“Transferring H-1Bs and Green Cards: Advice from Sophie”

Can we transfer green cards too? Sophie is passionate about transcending borders, expanding opportunity, and connecting the world by practicing compassionate, visionary, and expert immigration law. Our I-140 EB-2 green card petitions have been approved, but we’re waiting for our priority dates to become current for our green cards. Your startup will have to file a new I-140 to sponsor you for an employment-based green card or you will have to self-petition for an EB-1A extraordinary ability green card or EB-2 NIW (National Interest Waiver) green card. I recommend consulting an immigration attorney about transferring your H-1B and green card options that meet your plans and goals.

Sophie Alcorn, an accomplished lawyer, author, and founder of Alcorn Immigration Law in Silicon Valley, California, is recognized as a Certified Specialist Attorney in Immigration and Nationality Law by the State Bar Board of Legal Specialization.

Sophie is deeply passionate about breaking down barriers, expanding opportunities, and connecting the world through her empathetic, visionary, and expert approach to immigration law. Connect with Sophie on LinkedIn and Twitter.

TechCrunch+ members can access weekly “Ask Sophie” columns by using the promo code ALCORN to get a 50% discount on a one- or two-year subscription.

Dear Sophie,

My colleague and I are both employed at a prominent tech company. We have recently come up with a great idea for our own startup and can’t wait to pursue it. However, we are both currently on H-1B visas and waiting for our priority dates to become current for our I-140 EB-2 green card petitions to be approved. What is the process for transferring our H-1Bs to our new startup? Is it possible to transfer our green cards as well?

Sincerely,

Emerging Entrepreneur

Dear Emerging,

Congratulations on taking the leap to start your own company! I have answers and options for your situation.

On that note, I highly recommend listening to my insightful conversation with Miles Randle, where he shares his experience in helping founders navigate through the immigration process as part of his venture studio. Our discussion delves into how the visa and green card processes can impact the speed at which founders can achieve their startup goals, as well as the key characteristics that contribute to a successful founder.

The quick response to your second question is unfortunately no. The I-140s for your EB-2 advanced degree or exceptional ability green cards cannot be transferred to your startup. You will need to file a new I-140 for your startup to sponsor you for an employment-based green card, or you can self-petition for an EB-1A extraordinary ability green card or EB-2 NIW (National Interest Waiver) green card. However, your priority date can be “transferable.” Additionally, if you have reached the I-485 stage, there may be other portability options available.

I highly recommend consulting an immigration attorney who can guide you in transferring your H-1B and green card options in a way that aligns with your plans and aspirations. You and your colleague can work with an immigration attorney to determine the best strategy and backup options for reaching your dreams. Now, let’s dive in!

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Ava Patel

Ava Patel is a cultural critic and commentator with a focus on literature and the arts. She is known for her thought-provoking essays and reviews, and has a talent for bringing new and diverse voices to the forefront of the cultural conversation.

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