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The advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working at technology companies is called "DEAR SOCIETY"

A Silicon Valley immigration attorney says that your questions are vital to the spread of knowledge that allows people all over the world to rise above borders. I would be happy to answer your questions in my next column.

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I would like to ask you a question, DearSophie.

We were laid off from Big Tech last week, and it was the kick we needed to go all-in on our startup.

My co- founder needs immigration sponsorship to stay with our startup.

Do we look at an O-1A after 60 days? Thanks a lot.

In Newark, new to the area.

I am a new person.

There have been a lot of layoffs in the last couple of weeks. If you were laid off and need a green card, we have a lot of resources to help you. There are ways for laid off immigrants to get more time in the U.S. to find a new job.

The number of laid off tech workers starting their own companies has historically been lower for international people because of the U.S. immigration system.

There are many ways that you and your co-founder can navigate the layoff, the grace period and sponsorship at the new startup. This is how.

Deadlines and pathways

There is a 60 day grace period. The grace period begins from the day of the firing, although some laid off individuals will still get paychecks for many months. The Department of Homeland Security is on alert because many of the layoffs are public.

If you need more time to set up your startup and sponsor your co- founder's immigration, you can apply for a change of status to B visitor. B-1 business visitors can engage in certain activities legally, such as business formation and fundraising meetings, and can request an additional six months of time beyond the 60 day grace period. The application process can be used in conjunction with immigration sponsorship.

If you meet the requirements, you may be able to sponsor a co- founder for an H-1B transfer so they can work at your startup. The runway provided by the six months of B-1 status will be used by many individuals to qualify for an O-1A visa. The O-1 status is available to many professionals who can show they are at the top of their field.

An O-1A can be sponsored by an agent for an itinerary of services, including advising other startups for equity, being a venture scout for a VC firm and getting paid as a contractor. If you're born in India or China, the O-1A can be a good way to get a green card quicker.


You should be aware of the importance of setting up your company to successfully sponsor your co-founder and other hires for visas and green cards while also attracting funding from investors.