Sophie Alcorn, attorney, author and founder of Alcorn Immigration Law in Silicon Valley, California, is an award-winning Certified Specialist Attorney in Immigration and Nationality Law by the State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. Sophie is passionate about transcending borders, expanding opportunity, and connecting the world by practicing compassionate, visionary, and expert immigration law. Connect with Sophie on LinkedIn and Twitter.
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We are a startup overseas with 1 million users and 30,000 paying customers. We raised some seed money overseas, but now prospective investors in our Series A round want us to have a Delaware parent company. They also said they want all of the founders to get green cards. What is the fastest way to get green cards if we are from India or China?
— Innovative from India
Congrats on all your successes! These are remarkable accomplishments — and ones that you and your co-founders can use to your benefit when applying for visas and green cards to come to live and work in the United States!
Before I dive into your question, remember that as startup founders, waiting for a green card is usually too slow of a way to get to the U.S. Find a way to come to the U.S. sooner, such as through an O-1A or an H-1B with the lottery (many H-1B lottery updates coming soon — join my complimentary educational webinar this week.)
It is super important to ensure you get what you need from your investors to continue to succeed, including support with visas and green cards such as education, resources, and signing letters of recommendation. That’s what Kristen Ostro and Nicole Fuller of Strut Consulting, a VC consulting firm, emphasized during our chat for my podcast. Many founders value working with VCs in the U.S. who understand their space, are experts in the particular industry, and have the connections and customer networks to make intros to folks who will be active participants in the founders’ success, rather than just providing the capital.
Many VCs also provide support services, including recommending immigration attorneys who can assist with visas and green cards. If the prospective investors in your startup do not, I recommend you and your co-founders work with an immigration attorney, who can devise strategies for each of you based on your accomplishments and timing and guide you through the immigration process.