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I’m Peter Roberts, immigration attorney who does work for YC and startups. AMA
284 points by proberts on Aug 25, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 403 comments
I’ll be here for the next 2 hours and then again at around noon (Pacific) for another 2 hours. 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. Please stick to a factual discussion in your questions and comments and I'll try to do the same in my answers!



What advice do you have for someone who's on a H1B visa, wants to co-found a startup, incorporate it, work on it part-time until it receives VC funding, and continue working at their H1B "day job" in the interim?

My understanding is that the H1B visa does not allow you to do any work for anyone apart from your visa sponsor. If a co-founder were to spend his evenings working on his startup which has been incorporated, I'm not sure if that would conflict with the above regulation, and if so, how to work around this.

I'd be happy to contact you privately if you prefer that.


It's possible to have two H-1B employers, one based on full-time employment and another based on part-time employment. This is referred to as concurrent H-1B employment and it requires two approved H-1B petitions.


So it's possible to found a company to sponsor a H1B for myself?


A lawyer once explained to me that there needs to be an employer - employee relationship. Basically, there needs to be a possibility of being fired. So if you have total control of a company the H1B visa would not be possible.


Not a lawyer: Yes, as long as there is an employer-employee relationship. Meaning, someone in your company should have the power to fire you, usually a Board of Directors.


I have the same question as well.


That's right, in the H-1B context, there needs to be an employer-employee relationship between the petitioning company and the sponsored worker and this (in the eyes of USCIS) ultimately means the ability of the petitioning company to fire the sponsored worker and otherwise control his or her employment.


So basically for a person on H1B to startup, can we take below as steps ? Please correct me if i am wrong !

1. A decide's to startup.

2. A find's 2 US citizens B & C as co-founders.

3. A gives idea to B & C and asks them to build a PRODUCT.

4. A takes 49% ownership, B & C takes 25.5 % ownership.

5. B & C finished building a MVP or SLC PRODUCT.

6. B & C apply for VC Fund.

7. B & C get X fund from Z.

8. B & C incorporate a COMPANY.

9. COMPANY sponsors H1B for A and hires A as co-founder.

10. A joins COMPANY.

11. A & B & C continue building their PRODUCT.

12. PRODUCT becomes successful.

13. A applies for STARTUP based Visa.

14. A becomes US Citizen

15. A starts COMPANY B.

Kindly tweak or update to fix any mistake in this process. I think it will be of great help to many and benefit everyone.


Oh wow !! So for giving the idea A takes 49% ownership?!


> COMPANY sponsors H1B for A and hires A as co-founder.

You cannot be hired as a cofounder you need to be hired as an employee.


"cofounder" is a legally meaningless SV term. There are three ways you can be associated with a company

1. Shareholder (anyone in the world, except few countries with sanctions)

2. On board of directors (varies from case to case)

3. Employee (requires immigration status)


Can one be hired as a CEO or CTO?

Does that count as an employee?

If one is a software developer at present in current petition can such person transfer his H1B to a role of CTO?

Are there any challenges in this?


A CEO, CTO, CFO, CXO etc. are all "employees", technically an employee is someone who works for the company (unpaid work also counts) the company.

E.g. You can have 100% equity, be sole shareholder, pay money to a manager/employee to conduct work/business. You can even derive a dividend from the said business. however you cannot "engage in business" which means that you cannot write code whose IP gets assigned to the company. You also cannot have day-to-day management responsibilities. If I remember correctly planning a business and/or attending meetings of board of directors is allowed.

At end of the day shareholding pattern trumps everything else.


100% equity would mean A would have 100% control right?

Then nobody can fire A. Hence 49%.

Can A have 100% ownership and incorporate a COMPANY and then assign BOD to COMPANY Where BOD have control over A but no ownership in company?

In this config can A just hire a employee D and pay him minimum wage according to DOL.

https://www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/america.htm

Would this setup work?


The problem here is if you are A, then no one will give 49% stake to you because of your idea. This only works on paper but in reality you will get screwed.



Just wanted to say that not enough people know about the Green Card Diversity Lottery https://www.dvlottery.state.gov.

The odds are kinda small and there are restrictions but I know at least three people who got their green card this way.


I've been told by attorneys that applying for the Green Card lottery does not come without risk--in fact it can prevent you from obtaining a non-immigrant visa.

For example, when applying for an F or J visa (student/post-doc, say) the consular officer will ask you if you have intent to emigrate. The only allowed answer is a firm "No and I have permanent connections to my home country."

If you've applied for the green card lottery in the past, the consular officer could interpret this as having intent to emigrate and then deny you on any other non dual-intent visas.


IANAL, so take it with a grain of salt. This is a super conservative interpretation though. Anecdotally, I myself have received an F-1 visa despite having applied for diversity lottery (unsuccessfully). If I recall correctly, I may have at some point seen an explicit guidance on the DoS website to the effect that a mere DV lottery application (without a successful followup petition) is not necessarily indicative of immigrant intent for non-immigrant visa application purposes. I cannot find it though, the page seems to be 404ing.


This is really great to know. I'm on a TN visa, NAFTA based, which also has the "this is temporary and I dont plan to stay" stipulation.


Lucky(?) for you Mexicans and Canadians are not eligible for the diversity lottery :)


Good point and depending on country of nationality, the odds can in fact be pretty good.


Having been born in Oman, a country with historically low rates of immigration to the United States, I have never won in years of applications.

Are the odds still good?


How many times did you try? I think the rate is like 2-3% for most countries.


Here are the odds, by country. Rate of legal immigration doesn't seem to be a primary determinate for that country's odds. www.usagreencardlottery.org/green-card-statistics.jsp


Slight nit: you want to add http to that so it gets linkified.

Thanks for posting it. It's super-interesting. I always suspected the chance for my country (Australia) was _reasonably_ good. This bears that out. In fact it might even be higher (5%) than I'd expected.

That being said I tried like 6-8 times and never won. But that's not too surprising even at 1 in 20.

In fact I think I've only ever met one person who had won this. As it happened he was from Russia.


There are quotas by "geographic region" (roughly, continent): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diversity_Immigrant_Visa#Distr...

Oceania (Australia, New Zealand and some other islands) happens to have few applicants relative to its regional quota.


What does "Winning Chances" mean? It is often very different from "Winning % By Country".


I had trouble figuring that out as well. Maybe it's "total wins proportion-out-of-100"? It seems to scale with the absolute count.

If it is that, then it's a terrible name.


5


also, can one apply for Green card lottery while they are on TN visa?


Not a lawyer, eligibility is based upon being born in a country with low immigration to the US. I neither Canada nor Mexico qualify although I can't find the exact list right now.


I'm an Australian citizen but was born in Pakistan. Do I go in the Australian queue or Pakistani queue for green card lottery?


You go in the Pakistani queue. One of my friend who is an Indian citizen can apply because he was born in Kuwait while folks who were born in India cannot apply.


How stupid. I am an Australian for all intents and purposes.


If you're married to an Australian (non-Pakistani), you can "cross-charge" your GC application to your spouse. This is true for employer-based GC, may apply to diversity visa as well.


I believe one of the reason for having that rule is to prevent people buying citizenship of some poor country and then use that to apply for the lottery.

Selecting by country of birth prevents those shenanigans.


I tried once about 15 years ago and didn't succeed. I can imagine the pool of applicants is even larger these days, if it can be done via the internet.


survival bias?


A decade+ ago I won the lottery on my third year trying. I got the winning notice the same month I got the Canadian immigrant visa (obtained as Skilled Worker) stamped in my passport. We chose to go to Vancouver.

I don't know about survivor bias but I think the movies were right. The odds are ever in you favor, and you can't see past the choices you don't understand ;)


haha, my GF had exactly same situation, fortunately for me she chose US!


I knew them when they were on their previous respective visas too.


Hi Peter, thanks for sharing info on what I feel is quite an unknown subject to an outsider. I have a general question for you:

As a skilled software developer with a relevant UK university degree (3 years BSC) and work place experience, interested in working in the US - What is the ballpark range of costs and wait time involved in getting a visa to allow me to work for a US company.

What's the general procedure, - get offer from job, then -talk to immigration lawyer, or the other way around?

Thanks!


(Not a lawyer, but US immigrant pretty familiar with E/F/H/J/L/O visas and Green card)

There are some exceptions but the procedure is usually : get a job offer from an employer that is willing to sponsor you, then talk to a lawyer... But a lawyer might be able to help you find ways to immigrate without a job offer, but that seems pretty unlikely to me.

The H-1B visa would normally be one of the 'classic' ways to be authorized to work in the US in your situation, the problem being that in recent years demand has far exceeded the available number (annual cap). For example this year 199,000 petitions were received during the first week, for only 85,000 H-1B available (including 20k for holders of advanced US degree). Therefore the USCIS now holds a lottery to determine which petitions will be reviewed first, and once 85k petitions are approved, you have to wait another year to apply...

The cost for an H-1B is nil for an H-1B as the employer has to pay for it and cannot ask you to reimburse those fees. You might have to pay in order to have dependants (wife, kids) added to your petition though.

The problem used to be to find an employer willing to sponsor you for the visa (the difficulty varies greatly depending on your industry), now the H-1B visa cap makes it more of a time issue unfortunately.

Other options you might look into depending on your how long you would like to work in the US: J-1 for an internship, E-2 for a company whose 'nationality' is the same as yours, L visas for a transfer to the same company in the US, F-1 visa for studies, and the O-1 visa which I will let you research by yourself and/or discuss with an attorney (the qualifications aren't as difficult at they may seem, trust me)


really appreciate this rough guide thanks!


Some experience here UK -> L1 -> GC -> Citizen.

It's worth considering the L-1 visa route - work in the UK office of a US-based company for 1 year and you become eligible.

One disadvantage, you are bound to the L-1 employer in the US unless you can get a H1-B, work visa or family-based visa (yes, I found myself a green card wife of nearly 10 years now).

The L-1 process was a lot of paperwork, but the sponsoring company paid. The rest we did ourselves without a lawyer. Big fan of http://www.visajourney.com - lots of folk in similar situations and howto guides.

Happy to talk more if it's helpful, either here or my username at gmail.


I followed much the same route, but I can't recommend it as a strategy for someone looking for a path to the USA, given you have to work for said employer for a year then hope they will consider sponsoring you. Unless you have hard to find skills, I don't think many employers will offer this option at interview time, given you are still not a fully known quantity until you've actually started working somewhere. Those on L1s in this industry are usually there by accidents of fate rather than a grand plan in my experience!

The H1 or entering education in the USA are probably the two main methods, but even those have gotten significantly more difficult as others have pointed out (H1 cap etc).


That’s fair. Personally I think it depends on where someone is in their career and how urgent they wish to move.

Whilst not immediate, a lot of the other visas offer a faster or more direct path to entry in the US.

If you are graduating, not necessarily sure what you want to do and you see a potential US move a few years down the road then I think the L1 route is still a very good option. In my case I had worked for a big company for a few years and applied for a new role internally, visa process was painless and I think took around 6-8 weeks total - the L is not subject to caps so once your company is willing to sponsor, things tend to move rather quickly.


I would probably talk with an immigration attorney first to understand what is even possible because sometimes, unfortunately, there are no good immigration options.


I have a criminal record in the UK. I was convicted approx 5 years ago for criminal damage, drunk and disorderly and resisting arrest. I was given a small fine in magistrates court.

I have otherwise a great record and have set up multiple companies employing approx 100 people here, including many awards and recognitions.

What are my chances of being able to move to the US?


I would need to review the court and police records to see if a waiver is required but based on what you are stating, even if a waiver were required, you would get one (although it's a 6+-month process to get a waiver).


Could you recommend an attorney in London I could speak to? I assumed I was a no go for a waiver.


Serious question: if you have setup multiple companies with 100 employees (per company or total?) then why move to USA? If you are UK-citizen then it would make more sense to stay in UK and continue your success, since you seem to be good at it!


The weather? Source: UK citizen wishing to move to the US.


There are countless of reasons why people want to move to the US. From getting married, to living in Los Angeles, to business opportunities...


That's total. I still have the American dream, don't think we are scratching the surface in terms of possibilities.


Bigger market. Venture capital.


I've used up all 6 yrs on H1b (including recapture) and currently transitioning to F1, I'm exploring the O-1 visa. I'm an Indian citizen, born in India.

Question 1: Can I qualify for an O-1 visa if I'm part of a company as a co-founder/CXO that's been accepted in Y-Combinator or similar programs? (does that satisfy the "attained membership in associations that require outstanding achievements....."?)

Question 2: In the mean time, if I want to register a company in the US (for liability reasons) to release a free app in the app store, can I do it under my current visa status (change of status from H1 to F1) if there are no plans of monetizing the app in the near future?

Thanks


Regarding your first question, acceptance into YC definitely carries a lot of weight and can go a long way toward supporting an O-1 petition. Regarding your second question, as long as you are not receiving any value for your work (with value not being limited to cash compensation), then I see no issue with your release of a free app to help others.


Follow up question based on "value not being limited to cash compensation"

So it'll work well until getting accepted into a program like ycombinator, but I'll have to explore the O-1 visa options after getting accepted? Thanks.


It's a bit more nuanced than that, meaning that a work visa isn't necessarily required.


So on H1B one can create an android app and upload to play store? If it is just for learning purpose and not going to derive any value?


I won the green card diversity lottery and will finalize the process in about a month when I land in the USA. After that I'll be a permanent resident. I'll stay for a few months to set things up, leave for a few more months to sell some property and then move there permanently.

If things don't go very well and I decide to relinquish the green card and return, will I be subject to any kind of exit tax?

Also, I'm having a lot of trouble setting up an address to receive the physical card. A PO Box or mail aggregator is not acceptable and I can only change the address up to the point of entry. This is a major concern for me because I don't have anyone in the USA that could receive it on my behalf.

Is it possible to use "General delivery" near my arrival airport to get the card? I ask because up to 2 weeks ago I didn't even know about that concept so I'm still exploring that possibility.

Thank you for your time.


Regarding your first question, you should consult a tax accountant but the short answer is that the penalty provision doesn't apply unless and until you have been a permanent resident for at least 8 years. Regarding your second question, this can be a real issue and one option is to hire an attorney for the sole purpose of having your green card delivered to him or her. Whoever this is should charge you next to nothing so this might make sense.


Thank you for your answer. I had read about the 8 year rule but was afraid that there might be any other condition (like making more than ~ 100K in one year)

Regarding the address, I didn't know hiring an attorney was possible for that because I keep reading that the address must be a residential address. It's ridiculous that this can't be updated after one lands, but such is life and bureaucracy.

I still have a few weeks and will try to hire someone in my arrival city remotely.

I take it from your answer, the "General Delivery" is not an option? I find that strange because that would imply me having to identify myself to get the mail, so in a way it's actually more reliable than using a friend's address.

Thank you for generously letting us use your time.


The mis-delivery of green cards and work cards isn't uncommon and can really mess up the process so it's better to be conservative.


I'll start looking for an immigration lawyer right away since this is the only loose end.

If things go really wrong my passport stamp is good for one year and from what I understand I'll still be a permanent resident, it'll just be more difficult for me to demonstrate that.


That's right.


Would applying for a green card on a TN Visa be considered a violation of the non dual-intent of the visa and prevent me from renewing/applying for TN Visa at the border?

Context: naturalized Canadian citizen (Indian born) on a TN Visa working in the states.

From what I have read, green card applications are determined by country of birth, and for India are upwards of 3 years. So, I would like to know if an application for a green card would jeopardize future TN Visas at the border.

Thanks a lot for doing this AMA, Peter!


Yes, although you can apply for a green card while in TN status, a green card filing could compromise your ability to obtain TN classification in the future.


Are there legal ways to be hired as remote worker for a company that only has operations in the US and live/work from another country? Edit: As a Non-Us citizen.


One option is sole proprietor as a contractor. No benefits. Pay for your own equipment, office, telecom. Do your own payroll deductions. Ask for more comp in return.

As an independent contractor the client does not create a tax nexus in your country.


Edit 2: what if I am a US citizen but want to live in another country and work for a US based company remotely... how live as expat?


As a general rule, US immigration does not come into play for employment outside the US even if the foreign-based worker is an employee of the US company. Regarding employment abroad by US citizens, that will depend in part on the laws of the country where the US citizen is residing and tax treaties between the US and that country.


There are no legal barriers for this but few companies hire outside US.


Peter, I am in H1B visa working full time for my employer, but I am also a co-founder with equal equity (nothing on paper as on date) for a startup incorporated in Delaware.

Is it legal to be a co-founder (and own equity) in a startup other than the employer who sponsored my H1B? If yes, what I need to do? Thanks.


It is legal but you just can't be compensated for services rendered to the startup unless you have work authorization to do so.


Thanks Peter.

So, to get the work authorization I need to apply for a H1B Concurrent visa. Correct me If I am wrong.


That's right.


Hi Peter,

I'll finish my PhD in ECE around May 2018 and look for employment in the Bay Area. Do you think I should apply for NIW (I have over 300 citations and 10+ peer reviewed publications) or go through the process with H1B?

My wife and our son are on F2 visa right now. My wife is a computer engineer and was not allowed to work on F2 visa during my PhD. Can she work as an H1B dependent? Do you think it is worth to spend $10K to obtain NIW?


I would need to know more but it sounds like you would have a strong EB1A extraordinary ability green card application so I would just go this route. And the NIW route is very slow and the law oftentimes misapplied by USCIS so it's not necessarily an easier standard to meet.


Thank you for your response!

I have actually contacted an immigration attorney and she said that I would have a strong case for NIW EB2 (not EB1) application.

However, I'm still not sure if I should go the OPT->H1B-> permanent resident route or apply to EB2 for a faster outcome.

I know that companies have lost interest in employing foreigners so the EB2 might come handy in the job search.


I don't want to take issue with your attorney's assessment because she knows your background better but oftentimes people underestimate their EB1A qualifications and go down the wrong path.


I see! Actually, her assessment was preliminary so I will research further into EB1. Who knows :)

Thank you very much for your time and response. Have a great day!


Best of luck.


If I'm aware that a member of my company is an illegal immigrant, what can I do to protect them and the company?


What can I do to report and deport said illegal immigrant? Also, which legal authorities can be notified to punish said company?


Your obligation is to employ people who are authorized to work in the US and not to knowingly employ people who aren't authorized to work in the US. So, once you learn that an employee isn't authorized to work, your obligation is to terminate the employment relationship. You have no further obligation to report this person to the government.


OP here

Obviously the above and below situations are hypothetical. I am currently between jobs, and have never been an employer.

Let's imagine I was aware that a coworker is an illegal immigrant. Do I have any obligation to take some kind of action?

Would it make a difference if one of the C-level employees was the illegal immigrant?


If your non-action could be construed as sheltering/encouraging/aiding the illegal alien with employed in the USA, you're committing a felony. Other coworkers could of course report you for that felony. Here:

http://www.fairus.org/issue/the-law-against-hiring-or-harbor...


I am going to sign off now but I'll be back on again this weekend to respond to any final questions and comments. As always, it's been a pleasure conversing with everyone. I always learn something. Thanks.


Hi Peter,

I'm in US on a TN visa and started a company (no revenue/no employees) to list apps on app store. When I went to renew my TN status, Immigration officer gave me a bit of a hard time saying I needed approval to open this business from Homeland Security. Is this true?


That's not correct but there are issues nonetheless in that the TN does not permit self-employment and further USCIS and CBP oftentimes will deny TN applications where the applicant is a founder or part-owner.


Will CBP give TN applicants a hard time if they are a part-owner with less than a majority share in the company?


Hi Peter, I'm working in the US for a big tech company with an H1B1 visa (something like a lightweight version of the H1B, but exclusive for people of Chile and Singapore). My wife is a US citizen. I want to apply for a Green Card, but I'm not sure what's the path that I should follow. Is it more likely to get it through my marriage or through my employer? Is there any otherrelevant reason why should I choose one over the other?


Through your US citizen spouse, no question.


I'm going to take break now for an hour or so and then return. Thank you for all the great questions and comments!


As a Canadian citizen married to an American - would voluntarily abandoning your permanent residency (say, to live in your home or a third country for a few years) make it more difficult to re-obtain permanent residency in the future?


No.


Hi Peter, I have heard they call you the James Bond of immigration. What do you think you this nickname and how did you get it?


That is really funny. I don't know. Probably just my good looks.


Hi Peter!, first off, just wanted to say thanks for all the help you provide here! Its nothing short of amazing!

I'm currently on an H1B, but I'd like to set up an ecommerce store with a friend. I understand that itself may not have enough grounds to get an O1 visa. Is there any other workaround for this scenario?


What's your country of citizenship?


India


Then the O-1 and H-1B are your only options. While ownership/control is generally not an issue in the O-1 context, it is in the H-1B context so to proceed with an H-1B, you would have to cede ownership/control to your cofounder.


Let me just say "thanks" for your help with our immigration needs!

Because Peter is probably too modest to self-promote, let me do it for him: working with him is great, it was completely friction-free and we got our employee's visa situation handled very, very quickly. Highly recommend.


Hi Peter, thank you for doing this. I am in the process of starting my own company in Norway, and I am planning on applying for YC within next year. I am wondering, if we get accepted, what will be the best way for me to legally start a US company, and work for it in the US for three months? I've heard that H1B will not be possible since there would be employer - employee relationship, so what would be a good option? You did mention O1, but I am afraid I do not qualify since Inam straight out of university.

YC says that they accept 10+ non US companies for each batch, do you know what visa they use while in the US?


Hi Peter,

If I want to enter the US under the TN visa, do I have to get a job offer that says its only for a period up to three years (the max TN term)? What should the job offer letter say about the period of employment, if anything at all?


Yes, you need a job offer and the initial requested period cannot exceed 3 years. The offered job needs to be within one of the listed NAFTA occupations and the job offer letter needs to demonstrate this and also show that your education is in the right field.


Hi Peter,

Indian Citizen here. I have a startup incorporated via Stripe Atlas. If it reaches $1 Million in annual revenue, can I qualify for EB5 green card?

Or if I have around $500K in revenue and raise $250K from investors, does that help with EB5?


No OP but for EB5 you need million dollar in assets not revenue and you need to hire 10 people in the US.


Hi Peter, thank you for doing this.

What are the steps towards citizenship after one got Green-Card via H1B -> Green-Card route under the current administration's laws? Are there any changes and new restrictions, etc.?


No changes yet and the naturalization process is generally very easy, 5 years as a permanent resident to qualify (unless married to a U.S. citizen for 3 years, then only 3 years to qualify). USCIS's web site provides very good information about the natz process.


My wife is a non-US citizen (Mexico) but has lived in the US for her entire life as a permanent resident. As in, she was born in a Mexican hospital but was taken directly across the border to her home in the United States when she was released to her parents.

It's my understanding that if she ever decides to pursue citizenship that it's generally easier to go the permanent resident qualification route vs. the marriage route. Is this understanding correct?


As far as I know it is irrelevant. If she is a permanent resident and has lived in the USA for more than 5 years that 's it.

I am confused by your question. Are you sure she is a legal permanent resident ?


Yes, she is a green card holder.

My question is only whether the marriage route to citizenship takes more time, effort and money than the route of permanent residency for 5 years.


Thank you! :)


Hi Peter, has the been any uptick in RFEs and denials for H1 applications and transfers under the current administration? Have there been any other noticable changes for startup immigration under this regime?


There's been a huge uptick in RFEs.


Does this have any material impact on the H1 process or is it simply an annoyance?


It's more than annoyance unfortunately. RFEs can delay the process significantly and can impact the continued employment of those in F-1 OPT status - and in the end, I think that there will be more denials.


Hi Peter. I am a US permanent resident and will be moving and starting work in US soon. My wife is not a permanent resident or citizen of US. I'm aware that I can apply for an F2A visa for my wife, but she will have to wait outside the US for nearly 2 years.

Is there a way she can be in US, with me, while she waits for her permanent residency?

Things we had considered: a) she can stay in US and work with a US company (unlikely) b) she can stay in US and work remotely with her company outside US. c) she stays in US and takes up studying d) she stays in US and just waits.

Thanks for your advice.


Hi Peter, thanks for doing this. I'm on L1B, and I was surprised to receive 221(g) while renewing my visa.

I was told to wait for 2-6+ months for a response and crossed my existing visa that expires end of the year.

If my visa expires before hearing back, does that mean I lose my job in the US? It's a European company so they might offer me to transfer back to the UK.

Do I have any rights in such a situation? like ask for a reason for this, or perhaps a severance pay? can I still visit my spouse (in MA) on an ESTA given this is considered a visa rejection for now?

Thanks again.


This is a complicated scenario and I would need to know all the facts to respond. Please email me offline.


Your HN profile does not contain your email address, you may want to add it. It's confusing because the 'email' field is not shown publicly, you need to add it to the about field.


Sorry. It's proberts@robertsimmigration.com.


If NAFTA talks break down and the treaty is cancelled, what could happen to Canadian workers on TN visas?


My understanding is that there would need to be separate Congressional action to do away with the TN, which I personally think is unlikely. But if that happened, then the impact on those in TN status would depend on the details of the legislation doing away with the TN.


Consider the following scenario: a foreign (non-resident alien) founder gets funded in the US, standard C-Corp. The founder and the entire team are based in another country. The founder comes to the US once in a while for somewhat extended stays (~1month) to fundraise, do deals, etc. Regular B1/B2 visa. But expectedly, they will still do a bit of work in the meantime. Are they in violation of the B1/B2? If so, would being paid by a foreign subsidiary help it?


Not a lawyer, to be on the safe side - you would want to avoid a scenario where you are getting paid or do anything that may be treated as skilled labor while on a B1/B2 visa. Breaking this may be grounds for revoking your visa status.

You can be compensated for your travel, meal, lodging expenses from a US entity, and you can take meetings, close deals, fundraise, and perform other business activities.

Update: You may have personal funds in your country that you would use for covering your expenses and that should be okay. Any ambiguity with such costs being a payment (you mentioned it a subsidiary) for services rendered should be avoided.


Hi Peter, currently on my 3rd E-3 visa with the same employer as a 'Public Relations Specialist'. My employer is now starting the green card process. They are preparing the application, and have updated the job description to reflect my current responsibilities and minimum requirements.

My BA major is a field called "Performance Studies', which is an obscure interdisciplainry sub-field of Social Sciences and Humanities. My specific research is directly related to my job - experiential marketing in nonprofits, and my employer considers this a "related field" to Marketing, Communications or Public Relations major.

My issue is that my employer does not want to list "Performance Studies" as a required major in the minimum requirements, but my lawyer is recommending we do this to avoid a denial. What are my chances of approval if we list minimum requirement as "BA degree in Marketing, Communications, Public Relations, or related field" - with Performance Studies + my specific research as the 'related field'? I'm finding it hard to get advice from peers as most people I speak with applied for their GCs as engineers or mathmatics majors - your thoughts are much appreciated!


Do you have co-workers that do the same job you do?

If you do whatever job description they draw for you needs to apply to your coworkers as well. They can't say your job description requires a degree on "Performance Studies" while having other people on the same function with Marketing degrees.

PS: I'm not a lawyer, this info is based on legal advice I had when doing my own green card process from L1


Thanks Dudus, this is a good point. I have coworkers who do similar parts of my job, but their role requires they do their function exclusively while my role requires that I do it all.


I am also on an E-3 visa, but as far as I understand there is no path to obtaining a green card. The intention of the E-3 is that you will not remain permanently in the US and so it is not possible to become a permanent resident.


This is incorrect. There are many articles on the topic that you can easily search online.


Hi, i'm looking in possibility of setting up subsidiary for US firm for which i'm currently working as contractor to qualify for L1 visa after next year of work.

I'm curious about last sentence in subsidiary definition:

"(parent) owns, directly or indirectly, less than half of the entity, but in fact controls the entity."

What are possible examples of control without ownership? What legal documents can be provided to prove such relationship?


That is part of the definition but USCIS rarely accepts it. This would somehow mean control of the board of directors of the sub.


Please all H1Bs of Indian nationality. Do not waste your time, age, money and family life waiting for H1B based GreenCard. Its a lost cause. Move to Canada, Australia or somewhere else. Live a good life rather than being indentured servants for US corporations for a good chunk of your productive age. I moved to Canada some years back and I am really happy about my decision.


Not to move too far afield from immigration but my take on this is similar but slightly different: it's easier said than done but my advice is not to let the goal of a green card dictate decisions about where to work - that is, don't pass up good opportunities because of immigration considerations.


(throwaway account)

After 12 years (of which 7+ years waiting for a green card) I have come to a similar conclusion.

How do you compare living in Canada vs USA , like schools and opportunities for spouses ?


I waited for 3 years in a top American company and I concluded that I will be wasting all my productive years for a GreenCard.

What use is a GreenCard to me when I am old ?

What will happen to my kid's school and education if I am forced to move from one location to another ?

What if I buy a home and I cant live in that because I have to move to another state ?

Why can't I accept job roles which differs 50% than the one in my PERM ?

Why should I redo my LCA if the next job is more than 50 miles ?

Should I stay put in a place and do not ask for salary raise till I get my greencard ?

To hell with all these draconian immigration system.

So I opened up my stackoverflow careers for jobs in Canada, landed a job and they processed my temporary work permit(in 4 months time). Landed in Canada in 2014 and within 1 year we became a permanent residents through the Express Entry program. We bought a home recently.

Salary:

Since I was on H1B, I was given very less (110K) compared to American counterparts who does the same job. But the Canadian employer did not see me like an indentured servant. I was paid more than the US salary. (conversion considered).

The quality of schools I cannot comment because we do not have any kids yet.

Spouse can work !

My wife could not work in the US (She is a masters degree holder). She was sitting in the apartment watching Indian TV channels all day and trying out new dishes. I knew she was getting frustrated day by day.

My wife got a job within 2 months after landing in Canada befitting her education and experience.

We didn't mind the cold. We cared for equal treatment, freedom in life, acceptance and a peaceful life. We got everything as we expected after moving here. We have started to enjoy our life now.


Glad you made the move. Thank you for the info, will explore more.

I have changed jobs about 5 times, each time the new employer had to redo the I-140 (retaining the priority date from the first application).

The whole process is so broken. My colleagues from east Europe could get their green card within a year of application and yet Im forced to wait for years!


I fully understand. Australia is another option if not Canada. For me, I don't like to live on the edge, every decision I made in the US was dependent on my visa. Why should I risk and depend on my luck for US immigration's mercy when I have the skills ? I did not know the pitfalls of US broken immigration system when I came to the US. If I knew earlier, I would have immigrated somewhere else. Anyways all I can say is 4 years of my life was wasted by staying in the US.


You are only an "indentured servant" if you're not good enough in your field to demand a competitive salary. Please don't put everyone in the same bucket as you.


With your skills can you get an H1B ? or is it luck ? Say you are an exceptional skilled worker. Do you have any priority for getting a greencard ? If you are EB1 I agree you are exceptional. But with EB2, can you with your skills get a greencard or do you have to be under the mercy of your employer & wait 10 years ? Hence the indentured servitude.


after the move, how much pay cut you have to bear with


In fact my pay increased, I know many think that Canadian employers pay less or something. But if you get the right employer, they pay good enough. My spouse also works now. So we together bring home a good chunk of bacon.


I have one company in India and another in US and I am the CEO of both. Same name and same directors (Indian citizens) but not a subsidiary .The India company is 4 years old and US company 1.5 years.For the US company we have US Bank account , Tax filing etc. I visit US in B1 frequently , what is the best option for me to pursue Green card. Is L1A a good option?


I went to Los Angeles and did a summer job at Axiotron in 2008. Then I tried to convert to a student visa when I moved to study at UCSB for an exchange programme.

My address changed, and I never got a letter asking for proof of funds. The USCIS didn't recognise the letter from my parents' bank.

I petitioned to reopen the application when I found out it was denied. I waited for months, and eventually was given 30 days to leave the country because I didn't have $25,000 cash in my own name (I was 19 years old. I still don't have that much money now). Thankfully I was already scheduled to leave 7 days later - the process had taken the entire year, so I finished my exchange programme.

I think that means the US kicked me out, and I can never get a visa to go back. I did travel there as a tourist once, over land from Canada just in case.

Is it worth ignoring any opportunity to work in Silicon Valley because of that bad experience? I'd rather work in New Zealand or Canada or (stay) in Taiwan anyway.


Hi Peter, thanks for doing this!

If a recent college grad is on OPT, and lets say they majored in actuarial science (STEM), are they allowed to make money selling crafts and art that aren't related to the major? I know there's a clause for jobs unrelated to your major, but I wasn't sure if this applied to selling art or having art showings. How does this work?

Thanks!


Unfortunately, that would be viewed as work and since it's outside your friend's field of study, it would not be allowed.


Do similar restrictions apply once H1B is granted?


Yes.


Two questions; thanks for the AMA!

- Does Premium Processing I-140 actually decrease the total time to green card for concurrently filed cases? (i.e. does USCIS really do work on 485 even before 140 is fully adjudicated?)

- How early would it be "safe" to quit job and start a tech startup after green card is issued for a software engineer at a bigco?


Regarding your first question, it's hard to say but my feeling is yes, that this can sometimes speed up the review and approval of the I-485 application. Regarding your second question, there's really no risk to leave right away as long as your green card was obtained in good faith. This is further supported by AC21 which allows the "porting" of green card applications after 6 months.


Thanks for answering questions. This is sort of an oddball question, but does the case of Xytex Corporation v. Schliemann in 1974 still hold much bearing these days on immigration and technology employment?

I was told by Mr. Perera, that it was one of the first cases in this field and he was always proud to have been involved in it.


Hi, post docs in the USA often hold J1 Visas. Afaik this means: no intention to immigrate, and no right to start a business. But life plans may change, and thus both these may become problems. What advice do you have for entrepreneurially minded researchers w/o the right to act on it?


Hi Peter,

I am Indian citizen on H1-B with GC EB2 priority date of 4/2011 and approved I-140. I've been with same company ever since in US. Is there a way to make my GC processing go any faster? A lot of my friends are in similar situation and are eager to star a company. Many thanks!


The only way is to "up" your green card application to an EB1A application. This is a high standard as you probably know but not unreachable by those with strong backgrounds. If you would like me to evaluate, send me your CV.


Thank you! I will be doing so.


Hi Peter, I got a L1B visa a month ago, i.e. I'm an intracompany transferee and I want to know if I'd be authorised to work for other companies in the US in the future. If so, should I have to get a different kind of visa? What's the process like? Thanks!!


I'm also on an L1B visa, to my knowledge there's no such flexibility, to the point that you'd have to move back to your country or have a new company file a brand new H1B application if you wanted to move, I don't know how frequently this is done. An L1B visa is actually very restrictive as I understand it, any insight Peter had would certainly be interesting.


The L-1B visa does not allow you to work for another company. You would need to get separate sponsorship to work for another company.


Thanks for your replies guys, how likely is it to get sponsored by another company taking into account you already have experience in the US and currently live in the US? Also, is it possible for me to set up a startup if I wanted to? Thanks!!


I first had my H1b approved several years back. I was with Company A for 2 years before I moved back to India to work at another company. I then came back to the US where I worked on H1b (same visa) for Company B for another 2.5 years. So I've used up around 4.5 years on my H1b that was first issued in 2007. I left the US and am now based in Canada.

I recently got another offer from Company C in the US. Does Company C need to apply for a new H1b, or can they simply transfer the current H1b I have? Note that my current H1b (that was sponsored by Company B) expired in May 2017, but I still have 1.5 years that I can use on it before the 6 year limit, as far as I understand. I hope my question makes sense.


That's a complicated question and depends on USCIS's interpretation of its regulations but there is an argument that you would not be subject to the lottery and still have 1.5 years of H-1B time left.


What advice would you have for someone who wants to immigrate from Canada to work in Silicon Valley but does not possess a post-secondary degree? Is there a particular visa that is well suited for tech workers without a post-secondary education?


I'm in this boat as well. I think I have enough experience to get through something like a TN under the Scientific Technician label, might be something that you want to look under too. The biggest problem is just finding someone that would be willing to sponsor that and jump through those hoops.

Also see this answer about H1B: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15099615


What are you doing exactly? Some TN only require 3 years experience


Working as the CTO at an early stage startup. I've got about 6yrs of dev experience, but was under the impression that under a TN the only matching category was a computer systems analyst, which requires a degree.


CSA does not require a degree. You can use any post secondary diploma and 3 years experience.

If you only have high school, you will have a harder time. You could try tech writer. But if your title is CTO you will have trouble. If you have a certified engineer or scientist as your boss (CEO?) you could be a scientific technician.

Grasmick.com is the lawyer I suggest talking to if you want personal advice. He also has an TN ebook worth buying.


I'm here on an H1B. My employment sponsored I-140 was approved over 180 days ago. I'd like to change jobs, and my prospective new employer has renewed/transferred my H1B (not approved yet, but I have the receipt). The I-140 application has not been transferred

However, the day I intended to resign my current work I got a notification of interview from the USCIS (to take place in the next month or so).

The interview I'm told may result in getting the greencard on that da, or they may need up to 5weeks for additional review.

What happens if I do follow through and change jobs in the days prior to the interview, does that have any affect?


Thank you for doing this Peter! How does the H1B transfer work when switching jobs? How do I make sure that I can stay in the country while switching jobs and I don't have to wait 3 months to get an approval.

Thanks


IANAL, but once your new firm applies for the new H1B petition (the H1B transfer is technically not a transfer, but a new H1B petition itself that is not subject to the cap), and you receive the receipt of your notice (usually take 2-3 weeks), you can start working for your new firm. There's no requirement to wait until it gets approved.


That's correct and you can even start working for the new employer upon confirmed delivery of the H-1B petition to USCIS< But there's risk with this of course. Unless there's a compelling reason, it makes sense to wait until the petition has been receipted in by USCIS and the filing fee checks cashed. But also note that you do not need to start working upon receipt; you can remain in valid status in the US while the petition is pending and only start working after it is approved.


Hi Peter, thanks for answering questions!

Could you please comment about changing employer after obtaining employment-based Green Card?

It's considered to be safe to work for current employer for at least 6 months after getting GC. However there is no such legal requirement and there's the AC21 Act. Also I've heard about 2-year period after getting GC: if applicant worked less than 2 years for sponsored employer, he/she should prove his intent to work permanently. After 2 years USCIS should prove lack of intent.

However it's still looks like a grey area.

Thanks


It's really not gray at all. As long as the green card was obtained in good faith, there's no obligation to continue working for the sponsoring employer for any period of time after the green card is issued.


I'm currently in the process of gaining recommendations for my EB2-NIW visa. Would you have any advice for the recommendation?

Also I made a web app to make it easier for people to write recommendation letters for me[1]. If anyone here has critique, I would greatly apprecate

HN PLEASE DON'T POST IT, I PLAN ON MAKING A SHOW HN NEXT WEEK. But you're welcome to recommend me and share the fact that you recommended me via email/twitter.

[1]: https://recommend.gilani.me


Without knowing more about your background and the basis of the application, it's impossible to say but for NIW GC applications to be successful, the applicant needs to show a history of achievement as well as future employment in service of the national interest.


I'm a US citizen in SF.. my girlfriend is Canadian. Is there any easy way for her to stay here long term minus marriage. She has a degree but not in a field where sponsoring is likely.


Unfortunately, no.


Hi, I received a full-time offer to work as a software engineer at a company in the Bay Area after my graduation in May 2018. They are willing to sponsor my H-1B, but I am also looking into other options in case I don't get it.

Now, I am an undergraduate student in the UK. I am also finalizing the contract with the same company for remote part-time work (20 hours/week) during my final academic year (around 9 months of work). I would be on the EU Payroll of the same company.

Could this remote part-time work count for a L-1 visa?

Thanks


No, unfortunately. For employment to count toward the year of qualifying employment for L-1 purposes, it needs to be full-time and the individual needs to be employed as an employee not as an independent contractor.


Can a startup hire only H1B holders and no american citizens at all?


No. A startup (begun by foreign nationals) absolutely can hire US citizens.


I think the question was would it be ill-advised for all your employees to be H1B if you're a startup?

For example, I found this on a Google search https://archive.fo/ETWuR

> Employers are considered to be H1B dependent if they have less than 25 workers and more than 7 H1B workers; between 26 to 50 workers and more than 12 H1B workers; or more than 50 workers with 15% or more of them being H-1B foreign nationals. In this case, H1B dependent employer must fulfill 2 additional requirements.

> Displacement of US workers: An H1B dependent employer must attest that by hiring a H1B worker, it is not displacing any US worker for a similar position within 90 days before or after filing a H1B petition.

> Recruitment efforts: The H1B dependent employer must also attest to making good faith attempts to recruit US workers and offering prevailing wages for this position. When hiring an H1B worker, it is important for employers to recognize the attendant responsibilities that they must shoulder. Although the requirements are not excessively burdensome, the employer is required to maintain some paperwork to demonstrate its compliance with the law. A clear understanding and fulfillment of these requirements will minimize possible civil penalties and ensure that the employer will be permitted to petition for future H1B workers.


Hi Peter, my apologies. I was not clear enough. The scenario is like this. One of my friends is a citizen. Our plan is that he will establish a startup and another set of friends( all on h1B)will work as employees for that startup. Is there a cap on how many H1B employees can a startup hire?


He's asking if he can hire H1B holders _only_, I think.


Yes, A company with 'only' H1B holders.


A company with a high percentage of H-1B workers (there's a formula) can be deemed "H-1B dependent" and this then brings in an onerous set of requirements.


Thanks Peter.


Hello Peter. First thank you for taking the time on addressing these very important questions. I am sure these are very emotional topics for many and we appreciate your help.

My question is: What is the process after submitting DS-260 and supporting documents on Immigrant Visa / Consular Processing. My interview should be scheduled in Tbilisi, Georgia for which I believe visas are current. I would appreciate if you could advice with approximate time frames for each step.


Hi Peter, I am a Vietnamese student studying in the US with the F-1 visa. Recently, together with my American partner we opened a startup using Stripe Atlas.

The visa doesn't allow me to work in the US so I'll go back to Vietnam in the next four months to work on the product. But when I go back to school, what is the best way for me to work legally? I know I can apply for OPT but it would take me up to three months to get approved. Is there a better solution?


There really isn't unless you wanted to abandon the F-1 visa altogether and move to the O-1 which would allow you to work full-time and go to school part-time.


Is it possible to obtain a permanent residence in the US while continuing to work for my own foreign company with no US office as a some kind of a sales representative?


It depends on the basis of your green card application.


Are there any drawbacks that you can think of with regards to having a green card instead of staying on H1B? The only thing I can think of is the fact that having the green card can potentially mean that there is potentially an exit tax to pay for high net worth individuals, assuming one wants to leave the US after more than eight years.

Also, if someone is on H1B and ends the visa (eg. break in employment), do future H1B applications have to go through the lottery again?

Thanks!


Yes, essentially the exit tax is the only downside I can think of. And no, a break in employment doesn't necessarily mean that the individual has to go through the lottery again.


Cool! Thanks a lot for doing this, it's really interesting to read all the questions and answers.


Hi Peter, thank you so much for this! I have questions about the O1 visa.

1. If a startup sponsors an O1 for a founder, will there be any issues with 1/ the O1 founder having the CEO title 2/ the O1 founder owning between 30-50% equity in the company? Is it effectively the same as if I was on a green card?

2. If the startup that sponsors the O1 substantially pivots to a new idea, what are the implications for visa status? Does it require an entirely new application?

Thanks so much!


Regarding your first question, both are generally non-issues. Regarding your second question, the answer depends less on changes to the company's business model or more on changes to the O-1's job duties but generally a new O-1 petition shouldn't be required.


Hi, I worked on a H1B from 2008 until 2009, then from 2013 until 2015 for a different company, all in all I have used very close to 3 years. 1- Can I reactivate my H1B at any moment to work for a company in the US for another 3 years ? 2- On a H1B is it possible to work in the US for 1 week per month and the rest remotely from abroad? Does it have to be at least 2 weeks per month? 4 weeks per month? Thanks so much for doing this!


Hello Peter: I'm a U.S. male citizen who married a Mexican single mom. The child is a U.S. citizen as well. We're in the process of getting my wife a green card. Because of my job in L.A., and because my wife's business interests are in Mexico, we have a commuter marriage. She intends to stay in Mexico until we're empty nesters. Will that be a problem in the interview when getting her green card? Thanks much


You might have to do some explaining but in my experience, when a marriage is legitimate, even if the couple is living apart, the green card application always gets approved.


Wouldn't the wife have to move to the US within six months once she's approved for the green card?


I recently learned about "commuter" green cards, which let folk live in Canada or Mexico: https://www.uscis.gov/ilink/docView/SLB/HTML/SLB/0-0-0-1/0-0...


That's a good summary but essentially one needs to demonstrate frequent and regular trips to the US for employment to qualify.


Yes, assuming that she went the immigrant visa route through the US Embassy in Mexico rather than the adjustment route through USCIS.


How would you go about establishing us income for an E1 visa?

Background is I showed the consulate all my sales reports. I'm in a niche where almost all worldwide sales are in the us. So about 85% of my sales are from there.

They're not considering the documents. They want a report from an accountant or an auditor. I'm producing that, but given their extreme skepticism so far, I'm wondering if there's something else I should be doing.


Which Consulate are you dealing with?


Toronto.

The in person interview didn't go as well as it ought to have. My lawyer neglected to have my 2016 tax return in the documentation they sent.


Hi Peter, I'm supposed to move to US on L1B visa. I have scheduled already appointment in the US embassy. However, in the meantime my situation changed and I will resign my current job (I decided not to move to us) - although I haven't done it yet. Will there be any legal implication if I cancel my visa appointment or it's better to first obtain L1B and then quit the job (losing L1B).

Thank you.


Peter, for an E2 visa, when demonstrating that an investment is "substantial", how does the accounting work for intangible or in-kind contributions to the business? Is it possible to include the value of time spent building the initial product (while outside the US)? Does it make a difference if the applicant had a foreign company to do the initial development and paid themselves a salary?


At the end of the day, cash investment is really all that mnatters although arguments can be made of course for the transfer of IP assets.


Hi Peter, I'm a Iranian PHD student and got 2 offers from a big co and a startup. Both companies were very excited on having me on-board, but now both have decided to not move forward with my export license. This comes at a terrible time as I just got my opt and now need to find a new job. Can you shed some light on the requirements of export license and costs associated?


I know that while on H1B, I can co-found a company as long as I can demonstrate a employer-employee relationship. But what can I do if I want to apply for green card under my company, if I only have enough qualifications for EB2? From what I understand, Labor Certification for EB2/EB3 will not go through if the applicant has significant shares of the sponsoring company.


Hi Peter! A friend of mine has just started OPT and has founded a company. She plans on using the STEM extension too, which was a successful path for myself and some others, but the recent changes to the STEM extension seem to be considerably more limiting now. Do you have any guidance on options for founders considering the OPT and STEM extension route?

Many thanks in advance!


That's right, STEM OPT is much more restrictive than "regular" OPT for founders and owners. But the details of this are really up to the school so I would recommend that she speak openly with her school's international student office to find what's required to get STEM approved for a founder/owner.


What did they change about the STEM extension?


This blog post sums things up well - http://blog.cyrusmehta.com/2016/03/suffocating-the-foreign-e...

Whilst it's pretty great that the extension was increased from 17 months to 2 years, you now have to prove an employer-employee relationship, which is significantly more limiting than the previous iteration.


That's right.


Thanks you.


Hi Peter, Thanks for doing this. 1. Since premium processing for many H1B categories is suspended are tech companies looking to wait out 2 or so months to wait for the USCIS approval to hire an H1B(assume in this case that person cannot work on the receipt of the H1B application)? 2. What processing times are you seeing currently for H1B petitions?


Just a datapoint: I recently transferred while premium processing was suspended, and it took only about a month for me to get the approval.


That's right, regular processing of H-1B petitions oftentimes is not taking as long as people initially feared. In my experience, they are getting reviewed within 2-3 months, sometimes less.


If someone has: - a full-time job in a foreign country (say, Germany) that sends him in the US on a 2 months mission, - a part-time job in the US (1 day per week), which let him work from Germany but also in the US under a part-time O1 visa (accepted).

How should that person enter the US for the 2 months trip? Under an VISA waiver B or O1 part-time?

Thank you so much for your time.


The issue is authorization to work while in the US so he definitely should enter the US on the O-1. This doesn't preclude him from also working on behalf of the German company while here.


Thank you very much!


My startup took a convertible note angel round. We were planning on raising another round, but then won a large grant. It will take us to profitability, and we don't plan on raising any more.

How do these types of situations typically resolve for dealing with note holders, when there is no longer any expectation of another raise or liquidation event?


Sorry but that's outside my area of expertise.


I am currently in USA on L1 visa and I also have an L2 visa and EAD which will expire in February. Is it possible to extend EAD while entered to USA on L1 ? And is there a way to check validity of the visa: when I got L1 visa my B visa was stamped as canceled but L2 remained and I want to make sure that it's still viable.


Thanks for doing this Peter. I am currently thinking of accepting a US computer programming job (part in US, part in Canada) and am thinking of using a TN visa to travel back and forth (1 week per month in US, 3 weeks in Canada.) Do I need to be concerned about what might occur if Donald Trump et al decide to drop NAFTA?


Yes but I think that NAFTA won't be trashed and even if it were that some type of TN "visa" would survive.


Hi Peter!

I'm currently a student on F-1 visa. I had two questions re: immigration.

* If I apply to and get into YC, what would be needed on the visa/work authorization front? Will I have to apply for pre-OPT/CPT?

* When considering someone for post OPT, does USCIS check for 12 months including pre OPT and CPT or is it just 12 months of CPT?


Regarding your first question, there are a lot of factors at play so email me offline. Regarding your second question, always check with your school but what counts against your 12 months of post-completion OPT are pre-completion OPT and 12 months of full-time CPT.


Hi Peter, thanks for your time. Any specific tips for the E3 process when US employing entity is brand new? We are an Aussie company that has been around for 7 years. We are setting up a new US entity and first hire in the US is an Aussie. In your experience would a new entity face any extra scrutiny?


Hi, We are a Canadain Startup, but we also have a US corporation as well as we have as we have employees and warehouses in US.

Our System and Network Mamager is Canadian PR but I will like for him to work in US for time to time. He is a Russian Citizen. What kind of VISA we can apply for him to be to work in US?


He might have multiple options (depending on his employment history with you all and his overall background) but an L-1, O-1, and H-1B might all be options.


Hi,

I am from India and I want to know the options that I have to come to valley.

I don't have graduate degree but I have learned Computer Science from sites like edx and coursera.

If needed I can pay a little fee on those sites and get the certificate of complications that they provide.

What are available options?

I really appreciate you taking time to do this ama. Thank you


For an H-1B, you would need to have the equivalent of a 4-year bachelor's degree and this equivalency can be based on foreign education or experience or a combination of the two. The evaluation would need to be done be a certified evaluator.


Do the course completions or certificates from these sites (edx, courseram, etc) count?


and a hell lot of luck because H1B is a lottery system now (which was previously a skill based system)


Why don't you want to stay in India?


A lot of people want to work on more cutting edge problems - at present we don't have companies solving healthcare problems with datascience, or self driving cars, or tesla like companies.

There is also a charm of moving to a more developed economy too.

For many people living in developed countries, moving to a developed economy seems like a good way to travel the world. Though it might be more of a mindset and exposure issue, travelling the world is much easier when one earns in dollars.


It's not like I don't want to stay in India.

@navalsaini has accurately made the point about ability to work on cutting edge problems so that is the main reason.

And I have not even decided yet whether or not to move. I am only checking for options and checking if it is even possible to get visa with no degree.


Hi Peter, I recently moved to US (from India) on L1B. While I was in India, I had an app on App Store and making small money. I developed this app in my personal time and this is not related to my job. Can I continue improving the app (in my personal time) while I am in US on L1B?


This remote employment stuff is tough because immigration law and policy haven't caught up with it. The short answer is that it might be okay but this is the kind of question that you should explore in detail with an attorney because of the implications of working without authorization.


Hello Peter! I am a US Permanent Resident since 1997. Should I be concerned about traveling internationally at the moment, US politics being what they are? Or is it safe to assume that if I leave the country for a short while, I'm not going to get turned away at the border?


Even in this environment, I wouldn't worry at all about traveling as long as your primary residence is the US and your trips are each less than 6 months in duration.


What is the reason you dont naturalize? Future tax concerns?


Obviously not the OP. Another common reason is that a good number of countries do not allow dual citizenship. So you'd have to give up your "original" citizenship...


Not so much for tax reasons - because permanent residents are generally subject to the same taxes as citizens - but for estate planning purposes,


That is why i said future tax. Like you hit it big, and wouldnt want to deal with renouncing your citizenship.

Otherwise you dont really need to be a perm resident. Being resident for tax purposes is sufficient.

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