In this video, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick Esq., explains the F-1 student visa application process by examining a successful student visa case. For more information about the F-1 student visa please click here. For a free first consultation please contact our office.

Overview:

A student visa is a good option for foreign nationals who wish to enroll in a short course of study that is more than 18 hours per week. The F-1 visa is a temporary visa that allows a foreign national to pursue their academic studies and/or enroll in a language training program. First time student visa applicants must attend an in-person interview at a U.S. consulate abroad if they are living outside of the United States. Please note that each U.S. embassy and consulate has its own interview procedures for student visas. Please visit the website of the U.S. embassy or consulate near you for more information.

Requirements for a student visa

To qualify, an alien must meet the following requirements:

  • The student must be enrolled in an academic education program, not a vocational-type program;
  • Educational institution must be approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS);
  • The student must be enrolled as a full-time student at the institution;
  • The student must be proficient in English or be enrolled in courses leading to English proficiency;
  • The student must have sufficient funds available for self-support during the entire proposed course of study; and
  • The student must maintain a residence abroad which he/she has no intention of giving up
  • The student must demonstrate that they have legitimate obligations to return to their home country by providing sufficient proof of ties home such as a letter of future employment, proof of assets, proof of insurance payments, etc.

For more information about this program, please contact our office. 

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In this video, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick Esq., discusses the K-1 visa and the requirements to apply. For more information about the K-1 visa please click here. For a free first consultation please contact our office.

Overview:

  1. In order to apply for the K-1 non-immigrant visa, the petitioner must be a United States Citizen. Legal Permanent Resident “Green Card” holders of the United States are not allowed to obtain a K-1 Visa for their foreign fiancee.
  2. Both the petitioner (U.S. citizen) and the beneficiary (foreign fiancee) must be free to marry. This means that if either has been previously married he or she must be either divorced or widowed, or else the marriage must be legally annulled. A valid divorce that took place in a foreign country qualifies as legitimate for U.S. immigration purposes. You must be prepared to provide documented evidence of any divorces that have taken place (final divorce decrees from the authorized legal entity).
  3. The petitioner and foreign fiancee must have the intent to marry within 90 days of the foreign fiancee’s arrival in the U.S.
  4. The petitioner and foreign fiancee must have met in person within two years prior to filing the fiancee visa petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. There is a hardship waiver available for this requirement, but it is extremely difficult to obtain. The fact that the petitioner is too busy with his work, children, sick parent, etc. will not be adequate to obtain the waiver. To qualify for a waiver, most often there is a medical condition that prevents the US citizen from international travel.
  5. The U.S. citizen petitioner must meet a minimum income requirement as outlined on Form I-864P, describing the poverty level set by Congress every year. If the U.S. Citizen petitioner DOES NOT meet the income requirement, they must obtain a joint sponsor. For more information about the poverty guidelines and affidavit of support please visit our website.

For more information about this program, please contact our office. 

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In this video, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick Esq., appears on NBC 7 San Diego News to talk about the EB-5 Investor Program. For more information about the EB-5 visa please click here. For a free first consultation please contact our office.

Overview:

The EB-5 program was started in the 1990s as part of a pilot program designed to bring foreign capital to the United States by encouraging foreign investors to establish a new business venture or invest in a regional center project. Today, the EB-5 program is a special immigration program designed for foreigners who are interested in investing a significant amount of capital in American businesses and industries, that will create thousands of new jobs for Americans. In this interview, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick Esq. joins Diana Guevara and Interim President and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, Mark Leslie to discuss the advantages of participating in the EB-5 program.

Foreigners who have committed a large investment can become lawful permanent residents through this program by establishing a new commercial enterprise. Investors must provide full-time employment to at least ten U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents, or other immigrants with employment authorization.

For more information about this program, please contact our office. 

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In this video, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick Esq., discusses the requirements of naturalization and citizenship. For more information about the N-400 application for naturalization please click here.

Overview:

There are several reasons why you may want to become a U.S. Citizen. Whether it be to obtain a job or for purposes of family unity, our office can help you file the perfect application for naturalization. U.S. Citizens have certain immigration benefits that other individuals such as legal permanent residents and non-immigrant visa holders cannot exercise. U.S. Citizens can leave the country and spend time abroad without worrying about their immigration status. They can also immigrate their immediate relatives and other family members more quickly than permanent residents. These are only some of the benefits U.S. Citizens have.

There are strict and specific requirements to become a U.S. Citizen.

The most important requirements are as follows:

  • You must be able to speak the English language in order to take the Citizenship test although some exceptions exist.
  • You must be over the age of 18 to apply
  • Residency requirement. A person must be a U.S. resident for at least five years or three years if the person obtained their green card based on their marriage to a U.S. Citizen.
  • As long as four years and 9 months have passed since obtaining permanent residency a person can file their application for naturalization
  • You must be physically present in the United States for 30 months out of the 5 years preceding the application for naturalization
  • You must reside in the state or county at least 3 months before filing of the application for naturalization
  • You must be a person of good moral character at the time you are filing your application. If you have committed a crime, committed fraud, or misrepresentation this may preclude you from filing your application for naturalization. If you have received a DUI you may not be eligible to apply for naturalization.

If you have any criminal issues or other issues that may cause the immigration officer to question your good moral character, you should consult with an attorney before filing your application for naturalization.

Special Considerations for Military and other individuals 

Members of the armed forces receive special consideration when applying for citizenship. They are not required to meet all of these requirements

Individuals of a certain age who have spent a certain amount of years in the U.S. also receive special consideration for example they are exempt from the language requirement.

For more information please contact our office. 

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In this segment, attorney Jacob Sapochnick Esq., discusses an example of an I-601 Waiver. For more information about waivers of inadmissibility please click here.

Overview:

An I-601 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility allows a non-citizen alien to immigrate to the United States, adjust their status to permanent residence, or seek admission to the United States in a nonimmigrant status, if certain grounds of inadmissibility, circumstances, or conduct prevent them from being otherwise admissible. The I-601 application applies to certain aliens who believe they are ineligible for admission to the United States based on certain grounds of inadmissibility.

I-601 Success Story 

Maria, a Mexican citizen, was brought to the United States unlawfully at only 3 years of age. She lived here in the United States all of her life. She attended high school and college in the United States. She and her US Citizen husband came to our office and told us that they wanted to legalize her status in the United States. We analyzed her case and told the couple that in order to legalize her status, they would need to file the I-601 waiver. We also discussed the risks associated with the I-601 waiver. When filing the I-601 waiver, the applicant (Maria) is required to leave the country. When an undocumented immigrant leaves the country, they run the risk of being barred from re-entering the United States. Maria and her husband decided to file the application despite these risks. Maria was able to file a waiver based on her marriage to a US Citizen, and the fact that she had no immigration violations other than the accrual of unlawful presence. Our office filed the I-130 petition. Once approved the petition was sent to the National Visa Center and Maria was assigned an interview in Ciudad Juarez. She attended the interview and as expected she was denied, because she entered the US unlawfully. After this, our office submitted the waiver one week later. The waiver submitted for this case was based on the extreme hardship Maria’s U.S. Citizen husband would suffer if she were removed from the United States or denied entry. This type of waiver involves collection of documents proving that the US Citizen husband has a legitimate claim of extreme hardship. In this case, we collected medical, academic, occupational, and financial documents to prove that if Maria were removed from the United States, he would suffer an extreme hardship since his life would be uprooted, and he would not be able to find similar employment abroad. The waiver also involves collection of documents proving that the undocumented immigrant is an exemplary individual such as academic transcripts, awards, honors, etc. It also consisted of medical and psychological evaluations proving that the US Citizen suffered from anxiety and depression. Affidavits and letters from family and friends were also included in support of the extreme hardship. Within one week of submitting the waiver package to the US Consulate in Juarez, the immigration officer reviewed the case and granted the waiver. When she returned to the embassy she was given her immigrant visa in her passport and was able to re-enter the United States. This is an example of a successful I-601 waiver case that was achieved with careful preparation and planning so that our client could achieve favorable results.

For more questions about the I-601 waiver please contact our office. 

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In this segment, attorney Jacob Sapochnick Esq., discusses the EB-5 visa program and Regional Center investments. For more information about the EB-5 program please click here.

Overview: 

What is EB-5?

The EB-5 is a visa that allows an immigrant to obtain permanent residence in the United States based on an investment in a new commercial enterprise. The amount of funds that must be invested will depend on whether the investor will be investing in a project through a Regional Center. Under section 203(b)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. § 1153(b)(5), 10,000 immigrant visas per year are available to qualified individuals seeking permanent resident status on the basis of their engagement in a new commercial enterprise. To qualify for the EB-5 program, you must either invest half a million dollars in a Regional Center project or invest a million dollars in a new commercial enterprise (regular EB-5).

What is a Regional Center?

A regional center is a government designated program where investors invest up to half a million dollars together and throughout this process gain permanent residency. Currently, there are 864 regional centers throughout the United States, with projects in various different sectors including real estate, energy, export, wineries, etc. EB-5 is a popular program because investors are not required to physically or actively participate in the business they are investing in. They must however, invest funds into a new commercial enterprise or regional center and go through the necessary process.

Investors who are interested in a regional center project must be active in selecting a regional center. Attorneys cannot advise regional center clients on which regional center they should select. Attorneys can however provide general information and the pros and cons of working with a regional center. Attorneys can also warn individuals against making risky investments. Investors must do their homework and learn about the different regional centers and what type of project they would like to invest in. Attorneys cannot be actively involved in this process.

Typically once the regional center provides the agreement to the investor, the investor must sign the agreement and put down a deposit. Afterward, the application process for the EB-5 program begins

  1. First investors must complete the I-526 application. This application allows the investor to obtain a conditional 2-year green card. It is conditional because the government wants to ensure that the funds have been invested and all other requirements of the EB-5 visa program have been met during the first 2 years of the project. If the application is properly filed and the investment funds are legitimate and verified, the I-526 application should be approved within approximately 8 months of filing.
  2. Once the I-526 application is approved, the investor can proceed and file Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence to apply for the permanent residence card. Once the green card application is properly filed it can take up to 6-10 months to receive the conditional green card.
  3. To remove the conditions on the green card, investors must submit the I-828 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions before their green card expires.
  4. What happens to the funds at the end of the process will depend from regional center to regional center. Generally, there are ways for investors to get their funds back by selling their share in the project, etc.

To learn more about other types of investment visas please click here. Please call our office for a free consultation.

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In this segment, attorney Jacob Sapochnick Esq., addresses common E visa myths and the facts surrounding the E visa program.

Overview: 

Here are the common myths and misconceptions that clients have about the E visa program:

The first myth is that you need to invest more than $100,000 to be able to obtain the E visa. This is not true. According to the law, in order to qualify for an E visa, the investment amount must be reasonable. The amount you will invest will depend on the type of business you trying to set up. For example, if you are interested in starting a consulting company, a reasonable amount would be $50,000 or higher depending on your expenses. If you are looking to start a restaurant, $50,000 would likely not be enough to cover your expenses. When considering how much money to invest, you must first determine the kind of business you want to invest in, and how much money you will need to properly set up the business and cover your expenses. We recommend that investors develop a 5-year business plan to explain how the investment funds will be allocated to cover the company’s expenses over an extended period of time. The business plan will also project the company’s growth and other important factors.

Keep in mind that the lower the amount is that you have invested in the business, the more you are going to have to spend from that money, before the case is filed with USCIS. Before a case is submitted to USCIS, most of the money must be invested in the new company, to show USCIS that your investment is committed and at risk.

The second myth is that investment in real estate qualifies for the E visa program. Unfortunately, investing in real estate is not sufficient for E visa purposes. To qualify for the E visa program, the new business must be active. Additionally, you must demonstrate to USCIS that new jobs will be created for Americans and that the company will generate revenues in the future.

Another question that typically comes up is whether E visa holders can work from home. In some cases, yes E visa holders may be able to work from home. We strongly advise against this. The more documented evidence the E visa holder can provide USCIS to prove that their investment is at risk, the higher the likelihood that the E visa will be approved. If you are running your business from home, there may be a presumption that you are minimizing your investment, and that your investment is not at risk. It is typically discouraged to set up the business from home for this reason.

Another common question is whether an investor can move money to the US, and upon approval of the E visa, transfer the money back to a foreign account. The answer is no. The money that you invest in the new company must be committed and at risk. If you transfer the money abroad once your E visa has been approved, you will not be able to extend your E visa, and you may potentially run the risk of being investigated by USCIS for fraud.

Overall there is no set amount that you need to invest, you cannot invest in real estate for E visa purposes, and it is not recommended that you work from home.

To learn more about the E visa, and other work visas please click here. Please call our office for a free consultation.

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In this segment, attorney Jacob Sapochnick Esq., explains why we do what we do at the Law Offices of Jacob J. Sapochnick. For more information about our office and the services we provide please click here.

Overview: 

Since 2004, we have efficiently and conveniently served our clients located across the United States and around the world through the use of cutting-edge technology and other innovations, always maintaining the personal connection you have come to expect from us.

You can express your interest, or schedule an appointment by emailing us at info@h1b.biz. We are excited to expand our ability to help many more of you, as you seek to achieve your American dream of living and working in this great country, a nation of immigrants.

Looking back, it is hard to narrow the reasons for our firm’s success. So much goes into that, but the main three ingredients have to be the lawyers, staff and clients. I am amazed at the enduring relationships we have with our clients.

Our office has been blessed with a staff that is motivated, efficient and very capable. I also think it important that they are compassionate for our clients’ issues – this is more than a job for us all – it is a calling.

To learn more about our dedicated staff members please click here.

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In this segment, attorney Ekaterina Powell Esq. from the Law Offices of Jacob J. Sapochnick, answers one of your most frequently asked questions: How can I avoid an H-1B visa denial? For the answer to this question please keep watching. For more information about the H-1B visa please click here.

Overview: 

There are 3 reasons an H-1B visa application is typically denied:

  1. If USCIS believes that the position to be filled is not a ‘specialty occupation’ which typically requires a Bachelor’s Degree or its equivalent;
  2. If USCIS believes the U.S. employer does not need the position within the company;
  3. If USCIS believes the foreign worker does not meet the requisite qualifications for an H-1B visa such as the possession of at least a Bachelor’s Degree or its equivalent;

These denials can be prevented with careful planning when submitting the initial H-1B visa petition, by evaluating the foreign worker’s degree and credentials initially, and explaining the employer’s need for the position with the initial submission.

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In this segment, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick answers one of your most frequently asked questions: What is the Execution Action on immigration all about? What will happen if DACA/DAPA passes? For the answer to this question please keep watching. For more information about these executive actions please click here.

Overview: 

On November 20, 2014, President Barack Obama introduced a series of executive actions on immigration. The most important aspects of his executive actions include the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) program and the implementation of the new Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program. The President also announced new initiatives to crack down on illegal immigration, prioritize deportation of felons and other criminals, require undocumented immigrants to pass a criminal background check, and enforce payment of taxes by granting eligible undocumented immigrants temporary protection from deportation. Applications for the expanded DACA and new DAPA program were supposed to begin to be accepted on February 18th however a federal court order has suspended these programs from going into effect. The Supreme Court will hear arguments for the lawsuit challenging DACA/DAPA (United States v. Texas) today April 18, 2016 with a final decision expected in June.

From the USCIS website:

The Executive Action initiatives include:

  • Expanding the population eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to people of any current age who entered the United States before the age of 16 and lived in the United States continuously since January 1, 2010, and extending the period of DACA and work authorization from two years to three years; 
  • Allowing parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to request deferred action and employment authorization for three years, in a new Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents* program, provided they have lived in the United States continuously since January 1, 2010, and pass required background checks;
  • Expanding the use of provisional waivers of unlawful presence to include the spouses and sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents and the sons and daughters of U.S. citizens;
  • Modernizing, improving and clarifying immigrant and nonimmigrant visa programs to grow our economy and create jobs ;
  • Promoting citizenship education and public awareness for lawful permanent residents and providing an option for naturalization applicants to use credit cards to pay the application fee; 

For more information please contact our office for a consultation.

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