Visa Stamp

Instagram Co-founder Had Work Visa Problem

Instagram almost lost one of its cofounders and one of the technical masterminds behind the ever-popular photo-sharing application because of trouble and delays in procuring a work visa.  According to Krieger, a native of Brazil who came to the United States to study at Stanford University on a student visa, Instagram almost didn’t happen, and the U.S.’s “convoluted immigration system would have been to blame.” After graduating from Stanford, he procured a job at Meebo, and the software startup helped him apply for an H-1B visa. This class of temporary visa is designated for specialty workers, and the technology industry is a major customer. Google, Facebook, Intel, and other tech giants mail tens of thousands of applications off to government processing centers each year in hopes of securing the limited supply of visas for foreign computer programmers and engineers.

A few months after obtaining his H-1B visa, Krieger started talking with Systrom about building a social networking application. One of the first technical challenges they faced had nothing to do with programming: It was transferring Krieger’s H-1B to the new company. In an interview, Krieger says he waited for more than three months while Systrom hired a lawyer, and he filed papers to get the work visa. As the weeks dragged on, Krieger found himself spending hours studying the intricacies of immigration law and checking websites such as trackitt.com, where visa applicants share war stories. Finally the paperwork came through, and Krieger got clearance to stay in the country to work with Systrom in April 2010. The Instagram application for the iPhone took a few weeks to develop. “It took less time to build Instagram than it did for me to get my work visa,” he says. Krieger visited the White House and was a guest of First Lady Michelle Obama at the State of the Union address in order to voice his concerns about the importance of immigration reform. President Obama gave Krieger a shout-out in a speech in January of 2013.  Krieger continues to speak out to promote changes to U.S. immigration rules.

Unfortunately, Krieger’s case is not uncommon among immigrants looking to work legally in the United States. Because demand for H-1B visas far outstrip the number of visas offered each year, only a portion of qualified immigrant workers get cleared to work legally. This is why it is critically important to hire an effective immigration law firm to handle these time-sensitive employment cases.  The nationally-recognized immigration firm, the Shulman Law Group, LLC, has been successfully handling H-1B cases for twenty years and has the armamentarium and skill to prepare approvable applications to ensure fruitful results for our clients seeking to work legally in the United States.  We have taken great pride in navigating our clients through the H1-B process and through the pathway of obtaining lawful permanent residence in the United States.  Many of our clients have gone on to become lawyers, business owners, research scientists, and technology innovators.