Articles Posted in Entrepreneur Immigration

In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the future of the EB-5 Visa Program.

What is the EB-5 Visa Program?

The EB-5 Visa Program is an Immigration Investor Program that was created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. In 1992, Congress created the Immigrant Investor Program, also known as the Regional Center Program. This sets aside EB-5 visas for participants who invest in commercial enterprises associated with regional centers approved by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth.

EB-5 Investors can obtain conditional residence if they:

  • Make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States; and
  • Plan to create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers.
  • In general, the minimum qualifying investment in the United States is $1 million.
  • Regional Centers: Targeted Employment Area (High Unemployment or Rural Area). The minimum qualifying investment must be either within a high-unemployment area or rural area in the United States is $500,000.

As of September 28, 2018, Congress has extended the EB-5 visa program until December 7, 2018. This means that the program will continue to be active and investors may utilize the program just as before, at least until the end of the year. It is not yet known whether any changes will be made to the program in the future, or if the program will continue at all into the new year.

For more information about the EB-5 program please visit our website.

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In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick talks visa options for entrepreneurs.

Overview:

In this video we cover four visa options that allow foreign entrepreneurs to live and work in the United States. These visa options also allow the foreign entrepreneur to bring his or her dependents to live with them in the United States.

Option #1 L-1 Visa for Executives, Managers, and Essential Employees:

There are two types of visas available under the L-1 category: 1) L-1A Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager and 2) L-1B Intracompany Transferee Specialized Knowledge.

The L-1A category is a non-immigrant visa classification for aliens seeking to work in the United States in an executive or managerial capacity on an assignment of a temporary nature for a U.S. subsidiary or parent company of their foreign employer.
The L-1A visa classification allows a foreign company to transfer an executive or manager to the U.S. subsidiary or parent company. If an affiliated U.S. subsidiary or parent company does not yet exist, the L-1A classification allows the foreign company to send the executive or manager to the United States for the purpose of establishing the affiliated subsidiary or parent company.
L-1B: If the alien is not employed in an executive or managerial capacity, the L-1B visa classification comes into play. To be eligible for the L-1B visa, the petitioner must demonstrate that although the alien is not employed in an executive or managerial capacity with the company, the alien possesses specialized knowledge and can represent the organization’s interests in the United States.

Both the L-1A and L-1B require the beneficiary to have worked abroad for the foreign employer for at least one year within the proceeding three years.

Pro: the L-1 visa leads to a green card

Option #2 E-2 Investor Visa:

The E-2 treaty investor visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows foreign entrepreneurs from treaty nations to enter the United States and carry out investment and trade activities. Investment activities include the creation of a new business in the United States or investment in an existing enterprise. The investment must be significantly proportional to the total investment, that is, usually more than half the total value of the enterprise or, if a new business, an amount normally considered necessary to establish the business.

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Welcome back to the immigration lawyer blog! In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the O-1B Visa for Artists and Entertainers.

Overview: 

The topic of discussion in this video is: How can a tattoo artist live and work in the United States? The O-1B category is an excellent choice for artists who have demonstrated extraordinary ability in their line of work.

What is the O-1B visa?

The O-1B category applies to distinguished aliens wishing to travel to the United States temporarily to engage in employment in an area of extraordinary ability in the arts, motion picture, or television industry. This category includes tattoo artists and social media influencers. Tattoo artists must have a sponsor or agent to obtain an O-1B visa and are granted a visa for the duration of their contract to perform services in the United States.

O-1B Visa Requirements

  • The applicant must demonstrate that they have received sustained recognition on a national or international level in their area of extraordinary ability i.e. awards, titles, honorary distinctions, publications, membership in a distinguished board or professional association, etc.;
  • The applicant must provide evidence of continuous recognition in the area of extraordinary ability;
  • The applicant must demonstrate that they have achieved a high level of expertise in their field. For an O-1B visa, the applicant must demonstrate that their level of skill and recognition is significantly superior to that of an individual in the same field who would be considered a person of ‘prominence’ in said field.

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In this video, attorneys Jacob Sapochnick and Marie Puertollano discuss recent immigration updates regarding the calculation of unlawful presence for F-1 international students and other topics.

Overview:

Memorandum Policy Updates for F-1 Students

Per a new policy memorandum released by USCIS, if you are a student who is out of status, you will begin to accrue unlawful presence on August 9th. Students have at least 5 months to file a reinstatement to avoid falling out of status and accruing unlawful presence.

What is happening with DACA?

On August 3, 2018, a federal judge from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia upheld a decision from the lower courts, ordering the complete restoration of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This new ruling gives the Trump administration a 20-day deadline to either implement the complete restoration of the DACA program or file an appeal. The Trump administration plans to appeal the decision. In a separate lawsuit filed by Texas and other states, a judge will hear arguments challenging the restoration of the DACA program. A decision in that case has not yet been made. We will notify our readers once a decision has been made.

For the moment, DACA holders may continue to seek a renewal of their DACA benefits, but new requests for DACA will not be accepted.

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Overview: 

What is an E-2 visa?

The E-2 treaty investor visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows foreign entrepreneurs from treaty nations to enter the United States and carry out investment and trade activities, for a specified period of two years subject to renewal. Investment activities include the creation of a new business. Foreign nationals must invest a substantial amount of capital in a new or existing business. The investment must be significantly proportional to the total investment, that is, usually more than half the total value of the enterprise or, if a new business, an amount normally considered necessary to establish the business.

Who can get it?

Only foreign nationals from treaty nations may apply for the E-2 visa. To find out if your country qualifies, click here.

Level of Investment

Therefore, the level of investment must be such that it is sufficient to justify presence of the treaty national in the United States. The investment must be in an operating business e.g. a speculative investment in undeveloped land would not qualify, whereas an investment in a real estate development project probably would. Also, a substantial part of the investment must have been made prior to applying for E-2 status.

Key Points

  • The investment must be substantial, a standard which depends on the nature of the enterprise. Generally, investment funds or assets must be committed and irrevocable. The funds or assets must be deemed sufficient to ensure the success of operations.
  • The investment must be real and active and not passive; this means that a bank account, undeveloped land or stocks, or a not-for-profit organization will not be sufficient to be considered.
  • The enterprise must be a real, operating commercial enterprise or active entrepreneurial undertaking productive of some service or commodity. Paper organizations, speculative, or idle investments do not qualify as real operating enterprises or active entrepreneurial undertakings. Funds in a bank account are not considered at risk since they have not been committed.

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In this post, we discuss how you can get a green card through your employer.

Overview:

What does it take to get a green card through a job offer?

There are many ways a foreign national can obtain a green card for example by starting a company in the United States, as an entrepreneur, or demonstrating that they are a person of exceptional ability. However, the most common way to obtain a green card is to obtain a green card through a job offer. Essentially being sponsored by the employer that they are currently working for in the United States or their future employer. This process involves several steps:

  1. The Employer Must Commit to Green Card Sponsorship

The employer must commit to giving you a permanent job offer and be willing to support you in the green card process from start to finish. This is because the employer must not only sign the forms required to petition for the worker’s green card but must also foot the bill including the immigration fees and attorney’s fees. If an employer does not understand his responsibilities in filing for the worker’s green card, delays can result, and in some cases an employer may abandon the green card process altogether. It is very important for an employer to be aware of their obligations at the outset of the application process.

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In this video we discuss how you can get an E-1 treaty trader visa without trading actual goods.

Overview:

  • To qualify for an E-1 Treaty Trader Visa you must be a citizen of a treaty trader country involved in international trade
  • You must be coming to the U.S. to carry on substantial trade or to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise that is a commercial trader with your country of nationality
  • The trade must be conducted principally between the U.S. and the treaty country
  • The U.S. enterprise must conduct more than 50% of its total trade volume with the treaty country
  • The trade may be of a good, commodity, services, or technology

If you are the owner of patented technology in your treaty trader country for example you may qualify for the E-1 treaty trader visa. To qualify for the E-1 visa, you do not need to have actual goods coming from the treaty country to the U.S., in this case the E-1 treaty trader visa can be obtained by showing that a form of technology along with the rights will be developed in the U.S.

This was the exact situation of our client, an Israeli national who owned patented technology for physical exercise equipment, designed and licensed in Israel, but produced in China. To overcome the fact that the equipment was produced in China using Israeli technology, our office made sure to establish that the rights to build the products in China had to be approved and signed off by the company in Israel which owned the patent. In addition, our office strengthened the case by furnishing the agreements between the Israeli company and the manufacturing facility in China, to show that although the product was being manufactured in China, the Chinese facility was in fact controlled by an Israeli designer to ensure quality control and compliance with the Israeli technology owned by our client. Finally, we showed that the majority of the funds to finance the operation was coming from Israel, the treaty trader country, and documented how the product would be coming to the United States.

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Overview: 

What is an E-2 visa?

The E-2 treaty investor visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows foreign entrepreneurs from treaty nations to enter the United States and carry out investment and trade activities, for a specified period of two years subject to renewal. Investment activities include the creation of a new business. Foreign nationals must invest a substantial amount of capital in a new or existing business. The investment must be significantly proportional to the total investment, that is, usually more than half the total value of the enterprise or, if a new business, an amount normally considered necessary to establish the business.

Who can get it?

Only foreign nationals from treaty nations may apply for the E-2 visa. To find out if your country qualifies, click here.

Level of Investment

Therefore, the level of investment must be such that it is sufficient to justify presence of the treaty national in the United States. The investment must be in an operating business e.g. a speculative investment in undeveloped land would not qualify, whereas an investment in a real estate development project probably would. Also, a substantial part of the investment must have been made prior to applying for E-2 status.

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What are some alternatives to the H-1B visa?

By now you know that the H-1B cap has been reached for Fiscal Year 2019. But what happens if you were not selected in the H-1B visa lottery?

In this post, we will discuss some alternatives to the H-1B visa that will allow you to stay and work in the United States.

  1. The O-1 “Extraordinary Ability” Visa:

This visa type is for aliens of extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, athletics, motion picture, television, or arts industries who have received national and/or international acclaim in their field. An alien on an O-1 visa may live and work in the United States for a period of up to three years.

An O-1 visa is a great visa for people in the start-up world and technology sector. This visa is for people holding an advanced degree (at least a master’s degree) who have either started their own business, have patented inventions, are leading experts in their fields, and/or have gained notoriety in their fields as evidenced by awards and other national recognitions.

  1. TN Visa for Mexican and Canadian Nationals

The TN visa allows nationals of Mexico and Canada to work in the United States, provided their profession is on the NAFTA list. The maximum period of initial admission to the US is three years, but visa holders may apply for extensions in amounts of one year.

  1. E-3 Visa for Australian Nationals

Similar to the H-1B visa, the E-3 classification allows Australian nationals to travel to the United States to work in a specialty occupation. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent to qualify and must work in a specialty occupation often associated with the STEM occupational fields. The E-3 visa is issued for an initial period of no more than 2 years, with extensions granted in 2-year increments.

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In this post, we discuss the top most commonly denied specialty occupations for the H-1B visa program. Don’t be caught in the dark. For more information just keep on watching.

0:19 – Marketing Manager

0:47 – Business Development Manager

1:12 – Technical Writer

1:37 – Computer Programmer

1:56 – Financial Analyst for Business

2:36 – Sales Positions

2:56 – Arts and Fashion

These occupations have been repeatedly denied over the years during H-1B filing season.

  1. Marketing Manager: It is very difficult to receive an approval with this occupation because USCIS has claimed that on the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), the occupation of marketing manager does not require the individual to have a specific degree or a bachelor’s degree at all.
  2. Business Development Manager: This occupation falls under the Market Research Analyst category. We have seen quite a few denials associated with this occupation within the past 2 years. It is difficult to receive an approval for market research analysts, and the rate of requests for evidence issued for this occupation have increased tremendously.
  3. Legal Technical Writer/Technical Writers: We have seen increasing denials associated with this occupation since the last filing season. Extensions have also proved difficult to receive for this occupation. The common reason for denying this occupation is also that the OOH does not require the individual to have a specific degree or a bachelor’s degree at all.
  4. Computer Programmer: Based on recent memos issued by USCIS it is very difficult to receive an approval for this occupation because USCIS does not think that a bachelor’s degree is required for this position.
  5. Financial Analyst for Business: We have seen denials for financial analysts seeking to work for a business that isn’t involved in the financial sector. This applied in a situation where the beneficiary was seeking a financial position within a large restaurant. In this situation, USCIS has questioned whether the degree is a specialty occupation because although the position requires a bachelor’s degree, within the restaurant industry it is not common to require a degree for the position.
  6. Sales Positions: It is very difficult to receive an H-1B for a sales position. We would recommend reconsidering applying for the H-1B visa, or changing your position based on your job description.
  7. Arts and Fashion: Positions that are not specifically geared toward fashion design or graphic design are increasingly scrutinized by USCIS.

If you have questions regarding your H-1B position, please contact our office for a free consultation.

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