O-1 visa for a French entrepreneur and start-up founder

We hope that his story will give you some insight and inspiration for your own immigration journey!


Service: O-1 visa

Who: A French entrepreneur and start-up founder applying for an O-1 visa.

Background: Client was on the E-2 treaty investor visa, but with the growth of his business, he was in need of an upgrade.

Challenge: The client didn’t meet almost any criteria for an O-1 visa.

Passright’s solution: With our help and guidance, the client gradually built the necessary evidence, encompassing several criteria.

Result: O-1 visa has been approved and we are now in the process of obtaining a Green Card. The I-140 part of the green card application process was already approved, we are just waiting right now for the adjustment of status.


Client’s story

Our client was a founder from France who was initially in the U.S. growing his business under an E-2 investor visa. The funds that he invested were coming from French investors and the company was growing.

At one point, he decided to start fundraising because the company was scaling and additional funding was needed. And gradually, he started selling the equity in the company which is a natural process during fundraising. He was, however, going to lose the majority stake in the company eventually.

Here is where a challenge appeared: the E-2 visa requires that at least 50% of the equity be owned by French founders or investors from France.

PassRight`s approach: we needed to figure out a safe scenario for the client where he could still continue getting investors and acting as a CEO of the company but not be limited by this requirement. We evaluated his eligibility for the O-1 visa and concluded that he was a perfect fit.

He needed, however, to upgrade his profile a little bit. So we started work on criteria helping him to qualify for an O-1 visa:

  • There was press about his company which meant that we could address this requirement: critical role for a company with a distinguished reputation.
  • He was attending a number of different accelerators, both in Europe and in France.
  • And he was invited to multiple hackathons. Not all of them were qualifying for the O-1 visa, but some of them were.
  • There were also a few articles about him, but these articles focused mostly on the company and they just barely mentioned his name. Articles of this type were really great and helpful while we were arguing the essential capacity for a company with a distinguished reputation, but it was optimal to try and meet another criterion: published articles about the applicant.

We knew it would be great to have some press about him personally, but the client was not very keen on having press about himself. In the end, we persuaded him that this would really be extremely helpful and we also guided him how to cover the press area.

The case was approved and the client is still growing his company. We also applied for the green card for him under the EB1-A category which is a very common path for founders as a next step after applying for the O-1 visa if they’re planning to stay in the US for an extended period. The I-140 part of the green card application process was already approved, we are just waiting right now for the adjustment of status.

Would you be interested in determining your eligibility for the O-1A category? Kindly complete this brief screening, and our team of attorneys will carefully review your accomplishments.