presidential candidates campaign on are legislative priorities which would need to be passed by Congress.

Congress absolutely could eliminate the H-1B.


Can you please point to the source where Trump said he would 'do away with the H1B'?


He's flip flopped on in several times now, going from banning to allowing to ending it completely.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2016/03/...


Probably too political a question to begin with and definitely gets too political downthread.


[flagged]


I don't know anything about this topic, but I do know that this is probably not an appropriate response on HN.


A family member of mine works for DHS as a paralegal, more or less, and their department deals with illegal immigration into the US. They often tell tales of how illegal immigrants will commit heinous acts (rape, murder) or somewhat more pedestrian crimes (heroin possession, for instance).

Anyways, the most striking part about this is that it seems a lot of the judges who handle these cases simply don't care. Because these people are often deported and then come back a week later, not a lot seems to be done. Some of the criminals won't be charged, and it seems a lot of people on the in the system will just turn a blind eye. I'm not sure if it's apathy, or if the system is so inundated that they're just unable to keep up, but have you experienced anything like this?


Hi Peters:

Thank you for taking time doing this public service. I really appreciate.

I got my green cards 10 years ago. I have been working on my startup project for the past 3 years. I didn't make any money and didn't pay taxes. Now I want to be american citizen. in the naturalization form, there is a section for past working places and tax paying history. What am I supposed to do with it?




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