Dear Sophie: Is it possible to expand our startup in the US? – TechCrunch



Right here’s one other version of “Pricey Sophie,” the recommendation column that solutions immigration-related questions on working at expertise firms.

“Your questions are very important to the unfold of information that enables individuals all around the world to rise above borders and pursue their goals,” says Sophie Alcorn, a Silicon Valley immigration legal professional. “Whether or not you’re in individuals ops, a founder or in search of a job in Silicon Valley, I might like to reply your questions in my subsequent column.”

Additional Crunch members obtain entry to weekly “Pricey Sophie” columns; use promo code ALCORN to buy a one- or two-year subscription for 50% off.

Pricey Sophie,

My co-founders and I launched a software program startup in Iran a number of years in the past, and I’m comfortable to say it’s now thriving. We’d wish to increase our firm in California.

Now that President Joe Biden has eradicated the Muslim ban, is it potential to do this? Is the pandemic nonetheless standing in the way in which? Do you’ve gotten any strategies?

— Proficient in Tehran

Pricey Proficient,

Sure, it’s potential! Sadly, sure, the COVID-19 pandemic remains to be making the immigration course of a bit difficult, however keep in mind, the place there’s a will, there’s most frequently, in immigration regulation, a method.

On his first day in workplace in January, Biden rescinded the ban on visas for a lot of majority-Muslim international locations, together with Iran. The ban had been in place since 2017 and almost 42,000 visa functions have been denied, in accordance with the U.S. Division of State.

Biden additionally allowed the bans on the issuance of H-1B, L-1, and J-1 visas and inexperienced playing cards at U.S. embassies and consulates that the earlier administration put in place final yr to lapse.


Meaning worldwide startup founders such as you and different worldwide expertise dwelling exterior the US can begin occupied with acquiring these visas and inexperienced playing cards with out essentially requiring exceptions to take action. In a latest podcast episode, I talked about these and different immigration-related modifications, in addition to these promised by the Biden administration. Take a pay attention to seek out out extra!

As you in all probability know, most vacationers from Iran are at present not allowed entry into the U.S. due to the COVID-19 journey ban, and most U.S. embassies and consulates will not be open for routine visa and inexperienced card utility processing. As a result of the US has not had an embassy or consulate in Iran for the reason that Iran hostage disaster of 1979, you and your co-founders ought to discover out which U.S. embassies or consulates are at present processing routine visa and inexperienced card functions — and are in international locations that aren’t on the suspended entry record — and apply there. We’re nonetheless ready for detailed data from the State Division on the equal of reparations for people who have been affected by the Muslim ban.

As well as, I like to recommend that you simply seek the advice of with an skilled immigration legal professional who might help you devise an immigration technique for your self, your co-founders and your households based mostly in your private {and professional} objectives. Now, listed here are a number of choices so that you can think about.

L-1A visa to open a U.S. workplace on your startup


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