Despite the study’s findings, immigrant entrepreneurs still face a slew of visa challenges that make it difficult for them to start and build companies.

By Ben Kesslen
NBC News
February 20th, 2019

When Sara Itucas was a young girl, she watched her family navigate the perilous and notoriously bureaucratic U.S. immigration system.

Itucas and her family came to the U.S. from the Philippines when she was 5, and from a young age she saw how convoluted the immigration process was.

“Watching my mom go through the immigration process was really stressful for our whole family,” Itucas said. “It was so complicated, and we didn’t speak English that well.”

When Itucas grew up, she decided to do something to make the process easier. She and Todd Haines founded LegalPad, a startup meant to simplify the visa application process.

“I wanted to give other people that opportunity I had,” Itucas told NBC News. “LegalPad aims to simplify the process and educate people so they are more empowered to help themselves.”

Itucas is far from the only immigrant founder of a venture capital-backed startup in the U.S. A 2016 report by the National Foundation for American Policy said that immigrants had founded more than half of America’s startups valued at or over $1 billion.

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