February 21, 2024

this is another version Advice column from “Ask Sophie” to answer immigration-related questions about working at tech companies.

“Your questions are critical to the dissemination of knowledge that empowers people around the world to transcend borders and pursue their dreams,” said Sophie Alcorn, Silicon Valley immigration attorney. “Whether you’re looking for a job in HR, a founder, or in Silicon Valley, I’d love to answer your question In my next column.

TechCrunch+ members get access to the weekly “Ask Sophie” column; use promo code ALCORN for 50% off a one- or two-year subscription.

Dear Sophie,

I co-founded a startup last year and my co-founder and I just got accepted to an accelerator program in the US!

What type of visa can we get to come to the US that will allow us to stay there so we can grow our startup after the accelerator is over?

— Jazz in Johannesburg

dear jazz,

Congratulations on being admitted to the American Accelerator! This is great news – and a great achievement that will not only boost your business, but your immigration journey as well.

I recommend working with an immigration attorney who can guide you and your co-founders on their respective paths to living and working in the US and prepare you for the interview process at the US Consulate in Johannesburg.

If an interview is required, the wait time to schedule a nonimmigrant visa interview at the U.S. Consulate in Johannesburg is typically about 30 days, according to the U.S. Department of State Visa Appointment Waiting Time Page.

Vote for immigration attorney Sophie Alcorn to speak at TechCrunch Disrupt in September 2023.

People seeking to enter the United States on visas requiring nonimmigrant intent must demonstrate to visa officials that their stay in the United States is only temporary and that they intend to eventually return to live in their home country. If a consular officer believes that a person intends to remain in the United States permanently, the officer may deny a visa application.

Now, let me delve into the visa options for coming to the United States.

B-1 Business Visitor Visa

You and your co-founders get B-1 Business Visitor Visa Take part in an accelerator program, which will allow you to stay for an initial six months.To apply for a B-1 visa, you must complete the form DS-160, the Department of State’s online nonimmigrant visa application. After completing the form, you will need to print the confirmation page and bring it to the US Consulate for your interview. If your application is approved during the interview, it may take several weeks for the visa to be processed and delivered.

Although the B-1 Business Visitor Visa and the B-2 Tourist Visitor Visa are usually issued together as a single visa, be sure to specifically apply for B-1 Business Visitor Visa status and inform U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials when you arrive in the U.S. , you will participate in an accelerator program and start a business during your stay. This is really important!

Always be aware that all your future visits or stays in the U.S. may be affected by factors such as: your reason for coming to the U.S., the visa you use, what you say to immigration officials at your visa interview and when you arrive in the U.S., what You do this while you are in the US and when you leave.