Case Study: Alice Technologies

Name: Dr. Rene Morkos

Company: ALICE Technologies

Type of Visa: OPT, E2, H1B 2012 to Present

Location: Palo Alto, San Francisco

Education: PhD Construction Engineering – Stanford

Nationality: Czech/Lebanese

Industry: AI/Construction Management

Rene was a PhD student at Stanford when we met in 2014. He heard about our work at StartX and contacted us about doing an informal gathering of Stanford foreign national students on campus. He was at the idea stage of ALICE, and we became friends, advising him on immigration matters, preparing for a possible O or E or H1B visa in the future, when his OPT expired. He filed his own OPT extension, but he filed it 1 day late. When he got his Rejection Letter, he called us, somewhat in a panic. He had investors lined up for initial funding of over $2m but of course, he needed to be in status to stay in the US and lead the company. An H1B was not available, due to Lottery restrictions, but Rene owned over 50% of ALICE, and he is a Czech citizen…so the E2 visa was an option. He did not have personal cash in the bank, but he was able to secure a personal loan of an adequate amount needed to make the investment and be “at risk.” Within a matter of days, money was transferred, a business plan was written, staff compensation was recorded, and we were able to connect with the US Nonimmigrant Consular Chief in Toronto to book an “urgent” appointment. We explained about his falling out of status, his control, American jobs at risk, and the $2m investment in the wings. Rene flew to Buffalo where we met him, and we drove to Toronto for the appointment. We stayed in Toronto for a few days while the Consul was processing his visa. It was fun! And best of all, E2 visa was issued! Through the years, we help Dr. Morkos with ALICE, many of its employees, and has successfully transitioned him to H1B status, and now O1 and in the final process of the Green Card.

—Michael Serotte

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