If you’re somebody recruiting for a startup in the United States, you need to understand there are myriad options available.
Here’s a handy guide to help you figure out who you can hire and how.
A, B, and C Visas
An A visa is for diplomats. B visas are for visitors. C and D Visas are for crew members.
E-1 and E-2 Visas are for CEOs, founders, investors of brand new companies. They’re also important if your company is owned 51% by people considered citizens of other countries. If your company has majority ownership by another country, take a look at the list of countries that qualify for E1 visas and E2 visas.
E-3 visas are for Australian citizens (it’s like an H-1B in so many ways, except that it doesn’t have a lottery).
You can get a new H-1B for somebody in the lottery or help somebody transfer their H-1B from another company to your company. If you’re recruiting recent graduates who have a year of OPT or two years of STEM OPT, they have a total of 3 years of permission to work after they graduate.
This is a temporary non-agricultural work visa often used for construction workers or people working in hotels. There is a lottery and the numbers in this category have been increased due to the high demand for it.
This is for people in Chile and Singapore. It’s a non-immigrant intent visa so if someone wants a green card, you could transfer them to an H-1B.
J-1 Exchange Visitors
These are post OPTs conducting research at U.S. universities. J-1 visas are nonimmigrant intent visas so people have to go back home at the end of it.
L-1A and L-1B Visas
This type is for a multinational company that wants to relocate talent from an office outside of the United States to an office inside the U.S. L-1A is for managers and executives and the L-1B is for employees with specialized knowledge.
These are for people of extraordinary ability. There’s an unlimited number of O visas available any time of the year and there’s no lottery. This could also be used for startup founders. You just have to find somebody at the top of their subfield in a country or in the world.
TN is a not a visa but a status for Canadians and Mexicans that have a profession on the TN occupations list (accountants, architects, computer assistants, analysts, economists, engineers, graphic designers, industrial designers, lawyers, management consultants, mathematicians, research assistants, technical publication writers).
Other things to include in your conversation
The H4 work permit is very likely to be phased out in 2020 so look into backup options in that case such as an H-1B lottery. Several companies are starting to provide funding for marriage-based green cards because it’s cheaper and faster than going through the employment green card process.
For someone born in India or China, ask if they already have a priority date so you can figure out if they’re eligible for an H-1B. And if somebody has a pending I-485 (the final step of the green card process), there’s this thing called portability which makes it easy for a new company to take over the green card process.
For more information and resources on what visa types work for you, check out Immigration Law for Tech Startups podcast. If you’d like to listen, head over to Episode 012: The Visa Options All Recruiters Should Know.