'Extraordinary' green card: what are the opportunities for immigration to the United States for entrepreneurs?
Changes in immigration law create additional difficulties for certain categories of people seeking to come to the United States. However, practice shows that for people who have a successful business in their homeland or have created a promising start-up, it is quite realistic to come to the United States and get a green card without many years of waiting. We will give here a couple of such examples and some tips that can greatly facilitate immigration.
Liran Rosenfield arrived in Silicon Valley from Israel the year before last, as he thought, temporarily - to present his small company at a start-up competition. However, as he worked with potential investors, he realized that in order to interest real partners and to achieve the attraction of large funds, long work and the possibility of permanent residence in the United States is necessary. So Liran was faced with the need to register immigration status - a procedure that turned out to be not so simple as it seemed at first.
«When I started meeting with the founders of new companies, I discovered that the issue of immigration was also a frightening, painful and costly process for them.“- recalls Liran.
The first lawyer with whom the Israeli entrepreneur met suggested that he simply extend the $ 1,000 tourist visa by requesting 150 for consultations.
«I told him that I heard people trying to do this eventually discover that their visa expires, so this proposal did not interest me. The next idea was a lawyer visa O-1, intended for foreigners with "extraordinary abilities". The lawyer asked for her reward in the amount of 7500 dollars. In addition, the conditions of the visa did not allow my wife to legally work in the United States. I refused"He says.
After that, Liran Rosenfield began to communicate with other lawyers, this time avoiding paid consultations. One of the opportunities that lawyers advised him was a visa L-1A - Opening a branch of a company in the United States, or in the case of a single entrepreneur, is actually transferring its business to the States.
«In my case, the terms of the visa meant that I had to transfer my business to the USA and prepare a new business plan for it. The visa also required evidence of many things, about which I was not sure that I could prove them. The cost of a visa L-1A was 10000 dollars. Then, when I turned to the next lawyer, he recommended that I get a visa E-2 - investment visa for "non-millionaires", which cost 12000 dollars. To get it, I would have to use some of my initial funds as evidence that I had invested in the US economy. But the funny thing is that each of the immigration specialists I met offered me a new visa at a new price. It began to annoy. How to choose the right path?“- wondered Lyran.
The entrepreneur admits: many of his friends from among the founders of startups went the same way, and also, to say the least, were not happy with the result.
«You meet lawyers, get different recommendations and, in the end, agree to someone without even knowing what he can really offer you. At the same time, some of my friends were so busy developing their business that they were not ready to go through this.“- complains Lyran.
Another problem the entrepreneur calls the impossibility of verifying the professionalism of a lawyer and the fact that after the conclusion of an agreement your case can be transferred into the hands of a legal assistant, even without an attorney license.
«Finally, a friend from Argentina told me about a friend who received a green card as an entrepreneur in just six months. It was about getting a green card through a visa EB-1. I was amazed why none of the lawyers with whom I spoke even told me about this possibility. It was about EB-1 and EB-2 visas that both my wife and I could get“- says Liran.
It was about an immigration visa. EV-1enabling foreign nationals with outstanding abilities in science, art, education, business or sports to apply for permanent residence in the United States. Here, however, there is one nuance - the ability of the applicant should receive wide public recognition at the national or international level, or be confirmed by the relevant documentation in a particular area. This includes not only prominent figures of science and culture, but also teachers, researchers, managers and managers of enterprises. Also, this visa does not require an American employer.
«After a while, I found an immigration lawyer who was an EB-1 visa specialist. She explained to me that EB-1 is the fastest way to get a green card for ten years, and five years later you can already apply for citizenship“- said Liran.
The lawyer estimated the cost of obtaining a visa in 15000 dollars, but assured Liran that in case of refusal by the immigration services, she would return the money spent. As a result, after seven months of waiting, Liran Rosenfield finally became a permanent resident of the United States. True, the waiting process itself was not without surprises.
«Four months later, I received a request for additional evidence. This really alarmed me. What if I chose the wrong lawyer? What will happen if I refuse? Will she really return my money? At the same time, I began to feel homesick. I was planning to go home to visit my family and attend a cousin's wedding. At the same time, my grandmother fell ill, but I was trapped in the United States. I could not leave the country until the completion of the process. It really was hard. I understood that if I left, I would not be able to return. Then I realized that for people who want to apply for an EB-1 visa, it is better to start the process being at home without haste, or to get a different type of visa in the US“- advises Liran.
By the way, a famous Russian artist and fashion designer went the same way. Alena Isakova. For 14 for years, she headed the house of high fashion Favore (Switzerland-Russia), creating collections that were successfully demonstrated around the world - in the UK, Israel, Australia and the USA. She shared her story on an immigration blog.
«My husband and I decided to request this particular visa. It can also be requested in Russia, but we chose to do it already from the USA, having arrived on a tourist visa. For three full months, we killed by compiling my portfolio. It was necessary to collect everything: posters from exhibitions in different countries, invitations, photos. I had to translate hundreds of pages of articles and interviews ... Everything looked very optimistic, before leaving I was able to get excellent letters of appreciation, the portfolio looked very impressive and beautiful. We cheered and waited", - writes Alain.
However, after nine months of waiting, the designer received a response from Texas, in which an immigration officer “rejected” most of the documents sent.
«He wrote that our articles from frivolous publications - ELLE magazine for Texans, it seems, is an empty sound. And the worst thing, he wrote that letters of recommendation are also from frivolous organizations. As an example, he quoted from the letter of recommendation of the State Hermitage! Honestly, I was shocked, and our lawyer too. We didn’t even have a plan B. It was very sad. The Texas “expert” gave us time to send documents, but it was difficult to find the strength to do something else. The lawyer literally persuaded us to look for recommendations from American experts, and he himself wrote a letter explaining to the Texan officer the significance of the Hermitage in world culture"- says Alain.
By that time, the artist already had local customers and exhibitions, with the organizers of which she asked for recommendations, and six months later, she still received the coveted green card.
«It seems that now EB-1 is rather difficult to get, but you can try. In this case, it is better to have letters of recommendation from American experts. The press is also better to have a friend to the Americans. And be sure to have a plan B“- advises Alain on the community pages.
That is why both Leran and many immigration lawyers suggest starting the process with a more “safe” non-immigrant O-1 visa. After receiving it, nothing prevents you from submitting to EB-1 or EB-2, however, there is always some “safety net” in the form of an already existing legal status. In this case, even after the failure to obtain a visa category EB, you can apply again.
Visa About-1 similar to EB-1 with the only difference that is nonimmigrant, that is, if it is available, you cannot automatically apply for a green card. It is also designed for people with extraordinary or outstanding abilities in art, sports, science, education or business. To establish the existence of extraordinary abilities, you must meet at least three of the following criteria:
- Availability of international or national prizes and awards;
- Membership in organizations that require outstanding achievements to become members;
- Original scientific, research or business-related contribution of major importance;
- Authorship of scientific articles published in major media or professional publications;
- High salary or remuneration of another type;
- Participation in the board or refereeing when evaluating the work of other people;
- Evidence of work experience in organizations or institutions that have a high reputation.
However, Liran Rosenfield says: based on his own example, get an immigration visa EV-1 for the founders of a startup is also quite realistic.
«When I arrived in the USA, I had no idea that I could stay here legally. When I began to spend time on immigration lawyers, I had no idea that not all employees in this sphere were credible. I did not realize that there was a very small percentage of attorneys who knew and specialized in EB-1 and EB-2 visas.
In addition, I did not suspect that despite the fact that I was not rich and had only a basic education, I could apply for a green card on such a visa and actually get it. When you read the EB-1 or EB-2 requirements, it seems that they are written for the Nobel Prize winners. But this visa is also available for ordinary entrepreneurs, such as I“- the businessman shares his experience.
Based on personal experience, Liran offers those who wish to obtain a visa of this type to select the right lawyer.
«Ensure that the agreement provides a money back guarantee, and the lawyer is an expert in EB-1 / 2 visas. Also make sure you are willing to spend a lot of time gathering the necessary evidence."He advises.
The criteria for obtaining an EB-1 visa are also similar to O-1. Liran advises to collect evidence of ownership of at least three of the following categories:
- the presence of national or international awards for outstanding ability;
- membership in associations, for which you must have outstanding achievements in a particular field;
- printed materials about you, published in professional or commercial print media, or other mainstream media sources;
- confirmation that you acted as a judge individually or as part of a judicial commission;
- confirmation of your significant contribution to the field of science, education, sports, art or business;
- proof that you are the author of scientific articles published in professional or commercial print media, or other media;
- proof that your work has been presented at exhibitions or shows;
- playing a leading or leading role in honored organizations;
- high wages or high remuneration of another kind, significant compared with the average level in this area;
- commercial success in the performing arts.
To facilitate the process, Liran along with two partners: Galom Talmor и Liat portal, developed their own platform - PassRight, allowing potential immigrants to determine for themselves which type of visa is suitable for them. The main priorities of the project are family and business immigration, in particular, corporations, startups and attracting talented people. Users can choose two options: either fill out the necessary documents through the site themselves, or choose an immigration lawyer. The creators of the project assure that the lawyers selected by them are verified licensed specialists with experience in working with the listed categories of people.
If those who wish to immigrate decide to act independently, they are invited to set of optionsfrom which they choose the way of emigration suitable for them: work, study, investment, family immigration, etc. In each option, the applicant with the help of leading questions can check whether his situation really meets the required conditions, and then fills in the documents.
«Immigration means you are new to a foreign country, with an unfamiliar culture and other language, and you need to start life anew. Most of us immigrants face family, financial, labor, social, housing, and many other problems. The first year in America is hard for everyone, no matter where you come from and your previous experience. The choice of an appropriate immigration lawyer, as already mentioned, is fraught with difficulties. You cannot test his professionalism and predict the chances of success, the process of his work on a case is often too slow, and the reward for services is prohibitively large.
When I started working on immigration, as a technical expert, I realized how much you can automate in this process to help people reduce the stress of the “immigration nightmare». Our project ensures the joint work of both lawyers and immigrants, which makes the process more transparent, thorough and safe, and at very low rates.“- summed up Leeran.
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