An EB-5 investor must file an I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status during the 90 day window before expiration of the investor’s 2-year conditional green card. Once the investor has filed the I-829 petition, he/she will receive an I-829 receipt notice. The language on the receipt notice states that the investor’s conditional residence is extended for one (1) years from the expiration date on the 2-year conditional green card.
Given that current I-829 processing times are 27 months, issues arise when an investor’s I-829 petition is pending for more than a year. USCIS will not mail another I-829 receipt notice after one year has passed, and an investor’s permanent residence card is not automatically extended again after the first year.
Instead, investors must attend an InfoPass appointment at a local USCIS Field Office to request a Form I-551 stamp to be placed in their passport. This stamp provides temporary evidence of the investor’s lawful permanent residence status. An investor can schedule his/her appointment here: https://my.uscis.gov/appointment.
Therefore, 30 days before the expiration of the one-year extension, if the investor has not been notified by USCIS of a decision on the I-829 petition, then the investor should contact the field office nearest to him/her to obtain a Form I-551 stamp.
If you have questions about EB-5, please contact the attorneys at SKT.Read More
On February 9, 2018, U.S. Congress passed and the President signed a short-term Continuing Resolution (“CR”) to extend the federal budget, including the EB-5 Regional Center Program, through March 23, 2018.
SKT will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates.
If you have any questions or are interested in applying for the EB-5 visa, please contact the attorneys at SKT.
Congratulations to Catharine Yen, SKT Attorney and Immigration Section Chair, for being recognized as one of the Top 25 EB-5 Immigration Attorneys in the United States by EB5Investors.com!Read More
Continuing Resolution to extend EB-5 Regional Center Program until December 22, 2017 Signed Into Law
On December 7, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate passed a short term Continuing Resolution (CR), which extends government operations and the EB-5 Regional Center Program, with no changes, through December 22, 2017. The CR was signed by President Trump became Public Law 115-90 on December 8, 2017. Additional CRs to extend government operations into January 2018 are currently the subject of ongoing discussionsRead More
President Trump’s Budget Deal With Congress Includes Extension of the EB-5 Regional Center Program Through December 8, 2017
The EB-5 Regional Center Program is officially extended until December 8, 2017. With this short-term extension, there are no changes to the EB-5 requirements.
The program is extended through H.R. 601 – Continuing Appropriations Act, which was passed by both the House of Representatives and Senate last week. The President signed the bill into law on September 8, 2017 in order to keep the U.S. government open and funded.
President Donald J. Trump signs H.R. 601 – Continuing Appropriations Act,
Friday, September 8, 2017, at Camp David near Thurmont, MD
Photo Source: www.whitehouse.gov
(Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)
Please note: The fact that the program is extended to December 8, 2017 does not guarantee that the program will remain unchanged until that date. It’s possible that Congress could pass legislation before December that would affect the EB-5 visa category. If you are interested in obtaining an EB-5 visa, please contact the attorneys at SKT for a consultation as to how you should proceed with your case.Read More
SKT Attorney and leading EB-5 expert, Catharine Yen, presented on the Advanced Panel titled: Source of Funds: A Roadmap to 2017. With almost every seat filled in the room, Ms. Yen shared her industry knowledge and experience of filling over 400 EB-5 petitions with a 100% approval rate.
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
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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