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 provides a case study of an EB-1A graduate student researcher of extraordinary ability, filing an I-140 self-petition based on his outstanding achievements in cancer research and prevention.
What is the EB-1 preference category?
First, let’s discuss the EB-1 visa category. EB-1 is an employment-based, first preference immigrant visa category for aliens of extraordinary ability (EB-1A), outstanding professors, researchers (EB-1B), or certain types of multinational executive or managers (EB-1C). One of the major benefits of the EB-1 category is that it is a self-petition, meaning you do not need an employer to sponsor your petition. However, the subcategory for EB-1B researchers requires applicants to provide an offer of employment from their prospective U.S. employer, documentary evidence of their employer’s accomplishments, and evidence of employment of at least 3 full-time researchers. No labor certification is required for EB-1B.
Once the I-140 petition has been approved, applicants can proceed with filing their green card application in the United States or apply for an immigrant visa at a Consulate overseas.
For the purposes of this case study, we will be focusing on the EB-1A aliens of extraordinary ability and EB-1B category for outstanding researchers.
What are the criteria for an EB-1B researcher?
In order to qualify for the EB-1B subcategory, researchers must demonstrate international recognition for their outstanding achievements in a particular academic field.
Qualified candidates must have at least 3 years’ experience in their area of academic research. Researchers are also required to pursue tenure or tenure track teaching or a comparable research position at a university, institution of higher education, or private employer.
In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick explains the process for a United States Citizen to petition his or her parents for a green card, through adjustment of status (for those lawfully residing in the U.S.) or Consular processing (for those residing overseas).
If you want to know more about the eligibility requirements to do so, and how long it is currently taking for USCIS to approve green card applications for parents, please keep on watching.
Every year, thousands of people apply for green cards in different categories. One of the most common filings are green cards for parents of U.S. Citizens.
First, let’s discuss the requirements to file your parent’s green card.
To file the green card petition for your parents, you must be a U.S. Citizen that is 21 years of age or older. As proof of your qualifying family relationship to your parent, you will be required to provide a photocopy of your birth certificate.
As the petitioner (the U.S. Citizen family member filing the green card application with USCIS), you will also be required to file what is known as the I-864 Affidavit of Support. Form I-864 is your contract with the U.S. government promising to provide adequate financial support for your parent until they become a U.S. Citizen. As part of this process, you must prove to the U.S. government that you meet 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines according to your household size by providing verification of employment, and income verification documents.
Finally, your parent must intend to reside in the United States upon approval and issuance of their green card.
In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick answers some of your burning questions including whether you can expedite your marriage or fiancé(e) visa case in 2023, how long the process is currently taking, and other related questions.
If you would like to know more about this topic, please keep on watching!
The Coronavirus pandemic has caused a number of obstacles for fiancé(e)’s and spouses of United States citizens residing overseas. As many of our readers know, at the height of the pandemic, the Department of State announced the suspension of all routine visa services including immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments worldwide. Since Embassies and Consulates were shuttered for a significant period of time, this created a backlog of cases piling up at the National Visa Center due to visa interviews not being scheduled during the suspension.
It was not until July 2020, that U.S. Embassies and Consulates began a phased resumption of routine visa services on a post-by-post basis. Despite this announcement, many Consular posts have continued to place restrictions on their operating capacity due to local country conditions, workforce limitations, and public safety protocols.
In the past year or so, the processing of marriage and fiancé(e) visas has been impacted by this slow return to a sense of normalcy. U.S. Consulates and Embassies in certain countries have eased pandemic restrictions and are working normally, while others have struggled to catch up with the rest of the world. As a result, visa interview appointments for spousal and fiancé(e) visas have been very limited.
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 answers one of your most frequently asked questions: how long is it currently taking for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to adjudicate marriage-based adjustment of status applications (green cards) in May of 2023?
If you would like to know the answer to this question, please keep on watching!
Did You Know? USCIS processing times vary depending on the workload of the Field Office and/or Service Center where the I-130/485 applications are being adjudicated. USCIS reports the processing times of each Field Office and Service Center directly on its website, including time estimates of how long it took the agency to process 80% of adjudicated cases over the past 6 months. However, USCIS cautions that each case is unique, and some cases may take longer than others to be adjudicated. Due to this, processing times should be used as a reference point, not an absolute measure of how long your case will take to be completed.
Additionally, remember to consider the processing time of your local USCIS Field Office, where you will eventually be called to appear for an in-person interview before an immigration officer to prove that you have a bona fide marriage, and meet all other requirements for a green card.
Service Centers Processing Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative
In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick shares some very exciting news for nonimmigrant visa applicants. The State Department recently announced that they are dramatically speeding up visa wait times for interview appointments starting with nonimmigrant visas for students, temporary workers, and tourists.
If you want to know more about this important update just keep on watching!
Did You Know? U.S. Consulates and Embassies consider requests for expedited visa interview appointments on a case-by-case basis for those who meet the expedite criteria, including those with urgent travel needs, emergencies, urgent humanitarian needs, those working for nonprofits who are furthering cultural or social interests for the U.S., those whose work is in the U.S. government or national interest, etc. To understand the expedite process, please visit the website of your closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
On December 1, 2022, the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs held a live broadcast on YouTube, where Julie M. Stufft, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Visa Services in the Bureau of Consular Affairs, discussed the status of immigrant and nonimmigrant visa processing at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world.
In the broadcast, she highlighted some important revelations, indicating that not only are visa wait times improving at U.S. Consulates and Embassies overseas, but nonimmigrant visa interview appointments are being made available much faster than ever before for tourists, students, and certain temporary workers.
Some of the Key Points she raised are as follows:
The State Department has successfully reduced visa interview wait times with a median global wait time of just 7 weeks for a B1/B2 tourist visa appointment at most U.S. Consulates and Embassies worldwide.
Similarly, the Statement Department has reduced wait times to only 7 days for F-1 students and certain temporary workers at most U.S. Consulates and Embassies Worldwide.
Visa processing capacity is recovering much faster than initially projected thanks to policy and processing innovations implemented in 2022.
In many countries, the State Department issued more tourist visas in 2022 than before the pandemic, including at some of the busiest Consulates in the world such as Mexico and Brazil.
The State Department issued more student visas in 2022 than in any recent year.
Visas for airline and shipping crewmembers were prioritized to support global supply chains, with the State Department issuing more than 250,000 crewmember visas in 2022.
Pre-pandemic processing times were exceeded for crewmembers since June of 2022.
State Department posts overseas adjudicated about 40 percent more visas for seasonal workers in 2022 when compared to 2019, before the pandemic.
In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick delivers some good news to immigrant visa applicants—as of March 2023 the National Visa Center has reported a decrease in the backlogs of about 6,000 cases.
If you would like to know more about this important update, please keep on watching.
Did you Know? Every month the Department of State’s National Visa Center (NVC) publishes an Immigrant Visa Backlog report, which provides data and statistics relating to the current status of worldwide visa operations, including the number of documentarily complete immigrant visa cases currently at the National Visa Center waiting for interviews, the number of cases that were scheduled for interviews at the end of each month, and the number of immigrant visa cases still waiting to be scheduled for a visa interview after interview appointment scheduling was completed at the end of each month.
What is the National Visa Center?
The National Visa Center (NVC) is an agency that forms part of the U.S. Department of State, located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The main responsibility of the Nationality Visa Center (NVC) is to act as an intermediary between the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad. The NVC receives approved cases from USCIS and collects further documentation from applicants and petitioners to prepare cases for immigrant visa processing at U.S. Embassies and Consulates overseas. Part of this process includes making sure cases are documentarily complete to request immigrant visa interview scheduling from U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad.
In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses a new form of relief provided by USCIS, specifically for green card applicants who are facing compelling circumstances. Such individuals may request a renewable 1-year temporary work authorization (EAD) based on their “compelling circumstances,” by filing Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization. Dependents may also request a compelling circumstances EAD.
If you would like to know more about who can apply for this work permit and eligibility, just keep on watching!
Employment Authorization Document (EAD) based on Compelling Circumstances
This temporary employment authorization may be provided to certain nonimmigrants who are the beneficiaries of approved employment-based immigrant visa petitions, and who are facing compelling circumstances, such as losing a job.
In order to qualify for a compelling circumstance employment authorization document (EAD), you must:
Be in the United States in E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, O-1, or L-1 nonimmigrant status, including in any applicable grace period, on the date you file the application for employment authorization;
Be the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140;
Establish that an immigrant visa is not authorized for issuance to you based on your priority date, preference category, and country of chargeability according to the Department of State’s Visa Bulletin on the date you file your application for employment authorization; and
Demonstrate that compelling circumstances exist that would justify USCIS using its discretion to issue you an independent grant of employment authorization.
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.