Right here’s one other version of “Expensive Sophie,” the recommendation column that solutions immigration-related questions on working at expertise corporations.
“Your questions are important to the unfold of information that enables folks everywhere in the world to rise above borders and pursue their desires,” says Sophie Alcorn, a Silicon Valley immigration lawyer. “Whether or not you’re in folks ops, a founder or searching for a job in Silicon Valley, I might like to reply your questions in my subsequent column.”
TechCrunch+ members obtain entry to weekly “Expensive Sophie” columns; use promo code ALCORN to buy a one- or two-year subscription for 50% off.

Expensive Sophie,
I lived and labored in the US on an L-1B for a 12 months, after which modified to an H-1B for two.5 years earlier than I moved again to India (the place I’m a citizen) and based a startup.
Now I need to return to the U.S. to lift funds for my startup. What are my choices for returning to the U.S. as a founder?
— Quick-Shifting Founder
Expensive Quick-Shifting,
Congratulations on launching your individual enterprise and making the transfer to leap again to the States to develop your startup and safe buyers! I like to recommend working with an immigration lawyer to find out the perfect choices primarily based in your long-term targets, in addition to a company lawyer to debate the perfect construction in your startup’s U.S. entity to make it enticing to buyers. Most U.S. buyers desire to put money into a guardian firm primarily based within the U.S. that’s a Delaware C company.
Relying on which non-immigrant visa you pursue, you could possibly keep away from having to undergo an in-person consular interview by means of the top of this 12 months because you went by means of the interview course of in your L-1B intracompany transferee specialised information employee visa. The U.S. Division of State prolonged the visa interview waiver program till the top of this 12 months. Consular officers have the discretion to waive the visa interview requirement for sure work visas just like the O-1A and H-1B if the beneficiary was beforehand issued a visa and has by no means been refused one. Sadly, the interview can’t be waived for the L-1 visa.
You’ve gotten a couple of visa choices to return to the U.S. as a founder, so let’s dive in!
Picture Credit: Joanna Buniak / Sophie Alcorn (opens in a brand new window)
B-1 visa
If you wish to arrange your startup’s U.S. entity, discover workplace area, or meet with potential buyers, you are able to do that on a B-1 customer visa for enterprise. The B-1 will allow you to enter the U.S. and keep for as much as six months. Nevertheless, you can not do any work whereas on a B-1. Your immigration lawyer can let you know what actions are allowed.
Once you arrive within the U.S., be ready that the U.S. Customs and Border Safety officer on the airport could ask you what enterprise actions you propose to do throughout your keep.
Whilst you’re within the U.S. on a B-1 you possibly can change your standing to one of many visas under with out leaving the U.S.

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