We’re excited to announce a new educational program that offers budding foreign entrepreneurs and seasoned foreign business executives to sharpen their English skills and pitch their startups in Silicon Valley.
Another local, woman-owned business, the San Francisco-based English Language Institute (ELI), launched its Business English for Entrepreneurs Program in October 2018. The 12-week course combines English language acquisition with Silicon Valley-style project development. Students tour Silicon Valley startups and attend networking and pitching events.
“It’s a one-of-a-kind course,” says Alena Nye, the founder and executive director, of the new program. “Instead of the stale pace of learning ESL and then going to a boot camp or MBA program, students can work on English language acquisition, develop their own projects, and learn what you would learn in an MBA program all at the same time.”
Accredited by ACCET, ELI is a Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified continuing education school that issues Form I-20 for F-1 student visas. The next Business English for Entrepreneurs course begins in January. Talk to us if you’d like to strategize about how this can fit into your plans.
Options for Entrepreneurs
After completing this or any other F-1 student program, students have several options to remain and work in the U.S. A student can:
- Re-enroll in another course at their school.
- Transfer to a U.S. college or university as an F-1 student and pursue Optional Practical Training (OPT).
- Secure a job offer from an employer willing to petition for an H-1B visa, O-1A green card, or TN (Treaty National) status for Canadians or TN status for Mexicans.
- Apply to a university-run Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program that petitions for H-1B visas for foreign entrepreneurs to build their companies in the U.S. while mentoring business students.
- File for an L-1A visa if s/he has already established a company abroad, has worked for at least a year, and has the means to open a U.S. office of the startup.
- Consider an E-2 Visa for Treaty Investors if s/he holds citizenship in a country with an investment treaty with the U.S. and has the means to invest in her/his startup. If a student’s home country does not have an investment treaty with the U.S., the individual can become eligible for an E-2 by first becoming a citizen of Grenada.
Down the road, students may also have longer-term immigration options including self-petitioning for an EB-1A green card by demonstrating “extraordinary ability” in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics. Another possibility is applying for an EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) if s/he has an advanced degree or “exceptional ability” in the sciences, arts, or business.
The Best Options
If you’re seeking a nonimmigrant visa, we recommend speaking to an experienced immigration attorney before pursuing a green card.
Please leave a comment below if you found this blog post helpful! If we can help you strategize about the best option given your circumstances and goals, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.