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Unshackled #14: Free O-1 Chapter, masterclass on EB-1, & faster visa interviews!

April 12, 2023

As promised, here’s the fully designed O-1 chapter from Unshackled. I apologize for not sending it last Friday — designing it took a lot longer than we thought. If you enjoy reading it, do send a note or tag me on LinkedIn. It’ll make my day!

Read O-1 chapter from Unshackled

Before we jump into the newsletter, I want to welcome 55 new subscribers to our newsletter since last week. Welcome, folks! And thanks to you if you forwarded this to a dear friend. 🙏

Immigration is a complex world. So every Wednesday, I try to simplify that by sharing top stories, curated resources, & fun tweets from the internet that matter to you. I also sprinkle it with updates on my upcoming book Unshackled, at the end. If you want to get this straight to your email inbox, come sign up! You can read all past editions here. 💃 

This week's TL;DR

📌 Stories you should know about

Indians opt for ‘third country’ visa interviews for faster US visa processingA trend has emerged of using the ‘third country’ option to schedule interviews much faster. A whopping 50,000 Indians have, in fact, already taken advantage of this over the last 3 months. Thailand, Vietnam, United Arab Emirates, and Singapore have emerged as top destinations for booking interviews. The waiting period for B-1 and B-2 visa interview appointments ranges from 14 to 30 days. However, you need to restart the entire process (including paying the fee again) if you plan to apply in these countries!​​Fee Update: US visa fees (DS-160) to increase from May 30, 2023The Department of State has announced that visa fees for a whole range of categories — including B-1, B-2, F-1, H-1B, etc — are set to increase starting May 30, 2023. For example, the student and tourist visa fees are increasing from $160 to $185, and the H-1B visa fee is increasing from $190 to $205. All fee payments for visa interviews made on or after October 1, 2022 are valid for 365 days from the date of issue of the fee payment invoice. NOTE: This is different from the hikes in USCIS application fee, which is set to happen later in the year.

🎁 Resources curated for you

Masterclass for students on building green card profile: 15 April 09:00 AM PTWithin an hour, learn strategies for merit-based visas like O-1, EB-1, and EB-2 NIW. Taught by Dr. Aditi Paul (an EB-1B recipient), this masterclass is ideal for a grad student who’s just starting out and wants to know how to start preparing for these visas from day one.​​Want to explore Canada as an alternative to the H-1B lottery?If your name wasn’t picked in the 2023 H-1B lottery, you’re probably already looking at alternatives. Canada might be a good option to look at, given their merit-based scoring system and a much shorter backlog for a green card. As a first step, check out where you stand in the Canadian green card line by looking at your CRS score.​​FAQs on filing taxes as an immigrantTax season is here! Unless you filed for an extension, the last date to file your taxes is April 18th, 2023. Read this FAQ to understand things such as who should file taxes, what tax credits are available to you, and whether income from outside the U.S. needs to be reported. In the end, it’s recommended to talk to a tax consultant if yours is not a straightforward filing. (Personally, I used TurboTax to file mine!)💡 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.

📕 What's the latest on Unshackled?

It gives me so much pleasure to say: the entire 88,000-word (!) manuscript has been sent to the copy editor for a final review.Whew.The past week has been very, very busy, with a lot of my team going the extra mile to ensure we finish the book as soon as possible. From my editor (Anaik) who worked through her entire weekend on a camping trip to my co-author (Sameer) who woke up at 5:30 AM to spend more time to my designer (Komal) who pulled through a day-long design marathon to finish the O-1 chapter — everyone’s been wonderful. I’m really, really lucky to have such people working on the project.I still have a few loose ends to tie with the manuscript this week. But, starting next week, I’m shifting my focus to the Unshackled community and planning the big launch event happening soon in the Bay Area!In case you purchased the book, you should be receiving an update soon on the timeline of shipping along with other good stuff!​Hey, by the way, if you haven't yet, be the 855th person to pre-order the book below. 👇

Get Unshackled

Thank you so much for reading till here.Got a burning question? Did you come across a resource that seemed useful? Want to say hi?Whatever it is, email me. I read and respond to every email.And, if you enjoyed reading this email, forward it to one friend. It helps more than you know.Until next week, stay awesome.​Yours truly,Soundarya 💚

👀 Fun corners of the internet

Time to go read about the cap-exempt H-1B… Source: Robert Webber


Unshackled is the name of a book and its accompanying online community. On here, you’ll find articles on everything from building your profile for an O-1A visa to starting a company on your H-1B. Want to get such resources directly in your Inbox? Join 7000 immigrants who hear from us every Wednesday.

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