New York City is a hotbed of immigrant entrepreneurial activity. Approximately 48% of the city’s businesses are immigrant-owned, from mom and pop shops to visionary tech startups.
Launching a business as a new immigrant is beyond challenging, however, it might seem like child’s play compared to slogging through the labyrinthine, near harrowing, world of obtaining a U.S. work visa. It’s a tedious, maddening process—especially for tech entrepreneurs who are racing against the clock—due in part to the U.S.’s outdated immigration system. But there is help for the immigrant entrepreneur. A new wave of immigration attorneys has emerged, experts in both immigration and startup law.
Five New York City immigration lawyers talk about their professional visa experiences, from A to Z, or H1-B to O-1A, as the case may be. They highlight some of the creative solutions they found for their clients, at a time when obtaining a U.S. work visa seemed like an insurmountable wall.
Sarah Corstange, Corstange Law
Corstange Law, a four-person team, is located a couple blocks east of the Flatiron Building. It specializes in immigration law for startup founders and employees. Principal attorney Sarah Corstange has been practicing immigration law for four and a half years. Spanish is spoken; clients are charged a flat fee per project.
Why are both immigration law and startup law important?
Corstange: The structure of an entity can be very important for certain types of visas. People who set up their company and funding structures first—and worry about immigration later—sometimes have to go back and dismantle parts of what they originally created. This is very disruptive, sometimes impossible; a waste of time and resources. An immigration plan should be in place before forming a legal entity, even if it’s too early to actually file the immigration application.
By Nina Roberts for Forbes
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