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Unshackled #16: Free webinar for founders, RFEs go up, & OPT guide.

April 26, 2023

Unshackled is finally ready to be proof-read. If you already signed up to be a proofreader, you must’ve gotten an email by now with more instructions. If you’d like to be one, just hit reply and let me know. Excited to share the final version with some of you.Before we jump in, I want to welcome 518 new amazing subscribers to our newsletter since last week! I can't thank you enough if you 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

US to process more than a million visas at consulates in India​Good news is on the horizon! The US is gearing up to grant over a million visas to Indians this year. There have been a ton of delays in processing B-1, B-2, and F-1 visas in the past few years due to the pandemic. Finally, the US is trying to catch up with the demand and ensure anyone who applied for a student visa gets it before the school starts in the Fall. Plus, a pilot program for domestic visa renewals (for H-1B and L-1) is in the works for later this year.​​EB-5 visa program becomes a favorable alternative for foreign investorsThe EB-5 is a green card that requires you to invest around a million dollars (or more) into the US to get it. While only an option for a minority few, it’s become quite attractive over the past few years among the investors circle. The demand increased by 400% between 2016 and 2019, and applications have almost doubled following the program's resurgence post-Covid. Check out the requirements and eligibility here.RFEs for EB-1 and O-1 increase in Q1 2023; some tips to navigate it​According to attorneys, there was an increase in the number of Requests for Evidence (RFE) issued for O-1 Visa and EB-1 Green Card petitions in the initial quarter of FY 2023 (although official stats have not been announced yet). Although daunting, an RFE is not the end of the road. In fact, most of them do end up in approval! This article shares some key learnings on how to respond to one.

🎁 Resources curated for you

Free Webinar: Start your business and sponsor your visa [April 27th, 2023 10:00 AM PST]​If you've been eager to launch a business in the U.S. or work as a freelancer but are concerned about your visa status, check out this webinar from the co-founder of Teachable!Free Webinar: International Entrepreneur Parole Webinar [May 3rd, 2023, 10:00 AM PST]​The International Entrepreneur Parole (IEP) program was introduced during the Obama administration to give a path for immigrant founders to build their companies in America. It finally took off in 2021. If you’re an aspiring founder, check out this webinar that covers everything from eligibility to benefits to application strategies.Mastering Your OPT Employment: A Comprehensive Guide​As an international student, Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a valuable opportunity to gain work experience in the U.S. Learn about the different types of OPT, eligibility requirements, the program's duration, employer requirements, tax implications, and the application process to make the most of your OPT employment!💡 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?

This week, I brought on a community and operations manager onto the team, Arvind Subramanian. Arvind and I will be spending the next month setting up the community and inviting the founding members of it from those who ordered a membership so far.It’s been a 180-degree shift for me, to go from writing a book to building a community. I’ve been upskilling myself a lot over the past week — reading about community building, researching tools to build it, and learning the best practices. Of course, in the end, it all comes down to: are we able to help the members of the community meaningfully?We’ll also be closing community memberships starting May 15th to focus on those who already paid for them first. After May 15th, joining the community will be invite-only. If you’d like to be one of the first few hundred members to join, click here to get a membership before May 15.Finally, the book is in the copyediting stage now for the finishing touches. So if you signed up to be a proofreader, you should get the book next week!​Hey, by the way, if you haven't yet, be the 871st 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

Caption: Just arrived, but can I phone a friend for this one? Source: Dr. Aditi Paul


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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