We are proud to announce that Eliot F. Krieger, of Schuchert, Krieger, Truong, Spagnola & Klausner LLP, has been selected to the 2017 list as a member of the Nation’s Top One Percent by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel. NADC is an organization dedicated to promoting the highest standards of legal excellence. Its mission is to objectively recognize the attorneys who elevate the standards of the Bar and provide a benchmark for other lawyers to emulate.
Members are thoroughly vetted by a research team, selected by a blue-ribbon panel of attorneys with podium status from independently neutral organizations, and approved by a judicial review board as exhibiting virtue in the practice of law. Due to the incredible selectivity of the appointment process, only the top one percent of attorneys in the United States are awarded membership in NADC. This elite class of advocates consists of the finest leaders of the legal profession from across the nation.
According to a 2017 report by Forbes, the majority of U.S. companies are going to hire foreign employees. Based on 442 surveyed employers, 55% said they were going to hire overseas team members—an increase of more than 20% over data collected in 2016. Most of these new hires will enter the U.S. on H1B visas, and the majority will find employment in the tech industry. There are many misconceptions about H1B visas.
If you are seeking entry into the United States on an H1B visa or if you are an employer planning to hire foreign professionals, there are some basic things that you need to know. Applying for an H1B visa can be complicated and frustrating; working with experienced immigration attorneys can help you achieve your immigration and employment goals.
What is a H1B Visa?
The H1B visa is a non-immigrant, employment-based visa for temporary hires. To get an H1B visa, an employer must offer the foreign professional a job and apply for the visa on the potential hire’s behalf. Once approved, the H1B professional can temporarily live and work, specifically for the petitioning employer, in the United States.
Who is Eligible for the H1B Visa?
The H1B visa is reserved for foreign professionals in specialty occupations, which requires higher-level education and specialized skill or knowledge. A “specialty occupation” is defined as “an occupation that requires (a) theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and (b) attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.” If your status is put into question, your best bet is to search for immigration lawyers, and find one with experience relevant to your personal scenario.
How Long Can You Stay in America on an H1B Visa?
The maximum length of stay on an H1B visa is six years. The initial visa is valid for up to three years and can be extended by another three-year increment. The H1B professional’s spouse and minor children can remain in the U.S. under H-4 status for the same length of time.
What are the Potential Reasons for H1B Visa Denials?
There are various common reasons why the United States Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS) may deny an H1B visa petition.
One common reason for a denial is that USCIS does not deem the foreign professional as entering a specialty occupation. For a job position to qualify as a specialty occupation, the petitioning employer must show at least one of the following:
A Bachelor’s Degree or its equivalent is the minimum requirement for entry into that position;
The degree requirement is a common one for the position in the specified industry;
The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent;
The nature of the job’s duties is so specialized and complex that knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with attainment of the degree.
Another common reason for an H1B denial is an inadequate showing of the employer/employee relationship. A red flag is triggered for USCIS officers when an employee works off-site, which raises the suspicion that the H1B professional will not be working for the petitioning employer. Extensive evidence is needed to prove that the petitioning employer will have sole right to control when, where, and how the H1B employee performs the job.
If you are applying for an H1B visa for a potential employee or if your intended employer is seeking H1B status on your behalf, having a qualified immigration attorney will help ensure a smooth process.Read More
Contracts can be long, boring, and very confusing. Understanding the parts of a contract will hopefully help you in any present or future agreements. To start, you should know about the three main components that make up a contract: offer, acceptance, and consideration.
An “offer” constitutes an expression of interest in entering a contract. When an offer is made, it should be understood by both parties that upon acceptance of the terms, the offer is considered binding. For example, an offer can be as simple as a person writing a price on a for sale sign and placing it on their vehicle. Or, it can be complex in that it has many terms, like an employment contract, in which a person must satisfy all terms in the offer through the length of the contract. Importantly, once the offer is accepted, it is binding, no matter how simple or complex the offer is.
Once an offer is made it can be ignored, accepted, specifically rejected or rejected by submitting a counter-offer. As with the acceptance of an offer, the acceptance of a counter-offer creates a binding agreement of that new offer.
“Acceptance” is either a promise, or an act that indicates a person’s will to enter into a contract and be bound by the terms set forth in the offer. Acceptance can be tricky – especially when it is done through an act, such as verbal communication, accepting funds, or even a handshake. However, acceptance is most closely associated with signing a document of the agreed upon terms.
The third and final part of a contact is “consideration.” Consideration is a legal term for exchanging something of value. Whether it be money, products, services, consideration is something of value that each party exchanges. For example, an employee provides his or her time and skill for an employer, who, in exchange, provides compensation. It has long been said, that the exchange of consideration can be as little as a peppercorn seed as its of sufficient value.
While contracts can be extremely lengthy, complicated, and difficult to understand, only these three elements are required for one to be formed and legally binding. For any of your contract needs, both simple and complex, know that the business law attorneys at Sullivan, Krieger, Truong, Spagnola, and Klausner are more than happy to assist you. You can contact us at 1-877-877-1-LAW or fill out the form below to get in touch with us.Read More
If you are a United States legal permanent resident (“LPR” or “green card holder”), you may be eligible to become a United States citizen. United States (“U.S.”) citizenship opens the door to substantial benefits, including having the right to vote, eligibility for federal benefits or jobs, and unlimited length of international travel.
In order to qualify for citizenship in the United States, LPRs must meet the following requirements:
- Applicant must be admitted to permanent resident status;
- Applicant is at least 18 years of age;
- Applicant has been continuously residing in the U.S. for a minimum period of time (generally 5 years, but 3 years for spouses of U.S. citizens);
- Applicant has been residing in the state of application for a minimum of 3 months;
- Applicant has been physically present in the U.S. for a minimum period (at least half the period of required continuous residence);
- Applicant must reside in the U.S. from the date of filing for naturalization until actual admission to citizenship;
- Applicant is able to read, write, and speak ordinary English;
- Applicant has knowledge of U.S. history and government;
- Applicant has good moral character; and
- Applicant is attached to the principles of the U.S. constitution.
Determining eligibility for naturalization can be a tricky matter. An application to naturalize invokes the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) to perform another review of the applicant’s permanent resident application. If USCIS concludes that the applicant unlawfully obtained LPR status, the finding will render the applicant ineligible for naturalization and may jeopardize the existing LPR status. Additionally, the principal beneficiary’s unlawful procurement of LPR status may affect a derivative beneficiary’s ability to naturalize. Eligibility is further complicated if the applicant has engaged in fraud or any criminal activity.
The following actions undermine a finding of good moral character for naturalization purposes:
- A criminal record, regardless of the nature and date of the criminal conviction;
- Unlawful voting or false claim to U.S. citizenship;
- Tax fraud or willful concealment of income;
- Smuggling of undocumented persons; or
- Giving false testimony for purposes of obtaining immigration benefits.
Applying for naturalization can be lengthy and frustrating without the help of experienced attorneys and staff. Our seasoned team can assist and guide you through the naturalization application process. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with an immigration attorney.
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President Trump Issues Executive Order Suspending Refugee Admissions and Entry of Green Card/Visa Holders From Particular Countries
President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order (EO), entitled Protecting the Nation from Foreign Entry into the United States, which went into immediate effect upon signing on Friday, January 27, 2017. The EO bars the admission of immigrants and non-immigrants from seven countries (Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) for at least 90 days, suspends the U.S. Refugee Admission Program for at least 120 days, and indefinitely suspends the entry of Syrian refugees.
Suspension of Visa Issuance
As previously discussed, the EO suspends the entry of immigrants and non-immigrants who are nationals from certain countries for 90 days. These countries include Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. However, the 90-day entry ban excludes foreign nationals traveling to the United States on diplomatic visas, NATO visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, and G-4 visas.
The EO further instructs the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, to submit a report to President Trump, within 30 days of the EO, regarding the adequacy of information collected during the visa adjudication process for the purpose of verifying the applicant’s identity. The report shall also include a list of countries not supplying adequate information. After the first 30 days, foreign governments who have not yet provided sufficient information will be given 60 days’ notice to do so. A country’s failure to comply with the request will result in foreign nationals from said country being prohibited entry to the U.S. However, visas may continue to be issued on a case-by-case basis, when in the national interest, to foreign nationals even if their country is listed.
The EO appears to include both individuals born in affected countries and individuals who hold dual nationality with one of those countries. Although dual nationals who present a passport from a non-banned country should not be denied entry, application of the EO across airports in the U.S. have been inconsistent.
With regards to lawful permanent residents (“LPRs”), the Department of Homeland Security has issued a statement asserting that the ban applies to LPRs, but that they would qualify for an exception due to national interest. LPRS from affected countries are consequently not barred from entry unless the U.S. government deems that they pose a national security threat. However, LPRs may still be subject to lengthy questionings and heightened entry procedures at U.S. ports of entry.
Implementing New Standards for Screening
The Secretaries of State and Homeland Security, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Director of the FBI are tasked with implementing a uniform screening standard and procedure to identify individuals seeking to enter the U.S. on a fraudulent basis, with the intent to harm, or who are at risk of causing harm. The new screening program will include the following:
- A database of identity documents to ensure that duplicate documents are not produced by multiple applicants;
- Application forms with amended questions aimed at identifying fraudulent answers and malicious intent;
- A mechanism to ensure the identity of the applicant;
- A process to evaluate whether the applicant will be a positively contributing member of society; and
- A mechanism to ascertain whether the applicant has the intent to commit criminal or terrorist acts after admission.
Suspension of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program
President Trump is suspending the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days while a review and modification of the refugee screening process takes place. After said 120 days, USRAP admissions will resume only for countries with sufficient safeguards against threats to the safety and welfare of the U.S. The Secretaries of Homeland Security and State may admit individuals on a case-by-case basis, if it is in the national interest, or when the person is already in transit and denying admission would cause undue hardship. Refugee claims made by individuals based on religious persecution (if the religion is a minority religion in the country of nationality) are deemed to be of national interest and will receive priority once USRAP is continued. Once admissions are permissible, the number of admissions shall not exceed 50,000 in fiscal year 2017.
Entry of Syrian refugees is suspended until President Trump determines that sufficient changes have been made to USRAP.
The EO includes additional provisions related to the entry of foreign nations into the U.S., including the following:
- All travelers to the U.S. will be required to provide biometric data upon entry and exit from the U.S. (as opposed to current entry-only requirements). Three reports shall be submitted within the first year of the EO, and a report shall be submitted every 180 days until the system is completed and operational;
- The Visa Interview Waiver Program shall be immediately suspended, and all individuals seeking nonimmigrant visas will be required to undergo in-person interviews;
- The Secretary of State shall review all non-immigrant visa reciprocity agreements;
- Data regarding the number of foreign-born individuals in the U.S. who have been charged, convicted, or removed from the U.S. based on terrorism-related activities or gender-based acts of violence will be collected and made publicly available every 180 days.
The experienced immigration attorneys at Sullivan, Krieger, Truong, Spagnola, and Klausner will be monitoring the situation closely and will provide updates accordingly.[av_hr class=’default’ height=’50’ shadow=’no-shadow’ position=’center’ custom_border=’av-border-thin’ custom_width=’50px’ custom_border_color=” custom_margin_top=’30px’ custom_margin_bottom=’30px’ icon_select=’yes’ custom_icon_color=” icon=’ue808′ font=’entypo-fontello’] [gravityform id=”1″ title=”true” description=”true”] Read More
Congratulations! You have just been engaged to the man or woman of your dreams, who happens to live in another country. As a United States (“U.S.”) citizen, you are now confronted with the problem of how to reunite with your significant other in the U.S. One option for bringing your fiancé to the U.S. is the K-1 fiancé non-immigrant visa, which applies to couples who are not yet married.
The basic eligibility requirements for a K-1 visa are:
- The petitioner must be a U.S. citizen;
- The petitioner and fiancé must intend to marry within 90 days of the fiancé entering the United States;
- Both parties must have legal capacity to marry; and
- Both parties must have met each other in person within two years before the petition is filed.
The application process involves the U.S. citizen petitioner filing a nonimmigrant visa petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of the K-1 fiancé. Current USCIS processing time for petition for an alien fiancé is approximately six months. After USCIS approves the petition, the K-1 fiancé can apply for the K-1 visa at the U.S. Consulate Office or Embassy abroad. Once the K-1 fiancé obtains the visa, he/she is admitted to the United States for a 90-day period. This period cannot be extended – the fiancé must marry the U.S. citizen petitioner during that period or depart the United States. Failure to abide by the terms of the K-1 visa would constitute a violation of status.
Once the marriage is finalized, the K-1 fiancé may file an adjustment of status application in order to obtain his/her green card. However, please note that the K-1 fiancé’s adjustment of status application is only permissible if it is based upon the marriage contracted within the 90 days allowed under the K-1 visa.
The greatest advantage of the K-1 visa relates to separate children of the principal K-1 fiancé. Unmarried children under 21 may accompany the principal K-1 fiancé to the United States as derivative beneficiaries in K-2 status. The child may also follow-to-join the K parent after the parent has already traveled to the United States, and the child may seek admission into the United States only after the K parent has first been admitted.
The seasoned attorneys at SKT can help you select the best visa option and guide you through the K-1.
Give us a call to schedule a free consultation with one of our seasoned immigration attorneys. (877)877-1-LAW
Nothing in this blog post is intended as legal advice. Your situation is fact dependent, and you should consult with an attorney. Opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and not of SKT or its partners.
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An F-1 student visa allows a student to study full-time in the United States (“U.S.”) at an accredited school. The F-1 student visa is a non-immigrant visa, which means that the student cannot have the intent to reside permanently in the U.S. The basic criteria for obtaining an F-1 student visa are as follows:
- The student must be enrolled at an accredited college, university, seminary, conservatory, high school, or language training program. The program must result in a degree, diploma, or certificate.
- The school must be authorized by the U.S. government to accept international students.
- You must be a full-time student.
- You must be proficient in English or receive training to become proficient in English.
- You must have sufficient financial support to support yourself as a student.
- You must maintain a foreign resident abroad with no intention of abandoning it.
Students are generally admitted for a maximum of 30 days before the program start date. Upon admission to the United States, students are admitted for “duration of status,” which means they are admitted until completion of the program plus an additional 60 days. The additional 60 days can be used to prepare for departing the U.S., transferring to another school, or changing education levels.
As an F-1 student, employment is not allowed during the first academic year except for on-campus employment. On-campus employment includes work performed on school premises or at an off-campus location which is educationally affiliated with the school. When school is in session, the F-1 student may only work up to 20 hours a week. When school is not in session, F-1 students may work full-time.
After the first academic year, the F-1 student may obtain off-campus employment under certain circumstances, including severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances. Additionally, the employment must be related to a course of study, for the purpose of practical training, and cannot be for English training.
Most F-1 students engage in post-completion Optional Practical Training (“OPT”), which is limited to 12 months and must be completed within 14 months of graduation. F-1 students who have a degree in a STEM field (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) may engage in 24 months of OPT.
Want to apply?
Understanding F-1 student visa and employment eligibility can be lengthy and frustrating without the help of experienced attorneys and staff. Our seasoned team can assist and guide you through the F-1 student visa process.
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Nothing in this blog post is intended as legal advice. Your situation is fact dependent, and you should consult with an attorney. Opinions expressed are those of the author and not of SKT Law or it’s partners.Read More
Foreign nationals can acquire visas by expanding their business to the United States. The L-1 visa enables United States employers to transfer existing executives, managers, or employees with specialized knowledge from an affiliated foreign office to an office in the United States. Alternatively, the foreign company can send an executive or manager to the United States to set up a new office or company.
There are two types of L-1 visas: L-1A visa pertains to executives or managers, who will oversee the business and daily operations of the United States company; L-1B visa pertains to professional employees with specialized knowledge of the product, services, or process of the foreign company.
Beneficiaries of approved L-1 petitions can bring their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 to the United States for the duration of the beneficiary’s stay. In addition, authorized spouses may work in the United States.
To begin the process, the United States company must file a petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The petition must demonstrate that the following requirements are met:
1. Qualifying relationship between the U.S. company and company abroad;
2. U.S. company and company abroad will be doing business;
3. L-1 Transferee has worked for the foreign company for at least 1 of the 3 preceding years before the filing of the petition;
4. L-1 Transferee’s employment overseas was in an executive, managerial or specialized knowledge capacity;
5. Employment in the U.S. will be in an executive, managerial or specialized knowledge capacity;
6. L-1 Transferee is qualified for the job;
7. Employment in the U.S. is temporary.
The maximum length of stay for managers or executives with L-1A visas is 7 years, whereas the maximum length of stay for specialized knowledge employees with L-1B visas is 5 years.
The L visa is a popular option for foreign nationals seeking to relocate to the United States due to its many advantages and potential pathway to permanent residence. As dual-intent is allowed for L visas, L visa holders can file for a green card in the United States without potentially jeopardizing their visa status. Additionally, there is no annual cap on the number of L-1 visas available each year so there is no wait time. This advantageous visa option allows the L-1 Transferee’s family to obtain L-2 visas, where the spouse and children can lawfully work and attend school in the U.S.
Many people do not know that they can obtain a green card within 2 years by simply investing money. The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program was created in 1990 to stimulate the economy through capital investment by foreign investors and job creation. For many countries, including the Philippines, Vietnam, and Mexico, the EB-5 program is a great option because there are currently no wait times.
Overview of the EB-5 program
Under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, foreign investors can apply for green cards through investment in an existing or new business in the United States and creation of 10 permanent, full-time jobs. An investor can passively invest in a pre-approved regional center (often a large hotel or resort) or directly participate in the operation of a business. The spouse and unmarried children under 21 of the investor are also eligible for green cards through the investor’s investment. Once approved, the investor and his family will receive conditional two-year green cards, which can later be converted to a full-fledged green card.
The EB-5 program has the following basic requirements:
* Minimum capital investment of $500,000;
* Creation of at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers;
* Source of EB-5 investment must originate from lawful sources; and
* Investment must be at-risk.
EB-5 Processing Timeline
The process starts with filing a petition with the USCIS to demonstrate that an eligible investment amount from a lawful source has been invested into a business in the United States. Currently, USCIS is taking approximately 16 months to adjudicate the petition. For foreign nationals with no wait time, once the petition is approved, they can immediately begin the process to obtain their two-year conditional green card, which takes approximately 6 months. 90 days before the two-conditional green card expires, the EB-5 investor and his family can file for removal of conditions in order to obtain a full-fledged green card. Each of these steps is complicated, requires extensive paperwork, and necessitates the guidance of an experienced EB-5 immigration attorney.
Given the lengthy backlogs of other green card categories, an EB-5 visa is a good alternative. There is currently no wait time for EB-5s for many foreign nationals, and through an EB-5 investment, the investor can apply for green cards for himself, his spouse, and unmarried children under the age of 21. As a green card holder, you are considered a lawful permanent resident of the U.S., which allows you to lawfully reside in the U.S., work in the U.S., and travel internationally with your green card.Read More
There are few things in a divorce proceeding that are as important as the Income and Expense Declaration (aka form FL-150). This form is the focal point for each party’s argument for or against support orders or request for attorney fees. This form also happens to be the epicenter of all things financial for the party filling it out. It is very important that you do it completely and you do it right. This blog will better inform you of the importance of this document and how to correctly fill it out. We will take you step by step through each section of this four page document so you are not later penalized for any mistakes made.
The first and most important thing to understand when filing out this form is that all the information you include is signed under the penalty of perjury. It is of the utmost importance that you are honest and forthcoming. Full and accurate disclosures on this document could lead the Court to view you as straightforward and truthful, which could benefit you later in their ruling. Also, it will give the opposing counsel less ammunition when they later cross-examine you. Therefore, step one: be honest; it is truly in your best interest.
When reading this blog, if you could, have your copy or a blank copy in front of you. This will make much more sense if you do.
The first real task in completing this form is filing out your employment information. Simple enough, right? Mention who you work for, where it is you work, what you do, how long you have worked there and how much you get paid: If you have more than one job, list the second on an attachment. The reason this is important is clear, the Court needs to know what you make and how steady your income is to determine what you can afford or need as related to support, either child or spousal.
Age and Education
Next, you will need to let the Court know about your age, educational history which includes degrees and certificates. The reason this is pertinent is, if you were to become unemployed or you are not working, the Court can figure with your education and experience what your income would be and/or should be.
The next step is to fill out your tax information and how you last filed your taxes, where you filed them and how many exemptions you claimed. This information is relevant so the Court and opposing counsel can see if your tax status will change, which would in turn make your support different. This information is also necessary for the Court to plug into the Dissomaster program to determine support.
Other Party’s Income
The last step in filling out the first page of this document is estimating the other party’s gross monthly income and how you are estimating that amount. The reason this is asked is to see if there is a large disparity from one assessment to the other. If there is, perhaps one party is not telling the truth. In addition, if the other party has notice of your request and fails to respond, the Court may be able to use your estimate.
Oh, and don’t forget to sign at the bottom under that pesky penalty of perjury that we discussed earlier.
On the second page you will have to further discuss in detail, your income in all facets, deductions and assets. Don’t forget, you need to provide copies of your pay stubs for the last two months, proof of any other income and your latest federal tax return.
When providing information regarding your gross income be sure to be accurate and honest, always keep in the back of your mind what opposing counsel will say. You will inevitably have to get on the stand and explain what you wrote. Error on the side of caution and disclose any and all of the information the form is requesting of you. Do the same with your investment income, income from self-employment, and after business expenses for all your businesses.
This section is important for both opposing counsel and the Court to better understand your net income and any additional expenses associated with your work. Filling this out correctly could, in turn, save you on support fees.
In order to determine what you can afford, as far as support, it would make sense that you would have to provide any additional assets that were not previously disclosed. This helps determine your net worth.
The third page seems to be the most challenging for many people and by challenging; I mean they fudge the numbers. This page requires disclosure of the people who live with them, their average monthly expenses, installment payments, debts and attorney fees paid.
Who lives with you
The first section on this page, disclosing who lives with the party, is straightforward and not very complicated.
Average Monthly Expenses
However, many people fail to disclose the truth when it comes to their average monthly expenses. Many state that their total monthly expenses exceed their income and they have no debt. As a result, it would seem that they are intentionally minimizing their income, their expenses, or their debt. It is very important to take the time to actually figure what your average monthly expenses are and disclose them as accurately as possible.
Installment Payments and debts not listed
Again, this is another section that people tend to fudge. Be sure to list all the payments you have, including; credit cards, televisions, couches, cars, etc. Be sure to include ALL your debts. Don’t fudge or hide these figures, it is fairly easy to determine if you are telling the truth or not.
If you have any confusion in filling out this section ask your attorney whichever applies to you. The attorney will have on record all the answers to these questions. The only thing they will not know is what the source of your money is, you are the only one that has the answer to that.
Page four only applies if you are requesting child support. Therefore, you probably only need to fill out this page out if your case involves child support. This page is very straight forward, simply disclose how many children you have, the percent of time you spend with them or their schedule.
Also, include in the next section the children’s health care expenses including their insurance and costs. Further, include any additional expenses which are listed.
Next, provide any special hardships for the court to consider. These hardships tend to be significant and you are not likely to forget about them. Be sure to include it though.
Last, take advantage of the form by providing any additional information you want the Court to take into consideration not already covered. It could prove to be very beneficial for you but, make sure it is relevant.
As advised at the beginning of this blog, be honest. Always consider that you could be questioned about this form by opposing counsel on cross examination. And remember, if it is found you are lying you will be punished. Your punishment may not be jail time but it could be sanctions or higher support fees. So, be mindful and be honest, that is the key.
If you run into any problems or would like further explanation of this process do not hesitate to contact us at 1-877-877-1-LAW or visit us at www.sullivankrieger.com.Read More