The immigration process for the U.S. is as unpredictable as ever. There is an increase in the overall processing time and the stakes keep getting higher. None are spared, be it employers, entrepreneurs, or workers.
With all USCIS International Offices shut down and an increase in the Requests for Evidence, even start-ups are not finding it any easier.
If you are a start-up, do take the time to carefully review your options. Come up with a workable long-term business strategy that will stand you in good stead.
Things to keep in mind –
Adopt out-of-the-box thinking. Develop creative ideas. Come up with innovative strategies for immigration.
You can hire foreign students. That is, university students with F-1 visa. Such students can work for you as per the Optional Practical Training (OPT) in their line of study.
If, as an international entrepreneur, you go to the U.S. on the Visa Waiver Program or B-1 visa, you cannot do hands-on work. Attending conferences, negotiating contracts, and holding consultations with your business associates are allowed though.
Anyone investing in your start-up must be assured of your immigrant status. All those who invest their money in your start-up – venture capitalists, accelerators, angel investors, and other investors – will need surety of their money being recovered. You should plan on staying in the U.S. at least long enough to be able to pay them back.
Do keep in mind that if you are in the U.S. on any visitor business visa, you will be prohibited from receiving payments from any U.S. source.
You can apply for an H-1B visa via your own company. However, while possible, it is quite difficult nonetheless.
Global Entrepreneur-in-Residence Programs (Global EIR) “helping immigrant founders create American jobs” is a non-profit network that helps overseas-born founders stay in the U.S. and create jobs, contributing to the U.S. economy.
As per the International Entrepreneur Rule, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can grant, at its own discretion, temporary stay or parole to immigrant entrepreneurs qualifying for the same. A brainchild of the Obama Government, this rule is under review by the Trump Administration.
You must have a clear vision and proceed accordingly. Always keep the difference between a startup founder and an immigration entrepreneur in mind. An immigration entrepreneur will be someone who needs to raise millions to start a company. On the other hand, a startup founder will be someone who wishes to work and live in the U.S. with his family.