Ask Sophie: Can I get an O-1A visa to bypass the H-1B course of?

Bestselling creator Sophie Alcorn, legal professional and founding father of Alcorn Immigration Law in Silicon Valley, CA, is an award-winning Licensed Specialist Lawyer in Immigration and Nationality Regulation by the State Bar Board of Authorized Specialization. Sophie is enthusiastic about transcending borders, increasing alternative, and connecting the world by training compassionate, visionary, and knowledgeable immigration legislation. Connect with Sophie on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Pricey Sophie,

I’m a world scholar from India who will likely be eligible for STEM OPT beginning in January. 

My plan has been to discover a method to make use of it for my tech startup, however finally, I have to shift to a piece visa as a result of I need to be the CEO. 

Can I bypass the entire H-1B visa factor by getting an O-1A visa? If sure, can I do it with only a bachelor’s diploma? What counts as extraordinary potential?

— Spirited STEM Pupil

Pricey Spirited,

I’m so excited to listen to you’re leaping into the position of a startup founder — and I’m so happy you’re planning forward! As at all times, I like to recommend you seek the advice of an immigration legal professional for steerage. And comply with your coronary heart as you contemplate your path to extraordinary potential; we’ll discuss extra about this requirement beneath!

Sure — you may completely bypass the H-1B specialty occupation visa for the O-1A extraordinary potential visa! No one is ever “required” to get an H-1B, and lots of routes can result in your inexperienced card. The O-1A typically aligns higher with the skills and experiences of startup founders than the H-1B.

It has no agency necessities as to training or wage — not like the H-1B — and your startup or agent can sponsor you for an O-1A. Simply remember that the bar for qualifying for an O-1A is increased than it’s for the H-1B. That mentioned, since there’s a low barrier to entry for the annual H-1B lottery in March (at present corporations pay the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Providers [USCIS] $10 per registration), guarantee your H-1B eligibility together with your immigration legal professional and contemplate pursuing it in parallel as a backup.

Let’s first look at establishing your startup to qualify for F-1 STEM OPT and O-1A.

Forming a startup

In case you are on common OPT and also you need to file for an O-1A doubtlessly even earlier than STEM OPT, contemplate forming the authorized entity in your startup. Your company legal professional can assist you establish one of the best ways to construction the corporate given your monetary (enterprise capital) targets and immigration necessities, which I’ll go into extra element on in a second.


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