Ask Sophie: Which visas will allow us to expand our startup in the US?
Dear Sophie: How can I return to the United States as a founder?Dear Sophie: Last-minute H-1Bs, O-1A & EB-1A extraordinary credential prepHere's another edition of "Ask Sophie," the advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working at technology companies."Your questions are vital to the spread of knowledge that allows people all over the world to rise above borders and pursue their dreams," says Sophie Alcorn, a Silicon Valley immigration attorney. "Whether you're in people ops, a founder or seeking a job in Silicon Valley, I would love to answer your questions in my next column."TechCrunch+ members receive access to weekly "Ask Sophie" columns; use promo code ALCORN to purchase a one- or two-year subscription for 50% off.Dear Sophie,My co-founder and I launched a B2B SaaS startup in Poland a few years ago and are now looking to expand in the United States for market access since we have product market fit in a few countries in Europe. We really need to be on the ground to interview our ideal users in the U.S. What visas will allow us to do that?-- Aiming for AmericaDear Aiming,Congrats on taking this next big step forward to grow your startup! I appreciate you reaching out for immigration guidance. Setting up your company in the United States is a valuable foundation to successfully sponsor you, your co-founder, and other prospective employees for visas or green cards, and it also makes investors feel more comfortable investing in your company. I recommend you consult both a startup corporate attorney in the state where you intend to locate your company and an immigration attorney to assist you in your efforts.[photo1]Image Credits: Joanna Buniak / Sophie Alcorn (opens in a new window)Image Credits: Joanna Buniak / Sophie Alcorn (opens in a new window)Matteo Daste, a corporate attorney, partner, and head of the Northern California Emerging Companies and Venture Capital practice at global law firm Mayer
Brown, recommends that international founders spend some time on the ground in the U.S. to get a sense of the environment and opportunities before moving here. I recently chatted with Daste about the challenges international founders face in the U.S. He says he has seen an uptick in the number of international founders visiting the U.S. post-COVID-19 to kick the tires and launch their long-awaited expansion and immigration plans.