Don’t waste your time and money trying to keep up with U.S. immigration.

(In case you missed) Unshackled #42: I got my O-1A approved as a solo founder.

Published 6 months ago • 6 min read


Happy Friday. ✨

Soundarya here, from Unshackled. :)

In case you missed, here's the newsletter from this week.

It's official: I got my O-1A visa approved and stamped as the solo founder (and 100% owner) of my company. It only took 2.5 years, $25,000, an RFE, denial, and 221(g) to get here, sigh. Want to read the inside story of exactly what happened over the last 2.5 years to reach this milestone? You got it. I wrote a short, free book for you.

Before we jump in, I want to thank our sponsors LCR Capital and Adepto AI who made this newsletter free for all. And, I'm delighted to welcome 268 new subscribers (woohoo!) to our newsletter since last week. Welcome, welcome! 🙏

You're receiving this email as part of the Unshackled weekly newsletter. Immigration is a complex world. So every Wednesday, I try to simplify that by sharing top stories and relevant resources that matter to you. I also sprinkle it with updates on what's happening with the Unshackled online community. If you find value in reading it, forward this to a lucky friend. If this was forwarded to you, get your own here! Read all the past editions here. 💃

This week's TL;DR

📌 UNfold: Top stories

US Unveils Sweeping Reforms to H-1B Visa Program: What You Need to Know

Yay. The Biden administration finally published their proposal to revamp and modernize the H-1B program. It's meant to help more talent move to the country, reduce burden for employers, and curb fraud. Changes include ending multiple entries for the same employee, eliminating the "employer-employee" relationship requirement, allowing job offers to be remote, extending the "cap-gap" provision for international students, and increasing site visits for fraud prevention. The proposed changes are open for public comment until December 22, 2023, with the final rule expected in late 2024.

Proposed Changes to H-1B Rules Aim to Modernize Program, but Challenges Loom

Yes this is the same story as above, but written from a different perspective. While most of the changes proposed are welcomed by everyone, some are not. Specifically, the government is planning to redefine the term "specialty occupation" to only include roles that directly align with your degree. This will likely lead to more RFEs and denials. Please make your voice heard by commenting on the proposal!

Indian Green Card Queue in US Swells to 1.1 Million, No Applications Accepted in 2024

Indians seeking green cards in the employment-based 2 and 3 categories in the United States are facing a massive backlog, with around 1.1 million Indians in the queue for green cards. Ugh. Due to the demand-supply imbalance, USCIS has announced that they won't accept any more EB-2 or EB-3 I-485 applications from India in fiscal year 2024 and beyond. The situation calls for intervention by the U.S. Congress to address the issue of insufficient visas in employment-based categories, which is causing longer waits for Indian green card applicants.

🎁 UNlock: Relevant resources

Masterclass: Get sh*t done toward your O1/EB1 goal by Soundarya Balasubramani [16th Nov, 6.00 PM PST]

On September 12th, 2023, I got my O-1A extraordinary visa approved as the solo founder of an educational venture that publishes books & builds communities.
This is the FIRST masterclass where I will be diving deep into my journey to help you -- an ambitious immigrant -- build your roadmap and reach your end goal. You don't wanna miss this! (This webinar is being conducted as part of the Unshackled online community.)

BONUS: You get a free copy of my book with the ticket.

Free Webinar: AMA on EB-1 Retrogression (ft. Seth R. Leech) [27th Oct, 8.00 AM PST]

There's been a lot of buzz around the EB-1 retrogression the past few months. To help you get some answers, I'm excited to interview Seth Leech. ​Seth is an experienced lawyer and a Partner at Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP. You don't wanna miss this! (This webinar is being conducted as part of the Unshackled online community.)

[Free webinar] Landing Jobs as International Students: Ex-FAANG Recruiter Spills All [28th Oct, 9.00 AM PST]

Are you an international student or professional trying to crack the US job market?
Join this eye-opening event where Jackie Williamson, a seasoned U.S. recruiter with 5 years of experience at Microsoft, shares insider secrets to help you navigate the complexities of immigration, recruitment, and career growth. Register and bring a friend!

🪄 UNveil: This week’s sponsors

Navigate the AI Revolution with Adepto: I'm excited to share with you Adepto, a thrice-weekly newsletter that simplifies the complex world of Artificial Intelligence. Join 80,000 subscribers to get concise, easy-to-read updates on the latest AI news. Adepto does the news hunting; you get the facts. To become part of Adepto's community, just click the link and let them guide you through the AI landscape. Best of all, it's free! Subscribe today and stay ahead with Adepto

Tired of sponsorship and renewals? EB-5 Visa holders can have an EAD and AP in 6-8 months. LCR Capital Partners has helped over 1,000 clients get Green Cards. Learn more about the EB-5 Immigrant Investors Visa with a complimentary, private consultation while they are in the Bay Area between November 16 and November 20, 2023. They will only be able to meet with 20 people. Apply here to schedule a time.

👉 Want to put yourself in front of 8500+ high-skilled immigrants? Just hit reply to start a conversation.

🥳 UNshackled: What's happening in the community?

I’ll be honest: I was very hesitant to start this community initially because I felt like I didn’t have the credentials to help people, since I didn’t have an extraordinary visa myself.

Thanks to the push from a few people, I went ahead anyway because I had spent a year researching this topic and knew a lot about the subject matter. If not me, I knew I could bring the right people together — lawyers, past recipients, experts — who can help.

But, now getting the O-1A as a solo founder & 100% equity owner makes me feel even more confident in what we can do when we help each other as a community. :)

Anyways, here's what's been brewin' in our community the past week:

  • Upcoming masterclass with yours truly: I'm doing my FIRST masterclass to help you get sh*t done toward your O1/EB1 visa goal. This is free for members -- but you can also join by paying $50. Bonus: you get a free copy of my book.
  • Free webinar on EB1 retrogression: We're bringing back one of our favorite speakers -- Seth Leech, an immigration attorney -- to address confusion around the EB-1 retrogression.
  • Masterclass video library launched with 24 videos: I am sooo excited for this. We will be creating short clips from all of our masterclasses so you don't need to watch a 1-hour video anymore. Just watch a 5-min clip & get your insights!
  • What counts as evidence for an award? was one of the questions on our discussion forum last week!
  • [Coming soon] Case Study Library: Imagine if there was a library filled with case studies of past O-1/EB-1 recipients, sharing exactly how they got to the finish line. Coming soon.
  • [Coming soon] O-1A self-assessment tool: I’m collaborating with the Schmidt Futures organization to build a tool that will give you a personalized roadmap for your O-1 journey. This will be free for all.

Whenever you're ready to join the community, use this private link that lets you join for $539 ($60 off). Once you join, get access to top lawyers, O-1/EB-1 mentors, weekly events, & a roadmap to reach your goal.

Until next week, stay wonderful.

Yours truly,

Soundarya 💚

💡 None of the information shared in this newsletter is meant to be legal advice. If you're looking for legal advice, speak to a lawyer, or hit reply and let me know so I can connect you with one.

💫 UNcover: Picks from the internet

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