Does Y Combinator help with O-1 visas?

Updated on June 16, 2024

Congrats on getting accepted to Y Combinator. It is one of the most prestigious startup incubators in the world. The acceptance rate is now less than 1%. It is more selective than the most prestigious universities like Harvard, Stanford, etc.

After you are accepted for the Y Combinator program, you will need to be in San Francisco for the duration of the program (which is at least 3 months).

If you want to stay longer, you may wonder how can Y Combinator help with long term visas like O-1 or EB-1. Is there an official program to help with that?

Does Y Combinator have an official O-1 process?

No, YC doesn’t have an official O-1 process for founders.

But YC provides support in multiple ways to help founders get the right visa. This visa can help them stay in the US for long term and impact the long term trajectory of your startup.

How to get O-1 visa after getting accepted into YC?

Getting into YC is one of the most difficult parts of your O-1 visa journey. It sets you on a path of getting that visa sooner.

To get the O-1 visa you will need to first understand the process and then take the necessary steps for a successful outcome.

Below is an overview of O-1 visa (which is a necessary first step):

O-1 is a nonimmigrant visa for individuals with extraordinary ability who want to work in the US. But it is also a dual intent visa. It means that you can also apply for a green card (for permanent residency) after you receive your O-1 visa. You cannot be denied O-1 visa even if you are looking to move to the US not only for work but also to settle here for the long term.

There are 8 categories of qualifications for O-1 visa:

  1. Receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards
  2. Membership in associations that require outstanding achievements
  3. Published material about you and your work in professional or major trade publications or media
  4. Evidence of your original scientific, scholarly, or business-related contributions of major significance
  5. Authorship of scholarly articles in professional journals or other major media
  6. Evidence of your high salary or other remuneration compared to others in your field
  7. Participation on a panel or as a judge evaluating the work of others in your field
  8. Employment in a critical or essential capacity for organizations with a distinguished reputation

You need to qualify for minimum 3 of the 8 categories to be approved for O-1 visa.

Given the current competitive situation, it is better to qualify for as many categories as possible.

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Rohit Mittal

Rohit Mittal is the co-founder and CEO of Stilt. Rohit has extensive experience in credit risk analytics and data science. He spent years building credit risk and fraud models for top U.S. banks. In his current role, he defines the overall business strategy, leads debt and capital fundraising efforts, leads product development, and leads other customer-related aspects for the company. Stilt is backed by Y Combinator and has raised a total of $275M in debt and equity funding to date.

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