Table of Contents

Unshackled #7: Soon, you don’t need to leave America for visa stamping.

February 15, 2023

I’m beginning to put together a “Resource Hub” for immigrants. I wanted to share this with anyone who purchases Unshackled as a bonus on top of the book. Some examples include: checklist to incorporate a company on H-1B, a checklist for submitting your O-1 application, list of non-profits that help abused spouses on H-4, etc.Now, I’d love to know from you: what resource would you find most helpful right now in your immigration journey? Do let me know @ in advance! :)Also, since last week, we welcome 153 new curious immigrants to the newsletter! Thank you to those who joined, and anyone who forwarded this to a 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

No More Overseas Trips for Visa Renewal - Domestic Revalidation Will Soon Be Here!If you're an H-1B or L1 visa holder, we have some excellent news for you: the State Department is planning to launch a “pilot” program later this year that will let you do “domestic” visa renewals (and they will roll it out to everyone within 2 years). All that means is you don’t need to wrangle with the VFS site to book a stamping slot, and plan your entire trip abroad around this one aspect. I just got my stamping done a few weeks ago — and it was not fun. I’m really excited to see this come out. But, with all things immigration, I hope it does materialize. Time will tell, and I’ll let you know as soon as we hear more on this.IRCC Expands Online Application Status Trackers for Express Entry and PNP CandidatesAre you looking to immigrate to Canada? Then here’s some good news: the Canadian government has rolled out an “online application tracker” that you can use to track applications if you’re under the “Express Entry” or “PNP” category. In fact, they’re investing over 85 million dollars into making the entire immigration process as digital as possible.

🎁 Resources curated for you

USCIS: Protect Yourself from Immigration ScamsI’ve been lately seeing a LOT of comments and messages on LinkedIn that go like, “Are you looking for H-1B sponsorship? Please fill this form.” Please don’t fall for this. At best, they’re collecting your data to spam you. At worst, they’re gonna target you with some fraudulent scheme. Don’t take advice from someone who’s not a licensed lawyer. If you do need to talk to a lawyer, then email me at and let me know so I can connect you with someone legit! The USCIS website linked above also has some useful links you should bookmark.Preparing for the I-140 Stage: Common Issues and How to Overcome ThemSo, your employer has put in all the hard work, and your PERM application is ready to go! But, there is just one more step in the process: filing your I-140. This article talks about some common issues faced while filing your I-140. If you’re currently in the process, take a look at it once. Also, here’s a helpful fact to know — PERM and I-140 are handled by two separate government agencies: the Department of Labor and USCIS, respectively.Maximizing Your Chances: A Guide to EB-1A “Critical Role” CriterionAre you looking for a green card via the EB-1A route? Awesome! As you know, one of the criteria to satisfy is to play a “critical role” at an established organization. This article will guide you through the questions you can ask yourself to see if you do indeed check off the boxes to meet this criterion.💡 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 email me and let me know so I can connect you with one.

📕 What's the latest on Unshackled?

Last week, we got our first sponsor for the launch party of Unshackled, happening in early June.At first, I thought this would be a 100-person launch. But, now that we have our first sponsor, I’m positive we can host an event with 250 people! (it’ll be lit 🔥)I don’t want this to be just about the book and community, however. I’d like this to be an event to bring light to the issue of immigration, and get speakers from various industries (immigrant founders, someone from Congress, a venture capitalist, activist, etc) to come to join us for a fireside panel.We haven’t nailed down too many of the specifics yet, but the event will happen in the Bay Area in the second week of June. You’ll be the first to know as things become more concrete. In case you'd like to purchase or reserve an early ticket, email me at and let me know. 💃Other than that, my team and I are heads down working toward editing all the chapters in the book. Soon, we’ll be sending the chapters to lawyers and other experts who can do a thorough review to ensure we didn’t miss any insights. In parallel, my designer is finishing up all the illustrations and infographics for the book. As I’m re-reading all the stories that are gonna go into the final manuscript, I can’t help but feel emotional. Every single story in Unshackled is a testament to the struggles a hundred thousand immigrants — like you — go through every day. I just hope I did a decent job of capturing them.Hey, by the way, if you haven't yet, be the 781st person to pre-order the book below. 👇Get UnshackledThank 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

My holy spirit hasn't had a day off since 2010 🥲

— Dr.Aditi Paul 🟢 Researcher | Professor | Author (@iamaditipaul) February 6, 2023


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.

Click to learn more →