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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) posted today for public inspection, a final rule amending regulations governing H-1B cap-subject petitions, including those that may be eligible for the advanced degree exemption. The final rule reverses the order by which U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) selects H-1B petitions under the H-1B regular cap and the advanced degree exemption, and it introduces an electronic registration requirement for petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions. The rule will be published in the Federal Register on Jan. 31, and will go into effect on April 1, though the electronic registration requirement will be suspended for the fiscal year (FY) 2020 cap season.

What does this mean for you?

1. The rule will start in 2020 not this year.

2. The only change this year is the Reverse order of selection of cases. Effective April 1, USCIS will first select H-1B petitions (or registrations, once the registration requirement is implemented) submitted on behalf of all beneficiaries, including those that may be eligible for the advanced degree exemption. USCIS will then select from the remaining eligible petitions, a number projected to reach the advanced degree exemption. Changing the order in which USCIS counts these allocations will likely increase the number of petitions for beneficiaries with a master’s or higher degree from a U.S. institution of higher education to be selected under the H-1B numerical allocations.

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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?

Loans

If your source of investment is a loan: you must prove that your loan is secured by some personal property.

Gifts

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.

Investments

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.

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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?

The O-1A:

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.

The L-1A:

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.

The E-2:

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.

The TN: 

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:

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.

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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.

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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.

Overview: 

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.

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In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick sits down with Real Talk San Diego to discuss our diverse immigration practice. Our office specializes in all aspects of immigration and nationality law. We assist entrepreneurs and investors who wish to come to the United States to set up and start their businesses in this country, foreign spouses and fiances of US Citizens who wish to immigrate to the United States, as well as students, engineers, athletes, musicians, hospitality workers, nurses, and other foreign workers who wish to live and work in the United States for a temporary period of time. We also specialize in assisting foreign workers obtain permanent residency through their employers. But that’s not all. To discover all that we have to offer please visit our website. If you are interested in exploring your options please contact our office to schedule a free first time consultation. Our attorneys and staff members are fluent in Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic, Hebrew, French and Russian.

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In this video attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick explains the process of immigrating a foreign fiance to the United States. For more information just keep on watching.

What are the requirements to apply for a K-1 fiance visa?

You must be able to prove three important requirements to be successful in applying for the K-1 fiance visa. Please keep these requirements in mind when gathering evidence for your case and discuss these requirements with an attorney:

#1: The U.S. Citizen and fiance must prove they have met in person within the last 2 years.

#2: The U.S. Citizen and fiance must prove they are legally free to marry. If either party has been divorced, they must provide final divorce decrees from their respective countries.

#3: The US Citizen must certify that they are legally able to and intend to marry the alien fiancé (green card applicant) within 90 days of his or her arrival to the United States. The alien fiancé must also certify that they are legally able to and intend to marry the petitioner within 90 days of his or her arrival to the United States.

To begin the process of immigrating your foreign fiancé to the United States please contact our office to schedule a free first time consultation.

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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.

Overview: 

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.

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In this segment, attorney Jacob Sapochnick Esq., addresses common E visa myths and the facts surrounding the E visa program.

Overview: 

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.

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In this video, we cover the requirements for winning self employment H1B and the possibility of whether an H1B can lead to a Green Card.

Did you know that forty percent of Fortune 500 companies in the United States were started by immigrants or the children of immigrants. From 1995 to 2005, half of Silicon Valley startups had an immigrant founder and in 2005 alone those businesses did $52 billion in sales creating more than 400,000 jobs. Iconic American companies that built whole new industries like US Steel, Dupont, Google, eBay, Honeywell, and Intel were started by immigrant founders. Chobani Yogurt, founded in 2005 by the immigrant entrepreneur Hamdi Ulukaya in upstate New York, has created 1,500 American jobs.

Just as we find common ground that unites families and protects communities, so too should we ensure that the world’s most talented innovators and entrepreneurs who are educated in our great universities are able to stay and contribute, rather than be forced to set up competitor businesses abroad. Many end up leaving because our visa options for self employed founders are limited.

Foreign Start Up founders often struggle with visa options to stay and launch a company in the US. The options are limited, if your country is part of a US Investment treaty, one can apply for the E2 visa and start a small company by investing some money. If you have a million dollars, you could also invest in your business, and could apply for the EB5 Immigrant Visa. But what if you don’t have money, and your country is not a member of the E2 treaty? Well until recently you were out of luck.

Now we have more options to offer our clients due to some changes to the H1B work visa. On Aug. 2, 2011, the USCIS announced a number of immigration initiatives to boost the economy by attracting and retaining foreign entrepreneurs. Rather than tackling the nearly impossible task of passing immigration legislation in the Congress, the Administration has decided to re-interpret the current immigration laws in favor of foreign entrepreneurs.

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