In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick answers one of your frequently asked questions: Can undocumented immigrants open their own business in the United States?
If you would like to know more about this topic, please keep on watching!
This is one of the most widely misunderstood topics of discussion in immigration. The answer is yes, any person whether documented or undocumented can start a business in the United States.
Individuals can form a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or any other corporate structure irrespective of their legal status in the United States. This is because the LLC or corporate entity is a separate entity from the individual. The LLC can obtain an Employer Identification Number, also known as an EIN from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for the purpose of tax administration. To obtain an EIN, the principal business must be located in the United States or U.S. territories, and the member applying for the EIN must have a valid Taxpayer Identification Number, such as a Social Security Number (SSN), Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), or EIN.
However, if you are employed by the LLC or corporate entity without lawful authorization to work in the United States, you will be in violation of the law, however the business registration in and of itself is legal.
In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick tells you everything you need to know about the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program in the year 2023. While there have been recent Congressional changes to the program, it is still an option for those who wish to obtain their green card through a qualifying investment.
If you would like to know more about the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, please keep on watching!
Did You Know? The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program was first created by Congress in the year 1990 to stimulate the United States economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. In return for their qualifying investment, investors receive conditional permanent residence in the United States, and are required to remove their conditions on permanent residence by filing Form I-829 within 90 days of their conditional green card’s expiration.
In 1992, Congress extended the program to allow for Regional Center investment, which 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 Investment Visa: The Ultimate Guide in 2023
What is the EB-5 investor visa?
The EB-5 investor visa allows qualifying investors (and their spouse and unmarried children under age 21) to receive conditional permanent resident status (a 2-year green card).
One of the ways in which foreign investors may qualify for the EB-5 classification is by investing through regional centers designated by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth.
When investing in regional centers, investors will choose a project offered by the regional center in which they wish to invest. Typically, the projects offered for investment are real estate development projects. For regional center investment, the investor does not need to invest in a project in his or her state of residence. The investment can occur anywhere in the United States.
Additionally, regional center investment allows investors to passively invest in the project, without having to direct or manage it themselves. Regional center investment is the most common way to qualify for the EB-5 visa. In fact, 95 percent of all EB-5 investors file their cases through Regional Center investment.
Another way to qualify is by investing directly in a new commercial enterprise that you intend to direct and operate. In this case you will be managing the project yourself. Only 5 percent of EB-5 investors opt for investment in a new commercial enterprise, because it is more risky.
On March 15, 2022, President Biden signed the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022 (Public Law 117-103), which created new requirements for the EB-5 immigrant visa category and the Regional Center Program. EB-5 immigrant visas are currently authorized under the Regional Center Program through September 30, 2027.
In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the recent collapse of the Silicon Valley Bank, and its repercussions on the startup world and foreign tech workers. The Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse is cited as the largest bank failure since the 2008 financial crisis. The bank was once responsible for managing billions of dollars in client funds and loans. What will be the ripple effect of its collapse on immigrant and non-immigrant tech workers on visas?
Keep on watching to find out more.
Silicon Valley Bank, an institution that once lent billions of dollars in funding to tech startups has collapsed. Its deep relationships within the startup community have left both immigrant and non-immigrant workers vulnerable, as they scramble to find stable ground. The impact of its collapse has been widespread. Hundreds of startups relied on the funding provided by SVB to maintain their operations and keep immigrant and non-immigrant visa workers on payroll. Additionally, SVB itself employed dozens of foreign tech workers.
When news broke of the bank’s collapse, many startups withdrew their funds from the bank and began to question the security of the banking system as a whole. SVB’s collapse may be a signal that something worse is on the horizon, which may lead tech companies to freeze hiring and potentially lay off workers many of which are in the United States on visas.
As a foreign worker, losing a job is not just losing a paycheck. It means your legal status in the United States could ultimately be put in jeopardy. Workers who have been laid off will be forced to find a new employer within 60 days, or risk having to depart the United States.
In recent months, we began to see massive layoffs throughout Silicon Valley including those at Twitter, Meta, Facebook, and Google. Now the bank’s collapse could set in motion an extensive hiring freeze and a shrinking workforce in the months ahead. This is surely unwelcome news for tech workers currently in the United States on H-1B visas. The climate of uncertainty and panic caused by the bank’s collapse, could leave employers with cold feet when it comes to sponsoring workers for employment-based green cards.
In this video, we bring you a new update from the State Department, based on recent conversations between State Department officials and representatives of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).
We will specifically cover topics such as visa processing for third country nationals wishing to secure interview appointments at Consulates and Embassies worldwide, the fate of E-2 visa renewal applicants who previously applied for loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the permissible activities of B-1 visa holders while in the United States, issues relating to visa inadmissibility, and nonimmigrant visa denials.
Did You know? We help clients in all 50 states and all countries of the world. If you are interested in discussing your immigration options, we invite you to contact us for a consultation.
If you would like to know more about the recent updates from the State Department, just keep on watching.
The U.S. Department of State recently met with representatives of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) to discuss several immigration topics that have been frequently asked by our viewers. Here we provide a summary of those updates and useful information that may be helpful to you.
Visa Appointments for Third Country Nationals
Applicants of certain nationalities have been experiencing difficulties obtaining visa interviews in their home country. For instance, recent political demonstrations in Iran have made it more and more difficult for applicants to travel to neighboring countries, leading applicants to seek visa appointments elsewhere.
Since the United States does not maintain a diplomatic presence in Iran, applicants can travel and apply at any U.S. Embassy or Consulate that processes their visa type. The U.S. Embassies in Ankara, Yerevan, and Dubai are staffed with Farsi-speaking consular officers who are most familiar with Iranian visa applicants, and therefore are encouraged to apply there. However, visas for Iranian applicants can also be processed at other U.S. Embassies such as Abu Dhabi, Frankfurt, Naples, and Vienna.
For others, obtaining a visa interview in their home country has been nearly impossible leading many to ask whether they can apply elsewhere as a third country national.
Are you in the United States on an E-2 visa or would like to apply for an E-2 visa? Would you like to know how to transition from an E-2 visa to a green card? If so, this is the right video for you. Here you will find information on the different paths to permanent residency that may be suitable for investors to consider in 2022/2023.
Did you know? The E-2 is a nonimmigrant visa type that is available for individuals from certain treaty countries that wish to remain in the United States on a temporary basis to manage their businesses in the United States. Qualified investors are granted an initial stay of 2 years in E-2 status, with additional extensions of up to 2 years each up to the visa’s validity. E-2 investors who wish to make the United States their permanent home, may wish to consider the following options. If you would like to know more information about these options, we invite you to schedule a consultation.
What is the E-2 visa?
The E-2 Treaty Investor visa is a nonimmigrant visa type, that allows a national of a participating treaty country to gain entry into the United States, for the purpose of managing their business. To be eligible, applicants must invest a substantial amount of capital in their U.S. business, demonstrate at least 50% ownership, and seek to work in a position to develop and direct their business.
The E-2 visa is issued for an initial period of 2 years. However, the main benefit is that there is no limit to the number of extensions an E-2 nonimmigrant may be granted. All E-2 nonimmigrants, however, must maintain an intention to depart the United States when their status expires or is terminated.
With that being said, circumstances sometimes lead E-2 investors to consider making the United States their permanent home, which leads to a common question – how can E-2 investors transition from a nonimmigrant visa type to permanent residency in 2022/2023?
Options for Permanent Residency
Employment Sponsored Green Card also known as “PERM” Labor Certification
The first option that may be considered is obtaining permanent residency through employment-sponsorship through a process known as “PERM” labor certification.
To proceed with this option, the applicant must first have a job offer of future employment from a U.S. employer and the employer must be willing to sponsor the applicant’s employment-based petition.
E-2 investors may find this to be a suitable option if they have an associate, partner, client, etc. interested in hiring them for a future position and acting as their sponsor throughout the PERM process.
The month of September has come and is nearly gone. That means that it is time to discuss next month’s Visa Bulletin for October 2022. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick shares with you the trends and movement you can expect to see during the month of October for both employment based, and family sponsored preference visa categories, and our predictions for interview appointment availability. October’s Visa Bulletin is also important because it marks the end of the fiscal year.
Did you know? Every month the Department of State releases the Visa Bulletin, which summarizes the availability of immigrant visa numbers for that particular month. The “Final Action Dates” and “Dates for Filing Applications,” charts indicate when immigrant visa applicants can assemble and submit the required documentation to the National Visa Center (for those residing overseas), or USCIS (for those residing in the United States).
The primary purpose of the Visa bulletin is to provide an updated waiting list for immigrants that are subject to the numerical visa quota system.
Want to know more? Just keep on watching.
USCIS Adjustment of Status Filing Charts for the October Visa Bulletin (for those residing in the USA)
Have you ever wondered how you can work in the United States as the founder of your very own startup? If so, you may be interested in learning more about the O-1A visa. In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the criteria for individuals who possess extraordinary ability in business and are seeking to open a venture-backed startup in the United States.
Did you know? An approved O-1A visa applicant can remain in the United States for an initial period of 3 years working for the petitioning entity and bring their family members to live with them in the United States. The O-1A visa also opens a pathway for applicants to apply for permanent residency by filing for the EB-1A employment-based immigrant visa category.
Want to know more? Just keep on watching.
What is the O-1A visa?
First let’s discuss the O-1A nonimmigrant visa. The O-1A visa is designed for individuals who possess extraordinary abilities in the field of business, science, education, or athletics, and who can meet a specified set of criteria that must be demonstrated in the application package to ensure the applicant’s success.
Those who successfully attain the O-1A visa can live and work in the United States for an initial 3-year period, and pitch ideas to venture capitalists interested in supporting their company.
How can you demonstrate extraordinary ability in business?
To demonstrate extraordinary ability, applicants must be prepared to show evidence of a major internationally recognized award (such as a Nobel Peace Prize), or if the applicant does not have such an award, they must meet at least three of the following criteria which we discuss in turn below:
AWARDS—Documentation of the beneficiary’s receipt of nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor
The first criterion is providing documentation showing that you have received nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence.
How does this translate to the startup world? There are several ways that one can qualify for this criteria as a startup founder. For instance, if you have received a grant from the government recognizing your proposed endeavor as one that is exceptional, you may be able to use the grant as evidence to meet this criteria. Alternatively, if you were a participant in a prestigious or distinguished event or competition, and you were one of the winners or finalists in the competition, you may also use documentary evidence of your participation to meet this criteria.
Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick provides a brand-new update from the U.S. Department of State regarding the status of E-2 Treaty Investor Visa processing at Consulates and Embassies worldwide. Please note that this information is being provided as of March of 2022.
Want to know more? Keep on watching for all the details.
In the past few months, E-2 visa processing times have varied significantly due to the suspension of routine visa services at all U.S. Embassies and Consulates, a move that was announced by the Department of State in July of 2020. This suspension occurred in response to significant worldwide challenges posed by the Coronavirus pandemic. Since then, operational capacity has continued to be limited for non-immigrant visas at most U.S. Embassies and Consulates resulting in delays in providing visa interview appointments, including for E-2 visa investors. To make matters worse, the Department of State put the processing of non-immigrant visas on the back-burner, giving priority to immigrant visa petitions including family-based petitions and fiancé(e) visas. In this post, we provide you with the most up to date information regarding current processing times as of March 2022 for E-2 investors to receive an appointment at Consular posts abroad.
Not only has there been a sharp decline in E-2 visa processing at most Consulates and Embassies worldwide, but some posts have refused to accept E-2 visa applications altogether. Such Embassies that have refused to accept E-2 visa applications include U.S. Embassy Ankara, Turkey; U.S. Embassy Bogota, Colombia; and U.S. Embassy Bridgetown, Barbados.
The U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia for instance has not adjudicated any E-2 visa applications for more than 1 year, according to recent information provided by the U.S. Department of State.
In a recent meeting between the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the U.S. Department of State, the government provided more information regarding E-2 visa processing delays. Here is what they had to say.
Welcome back to Immigration Lawyer Blog! Are you an entrepreneur wishing to work in the United States temporarily? In this video, Jacob Sapochnick discusses how you can live and work in the United States as an entrepreneur on an O-1A visa.
Want to find out more? Just keep on watching.
As you know there is no clear pathway in U.S. immigration law for entrepreneurs to obtain a U.S. visa to work in the United States. While many had hoped that comprehensive immigration reform would bring about much needed changes in our current immigration system to afford entrepreneurs the opportunity to build their businesses in the U.S., no “start-up” visa has yet been legislated. However, entrepreneurs are increasingly turning to the O-1A visa as an alternative.
What is the O-1A visa?
The O-1A nonimmigrant visa is suitable for individuals who possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics (not including the arts, motion pictures, or television industry which is known as the O-1B visa).
To be eligible, applicants must demonstrate extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim and must be coming to the United States temporarily to continue work in an area of extraordinary ability. Extraordinary ability under U.S. immigration law means that you are one of a small percentage who has arisen to the very top of your field.
One of the main drawbacks of the O-1A visa is that you cannot self-petition for an O-1A. You must have a contract with a U.S. employer to establish a valid employer-employee relationship. As an entrepreneur, however, you may form a company in the U.S. which can petition you for an O-1A, so long as a valid employer-employee relationship has been created.
A valid employer-employee relationship exists where other individuals in the business entity can hire, fire, pay, or control your work. At all times, the company (petitioning entity) must be in control of the work conditions. If it is impossible to fire the employee, then no valid employer-employee relationship can be said to exist.
Welcome back to Immigration Lawyer Blog! We kick off the start of a brand-new week with new White House initiatives expanding the post-completion Optional Practical Training program for STEM international students, as well as other government initiatives to attract entrepreneurs and highly skilled professionals to the United States seeking O-1 visas and National Interest Waivers.
Want to know more? Just keep on watching!
White House Releases Initiative Expanding STEM OPT
We are excited to share that just last week, the White House announced a series of policy changes designed to attract and retain the knowledge and training of international students working toward science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) related fields in the United States. Among these new initiatives, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has announced the expansion of the STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) program, with the addition of 22 new fields of study to the STEM Degree Program List, including economics, computer science, mathematical economics, data science, business and financial analytics.
Currently, the F-1 STEM optional practical training (OPT) extension program grants F-1 students with a qualifying STEM degree, the ability to work in the United States with OPT work authorization for a period of up to 36 months. This expansion of the program will now increase the pool of candidates eligible to receive employment authorization.
Some of the newly added fields of study include: Bioenergy; Forestry, General; Forest Resources Production and Management; Human Centered Technology Design; Cloud Computing; Anthrozoology; Climate Science; Earth Systems Science; Economics and Computer Science; Environmental Geosciences; Geobiology; Geography and Environmental Studies; Mathematical Economics; Mathematics and Atmospheric/Oceanic Science; Data Science, General; Data Analytics, General; Business Analytics; Data Visualization; Financial Analytics; Data Analytics, Other; Industrial and Organizational Psychology; Social Sciences, Research Methodology and Quantitative Methods. To view a complete list of qualifying fields, please click here to view the Federal Register notice. Continue reading