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

Bestselling creator Sophie Alcorn, lawyer and founding father of Alcorn Immigration Regulation 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 keen about transcending borders, increasing alternative, and connecting the world by practising compassionate, visionary, and skilled immigration regulation. Join with Sophie on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Pricey Sophie,

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

My plan has been to discover a approach to make use of it for my tech startup, however finally, I must 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 skill?

— 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 all the time, I like to recommend you seek the advice of an immigration lawyer for steerage. And observe your coronary heart as you think about your path to extraordinary skill; we’ll discuss extra about this requirement beneath!

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

It has no agency necessities as to training or wage — in contrast to the H-1B — and your startup or agent can sponsor you for an O-1A. Simply take into account that the bar for qualifying for an O-1A is greater than it’s for the H-1B. That stated, since there’s a low barrier to entry for the annual H-1B lottery in March (presently firms pay the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Companies [USCIS] $10 per registration), guarantee your H-1B eligibility together with your immigration lawyer and think about pursuing it in parallel as a backup.

Let’s first study organising 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 probably even earlier than STEM OPT, think about forming the authorized entity to your startup. Your company lawyer might help you identify the easiest way to construction the corporate given your monetary (enterprise capital) objectives and immigration necessities, which I’ll go into extra element on in a second.


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