May 25, 2022

Here is another version From the “Dear Sophie” advice column, answering immigration questions about working in tech companies.

“Your questions are vital to spreading the knowledge that enables people around the world to rise above boundaries and achieve their dreams,” said Silicon Valley immigration attorney Sophie Alcorn. “Whether you’re in Human Resources, a founder, or looking for a job in Silicon Valley, I’ll be happy to answer your questions in my next column.”

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dear Sophie,

My co-founder and I are E-2 status. We need to find a fast visa option as the VC investment will dilute our capital and we will no longer be able to qualify for E-2.

We are considering Parole for International Entrepreneurs as an option as we can easily qualify depending on the expected investment, but we are concerned about the timing.

I know the IEP is new; How long will it take? Can it be accelerated? Should we consider alternatives?

— Founder of Fly Flying

Dear fastflying,

Congratulations on another round! I’m still very happy that the International Entrepreneur Parole (IEP) program can help founders immigrate to the US. This adds a lot of value as we wait for Congress to approve startup visas (watch my recent podcast on potential new startup visas with my colleague Nadia Zaidi, an attorney in my office and an expert on startup immigration law).

However, recent experience shows that obtaining an IEP is far from fast.

Composite image of immigration attorney Sophie Alcorn with the gaming-updates logo in the background.

image credit: Joanna Buniak / Sophie Alcorn (Opens in a new window)

So how long will it take?

Premium processing, which typically ensures that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) makes a decision within 15 days or issues a Request for Evidence (RFE) for an additional fee, is currently not available for IEP cases.

Based on several IEP cases we’ve filed for startup founders since the Biden administration formally relaunched the program last May, it takes at least six months for USCIS to request evidence or possibly make a decision. Given the ensuing process of failure at the entry level, it appears that entrepreneurs will have to wait at least a year before the IEP trajectory begins.

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