Articles Posted in Work visas

In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick talks visa options for entrepreneurs.

Overview:

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.

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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.

Overview:

RFE/NOID Policy

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.

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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:

  1. Be a Citizen of Canada or Mexico
  2. Apply to work in a profession authorized by NAFTA.For a complete list of authorized professions click here.
  3. Fill an approved position under NAFTA regulations
  4. Work in a pre-arranged full-time or part-time job, for a U.S. employer
  5. Have the qualifications required for the position sought.
  6. 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.
  7. Work Experience Requirement: The applicant must provide evidence of his or her experience in the position sought (recommendation letters from former employers).
  8. Provide proof of ties to your home country

Application Process

Canadian Citizens

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;

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In this post, we answer one of your most frequently asked questions: how can you find the right immigration lawyer for you?

You need an immigration lawyer, but how do you find the right one? Watch this video to learn all about what you need to know before hiring an immigration lawyer.

In this video we offer several guidelines that can help you decide on the right immigration lawyer for you.

Referrals

First of all, you may want to begin by asking for a referral from your close network of friends or family members who may have already worked closely with an immigration lawyer. Social media is a great resource to ask for recommendations from your network and look up reviews of immigration attorneys in your area. You should make a list of the attorneys you would like to work with and contact their offices to set up a consultation. Most attorneys offer free first-time consultations. Free consultations are a great opportunity for the client to meet one-on-one with the attorney and see if you have a connection with the attorney and would ultimately like to retain the attorney to work on your particular case.

Flat Fee Considerations

Secondly, it is important for you to find out during your consultation whether the attorney charges a flat rate for his services or whether the immigration attorney bills the client an hourly rate. Most immigration attorneys charge flat rates for their services, but this may not always be the case depending on the type of immigration service you are seeking (for example asylum and removal defense cases may require additional costs). Flat rates are more desirable for clients because you will know up front how much it will cost you to pay for the legal fees associated with your case. This may be a good way to determine whether an attorney is the right one for you.

Come Prepared

Come to the consultation with the attorney prepared. Research the immigration service you are seeking and become informed about the process beforehand so that you can ask the attorney your burning questions and any concerns you may have before starting the filing process. You will want to discuss with your attorney the steps involved in the process, the general plan to achieving success on your application, the hurdles that you may run into during the process, and fallback options if your application is unsuccessful. An attorney who can provide you with the full picture of the legal process will allow you to have greater confidence and peace of mind.

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In this video, we touch on a very common question: what are the possibilities of changing your status after a visa overstay?

If a person comes to the United States on a visa, whether it is a tourist visa or a student visa, there is a duration of stay that is attached to the visa. To determine the amount of time you are allowed to remain in the United States you must obtain your I-94 arrival/departure record from the CBP website.

If you entered the United States on a tourist visa you can typically stay for up to six months, and you can extend your stay for another six months. During your initial authorized stay, you may change your status to another category such as a student or investor visa. Once you have overstayed and essentially lost your legal status, it is very difficult to change to another legal status.

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In this video we discuss how you can get an E-1 treaty trader visa without trading actual goods.

Overview:

  • To qualify for an E-1 Treaty Trader Visa you must be a citizen of a treaty trader country involved in international trade
  • You must be coming to the U.S. to carry on substantial trade or to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise that is a commercial trader with your country of nationality
  • The trade must be conducted principally between the U.S. and the treaty country
  • The U.S. enterprise must conduct more than 50% of its total trade volume with the treaty country
  • The trade may be of a good, commodity, services, or technology

If you are the owner of patented technology in your treaty trader country for example you may qualify for the E-1 treaty trader visa. To qualify for the E-1 visa, you do not need to have actual goods coming from the treaty country to the U.S., in this case the E-1 treaty trader visa can be obtained by showing that a form of technology along with the rights will be developed in the U.S.

This was the exact situation of our client, an Israeli national who owned patented technology for physical exercise equipment, designed and licensed in Israel, but produced in China. To overcome the fact that the equipment was produced in China using Israeli technology, our office made sure to establish that the rights to build the products in China had to be approved and signed off by the company in Israel which owned the patent. In addition, our office strengthened the case by furnishing the agreements between the Israeli company and the manufacturing facility in China, to show that although the product was being manufactured in China, the Chinese facility was in fact controlled by an Israeli designer to ensure quality control and compliance with the Israeli technology owned by our client. Finally, we showed that the majority of the funds to finance the operation was coming from Israel, the treaty trader country, and documented how the product would be coming to the United States.

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The J-1 is a very popular visa that is administered by the State Department, not USCIS.

How does it work and who qualifies for the J-1 Cultural Exchange Visa?

The J-1 visa allows individuals such as students and trainees to come to the United States to receive practical training or participate in an internship program, to gain experience in a particular field of study, and take that experience and skill set back to the country of origin. The practical training or internship program should be one that is not available in the individual’s country of origin. The J-1 cultural exchange visa program allows the foreign national to obtain experience that they would not have otherwise obtained in their home country.

The J-1 visa requires a third-party sponsor that controls and supervises the J-1 program that the foreign national will participate in, while the State Department administers the filing process of the J-1 visa. The third-party sponsor also ensures that the foreign national will return to their country of origin at the conclusion of the cultural exchange program.

What types of training programs can foreign nationals participate in with this visa type?

Foreign nationals may participate in the J-1 cultural exchange visa program as au pairs, scholars, researchers, trainees, and professionals.

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Overview: 

What is an E-2 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, for a specified period of two years subject to renewal. Investment activities include the creation of a new business. Foreign nationals must invest a substantial amount of capital in a new or existing business. 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.

Who can get it?

Only foreign nationals from treaty nations may apply for the E-2 visa. To find out if your country qualifies, click here.

Level of Investment

Therefore, the level of investment must be such that it is sufficient to justify presence of the treaty national in the United States. The investment must be in an operating business e.g. a speculative investment in undeveloped land would not qualify, whereas an investment in a real estate development project probably would. Also, a substantial part of the investment must have been made prior to applying for E-2 status.

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What are some alternatives to the H-1B visa?

By now you know that the H-1B cap has been reached for Fiscal Year 2019. But what happens if you were not selected in the H-1B visa lottery?

In this post, we will discuss some alternatives to the H-1B visa that will allow you to stay and work in the United States.

  1. The O-1 “Extraordinary Ability” Visa:

This visa type is for aliens of extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, athletics, motion picture, television, or arts industries who have received national and/or international acclaim in their field. An alien on an O-1 visa may live and work in the United States for a period of up to three years.

An O-1 visa is a great visa for people in the start-up world and technology sector. This visa is for people holding an advanced degree (at least a master’s degree) who have either started their own business, have patented inventions, are leading experts in their fields, and/or have gained notoriety in their fields as evidenced by awards and other national recognitions.

  1. TN Visa for Mexican and Canadian Nationals

The TN visa allows nationals of Mexico and Canada to work in the United States, provided their profession is on the NAFTA list. The maximum period of initial admission to the US is three years, but visa holders may apply for extensions in amounts of one year.

  1. E-3 Visa for Australian Nationals

Similar to the H-1B visa, the E-3 classification allows Australian nationals to travel to the United States to work in a specialty occupation. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent to qualify and must work in a specialty occupation often associated with the STEM occupational fields. The E-3 visa is issued for an initial period of no more than 2 years, with extensions granted in 2-year increments.

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In this post, we discuss the top most commonly denied specialty occupations for the H-1B visa program. Don’t be caught in the dark. For more information just keep on watching.

0:19 – Marketing Manager

0:47 – Business Development Manager

1:12 – Technical Writer

1:37 – Computer Programmer

1:56 – Financial Analyst for Business

2:36 – Sales Positions

2:56 – Arts and Fashion

These occupations have been repeatedly denied over the years during H-1B filing season.

  1. Marketing Manager: It is very difficult to receive an approval with this occupation because USCIS has claimed that on the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH), the occupation of marketing manager does not require the individual to have a specific degree or a bachelor’s degree at all.
  2. Business Development Manager: This occupation falls under the Market Research Analyst category. We have seen quite a few denials associated with this occupation within the past 2 years. It is difficult to receive an approval for market research analysts, and the rate of requests for evidence issued for this occupation have increased tremendously.
  3. Legal Technical Writer/Technical Writers: We have seen increasing denials associated with this occupation since the last filing season. Extensions have also proved difficult to receive for this occupation. The common reason for denying this occupation is also that the OOH does not require the individual to have a specific degree or a bachelor’s degree at all.
  4. Computer Programmer: Based on recent memos issued by USCIS it is very difficult to receive an approval for this occupation because USCIS does not think that a bachelor’s degree is required for this position.
  5. Financial Analyst for Business: We have seen denials for financial analysts seeking to work for a business that isn’t involved in the financial sector. This applied in a situation where the beneficiary was seeking a financial position within a large restaurant. In this situation, USCIS has questioned whether the degree is a specialty occupation because although the position requires a bachelor’s degree, within the restaurant industry it is not common to require a degree for the position.
  6. Sales Positions: It is very difficult to receive an H-1B for a sales position. We would recommend reconsidering applying for the H-1B visa, or changing your position based on your job description.
  7. Arts and Fashion: Positions that are not specifically geared toward fashion design or graphic design are increasingly scrutinized by USCIS.

If you have questions regarding your H-1B position, please contact our office for a free consultation.

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