In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick shares exciting news, New Zealand has now been added to the list of eligible citizens that may apply for an E-2 Investor visa.
A recent change in the law now allows citizens of New Zealand to come to the United States as investors and apply for the E-2 investor visa. Citizens of New Zealand may invest in any business venture, with an investment as low as $50,000.
Previously, citizens of New Zealand were not a part of the E-2 investor visa program, so this is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs interested in bringing their talents to the United States.
What is the E-2 visa?
The E-2 visa is suitable for persons who are: a) foreign nationals of a treaty trader country b) interested in making a substantial investment in a new business in the United States or existing U.S. business c) not interested in permanent residence d) interested in remaining in the United States for the short term.
In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses an important E-2 visa subject: how do you prove source of funds for your E-2 investment?
If your source of investment is a loan: you must prove that your loan is secured by some personal property.
If your source of funds is a gift: you must prove that you have control of that gift and show the source of funds of the person that gave you the gift, for example if the funds came from the sale of the house, the documents of the sale of that house must be provided. If the funds came from savings, then the person would need to provide their savings account statements. If the funds came from someone’s salary, then pay stubs must be provided.
In general, if a person has given you a gift of money, and that is the source of your E-2 investment, that person must prove how they got the money.
Proceeds from Real Estate
If the funds are coming from the proceeds of a real estate sale then you must provide the deed, proof of the bill of sale and the transaction, etc.
If the source of funds is coming from investments such as stock, life insurance, then at least three years of tax returns must be provided, and three years of statements from those institutions.
In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses how entrepreneurs come to America.
What are the available visa options for an entrepreneur to launch a startup company?
One of the most common ways to launch a company in the United States is through the O-1A visa. This is a great option for entrepreneurs who have already established their reputation in their home country, have run a successful business abroad, and who wish to bring their unique talents and skills to the United States.
To qualify for an O-1A visa, the entrepreneur must demonstrate that they are exceptionally distinguished in their field or industry. This can be demonstrated by way of sustained recognition in the industry on a national or international level, or awards, titles, honorary distinctions, etc. The entrepreneur must also demonstrate that they have achieved a high level of expertise in their industry
The O-1A visa enables the entrepreneur to come to the United States to work for their own company, or for another company.
Another great option is the L-1A visa. If you are a startup founder and you already have a company in your home country, and you want to launch in the United States, you can set up a subsidiary or an affiliate of your startup in your home country and come to the United States as an executive such as a CEO.
Alternatively, you may wish to apply for the E-2 visa as an investor of the startup company that you wish to launch in the United States. To qualify for this visa type, you must be a national of a foreign country that has a qualifying treaty of friendship, commerce, navigation, or similar agreement with the United States.
In addition, the investment must be made in 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.
If you are a citizen of Mexico or Canada, you can apply for a TN visa and be part of the company that you launch in the United States as an advisor or a higher-level position. The position that the entrepreneur will engage in must be a profession that is approved by NAFTA, and the entrepreneur must meet the qualifications for that position.
The E-1 Treaty Trader visa is a good option for entrepreneurs who wish to work in the technology sector. If you have a patent in your home country or have an idea to invest in the technology sector, and you are starting a company in your home county, you can set up a company in the United States as a founder without investing anything, because of the exchange of trade and technology.
National Interest Waiver
Company founders can apply for a green card by applying for a national interest waiver if you are a highly successful entrepreneur, and you can show the government that your level of innovation is at a high level.
Please visit our website for more information about these different options.
How can religious workers come to the United States?
A religious worker visa allows a foreign national to come to the United States to work in a religious occupation for an authorized non-profit organization.
To qualify for the R-1 visa, the foreign national must be employed by (1) a non-profit religious organization in the United States or (2) a religious organization that is authorized by a group tax exemption holder to use its group tax exemption or (3) a non-profit religious organization affiliated with a religious denomination in the United States.
Religious occupations are those whose duties:
Primarily relate to a traditional religious function
Are recognized as a religious occupation within the denomination
Are primarily related to, and clearly involve, inculcate, or carry out the religious creed and beliefs of the denomination
In addition, the foreign national must be a member of the religious denomination for at least two years immediately prior to filing for an R-1 visa.
The R-1 visa is issued for a period of up to 5 years, and the religious worker may apply for a green card using Form I-360.
For more information about the R-1 visa please visit our website.
In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses a frequently asked question regarding the E-2 Investor Visa: Are loans or gifts a legitimate source of funds for the E-2 visa?
In order to get an E-2 visa as an investor in the United States, you must demonstrate that you will make a substantial investment in a new business enterprise or an existing business. As part of the application process, you must show the origin of the source of funds for that investment, and the source of those funds must be legitimate. Not all sources of funds will qualify for the E-2 visa. Many of our clients ask whether a gift of funds or a foreign bank loan will qualify as a legitimate source of funding for the E-2 visa.
Are gifts a legitimate source of funds for the E-2 visa?
Yes, provided the investor has possession of the funds, and the funds are irrevocably committed to the investor by the giver of the gift. The person that has given the gift to the investor must provide documentation showing the source of those funds to prove that the funds came from a legitimate source.
In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick explains the differences between the K-1 fiancé visa and a marriage visa.
What is the K-1 Fiancé Visa?
The K-1 visa is available to foreign nationals who are engaged to U.S. Citizens only. K-1 visas are also reserved for foreign fiancées, who do not have any other means of coming to the United States. A K-1 visa holder must marry the U.S. Citizen fiancé/fiancée within ninety days of entry to the United States or else the alien must leave the country.
If the foreign fiancé does not intend to marry the U.S. Citizen within ninety days of arriving to the United States, then the K-1 fiancé visa is not a good option.
The K-1 fiancé visa is a good option for couples who want to spend time together in the United States before getting married.
The fiancé visa process is typically much faster than the marriage visa process.
Spouses Overseas: U.S. Citizens and Legal Permanent Residents may file Form I-130 on behalf of a foreign spouse residing abroad, so that the foreign spouse can apply for a marriage visa through the U.S. Consulate in their home country. Spouses of Legal Permanent Residents must wait for a visa to become available to them, before proceeding with the marriage visa application process.
Spouses within the U.S.: If the foreign spouse of a U.S. Citizen is residing inside of the United States on a valid visa type, then the foreign spouse can file Form I-130 and Form I-485 to adjust their status permanent residence at the same time.
The marriage visa application process is generally longer than the fiancé visa process, while adjustment of status for spouses residing within the United States is shorter than the fiancé visa process (typically 4-7 months processing time).
In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick talks visa options for entrepreneurs.
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.
In this live stream, attorneys Jacob Sapochnick and Marie Puertollano discuss recent topics in immigration including the new USCIS policy giving immigration officers ample discretion to deny an application or petition filed with USCIS without first issuing a RFE or NOID, suspension of premium processing, fraudulent H-1B schemes, and more.
Beginning September 11, if you do not provide sufficient evidence to establish that you are eligible for the immigration benefit you are requesting, USCIS may exercise their discretion and deny your petition without first issuing a request for evidence or RFE. This new policy applies to all applications and petitions filed after September 11th, with the exception of DACA renewal applications. The decision to deny your application or petition without issuing a RFE or NOID will ultimately be up to the discretion of the officer reviewing your petition. An officer may in his discretion continue to issue a RFE or NOID according to his best judgement.
If you are filing for a change of status or extension of your status, we recommend that you file early, so that you are not out of status in the case that USCIS denies your request for an immigration benefit. This will give you the opportunity to either re-file or to consider changing your status to another visa type. In addition, if you have the ability to apply for premium processing service, you should take advantage of that service.
Suspension of Premium Processing
At the moment premium processing services have been temporary suspended for cap-subject petitions until February 19, 2019, with the exception of cap-exempt petitions filed exclusively at the California Service Center, because the employer is cap-exempt or because the beneficiary will be employed at a qualifying cap exempt institution.
In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses what you can do if your TN visa is denied.
What is a TN Visa?
First, let’s discuss what a TN Visa is, who qualifies, and what the process is like to apply.
The TN Visa allows citizens of Canada and Mexico to work in the United States under the North American Free Trade Agreement.
What are the requirements?
In order to be eligible to apply for a TN visa, the applicant must:
Be a Citizen of Canada or Mexico
Apply to work in a profession authorized by NAFTA.For a complete list of authorized professions click here.
Fill an approved position under NAFTA regulations
Work in a pre-arranged full-time or part-time job, for a U.S. employer
Have the qualifications required for the position sought.
Educational requirement: The employer must submit proof that the applicant meets the minimum education requirements or has the alternative credentials as required by NAFTA. Evidence of professional qualifications may include copies of degrees, certificates, diplomas, professional licenses, or membership in a professional organization. Degrees, diplomas, and certificates from an educational institution outside of the U.S. must be accompanied by an evaluation by a credential evaluation service specializing in evaluating foreign academic credentials.
Work Experience Requirement: The applicant must provide evidence of his or her experience in the position sought (recommendation letters from former employers).
Provide proof of ties to your home country
Canadian citizens may apply for a TN visa at a U.S. port of entry providing the following supporting documentation:
Request for admission under TN status to Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, U.S. immigration officer;
Employment Letter – Evidence of professional employment;
Proof of professional qualifications, such as transcripts of grades, licenses, certificates, degrees, and/or records of previous employment;
Proof of ability to meet applicable license requirements;
Proof of Canadian citizenship- Canadian citizens may present a passport, as visas are not required, or they may provide secondary evidence, such as a birth certificate. However, Canadian citizens traveling to the United States from outside the Western Hemisphere are required to present a valid passport at the port-of-entry;
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.
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.