O-1 Visas for Founders (Foreign Entrepreneurs)

The O-1 visa is for the individual who has extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.

So, with respect to founders or foreign entrepreneurs the O-1 visa is for individuals with extraordinary ability and achievement in business.

Basic Facts
Initially 3 years, but renewable
Work for 1 company in the US
No university degree or minimum salary requirement
Based on professional achievements and recognition
Adjustment of status (to green card)

The O-1 visa for founders requires that you meet at least 3 of the following 8 criteria:

    1. AWARDS or PRIZES: Personal awards, company awards, or receipt of venture capital, which counts as an award.
    2. MEMBERSHIP: Membership in a prestigious accelerator for start-ups or a highly selective group
    3. SCHOLARLY ARTICLES OR BOOKS: Have you authored and published any scholarly articles or books about your subject matter of expertise? If so, check this one off.
    4. PRESS: Has there been any good press coverage of you and your company in major media? If so, check another one off.
    5. HIGH SALARY OR OTHER REMUNERATION: If you have previously received high compensation, or have significant equity in a venture-backed company, then you meet this requirement.
    6. EMPLOYED IN A CRITICAL OR ESSENTIAL CAPACITY: If you founded a venture-backed company, or worked in a critical role for a company that has a distinguished reputation, then you’re good to go on this one.
    7. ORIGINAL CONTRIBUTIONS OF MAJOR SIGNIFICANCE: Have you created anything that’s original and important to your business or industry, such as a patent, a computer program, or a new way of doing business?
    8. JUDGING: If you’ve judged other startups or entrepreneurs, then you’ve met this requirement.

Read the 8 again.
So, if you’re a foreign entrepreneur who has founded a company in the United States who can meet at least 3 of these criteria, an O-1 visa may be right for you.
Contact me to discuss the possibilities.