It is our pleasure to introduce our readers to our senior case manager, Inese Grate, one of the original members of the Law Offices of Jacob J. Sapochnick. Ms. Grate joined our firm when there were merely 2 employees working at the office. In addition to studying law in Latvia, Ms. Grate received her Master’s in Law in International Business Transactions from Temple University Beasley School of Law and attended the International Law Institute at Georgetown University School of Law.
Ms. Grate specializes in business and family immigration, corporate, international trade, and international transactions. Ms. Grate provides consultation on strategic investment in the United States for international clients and corporations to identify potential opportunities, create jobs, and develop successful businesses. Throughout her professional career, she has taken several international and U.S. startup companies from an ideation phase through to establishment and registration.
Ms. Grate is unique in that she thinks outside of the box. She utilizes her professional network of financial advisors, real estate brokers, investors and industry experts to assist our clients according to their individual needs. Throughout her career, Ms. Grate has helped numerous corporations and individuals in the United States as well as several European countries in various immigration/business related issues. Ms. Grate evaluates business plans and works on all related immigration issues including visas, licenses, and permits.
In this video, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick discusses the most popular visa options for hospitality workers. For more information just keep on watching.
The top visas used by Hotels and Restaurants to bring foreign workers to the United States are the J-1, H-3, H-2B, L-1, E-2, TN, and H-1B visas. Whether transferring employees between international properties or employing management trainees, immigration is an integral part of the hospitality industry. The appropriate visa type will largely depend upon the foreign worker’s qualifications and the type of position the worker will be occupying.
The J-1 visa is a cultural exchange program between the United States and foreign countries bringing foreign workers to the United States. There are 2 types of J-1 visas. The first category is a trainee J-1 visa. To qualify the trainee must have at least 5 years of experience working in the position or a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent, with at least 1 year of experience. Workers who come to the United States on a J-1 trainee visa, may work in the United States for a hotel or restaurant for a period of 18 months. The J-1 trainee visa allows the foreign worker to develop their skills, gain experience, and return to their home countries taking those skills with them. The second category is for interns, who are in school in their home country or have recently graduated, and have less than 1 year of experience. Interns may come to the United States for a 1 year period to train in a hotel or restaurant. The work and travel category of the J-1 allows foreign workers to come to the United States for up to 4 months during the summer time. The J-1 visa is generally an easy visa to obtain. It takes approximately 6 weeks for this visa to get approved by the Department of State.
In this video, Attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick Esq. discusses one of your frequently asked questions about the E-2 visa program: Is there a minimum investment amount? How can I determine how much money to invest for the E-2 visa?
For more information please keep watching.
The answer is that there is no set standard requirement in the law stating a standard minimum amount of money required to be invested in order to qualify for an E-2 visa. Although there is no minimum investment amount required for E-2 visa investment purposes, as a general rule the investment must be significantly proportional to the amount of the total investment. This means that generally the investment amount must be half the total value of the enterprise, or for new businesses, an amount normally considered necessary to start the business. It is true that some applicants have been approved for the E-2 visa having made investments of less than $100,000, but the appropriate amount you must invest will depend on various factors including: the type of business you will invest in, the location, business plan, whether you plan on opening a new business or investment in an existing business, etc. In order for your application to be convincing, realistically the investment amount should approach $100,000, to increase your chances of getting your E-2 visa approved, but you must take into account that the investment amount will depend upon many different factors.
In this segment Attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick Esq. discusses a new proposed rule referred to as the International Entrepreneur Rule. This new rule is expected to make it easier for certain foreign entrepreneurs to receive temporary permission to enter the United States, also known as ‘parole,’ for the purpose of starting or scaling their start-up business enterprise in the United States. For more information please keep watching.
Under this new rule, DHS would have discretionary authority to grant parole to eligible entrepreneurs of start-up companies who can demonstrate the following:
At least a 15 percent ownership interest in the startup enterprise in question;
That they take on an active and central role in the startup enterprise’s operations;
That the startup enterprise has been formed in the United States within the past three years; and
That the startup enterprise has proven to yield a substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation as evidenced by:
Having received a significant investment of capital of at least $345,000 from certain qualified U.S. investors that have a proven track record of success i.e. showing established records of successful investments;
Having received significant awards or grants of at least $100,000 from federal, state, or local government entities; or
By partially satisfying one or both of the above criteria, in addition to presenting other reliable and compelling evidence to show the startup entity’s substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation in the United States.
In this video, Attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick Esq. discusses one of your frequently asked questions: Is there a minimum investment amount required to apply for the E-2 Treaty Investor visa? To read more about the E-2 visa click here. To read about other visa types for start-up companies and entrepreneurs please click here.
Although, there is no minimum investment amount required for the E-2 Treaty Trader Visa, the investment amount must be reasonable, to demonstrate that the business is not marginal and that it is the funds will be “at risk.”
As a general rule the investment must be significantly proportional to the total investment, that is, usually more than half the total value of the enterprise or, for new businesses, an amount normally considered necessary to establish the business.
Consider the following when coming up with the appropriate investment amount:
What is the type of business?
Where is the location?
How much money is typically required to run this type of business?
How many employees will you need to hire?
Consider cost of assets, equipment, operating, and other start up expenses
Typically, anything less than $50,000 would not be sufficient to convince the consulate or immigration service that your funds are committed and “at risk.” We would be happy to discuss your options. For a free first time consultation please contact our office.
In this segment, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick tells you all about the visa bulletin. Who is it for? How does it work? Why do we need it? For more information about the visa bulletin, please click here.
What is the Visa Bulletin?
The Visa Bulletin exists due to congressional numerical immigrant visa limitations for family-sponsored and employment-based preference categories established by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The visa bulletin is for foreign nationals wishing to immigrate to the United States through a relative or employer. Family-sponsored preference categories are limited to a minimum of 226,000 visas per year, while employment-based preference categories are limited to a minimum of 140,000 visas per year. The Visa Bulletin is a useful tool for aliens to determine when a visa will become available to them so that they may apply for permanent residence.
You can check the status of a visa number by checking your priority date on the Department of State’s Visa Bulletin published every month. A priority date is the date when your relative or employer properly filed the immigrant visa petition on your behalf with USCIS (Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative or Form I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker).
Family-sponsored preference categories
Family based immigrant visas are divided into preference systems and priority dates. This refers to one of the various categories under which an individual qualifies for U.S. residency, and must wait for a visa to become available.
First Preference: unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens. This category refers to the adult children of U.S. citizens or those who have reached the age of 21 years prior to issuance of the immigrant visa;
Second Preference: a) spouses and children under the age of 21 of U.S. permanent residents; b) unmarried sons and daughters over the age of 21 of U. S. permanent residents;
Third Preference: married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens;
Fourth Preference: brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens.
First Preference: Priority Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth and fifth preferences.
Second Preference: Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability:
Third Preference: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers
Fourth Preference: Certain Special Immigrants
Fifth Preference: Employment Creation: not less than 3,000 of which reserved for investors in a targeted rural or high-unemployment area, and 3,000 set aside for investors in regional centers (EB-5)
For more information regarding the immigrant process for family members and the Visa Bulletin please click here. For a legal consultation please contact our office to speak with our legal consultants.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
In this segment, attorney Jacob Sapochnick Esq., addresses common E visa myths and the facts surrounding the E visa program.
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.
In this episode, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick Esq. answers one of our most frequently asked questions: What are the differences between the L and E visas?
The L visa is a known immigrant visa, which means that L visa holders can apply for a permanent resident card without losing their L status. L visa holders with dependents, can bring those family members via the L-2 visa. The L visa allows the principal L visa holder to bring foreign workers to the United States working for the same company abroad.
E visa’s are based on a treaty trade agreement or treaty investment. They require a substantial investment to be made. E visa holders cannot apply for permanent residence, but this classification is a good option for temporary investors.
For more information on the L and E visas click here.