Dear Sophie: What are some fast options for hiring someone on an expiring grace period?

Share Story on

Here’s another edition of “Dear Sophie,” the advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working at technology companies.

“Your questions are vital to the spread of knowledge that allows people all over the world to rise above borders and pursue their dreams,” says Sophie Alcorn, a Silicon Valley immigration attorney. “Whether you’re in people ops, a founder or seeking a job in Silicon Valley, I would love to answer your questions in my next column.”

TechCrunch+ members receive access to weekly “Dear Sophie” columns; use promo code ALCORN to purchase a one- or two-year subscription for 50% off.


Dear Sophie,

I’m a co-founder of a very early-stage startup. My co-founder and I are considering bringing on a third co-founder, who was recently laid off. She is currently in the United States on an H-1B with a grace period that will expire soon.

What are the fastest, least risky immigration options that we should consider? What’s going on with potential increases to USCIS filing fees?

— Careful Co-Founder

Dear Careful,

It’s wonderful to hear that you’re expanding your team and supporting your prospective co-founder.

This is the right time to hire international talent, since filing fees for most work visas and green cards will likely increase later this year. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which oversees U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), earlier this month issued a proposal that would substantially increase fees for many non-immigrant visas, and would slow the premium processing time from 15 calendar days to 15 business days (roughly three calendar weeks), among other changes.

For instance, the filing fee for an H-1B application (new, renewal, or transfer) will increase from $460 to $780. DHS is accepting public comments on this proposal until March 6, 2023, and I urge you and other employers, particularly early-stage startups, to weigh in on these changes.

First, buy time

A composite image of immigration law attorney Sophie Alcorn in front of a background with a TechCrunch logo.

Image Credits: Joanna Buniak / Sophie Alcorn (opens in a new window)

Before I dive into your first question, I highly recommend talking with an immigration attorney ASAP about your prospective hire’s situation and timing. An immigration attorney can suggest strategies tailored to your startup and aimed at mitigating risks. Calculating the grace period after a layoff can be tricky, as it involves a lot of factors, and you want to ensure that your co-founder maintains valid status in the U.S. and has the proper authorization for any required international travel.

Since your prospective co-founder’s 60-day grace period is ending soon, she can get additional time quickly by applying online for a change of status from H-1B to B-1 business visitor status, which will enable her to request to stay in the U.S. for another six months. It will also give you time to prepare an H-1B transfer filing and seek to change her status back to an H-1B or another work visa.

Remember that the B-1 status is not a work visa and does not grant work authorization, which means she will not be authorized to be employed by your startup. However, she can do a few things that immigration officials do not consider as work, such as:

  • Attend business meetings or consultations;
  • Attend a convention or conference;
  • Negotiate contracts.

Dear Sophie: What are some fast options for hiring someone on an expiring grace period? by Ram Iyer originally published on TechCrunch



Search By Category

Recent News

You May Also Like

Revolutionary i-Align technique simplifies joint replacement with minimal invasion and best outcome: Dr. Pratul Jain

Revolutionary i-Align technique simplifies joint replacement with minimal invasion and best outcome: Dr. Pratul Jain

February 1: “Excruciating pain, the long recovery process, and fat operation costs are major concerns of people suffering from issues related to joint pain in

The next big thing in crypto RenQ Finance set to launch its presale

The next big thing in crypto RenQ Finance set to launch its presale

New Delhi (India), February 1: Are you ready for the next big thing in crypto? RenQ Finance is set to launch its presale and it’s poised

Kolkata’s Sumit Bajaj On Record Predicted ‘Gautam Adani’s’ Wealth Crash

Kolkata’s Sumit Bajaj On Record Predicted ‘Gautam Adani’s’ Wealth Crash

New Delhi (India), February 1: 4 months back in September 2022, Pathaan’s unstoppable success, Fifa World Cup Results, T20 World Cup Cricket Match Results, Nepal’s Plane

An exciting new clothing brand based in Surat is making its way to your hearts!

An exciting new clothing brand based in Surat is making its way to your hearts!

Surat (Gujarat) [India], February 1: The frenzy brand Kaambhari is launched by young entrepreneurs from Surat, Gujarat. The brand makes quirky T-shirts to transform the styling of today’s

“Airport expansion will assist Coimbatore to become a global city” – says Eshwar N, Chief Executive Office of G Square

“Airport expansion will assist Coimbatore to become a global city” – says Eshwar N, Chief Executive Office of G Square

Airport expansion will assist Coimbatore to become a global city New Delhi (India), February 1: Ever wondered what fast-paced social development looks like? One can have a

Caerus3 Advisors, and Rotary Club of Bombay Peninsula host self defence workshop for 80 Udyaan Shalini Fellowship NGO girls

Caerus3 Advisors, and Rotary Club of Bombay Peninsula host self defence workshop for 80 Udyaan Shalini Fellowship NGO girls

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], February 1: Caerus3 Advisors and Think Tank, India’s leading transaction advisory services firm, in association with the Rotary Club of Bombay Peninsula today organized a