Immigration is a hot topic for startups. But typically when we are talking about immigration and startups we’re talking about the laws that need to be changed to allow startup founders and technologists an easier path to create their companies here in the United States. We don’t typically come across startups that are looking to make the immigration process easier for people trying to legally come to the United States.
Many of the people that are crossing the border illegally are doing it because they want to get over here as quickly as possible, or they have something holding them back and preventing them from legally crossing the border. There are some people, though, who are coming over to the United States illegally because the legal process is quite cumbersome. There are a lot of forms that need to be filled out, kept organized, and turned in. Like with most bureaucratic processes, if one form is not completed correctly or signed properly, the whole process comes to a screeching halt.
Michael Petrucelli, who once led the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and Alan Samuels, a UK immigrant, and entrepreneur have founded ClearPath. Think of it as TurboTax for immigration.
Their platform keeps all of the important paperwork for the immigration process straight and organized.
“Clearpath allows immigrants to securely and confidentially fill out a variety of immigration forms online (including a new version of the site in Spanish and new forms in Spanish, like the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals application or the popular N-400 naturalization form) while the site checks data in real time for potential errors and compliance and then prepares the forms for submission to the USCIS. It’s the only online service of its kind that offers a patented, affordable online option for immigrants, costing a fraction of the fees typically charged by legitimate immigration lawyers or shady notarios,” Samuels told us in an interview.
Clearpath will make it easier for those looking to start their new lives legally in the United States. As the company grows it will also deter some of those trying to cross our borders illegally and get them to come into the U.S. the right way.
Check out the rest of our interview with Samuels below.
What is your startup called?
What does your company do?
Clearpath has developed a greatly simplified digital filing process for immigrants applying for visas and naturalization in the USA. Think of it as a TurboTax® for immigration.
Clearpath allows immigrants to securely and confidentially fill out a variety of immigration forms online (including a new version of the site in Spanish and new forms in Spanish, like the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals application or the popular N-400 naturalization form) while the site checks data in real time for potential errors and compliance and then prepares the forms for submission to the USCIS. It’s the only online service of its kind that offers a patented, affordable online option for immigrants, costing a fraction of the fees typically charged by legitimate immigration lawyers or shady notarios.
Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds
Founder and Chairman, Michael Petrucelli, led the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and wrote many of its policies and procedures. CEO Alan Samuels, a UK immigrant, previously founded an education finance marketplace, lead the sale of Dotmenu to GrubHub, and managed a $100 million corporate product line for S&P.
Where are you based?
Clearpath’s corporate headquarters is in NY, with offices in Washington D.C. and Miami, Fl.
What problem do you solve?
Immigration law is comparable in complexity to the US tax code. It is no simple task to navigate the USCIS website, identify the appropriate form, or complete it correctly. Lawyers charge between $4,000 and $10,000 to aid this process. (Notarios charge around $3,000 but often provide fraudulent services.) Clearpath Immigration brings the knowledge of US immigration administrators to these consumers with a safe, secure, smarter solution for a fraction of those prices.
With all the discussion around comprehensive immigration reform, what is clear is that there will be more people eligible for more statuses and, ultimately, more forms being filed. There may be up to 11 million people who will have a path to citizenship if the Senate version of the bill is passed. This will only add to the 100 million immigration forms that are filed yearly with the United States Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS). Hence the opportunity for tech-enabled solutions to streamline the byzantine immigration filing process.
What are some of the milestones your startup has already reached?
Our product is live at www.clearpathimmigration.com and currently covers just under 30 different immigration forms including: citizenship, deferred action for childhood arrivals, bringing over a foreign relative, adjustment of status.
What are your next milestones?
We are in discussions with a number of potential partners to jointly market our services. Look for a pilot with one of the largest Latino organizations later this year.
Where can people find out more? Any social media links you want to share?