What type of visa is available to me as an entrepreneur or start-up?
This is a question that I deal with on a weekly if not a daily basis in my practice. In many instances individuals I speak with may already be in the U.S., on a visa such as an H-1B, F-1, OPT, or an L-1, or they may be in their home country seeking advise on how to get a visa to operate a start-up venture.
Working with start-ups presents a unique set of challenges that I have become well versed in including funding, low numbers of employees (if any), low overhead, etc. That being said, it is not always possible to obtain a visa for every kind of venture without good immigration strategy and planning.
There are general issues that can complicate a visa application for an entrepreneur as many immigration officers, whether in the U.S. or officers working at consulates abroad, may not be very understanding of start-ups and may dismiss visa applications as not satisfactory of visa regulations. That being said, having a good foundational understanding of what you intend to do with your start-up, having clear goals, and having a solid business plan are incredibly important starting points, not only in helping your start-up grow but in submitting a well documented and presented visa application. The best clients to work with for me as an immigration attorney focused on this particular niche of helping start-ups, entrepreneurs, and investors, are those who know their business model, competitors, financial plan, and direction inside and out.
Some of the visas that are available to entrepreneurs include the E-2, L-1, H-1B (in certain instances) and then EB-5 investor based green card. In this blog I will be posting various articles on these visas as they particularly pertain to start-up ventures and the potential challenges and strategies that may apply in certain cases.