Design Agency Founders Qualify for H-1B Status

A small graphic design agency wanted to relocate from a tiny London apartment to larger New York offices from which to grow their business. While the agency was eager to make the move, there were a few roadblocks. They did not have the capital for a treaty investor visa and could not qualify as intracompany transfers as they were planning to close down their UK operations entirely. The only other option was exploring the H-1B visa, a visa for professionals performing in a “specialty occupation.”

It was quite risky to seek H-1B visa status for the founders of a start-up company in light of the legal requirement that there be an “employer-employee relationship” between an H1B-petitioning employer and the H1B worker. Complicating the problem was the fact that the designers needed to be in New York quickly to secure a lucrative contract.

The solution we recommended was to hire an interim manager to select office space, build the office infrastructure and serve as the interim manager prior to filing the H1-B application, so upon arriving in the US, their work would solely be applying their high-level design skills. After hiring a manager to handle these tasks, the H1-B application was submitted and approved. The founders were quickly able to grow the New York team, soon converting to an investor visa status, which allowed them to resume managing the studio. Since that time, the agency has grown to over 20 employees and become a top, award-winning, globally recognized New York studio.