Sophie Alcorn is the founder of Alcorn Immigration Law in Silicon Valley and the 2019 Global Law Experts Awards as California Law Firm of the Year for Entrepreneur Immigration Services. It connects people with the companies and opportunities that expand their lives.
More contributions from this contributor
- Dear Sophie, I came with a B-1 visa, then COVID-19 happened. How can i stay
- Dear Sophie, how can employers stop and stick to all these new H-1B crazies?
Here is another edition from Dear Sophie, the advisory column that answers questions about immigration at work in technology companies.
"Your questions are critical to disseminating knowledge that enables people around the world to rise above borders and realize their dreams," said Sophie Alcorn, an immigration attorney in Silicon Valley. "Whether you're in People Ops, a founder, or looking for a job in Silicon Valley, I'd love to answer your questions in my next column."
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What are the visa prospects for a graduate who has completed advanced studies at a university in the US and who plans to co-found a startup after graduation? Can the new startup or my co-founders sponsor me for a visa?
– Brilliant in Berkeley
Thank you for your questions and for your contributions. The US economy benefits greatly from entrepreneurs like you who create businesses – and jobs – in the US.
Let me first ask your second question: yes, it is theoretically possible that your startup is sponsoring you for a visa and one of your co-founders is your manager. Many visas and green cards for employment require a company to sponsor you and demonstrate that there is a valid relationship between employer and employee.
Considering your situation, timing is critical, especially since one of your best visa options is the H-1B Specialty Jobs Visa. The number of H-1B visas issued annually is typically limited to 85,000 to 60,000 for those with a bachelor's degree and 25,000 for those with a master's degree or higher. Due to the cap on H-1B visas and the fact that demand for them far exceeds supply, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) hold a lottery once a year in the spring to determine who has this visa can apply.