Q: Can I get an O1A visa through my startup which is a 100% software, and my degree is in Electrical Engineering?
I'm the technical founder and I am developing the application myself. I am raising a round of money soon from a VC firm while on my STEM OPT, however, I'm worried if my startup won't count for an O1A visa since my degree is in Electrical Engineering and so my degree doesn't directly apply to my startup.
I do have a programming background, and my degree did have a lot of programming focus, but I'm worried it would be compared simply like "Software is not equal to Electrical Engineering"
A: O-1A visa does not require a direct correlation between your degree and your field of work. What matters is your extraordinary ability in your field, which can be demonstrated through various pieces of evidence such as awards, patents, publications, or testimonials from experts in your industry.
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It is possible to apply for an O1A visa based on your work in a software startup, even if your degree is in Electrical Engineering. The O1A visa is designed for individuals with extraordinary ability in their field, and the focus is on your achievements and recognition rather than your degree.
To qualify for an O1A visa, you will need to demonstrate that you have extraordinary ability in your field of work, which may include programming and software development. You will need to provide evidence of your achievements, such as awards, publications, patents, and testimonials from experts in your field.
You may also need to provide documentation of your role and responsibilities in the startup, such as a detailed job description and proof of your ownership or equity in the company.
It is important to work with an experienced immigration attorney to help you prepare a strong O1A visa application and to navigate any potential challenges or issues. The attorney can also provide guidance on the specific evidence and documentation required for your particular case.
The O-1A category applies to aliens coming temporarily who has extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics (not including the arts, motion pictures or television).
Petition Document Requirements
A US employer should file the petition (Form I-129) with:
A written advisory opinion from a peer group (including labor organizations) or a person designated by the group with expertise in the alien’s area of ability;
A copy of any written contract between the employer and the alien or a summary of the terms of the oral agreement under which the alien will be employed;
Evidence that the alien has received a major, internationally-recognized award, such as a Nobel Prize, or evidence of at least three of the following:
Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor;
Membership in associations in the field for which classification is sought which require outstanding achievements, as judged by recognized international experts;
Published material in professional or major trade publications, newspapers or other major media about the alien and his work in the field for which classification is sought;
Original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance in the field;
Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media in the field for which classification is sought;
A high salary or other remuneration for services as evidenced by contracts or other reliable evidence;
Participation on a panel, or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or in a field of specialization allied to that field for which classification is sought;
Employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations and establishments that have a distinguished reputation.
If the above standards do not readily apply to the person’s occupation, the petitioner may submit comparable evidence in order to establish the person’s eligibility.
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