Immigration Attorney for Tech Founders at New York City

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Before establishing your business in Brooklyn Heights, Dumbo, Park Slope, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, the Flatiron District, or Silicon Alley, it is important to understand all aspects of expansion, from United States corporate law to tax compliance to immigration. Tech founders have unique immigration concerns and finding a strategic partner to help navigate these challenges is key. 

At Alcorn Immigration, we work alongside founders to secure immigrant and nonimmigrant visas as efficiently as possible. To learn more about your options, consider connecting with our team of New York City immigration attorneys for tech founders at (855) 546-0015 today.

O-1A Extraordinary Ability Founder Visa

The O-1A extraordinary ability founder visa is an ideal option for individuals who have demonstrated acclaim in their field. Reserved for professionals with extraordinary ability, to obtain an O-1A you must prove that you have garnered recognition for your achievements and met the necessary criteria set forth by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

How to Apply for the O-1A Visa?

The O-1A visa requires an employer sponsor, meaning it is typically necessary to provide an offer letter to establish the employer-employee relationship. Many startup founders use their company as the petitioner. You cannot be the sole employee of the company, however, and you must prove that other stakeholders in the company can exert power over you through hiring, firing, or payment. 

To apply for the O-1A visa, you must submit the I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, along with the $460 filing fee and supporting paperwork including:

  • Documents to establish the employer-employee relationship, including purchase agreements, evidence of a Board of Directors, company by-laws, and/or proof of supervision of your work by others. 
  • Proof of your extraordinary ability, which may include offer letters from prestigious accelerators, participation in tech conference panels, developed computer software, or even evidence that you receive a comparatively high level of compensation for your work compared to your peers.
  • Information about any previous visits to the United States.

In addition to being founder-friendly, the O-1A visa is an excellent path toward the EB-1A visa. Our team of experienced immigration attorneys for tech founders can help you navigate this process and prepare your extraordinary ability case to ensure success. 

H-1B Transfers and Lottery for Executives & Founders

Executives and founders who work in specialty occupations may apply for an H-1B visa through the lottery system – a random selection process used by the USCIS. Every year, 85,000 foreign professionals are selected to receive a H-1B visa. If you or a key employee has specialized knowledge and holds a bachelor’s degree (or has equivalent professional experience), this visa category may be ideal. 

How to Apply for the H-1B Visa?

The H-1B visa can only be filed after you have obtained a Labor Condition Application (LCA) certification through the Department of Labor. before applying for a H-1B visa. The LCA is designed to ensure that the labor market is not undermined by hiring a foreign professional at a low wage. Once the LCA has been certified, you may move forward with the I-129 petition and H-1B visa lottery. 

L-1 Intracompany Transferee Visa

The L-1 intracompany transferee visa is for founders, executives, and key employees who possess specialized knowledge in their field. This visa is ideal for startup founders who wish to expand their startup in New York City and entrepreneurs who want to send a key employee to establish a new office in the United States. 

To qualify for the L-1 visa, you must have worked for a foreign company for at least one continuous year within the past three years. You must be employed in an executive or managerial capacity, and perform the same role at your company in the U.S. Along with the I-129 petition, L-1 visa applicants must also prove that their company has a qualifying relationship with a foreign company and will be doing business as an employer in the U.S. 

Additional Founder Visas

The E-1 treaty trader visa and E-2 treaty investor visa are reserved for citizens of qualifying treaty countries. These founder visas are available for individuals who want to travel to the U.S. to engage in trade or to grow a company in which they have invested substantial capital (e.g. cash, intellectual property, machinery, etc.). The E-1 visa is valid for two years with unlimited extensions of 2 or 5 years while the E-2 visa is valid for five years and can be renewed in two-year extension increments. 

B-1 & B-2 Business and Visitor Visas

Short-term, temporary visas are available for entrepreneurs who want to travel to the United States to identify office space for their startup, conduct business meetings with stakeholders, secure angel or VC funding, or set up their company in the U.S. The  B-1 business visa or B-2 visitor visa may be the right fit if you have not yet established your startup, but want to travel to the country to sort out the logistics of your company. It is important to note that you are not permitted to manage the business on either of these visas. 

Permanent Residence for Startup Founders

Permanent residence provides startup founders with the opportunity to remain in the United States long-term and expand their companies into new markets without needing to secure a new visa for each endeavor. As immigration attorneys for tech founders, we have guided entrepreneurs through the following employment-based immigration processes:  

  • EB-1A Green Card, which is ideal for current O-1A visa holders and other individuals with extraordinary abilities who wish to immigrate to the U.S. to grow their companies.  
  • EB-1C Green Card, which is preferable for multinational executives and managers who want to transfer to their company’s U.S. office and remain in the country long-term. 
  • EB-2 NIW Green Card, which is well-suited for individuals who meet the National Interest Waiver criteria. This immigration channel waives the labor certification requirement. Given its comparatively high approval rate and streamlined application process, this option is favored by many startup founders. 

Legal Launch

Legal Launch was created to be a key resource for startup founders who want to establish their company in the United States. Acknowledging the unique challenges that often stand in the way of founders on their journey to establishing their company in the United States, Legal Launch will give you the confidence and clarity needed to move forward. Whether you are in the midst of applying for the O-1A, H-1B, L-1 or other founder visa, or if you are just getting started with the process, Legal Launch will provide key insight into the best strategy for you to reach your goals. 

How to Choose the Best Immigration Attorney for Founders at New York City

As a founder, you know that the quality of your team has a significant impact on the success of your company. The legal team you choose to help guide you through your immigration journey will directly influence the ease of the process and the outcome of your case. Choosing the best immigration attorney for tech founders at New York City is difficult, requiring due diligence and careful attention to detail. When consulting with attorneys, consider the following: 

  • Does the law firm have a demonstrated record of success in handling similar cases?
  • Is the attorney knowledgeable of this very tricky process?
  • Does the attorney have experience working with tech-minded entrepreneurs and understand the intricacies of the industry?
  • Do they create solutions based on your unique goals? 

About Sophie Alcorn

Author, podcast host, and TechCrunch contributor Sophie Alcorn is the Founder and CEO of Alcorn Immigration. As a Specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law by the State Bar of California, she has spent over a decade helping entrepreneurs transcend borders and expand opportunity in the U.S. A reflection of her passion and expertise, Alcorn Immigration has been rated top law firm in California for technology startups.

The Alcorn Method

Alcorn Immigration began as a small business focused on innovation and opportunity. It has since grown into a major firm with offices in New York City and Silicon Valley. We have achieved success using the Alcorn Method: 

  • Strategize. We take the time to review your short- and long-term goals, entrepreneurial objectives, and background to develop a legal strategy that optimizes your chance of success.
  • Prepare. Our team of experienced immigration attorneys for tech founders at New York City prepare all documentation related to your case to most effectively showcase your entrepreneurial success and achievements. 
  • File. Visa and Green Card applications are extensive and time-consuming. We will file your petition and supporting documents according to the rules and regulations of the USCIS.
  • Win. Simple as that. 

Immigration Resources for Founders

Knowledge and education are key parts of our practice. We offer a range of immigration resources for founders, including:  

Accomplish, Together

At Alcorn Immigration, we are passionate about connecting the world through the practice of expert and visionary immigration law. We are dedicated to helping guide inspired entrepreneurs through the process of establishing their startups in the United States and attracting the world’s top talent. To learn how we can accomplish, together, consider contacting our team of immigration attorneys for tech founders at (855) 546-0015 today.