Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
I'm Peter Roberts, immigration attorney who does work for YC and startups. AMA
238 points by proberts on July 5, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 321 comments
It's been a year since we did our last immigration AMA (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11972135) and we thought it might be time to do another. I'll be here for a few hours to answer your questions about U.S. immigration.

As usual, there are countless possible topics and I'll be guided by whatever you're concerned with. Please remember that I can't provide legal advice on specific cases for obvious liability reasons because I won’t have access to all the facts. With all that's happened in the last year, it might make sense to discuss the changes, real and perceived, in immigration policy and practice now and in the future, such as, for example, an increase in site visits and a more restrictive approach to admissions and visa issuance. Please stick to a factual discussion in your questions and comments and I'll try to do the same in my answers! One thing I noticed, looking at some recent threads on HN, are some common misconceptions about the standards for extraordinary ability, in both the nonimmigrant (O-1) and green card context, so hopefully we can clear some of that up as well.

I just got an email from Peter asking if it was "ok to take a break" and then another saying he was "beginning to fade". I think you guys burned him out :)

We'll ask him to come back soon and get him to take breaks next time; 90 comments in 3 hours is most impressive but no one holds out against the beast forever. In the meantime, I hope there is enough general info and tips in the thread to be of some use to the people who haven't (yet!) gotten to ask Peter a question.

Thanks. I'll be logging back on later today to answer more questions.

Hi, currently (and for the forseeable future) I'm a 29 year old CTO at a VC backed Startup with 40 employees in Germany, I've had this position now for nearly two years, before (and on paper now in parallel to) that I've been managing director of a web-development agency for 3 years. I've had several software dev positions before that while working on starting my own companies, a process which made me drop out of university rather early, so I've never finished my degree. I have a wife and child (of 8 months now).

What are my chances of getting a US Visa based solely on work experience without a university degree?

Also curious, for the average european developer how easy could it be to move to the US?

Also without a degree

As easy or hard as any skilled tech immigrant from anywhere else. We are all in the same boat and I am not aware of any special agreements between Europe and US in terms of easy transfer of skilled migrants (as Canadians have under NAFTA). So you a) study in the US and get in line for H1B b) work for a multinational in Europe and get transferred to US on L1 visa c) If you are a well published researcher, O1 will be good but it is very difficult to obtain.

You'll most likely need a job offer from a US company (they sponsor you essentially) or you marry in...

Very high.

Thanks, what Visa Type should i look into most likely when the time comes?

I was in the same boat as you (no education, prior experience) and got an H1B.

Probably the O-1 or E-2.

Or L-1.

Wouldn't this entail that the parent company have a branch in the U.S. also wouldn't he be limited to working at the company (for a maximum of 5+2 years)?

Yes, the foreign company would need to have operations in the US to qualify for an L-1 and you would be allowed to work in the US in L-1 status for 5 or 7 years depending on your level within the organization.

Here can apply for a green card while on the L-1 to stay longer, right?


As someone who has worked with Peter in the past, I can say from experience that he is the real deal! Helped me and my family get back into the US after a CBP agent denied my TN-1 renewal.

Peter, here's my question for you. If Trump pulls out of or re-negotiates NAFTA, as he claimed he would do in his first 100 days... What, if anything, would that mean for TN visa holders? Would it be an instant, no questions asked, return to Canada. Or would there be some sort of transition period?

Why did the agent deny your renewal, if I may ask? I thought TN renewal denials were pretty rare.

After the <5min interview he didn't believe that I qualified for the TN-1 Visa. Even though I had been granted the initial one 2 years prior. Since the decision is solely at the discretion of the CBP agent, that's all there was to it.

SO interested in this as I am in the same boat, but I'm Mexican

Peter, what advice do you have for Indian nationals on EB2/EB3 GC status given the incredibly long wait times for the priority date to become current?

Is there a good (and legal) way to upgrade to EB1 or similar category (that has shorter wait periods)?

For example, does it make sense to leave the US, work as a manager overseas and return to the US on a L1-A thereby qualifying for a EB1.

Or perhaps work towards publishing papers, applying for patents, etc. to thereby qualify for a NIW?

That's very hard to answer in the abstract but those are the two options that many Indian and Chinese nationals look at - and oftentimes, the EB1A is a real option for bright and talented individuals. Again, the EB1A standard, while high, isn't as high as most people think.

Is the EB1A similar to O-1?

EB1 has stricter requirements than an O-1


I feel unwelcome and uncomfortable when I enter the US on a Visa. The things I've seen border agents say make me feel like many border agents would love to find an excuse to deny anyone entry.

Is there any solution to this, or do I just need to accept that it's a part of it?

I am a US citizen and I feel unwelcome and uncomfortable when I interact with border guards. I know you all have it worse and I have rights that you do not, but I just want to let you know that it is a systemic problem not limited to immigrants. It's rooted, I think, in the power-trippy "respect my authority" culture that has permeated all American law enforcement.

> I have rights that you do not

AFAIK your rights as a citizen don't apply at the border.

A US citizen cannot be denied entry. Your stuff can be, you can be stripped naked and cavity searched, ruthlessly interrogated, humiliated, temporarily detained, and generally treated without even a hint of human dignity. But they can't keep you from entering the country, eventually. This has been established by supreme court precedent.

This is both good to know and sad at the same time. Thanks

My feeling is that while one needs to be respectful, one also needs to stand one's ground if one is admissible and ask to see a supervisor if the questioning/behavior isn't appropriate. It's also important to be well-prepared with appropriate supporting documents. If the questioning/behavior is somehow related to past issues/admission, then filing a "complaint" with DHS TRIP sometimes helps.

Thank you

It costs you nothing to smile and be courteous. It might find you a change of heart.

You're assuming that I don't already do this - I do :)

I'm a Canadian working remotely as a contractor for a US startup. I'm looking for a way to visit my employer on-site for a few weeks for training and to meet the team. I'm not a tourist, and I'm not a full time employee, so seems like no visa apply for me.

I also own a Canadian corporation and I could structure the remote work contract through my corporation instead of with me personally. Would that make things simpler or more complicated? i.e. can my Canadian corporation send me (the only shareholder) to the US on a work-related trip?

Also, is it possible to get a TN visa (assume a new full time job offer in hand) if you have previously worked remotely as a contractor for the same company? Is there an expectation that obtaining a TN visa you have to move to the US or can I continue to work remotely? Do I need to become "resident" for tax purposes if I have a TN, or is that completely unrelated.

At Pebble we employed Canadian contractors who received TNs for travel into USA for meetings etc. Happy to share our TN docs. Eric at ycombinator

A B-1 might be appropriate for what you describe but you could not be paid by the US company while here. And, working remotely for a US company is not an impediment to getting a TN with this company.

IANAL (Mr Roberts answer is probably more appropriate) but I spent 5 years working for a subsidiary of an American company and had many meetings like this. I'm also a Canadian, living in Canada.

At the border, you say that you are attending meetings and receiving training. You are not giving training or leading meetings. It was never a problem given I said those words.

Edit: again, Mr. Roberts answer is probably more accurate, and YMMV

My brother and I work remotely as contractors for a US company. The company invited us to their christmas party 2 years ago but my brother didn't have his visa at the time. He applied for B-1 and got it with no problems.

Can a person on H1B visa use options such as driving lyft,uber, or amazon flex to deliver goods, as they provide 1099 and not W-2. Will it violate the H1B visa status and any complications for filing taxes? Thank you very much in advance.

Can you answer this question plz? I have Q's of same kind. Thanks!

Canadian here.

Most of my friends with Visa's tend to live in a constant state of fear when crossing the border into the US that a border office will just rip the visa out of their passport and deny them entry into the US.

Even the ones with high priced immigration attorney's.

Is there something the average Canadian can do to make crossing the border into the US less of a crap shoot, especially when doing so with a family?

Their concerns are well-founded. It's hard to advise without knowing the particular facts but now, more than ever, it's advisable, if one has any concerns about admission, to consult with an attorney beforehand, even if just for a few minutes, because most problems at the border can be avoided with some planning.

I was just at a wedding on the weekend and was chatting with a friend who had that happen two weeks ago. He spent 4 days in a US Border patrol jail near San Diego, sleeping beside MS-13 members.

He was forced to buy a last-minute-priced plane ticket back to Canada. His car is currently somewhere in an impound lot in San Diego. His possessions are in his apartment in the bay area. Until he resolves his H1B issues, he can't re-enter the country.

Edit: Makes for a hell of a story though. "How's it going?" "Oh, just got out of jail down in Mexico" "... what?"

Did he overstay? I don't understand how people can run into trouble with H1B visas.

Something to do with changing jobs, then having the new job fall through a month later. He thought he had 60 days to get a new job (which is pretty easy for developers these days). The border guards had not heard of such a rule.

>The border guards had not heard of such a rule.

Because there isn't any. There is no grace period at all.

IANAL, but that's not true since Jan 2017. There is a 60 day grace period, but only once per validation period.


I wonder if the person in question had his problems before January.

Nope, two weeks ago.

Perhaps obvious in hindsight but in that situation I definitely would not leave the country and especially try to re-enter the country unless my paperwork was in perfect order (lawyer prepared it for you). One mistake like that can ruin your visa situation forever.

Does he need help getting his car and stuff back to Canada to prevent incurring excessive costs/penalties?

He's got enough friends in the bay area to have himself covered in that regard. Right now I believe his biggest problem is renting an apartment in Canada to establish as his official primary residence so that he can enter the US as a visitor to go get his stuff.

Pretty shitty deal all around though.

Wouldn't establishing himself as a visitor undermine his status as a guest worker? Or is that already off the table?

Since he's Canadian, it's probably a TN visa, not H1B?

Nothing in the post suggests the person is a Canadian citizen. Going by all the clues, it sounds like they are a Canadian permanent resident.

Not OP, but my sister and brother-in-law (both born in Canada) have constant issues re-entering the US, despite both having up to date visas and never having changed jobs.

Mostly because of dumb-ass border agents. They've never been denied entry, but it's always a 5 hour long ordeal.

When I was first at Amazon in Seattle (later moved back to Toronto) it became known that if you had a TN visa, you didn't cross at a specific Vancouver-area crossing. There was just one guy there who had decided he didn't like the TN visa program, and tore up every single one he saw.

That's horrible. I hope the worker was reported and sent to prison.

Happens more often than you think. It's not something that comes from the lawmaking side, but seems border agencies just have shitty cultures, uneducated officers and too much authority since they're part of the national security apparatus.

The "shitty culture" part to a large extent comes from "too much authority" part. Combined with one more, namely "lack of accountability". In many cases, CBP and ICE officers can make decisions that are essentially arbitrary, and that either cannot be disputed or appealed at all, or the process is so convoluted, esp. if you're outside the country, that it might as well not be there.

> sent to prison.

It's too risky to have a man like that out on the streets. He could tear up visas any time.

There need to be strong penalties for abuse of law enforcement power. He has the power to destroy lives and families, apparently without any accountability. The way you hold people accountable for their actions is by threat of legal action against them.

Abuse of power and being unreasonable are not good traits in any branch of law enforcement (which is where I assume this officer would end up if not at the border).

Sure. I just think that 'lock him up' is not the solution to non-violent crime. The US has higher incarceration rates than any other developed country. It's expensive and wasteful of labour.

In this particular case, Canadian citizen since birth, H1B visa.

Hi Peter,

In this AMA you mentioned a few times that while the EB1A bar is high, it is perhaps not as high as it seems. Any advice for early career academics?, eg

As a reasonably successful postdoc at, say, Stanford (good scholarship, steady publication record, presentations at international conferences, and so on, but no proper 'recognized awards of excellence'), is it even worth considering EB1A, as opposed to a EB2 NIW which in contrast seems likely but would take a long, long time?

The wording 'sustained ... acclaim' makes it sound like you'd have to be a semi-famous professor, so I kind of ruled it out before. Have you seen young scientists pass EB1A? Thanks

Yes, it is worth considering an EB1A.

Thanks for your reply, that's encouraging. Follow up question:

I can see how the points

- Evidence of your original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field

- Evidence of your authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media

are fairly easy to fulfill. Which one would you attack as the third?

Association memberships and journal review work.

Thanks for your time!

Come on man, give us some meat to chew on...

Very funny. You'd probably have a high chance of success. And the NIW isn't all that it's cracked up to be. USCIS appears to be applying EB1A standards of accomplishment to EB1A applications.

Unfortunately, it looks like I'll need to sign off now but I'll check back in later today to try to respond to all unanswered questions and comments. As usual, this has been a pleasure and very informative for me to hear what's on everyone's mind. Thank you for your insightful questions and comments.

Many thanks to YC / HN for sponsoring this, to Peter for all the insightful answers, and to all the thoughtful questioners. Lots of good stuff here on a topic that's more important than ever. Who knew how drastically this would all change over the past year?

I'm late to the party, but I'm sponsoring an evergreen AMA on my own site for questions about O-1 and EB-1A "extraordinary ability" visas. I'm a specialist in this area (non-practicing attorney), and I'm working to disseminate practical how-to's on this topic as widely as possible.

I welcome your additional questions on extraordinary ability. More and more, it's becoming the go-to visa for makers and entrepreneurs, since there are few other US immigration alternatives at present.

Look forward to seeing you there. AMA!


Hi Peter,

Can an individual on H1B

- Volunteer for a non profit organization - Mentor an individual assigned by non profit organization in studies like maths, computer science etc,. or extra curricular activities like drawing, coding hackathons, tennis etc,. - Help in fundraising for a non profit.

Kindly advice.


I don't see any issue as long as there's no compensation for this, no quid pro quo.

Ok thank you, that is a good news. If i support a non profit in raising 1 Million Dollars can i add that in my resume saying "Supported a Non Profit Organization In Fund Raising Nearly 1 Million Dollars"? or will this raise some flags?

I also think that that's fine.

Everything I read about US immigration seems to indicate it's next to impossible and unless I'm some kind of mythical "10x developer", companies wouldn't bother with the visa process. Is that accurate?

I have friends actively avoiding applying to US companies because they think getting a visa is impossible. What should I tell them? Is there a type of visa that's more friendly to foreign engineers?

Your right, unfortunately it's tough unless one is from a country with a specific visa (such as Australia, Canada, or Mexico) or is being transferred on an L-1 visa to a related entity in the US.

L-1 Visa, but you have to work at a foreign branch for at least 1 year. It's the path some family members and coworkers have taken.

Some of the larger top companies in the U.S. will accomodate that and set you in the Irish or Canadian offices for a year, but you have to be good :)

What is the best path for my wife, who was brought here illegally when she was 8 and is here semi-legally because of DACA, to go about getting a green card and/or citizenship? I am personally a US citizen.

I was an illegal immigrant for a few years and when I got married (to a US citizen) we went through the normal green-card application path with a waiver.

(I think this is current but plz double-check: http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/when-is-waiver-inadmi...)

That was in 2003 so I understand the process might have changed. However I don't believe it has changed that much. It was pretty straight-forward (all things considered - some lost paperwork and redoing of fingerprints). I choose to continue on the citizenship path one a baby was on the way and that too wasn't hard.

There are a number of non-profits that help advise in this area. I would recommend contacting EIIC ( https://eiic.org/ ) who helped me navigate the paperwork.

Just adding, based on comments in the parent thread, that maybe it was 'Advanced Parole' that I got.

During my process I did NOT need to leave the country and submit paperwork from abroad or anything like that.

She could have applied for Advanced Parole, exited the country, and came back legally (with inspection). It still can be done, however, now with Trump, it's a lot more riskier since nothing is certain.

Once she enters with inspection it would have been a lot easier to resolve her situation.


The marriage-based GC route but she'll need to get a waiver.

I'm on the same boat, how difficult is it to get the waiver? (Keep in mind that I have no proof of entry)

Not easy. It's based on hardship to U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse or child.

Hi Peter, Australian here on an E3 that's converting to an H1B.

Can I have side-income via blogging ad revenue, youtube ad revenue/etc, so long as it's only earning Australian dollars into an Australian bank account?

I know I'm not allowed to have any other income, but I assumed that was only for the US.

Thanks in advance!

Not really, unfortunately, but it's confusing because US immigration law hasn't caught up with remote employment.

Is it possible to have an Australian LLC equivalent or somesuch that collects the payments?

I looked into this recently and if you own a foreign company (aka CFC: Controlled Foreign Corporation) you have to report that to the IRS. And once the IRS knows, then presumably the USCIS will find out as well.

Right, you've to report it. But the question is if that's actually against the rules - it's not entirely clear to me. I'm personally lucky enough to now have a greencard so I don't have to worry about it anymore...

I'd like to know this as well.

Out of curiosity, why would you convert to an H1B?

Primary reason: The E3 is a non-intent visa, meaning that you can't apply for the Green Card on it. Your only choice is to convert to H1B first and then apply.

Other reason 1: You can transfer to another job easier while remaining in the US (if they do an H1-transfer). Doing so with the E3 is a huge grey-area with various blogs saying different things.

Other reason 2: If I get fired I have a few days to pack my life and leave the country. With a H1B I recall the period being longer to find another job.

I successfully went from E3 to Green Card without getting a H1B first.

It's a more annoying path (there was a ~6 month period in which I couldn't leave the US) and riskier (more ways to end up rejected). That said the H1B route would have taken significantly longer even if I won the lottery.

Hi Peter, Appreciate your taking the time to do this. I'm on an L1-B currently with a software product firm, and have been researching ways to move towards an EB1C application for a Green card. My position in the company, in terms of "job level" is at par with Engineering Management. I've been in this role prior to my move to the US and am in line for a promotion here. However, my job description does not involve "hire and fire" capabilities or people reporting directly into me. I lead a functional area and engineering teams within it. Does this then qualify me for an L1B to EB1C application or is this very unlikely? What would your suggestion be in my case? My company qualifies for all other requirements for the EB1C.

It's not a non-starter but the absence of direct reports would need to be overcome by a strong showing of indirect reports and a high degree of independent discretionary decision-making with respect to the function that you manage.

Thanks, that helps. For evidence of "high degree of independent discretionary decision-making", are certified notes from the company's senior executives and HR considered admissible? It sounds like this would be something that can warrant very strong justification.

Yes, statements from management regarding responsibilities as well as copies of performance evaluations if available and helpful would support this.

Can you outline the big changes that have happened over the past year?

Has the H-1B cap lowered? If it still gets booked up within a week, what options do people have?

It sounds like the cap is pushing people to other categories like the O-1 and the EB-1 (if they can afford it).

There really haven't been any changes to the H-1B program other than an increase in site visits to ensure that the employee and company exist and that the employee is doing what he or she is supposed to be doing. The cap still exists and is still getting filled up within a week so individuals must look at other options, such as the O-1 or green card, unless they are from a country with its own visa classification, such as Australia, Canada, and Mexico (and Chile and Singapore to a lesser degree).

Hi Peter, could you please elaborate on the "lesser degree" for Chile & Singapore? I'm Chilean and currently under h1b1 and AFAIR it was a relatively painless process: from our side it took about one-two weeks and it was open window with its own cap. Has this changed recently?

Probably a bad choice words. I simply used that term because the H-1B1 is a subset of the H-1B. But you're right, it tends to be a very quick and easy process. The only challenge can be in the renewal context since an applicant must be able to demonstrate his or her intent to return home.

Hi Peter, What are your thoughts on going directly from TN to Green Card via EB1/2/3, without going to H1B first?

Hi Peter!

I am an software engineer in a French startup that will be participating in an accelerator in the US for a couple of months.

I am from an african country so I need a visa to travel to the US. Also, I am en employee, not a co-founder, and I don't have any shares or stock in the company. Also, I will continue being employed and paid by the French company.

What visa should I apply for ?

I did a lot of research and I think I should apply for a B1 visa. But since it is not supposed to cover "productive work", I am not sure 100%.

The B-1 is probably the best option but you are right, you are not allowed to engage in productive work while in the U.S. in B-1 status. I would recommend that you consult with the incubator's immigration attorney because these can be tough/problematic visa applications.

Thanks for your helpful answer.

Does that mean that I should not be doing any programming during my stay in the US ? I am the only software developer working on the product, so that may be a little inconvenient for us.

This is something that you should speak about with an attorney because while you don't want to cross any lines, the specifics really do matter.

Hey Peter,

Thank you for taking the time to answer questions.

I am a Canadian looking to work full time in the US and was hoping to obtain a TN visa.

What would be the best possible way to achieve this.

Would it be better for me to first find a company interested in sponsoring me? I feel this would be ideal but may cause potential friction as it is more work on the employer.

Or would it be better to apply with an immigration lawyer such as your self? If so how much does something like this cost and how long does it take?

Sorry for the long winded question and thanks for your help!

I would probably get your background evaluated by an attorney to see if a TN is even an option (a quick process) and then look for work armed with the knowledge that a TN is possible.

I am a foreigner that wants to work in a US company, however H1B's quotas have been hit.

For the O-1 visa, i dont have meaningful contributions to software engineering but I have been exceptional in a sports related field(with meaningful community contributions, international representation, etc). Is the O-1 a possibility for me even though I would enter as a software engineer?

Otherwise, is it common to get another kind of visa for a first time job-entry in the US?

Your area of extraordinary ability for O-1 purposes needs to be related to the work you are going to do in the US so unless you somehow are going to work in sports, an O-1 might be tough.

Thanks so much! Not sure if off topic but related: I'm a canadian trying to figure out how to provide services to the US market. For people entering on TN-1A or similar, how has the trump administration changed the process? I don't have a comp-sci background. If I do pure consulting (no code) is it feasible to go in under a T1? I make > 200k/year - I think the lowest limit was doubled to 160k?

There's no question that it's tougher to get a TN now than in the past but this trend has been going on for several years. Regarding the specific TN occupation, I would need to know more about your background.

Hey Peter, I'm a 25 year old founder who started a company right after the college. I started the company via Stripe Atlas in Delaware and recently moved from Turkey to San Francisco. Now we're in Batch21 of 500Startups and plan to stay here for the next year. I have B1 visa right now and looking for ways to extend it in order to be able to stay here.

1. 500Startups invests $150K similar to YC and since I only have a single company incorporated in USA the investor visa doesn't seem applicable to me.

2. Getting an O1 visa is also may not be easy because I just got my undergraduate degree from the university and my only success story is the company that I have right now.

3. A few attorney suggested me to apply for an MBA program but it's expensive in San Francisco and I don't have enough time for that.

So what are my options right now? I was waiting for the startup visa that will go into effect on July 17 but it looks like Trump might kill it. I feed desperate right now since I really believe that I should stay here because our potential customer base is in SF and our growth rate can be much higher if we can live here.

If a HN reader wanted to dedicate a few years of their life to making USCIS more friendly to immigrants - particularly to making the border agents focused on user experience and making people feel welcome even if they have issues with their Visa or similar things - how would one go about this?

I suppose the question is - who is the person who decides all of this stuff and has the authority to update the staff?

In fairness to CBP, not all is aboveboard and rosy at the border but at the end of the day, it's individual officers and their supervisors who make decisions regarding admissibility although they are guided of course by the overall directive from DHS and the administration.

Hi Peter,

Thanks for the AMA, it is extremely helpful.

I am a Canadian citizen looking to Incorporate a c-corp in US and move to the bay area in the near future to work on the business. What is the best route to take with regards to visa. The company will be based out of the bay area.

Background: I graduated from University of Waterloo last year and have worked in the bay area previously on TN visa.

As a general rule, CBP and USCIS will not approve TNs for founders or owners of the sponsoring employer so your options would be an E-2 (based on an investment) or O-1.

Hi Peter,

A follow up question for the E-2 Visa option. Am i correct in saying, as long as 50% of U.S business is Canadian owned, myself as well as other Canadian citizens can qualify as E-2 essential employees.

And if there is a substantial investment by Canadian citizens or Canadian-owned companies in the US company.

Thanks Peter!

I read that you can have L1 visa for new office in the US if you already have an existing corporation outside the US.

I believe you are correct. The downside of L1 from what i read is that you have to maintain an office outside of United States. This is a bit difficult for startups with just the co-founders. Correct me if i am wrong.

That's correct. During the life of the L-1, the company needs to maintain an office and active operations outside the US.

Im on an H1B and hoping to get my employer to sponsor me for a green card when my 6 year H1B term is up (2020). Are there benefits having already worked for this employer, or will the green card application be the exact same as if filing for a foreign national who wasn't already working at the company?

It's generally helpful to be currently employed by the sponsoring company but the amount of time with that company has little bearing on the success.

As a follow-up to this question, Peter, is there a need to wait for the H1B VISA to be over or could the employer start the GC process right away?

They can definitely start it right away. There is no need to wait.

In fact, it's better to start the GC process at least 1-2 years before the 6-year max-out date to account for any delays or problems in the process.

Also A general followup. What is the recommended path to GC for a current holder of an H1B? Full 6 years first, or try and find I-140 immediately? another path?

Definitely start it right away. In fact, my recruiter friends mentioned that some companies are unwilling to hire H1B workers who have no GC sponsorship started and less than 2 years left in total.

So I would need to find a company willing to do that for me? It seems like where I'm at now is not willing to work on GCs.

What are the major differences between the standards and the amount of time it takes to get O-1 vs EB-2 with NIW?

Would it make more sense to target O-1 or EB-2 with NIW for a non-PhD founder with US Masters degree who does not have published research papers but have created innovative products with buzzes in the news?

I would need to see the specifics to evaluate the chances but essentially where one or two publications might be sufficient for O-1, more are needed for EB1A. But to be clear, a PhD is absolutely not required for an EB1A or NIW green card. It's more what a PhD typically signifies, publications, presentations, and original work.

Hi Peter

I'm late to the party. Posting on the off chance that you are still around. Any reply appreciated, even a couple of words.


How should I think about entering the US and gaining permission to work?


Canadian citizen, married to a (naturalized) US citizen (10+ years, kids), and am the breadwinner in our family.

Worked on System Analyst TN1 for 5+ years, switched to H1B until the renewals ran out, then back to TN1.

Moved out of the US in 2012, now living in Japan.

We're considering to move back but don't have a clear idea of what doors are open and which one to aim for.

TN work permission seems unlikely because I've had so many of them and hard to argue "temporary" when I have a US wife and kids. Greencard, on the other hand seems unlikely because they disregard my current income and earning potential and want my wife to prove she can support me. What is the smart approach?

Your wife could move to the US, get even a minimum wage job, and sponsor you for an IR-1. This would require living apart for probably at least a year.

Or, if she has any family or friends in the US, they can sponsor you. This is what I did for my wife's visa - my brother sponsored her.

Or, if you have some savings, you can use that instead of income. Savings counts 1/3 as much as income.

Or... you really should not go to the US on the visa waiver program with the intention of filing for adjustment of status after arriving. But, if you do enter the US without that intention, you can then file for adjustment of status.

I would not bother filing for any other type of visa, personally. Permanent residence will, among other things, make the job search easier.

Thank you for your suggestion tsuyoshi.

Are there any pitfalls in the current political environment for a US citizen entitled to Irish citizenship via foreign birth registration taking advantage of that to work in Europe?

More worried about trouble associated with traveling or otherwise using the EU passport than tax or employment issues.

I don't see any downside to dual citizenship and when you travel to third countries, you can travel on either passport (that's up to you) - but when you travel to the US, you must use your US passport and your Irish passport when you travel to Ireland.

Hi Roberts, thank you so much for taking the time for an AMA.

Dutch Citizen, exploring possibilities of moving to the US. Employed as executive at a US based company.

My research shows me that L1-A might be the most viable option for me, are they still very hard to get?

Most other options takes years to get a green card (except EB-*)

The L-1A for managers and executives and the corresponding multinational manager or executive green card category are still very good options (and appear to be good options for you) although the processing of multinational manager or executive green card applications has slowed down considerable over the past 1-2 years.

Thank you! Would you say that i should take into account a 1 year processing time?

For the green card yes but an L-1 can be very fast.

Hi Peter,

I have a question about EB2-NIW (or EB1-NIW). * I'm a recent PhD graduate in Electrical Engineering with a focus on defense related projects. * I do not have any peer reviewed publications, but several conference publications. * I have several nationally acclaimed fellowships from national labs and federal organizations. * Currently, I have an offer that will set me up as a post doc in a completely different field (from engineering to education) with a very high probability of 5 peer reviewed publications in average impact journals within a year.

Should I wait to publish those papers to apply for EB2-NIW? Or should I go ahead and apply for EB2-NIW right now? Will the fact that I've published peer reviewed papers in a different field affect the application?

That's a tough one. I'm not a big fan of NIWs anymore. I'd need to review your entire background but my gut is to go the EB1A route after your 5 peer-reviewed publications. I assume that there must be some connection between your EE work/background and your career in education. Is it STEM education?

It is STEM Education. I'm form India, which makes an EB2 route exceptionally long. Good to hear that EB1A is a possibility. Regarding the publications, do I need to wait for them to garner citations? or am I good to go as soon as I have them published?

Citations are helpful - more in support of the original contribution criterion - but not required.

Hi Peter, If you're on H1B and quit your job to do a startup (using O1 or E2 or another visa), and the startup doesn't work out, do you need to pass the lottery again if you need another H1B for a new employer? Any way to skip the lottery the second time?

No, you shouldn't have to go through the lottery again.

Two questions:

1. What is generally the best options for current H1B holders to start their own company?

2. Do you foresee any imminent changes in immigration policy, given the current political climate? I know this is not strictly a legal question, but I think it's a question many people have.

as a former founder, I can tell you that much that you cannot work for the company you founded on an H1B visa. You can found the company, but not be employed by it. You will need another visa like the O1 or E2 investor visa.

For an H1B you need to be fireable, i.e. have a board of directors that can fire you as a CEO. Otherwise USCIS will argue that you started the company to get yourself an H1b visa

In the absence of a startup option, the O-1 and the E-2 tend to be the best options. The H-1B, as correctly noted, requires the existence of an employee-relationship, which can be tough to demonstrate for the founder of a new/small company.

Could it be done concurrently? IE Found and work on a project whilst employed by the H1B company?


Peter - thank you for doing this!

For founders that have non-citizen employees: What is the best approach for assessing the risk that Trump's travel ban and/or immigration restrictions will affect your team? How much should one worry about the team's dependents (spouse, kids, parents) either because your team member is affected, or because they are independently affected? (eg, a US citizen employee is married to a non-citizen.) What are the key risks of new policies? If we have folks on different kinds of visas, are some "safer" than others? Any guidelines that founders should put in place in order to avoid risks created by new policies?

Thanks for help, there is a lot of FUD on this topic.

That's a complicated, fluid, and fact-specific question. Unfortunately, given what's at stake, you should retain an attorney to analyze the issues and risks and come up with some type of plan/solution.

Hi Peter,

From your perspective, how related is tech immigration policy to broader immigration policy? Does pushing for better access for well educated, successful people help or hurt the broader plight of people wishing to enter the United States? Is there any relationship between the sorts of questions people are asking here and policy around refugees, for example, or are these subjects completely unrelated? Can members of the tech community who are pressing to make it easier for (relatively) privileged people entering the U.S. be confident that that their lobbying isn't inadvertently disadvantaging other less fortunate immigrants and would-be immigrants?

Thank you for taking so much time for us!

Hi Peter, thank you so much for doing this.

I have a question related to the Green Card process with EB2/NIW and simultaneous O1 visa.

Say, someone is on an O1 that is expiring in August 2017. That person also has a Green Card EB2-NIW process ongoing: i140 accepted in December 2016, the NVC immigration visa process is currently on hold, waiting for acceptation of a G28.

Can the O1 visa be extended or can someone apply for another non-immigrant visa while waiting for the immigration visa / Green Card?

How long do you think it would take to get the G28 accepted (it has been 3 months now), and to get the Green card in this way, given the current situation?

How long do you think it would take to be granted an extension of an O1 visa?

Thank you very much.

Hi Peter! I had a question about H1-B visas. I was approved for a H1-B in the April, 2014 lottery and received my I-797 approval notice. But I never activated it since I changed jobs to work for an international organization under the G-4 visa in September, 2014. I'm now looking to go back onto the H1-B visa with a new employer. Would I need to go back and ask my new employer to apply for my H1-B in the lottery again? Or would it be possible for my new employer to transfer my previously approved H1-B petition?

Also, if it is possible to transfer the old visa, is there any time limit on its validity before I'd need to go back and apply via the lottery again?


As a general rule, USCIS's position is that you would need to go into the lottery again.

Thanks Peter. Would it be even worth applying for a transfer, and take a chance ?

That's really a personal decision but there's high risk that you'll have a problem.

Just wanted to say thanks for doing this.

Peter has been an awesome partner to work with on immigration issues in my last company - and we had a lot of challenges* - and even casual advice for myself over the years.

Thank you!

*one founder without a tertiary qualification, one kiwi founder

Hi Peter, thanks for your time! I'm an Australian currently looking for web development work (on E-3). I have a Bachelor of Design (Visual Communication) and 10 years dev experience.

If the job I apply for requires a 'Bachelor of Computer Science or equivalent' and they hire me based on experience, is it OK that my bachelor's isn't CompSci, to satisfy the E-3 requirements?

Is it better if the job listing requires just 'A Bachelor degree'?

Is it better if the job is front-end/UI related, where my degree is more relevant?

A recruiting manager for a large company had no problem with my E-3 elligibility, but from further reading I'm not so sure. Thanks!

Could you elaborate on these misconceptions about the standards for extraordinary ability for O-1 ?

I almost tried to get a O-1 but I was admitted in the H1B lottery.

The criteria are indeed very opaque and you can read very conflicting accounts on HN and elsewhere.

In short, while the standards are very high, almost always they are not as high as people believe so it's almost always worthwhile to have an experienced attorney evaluate your background.

Pretty much anyone with a Ph.D, core contributor to a major open source project, inventor of record on multiple patents, speaker at conferences, OR otherwise able to demonstrate that s/he is an expert in their field can get admitted on an O-1 visa, if they have good legal representation.

Could you elaborate on "core contributor to a major open source project"? Do you know examples of that?

I'm a relatively core contributor of druid.io project, struggling to get a touristic visa (2 failed attempts).

Well for example I know someone that was able to get an O-1 visa on the basis of being the expert on a piece of technology because he had for years been a major contributor to a business critical open source project. It's not enough to just point to github though, as your lawyer will tell you, you need prominent business people to vouch for your credentials. They are used to doing this though, if your company has the right connections.

Hey Peter, thanks for doing this! Two questions: (1) I had an H1B visa that was awarded starting with Oct 2011. However, I ended up never using it because I decided to stay in Europe. I have come back to the US in 2015 to get a 2-year MBA from a top 5 school and am considering applying for the H1B again in April of next year. Does this mean that I can only have the H1B for 3 years? What happens after 3 years? (2) I probably will never stay in the US if my husband cannot come and work here with me. Could you please confirm whether or not the spouses of H1Bs are allowed to work?

Thanks so much!

You should be able to get the full 6 years in H-1B status and H-4 spouses cannot work as H-4 spouses unless the H-1B principal has an approved I-140 petition.

Thanks! Is it hard to get the I-140 petition? How long does it take?

It depends on the path taken but it can take up to a year or longer.

Do L-1A/L-1B visa have minimum stay requirements?

As in, if someone is granted a L-1A/L-1B visa, but their job requires them to be physically present in the US 30% of the time and 70% elsewhere, could their visa be revoked?

The short answer is no. As long as the job is U.S. based, extensive travel outside should have no bearing on the continued validity of his L-1 visa.

Hi Peter,

my SO is going to the US to pursue her PhDs. She's on the F1 visa, so even as her spouse I would not be able to work there on F2 visa (if I understood it correctly). I am finishing my masters next June, currently working full time. Is it realistic for me to expect to get H1B as someone with only master degree and 18months full time work experience? Is the $130k/y limitation coming to force any time soon? Is EB1A something I should look more into?

I just started looking more into US visa, apologies if my questions are too naive. Thanks a lot for your input.

I have seen a lot of folks like you who come on F2 and manage to get a job. If your experience is relevant to your field you will find a job but you have to display a certain level of skills to get one. All the best

Hi Peter,

I'm an Australian planning to set up an Australian LLC equivalent for one of my side projects. In the near term I'm not planning to raise investment or hire employees, I just want to start working on this project full time.

I would also like to leave my options open. I believe that by establishing a company-employee relationship between myself and the company, I can make myself eligible for an L1 or B1 in lieu of H1B in the future.

Is it worth establishing this relationship, and if so what steps should I take? So far I only plan to pay myself a nominal salary.

Thank you

I'm a photography artist and have recently become also a tech start-up entrepreneur. We're now looking into moving into the US within the next year or so and I'm looking into the visa options. What would be the visa to apply as an start-up entrepeneur? I have also considered applying for the O-1 visa as an artist. Can I work as an artist if I have received my visa on the basis of the start-up and vice versa can I work in a tech start-up with an artist visa O-1? I am from the EU.

You might have multiple options such as an E-2 and an O-1 or even EB1A green card. Regarding your job flexibility, this will depend on the facts, how your job duties are defined, because you are broadly limited to doing what is represented in the O-1 petition.

Hi Peter and thank you very much! How strictly is the job duty limitation enforced and does it allow occasional exceptions that would be outside the job duty definition? Is having a wide job duty definition a hindrance for getting a visa?

Again, this is hard to answer in the abstract but for example, I see no issue with someone, who is an artist, getting an O-1 as an entrepreneur but as part of his or her job duties, doing artwork - but the artwork needs to be for the US company in your capacity as an employee of that company.

O1s are easy for artists, I know about somebody that worked on music software that got one in 2 months. Business related O1s are much harder

Do H1B visas granted outside the cap to employees of universities or nonprofits differ greatly from those granted to employees subject to the H1B cap?

I seem to remember reading that an H1B visa granted outside the cap could not be used for working for a company subject to the cap, you would have to reapply and be subject to the lottery. Which makes me nervous about green cards.

Could someone with an H1B and working for a university still apply for a green card? Or are H1B's granted for university/nonprofit work not eligible?


That's right, H-1Bs for certain nonprofits (cap-exempt entities) are not subject to the annual lottery/quota but if one wants to move from a cap-exempt H-1B to an H-1B with a cap-subject company, then one needs to go through the lottery. However, part-time concurrent H-1B employment with a cap-subject company is allowed. There is no restriction on pursuing a green card if one is working for a cap-exempt entity.

Awesome, thanks for the reply!

A friend was turned down for a B-1 visa, as they said that she did not provide enough evidence that she was settled in Budapest. She applied under B-1 as she was attending a 3 day conference inside a 3 week holiday.

She is from an ex-soviet state but was working for a major US investment bank at the time as a programer. She earns way above the local salary, but does rent an apartment, rather than own one. She was only 23 at the time.

What should she do next she time she applies? Or is it even worth her applying again?

It's almost always worth reapplying and (this is not to generate business for me or any other immigration attorney) given the denial, she should hire an immigration attorney so that she's well prepared for the interview.

Hi, I'm in the U.K. I work as an economist and am really interested in programming (reasonable component of my job, have made a couple of cool side projects and completed some online courses and programming challenges). Is it possible for me to use a Computer Science masters to find a full time programming/analytics job in the US, and if so what do I need to do to get in to the best program possible, given ba was in economics?

Hey Peter, Appreciate your taking the time to do this. I am 21 year old and I have done a course on photography from India. Now am getting internship opportunity in Chicago for 4-6 Months. I was wondering if you can suggest me the best way to enter U.S. and do this internship. My only reason to come to U.S. is to learn and intern under the photographer. Which will be the best way for the same? Thanks in advance.

Thanks for doing this Peter.

I am from India I filed for 485 through EB2 and I currently have an EAD when the priority date moved a while ago. The priority date has since receded and will be a few years before I can get my Greencard though.

I am currently working on my EAD and would like to start a startup and will be self employed very soon. Is this ok when my priority date becomes current.. Do you see any issues with my Greencard getting approved ?

Thanks !

Again, as noted above, to be able to port your green card application, your new employment needs to be in the same or similar occupation as your previous employment.

Hi Peter, I am currently on EAD/AP (Country of Chargeability: India, EB2, dependent applicant) awaiting AOS. It seems it will take another 4 to 5 years for my PD to be current and visa numbers to be available.

I have a startup and we have couple of paying clients. If we decide to setup a India office it is possible to transfer myself to the india subsidiary and get myself transfer back on Eb1 (Multi national executive).

Yes but you would need to have worked outside for the Indian company for at least one year and both the US and Indian companies would need to have some employees and be actively operating,

Are there been changes in the H1B process since last year ?

I was lucky enough to pass the lottery step .. but since then .. nothing. Apparently this is supposed to be normal but it is a bit infuriating that the process is that long and opaque.

Are there any classic potential hurdles in the H1B process for a well paid legitimate engineering job ? Or is it just a waiting game until the american government finally examines the dossier ?

Are you saying that the petition was selected in the lottery but you haven't heard yet whether it has been approved? If so, USCIS is now starting to review and approve cap-subject petitions so you should hear soon.

Thanks for the reply !

Yeah that's what I mean. I guess I just need to wait a little bit more ^^

I think so but I'd follow up with the company if you haven't heard by the end of July.

Thanks, will do !

Last year I was selected in the lottery and was not approved until late August when the company decided to pay for the premium processing since the attorney's estimates were that it would be adjudicated in January/17.

I had a friend selected in the same lottery, but with no premium processed and his approval came indeed in January/17.

This year it seems that there is no premium processing so everybody is in the same boat and the wait COULD be long.

Another friend that applied this year has been selected in the lottery and is waiting for the adjudication of the process.

Hi Peter, thanks for doing this AMA. I'm from India. Have used all 6 years of H1b, including the recapture time, and back on F1 visa status with pending CoS (second masters degree in US). I'm working on a few startup ideas, mostly based on Apps. I was hoping for IER, but that seems to be in a limbo.

What are the chances for a founder of a yet to be funded startup to get EB1A? or would you suggest O-1?

Again, it's hard to say in the abstract but as a general rule, an interim O-1 makes more sense since this allows you to build up your company and then use the company's success for your EB1A application.

Thanks for that info! is this the correct website http://www.robertsimmigration.com ?

Yes but my website is awful!

Thanks for the AMA Peter. My question is about premium processing of H1 visa. With premium processing halted, change of employer would have to go to regular H1 processing - which is a matter of months. What is your advise on employment transfer - one should wait till premium processing is resumed, or start working as soon as transfer receipt is obtained, or any other option/advice?

First of all, even without premium processing, H-1B petitions are getting approved relatively quickly (1-2 months). But if it's a solid H-1B petition, then there's really little risk to "port" after the petition has been received.

Thanks Peter!

I have an someone at work who is currently in the process of applying for a greencard renewal (f48 I think). They sent out their application nearly a year ago now and are still waiting for the result.

Is this cause for concern? Should they hire an immigration lawyer? Is there a chance for them to be denied even though they've been here over a decade as a productive, law-abiding member of society?

Yes, if it were me, I'd have someone look at this to make sure that there are no issues, just delays.

hey peter, Am living in the US (BayArea) on H1-B and my Green Card has just started - literally just started by submitting the documents via the employer's attorneys. If I want to start my start up, what are my options ? As a single founder ? As a co founder ? Should I be employed in my own company giving myself salary ? And is starting a company while on H1B even possible ?

What percentage of and how many YC companies/startups are affected by the travel ban from Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen?

That's not something that I can comment on.

Darn. No worries. I was hoping to hear something authoritative on that. There's a _lot_ of sensationalism in the news around the ban, but not a lot of hard facts.

Hi, I'm a software developer with 9 months experience in a big company with a b.s. In computer science from a top European school.

It seems impossible to get into the US at the moment, and my few attempts have failed. What should my expectations be in terms of getting a good company to accept to sponsor a visa in the current circumstances? Thank you very much for your AMA.

Interesting, that's the same experience I had trying to get a job in Germany!

Have you tried J1?

I am not familiar with this visa, but if I understand correctly it's aimed at students who require US entrance to complete their education, is intended for 'short' periods and you must return to your home country for two years before being able to apply for an inmigration visa.

This raises two issues: as a graduate, it would be hard to justify this visa unless I went to the US for a graduate degree, and it would not allow me to start long term career.

I would love to hear your thoughts about this, and thank you for your reply!

J1 is for internships. It is known to be exploited in white-collar work such as programming though. What this means is that you can get paid the normal sum and are treated (unless a shitty workplace) equally despite the visa implications.

You have a year or two (if I recall) of time to apply for a J1 once you have graduated. You don't study while on a J1.

And yes, J1 can be approved from 3 to 18 months. It's not a long time, but depending on what your goals are (if 95 in your name stands for year of birth, you are young, maybe just to experience the valley) then it might suit you.

I know people who have got H1Bs, O1s and L1s after J1. I'm not sure what the process is like, but AFAIK it includes some lawyering because J1 is a non-intent visa.

edit: I forgot to mention that the two year home residency requirement does not apply to you if you pay for your trip yourself. Only if you use government funding during your stay will you be applicable. Although I've heard that residents of certain countries can have the ban waived if needed. Not sure is that right though.

And to clarify, I'm no lawyer, but someone who was on J1 in the valley a year ago.

Hi Peter, I'm working with a L1B visa in US right now and will get an H1B approved soon. My employer filed H1B for me and will hold it for a couple of years without activating it until my L1B visa expires. The company is doing this so that I cannot change job. If I get an offer from a startup or Google will they be able to activate my H1B somehow?

That doesn't sound right but it's likely that USCIS will consider you as subject to the lottery again because you never activated the H-1B.

Thank you Peter. If I go through the lottery again I may have 35% chance to get a new H1B and use it after Oct. 2018. Many companies wanted to hire me could not wait till then. I'm considering to get legal help to activate the H1B I'm going to get very soon.

That makes good sense.

Thanks Peter for doing this. I have a question regarding the EB1A category. I recently received my I140 under EB2 category. I was wondering if I can apply for another I140 under EB1A category. My question is if I get rejected under EB1A do I keep my existing priority date (EB2) ? Also what are the chances of getting approval on EB2 to EB1? Thanks

Yes, you can file another (EB1A) I-140 petition and it's denial would have no bearing on your already-approved EB2 I-140 petition and priority date. Regarding your chances of success, it's impossible to say without knowing your background.

Hi Peter,

I am currently working for Hooli and I am awaiting AOS (with an approved I-140), but want to start my own startup. Is it really safe for me if my AOS is still pending for 180 days? How hard is it to show a startup CEO job (with potentially 0 salary) is similar to a Software Engineer job with a few hundred $ks?

Should I wait to get my actual green card and then quit?

As a general rule, it's not hard but the rub is what you note: the new position needs to be in the same or similar occupation as the previous position and although porting to your own company or self-employment is allowed, you must be prepared to show evidence of your ongoing active present and future work - such as contracts/revenues - with your new venture.

Hooli? Are you kidding me

I;m not sure that I understand. What's your follow-up question/concern?

Hooli is the fictional company from the show Silicon Valley.

Perhaps the company name the questioner meant to write got autocorrected but their username also contains "hooli" so I guess it's use is deliberate.

Hooli is a fictional company from the show Silicon Valley.

Hi peter,

Thanks for your AMA, I have one question. I am currently software professional in IT company in Germany. I have few plans for opening startup. After getting funding from US investor how much time it take to get O-1 VISA. What is major requirement for getting O-1 visa.

What if my startup fail. Can i continue to work in any other company like startup/MNC ?

Thanks in advance :)

It's impossible to assess chances in the abstract but from the time of filing an O-1 petition with USCIS until the issuance of the O-1 visa by a Consulate can be as little as 4 weeks (assuming no issues with the petition). The preparation time is hard to say but typically (depending on the facts of course) it is can be as little as 4 weeks and as much as 12 weeks.

Hi Peter, thanks for this AMA.

Just because the information isn't perfectly clear: how long can a green card be renewed for? I got mine a couple years ago, but I have to wonder how long it gives me to stay in the states beyond the 10 year term on the card. Is it really 'permanent' or does the renewal problem have any challenges?

It's really permanent unless one commits certain crimes or lives abroad for an extended period of time without taking certain protective steps beforehand.

if you have stayed abroad for a few years, and you wish to stay abroad and you don't mind losing the greencard, do you have to file anything to renounce it or is it enough that you just 'overstayed' abroad?

There's no requirement of a formal renunciation but from a tax liability standpoint, this sometimes make sense since you end up drawing a line in the sand.


Hi Peter, thank you for the AMA.

If an H1B visa application got accepted for a start date in October 2017, how long after this start date would the person still be able to come to the US to work and still claim the visa? Does the visa expire if it's unused? Can they come a few months late (December 2017 - January 2018)?

Hi Peter.

It is my understanding that getting a visa is a tough process. Is trying to get a visa as a UK resident whilst having a police caution (not a conviction - but the US doesn't have this distinction) on their record a complete non-starter?

For the wider audience, are there any red flags that will prevent someone from obtaining a visa?


Hi Peter,

Thanks for offering to do this. According to new USCISs rules , if you are on H1b and you were let go, you can be in the US two months to find a new job and have your H1 transferred.

What happens if you stay say slightly over 2 months and find a job later? In what ways can you run into trouble ?

So the 60-day grace period wouldn't apply meaning that you would have to leave the US and then reenter to start working for your new H-1B employer. And if this period of time after the 60-day grace period went on for a while, it could impact your ability to get visas in the future.

Hi on the topic of visa mobility-

I am an e2 visa holder from a mid sized company. What are the options for moving on to my own startup? Is the green card process the quickest route? E2 doesn't allow me to work on a side business, but can I incorporate and not pay myself a salary ?

Hello Peter, I'm a Grad Student with 5 years of Industry experience on a non-immigrant visa (F1). I intent to take up residency in the U.S. after graduating.

Is getting a job (H1 -> EB1/2/3 -> GC the only path or could I do a startup (no huge investment)?

An H-1B as a U.S. graduate is a good option and an O-1 through your own startup might also work but I'd need to know a lot more about your background and potential startup.

What are the realistic "extraordinary achievement" conditions of an O-1 visa?

The information online makes it seem that it is for olympic medal, nobel prize and oscar winners.

It's nuanced so it's hard to define but oftentimes the creation of a company that is doing something novel is enough to support an O-1 even if the company has limited funding or clients.

I have a contractor out of the Netherlands that I'd like to bring full time as an employee to the US (we're a tech company, he does biz dev), what's the best visa we should pursue? Any high level challenges/issues we should expect?

The options are limited to an H-1B or an O-1, both of which have challenges issues. Is the US company US- or foreign owned?

US C corp

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact