Bringing your spouse to the United States through the spousal sponsorship process is an important and often complex journey. This blog post aims to guide you through the process, specifically focusing on the initial processing of the I-130 petition at USCIS and the subsequent consular processing, as well as how our US immigration lawyers at Barella Global can assist you.
Step 1: USCIS Processing of the I-130 Petition
The first step in sponsoring your spouse is filing the I-130 petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This petition establishes the relationship between you, as the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident petitioner, and your foreign-born spouse. Along with the completed form, you must submit supporting documents, such as marriage certificates, proof of citizenship or permanent residency, and filing fees, among others. USCIS will review the petition and supporting documents to ensure their accuracy and completeness.
Step 2: USCIS Approval and Forwarding to the National Visa Center (NVC)
Upon approval of the I-130 petition by USCIS, it will be forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) for further processing. The NVC will assign a case number and provide instructions for submitting additional required documents, such as the DS-260 immigrant visa application, financial supporting documents, and civil documents like birth certificates and marriage certificates. The team at Barella Global will provide a comprehensive list of the required documents in order to avoid any processing delays.
Step 3: Consular Processing
Once the NVC confirms that all required documents have been submitted and are complete, they will schedule an appointment for the immigrant visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in the beneficiary's home country. It is important to thoroughly prepare for the interview by reviewing the required documentation and understanding the interview process.
Step 4: Immigrant Visa Interview
During the immigrant visa interview, a consular officer will assess the authenticity of the relationship and determine the eligibility of the beneficiary for the spousal visa. The officer may ask questions about the couple's relationship, history, and future plans. It is essential to provide honest and accurate answers while demonstrating the bona fide nature of the marriage. If the officer is satisfied with the information provided and all legal requirements are met, the visa will be issued.
The spousal sponsorship process involves multiple steps, starting with the filing of the I-130 petition with USCIS and culminating in the consular processing and immigrant visa interview. It is crucial to ensure the accurate and timely submission of all required documents, as well as thorough preparation for the interview. By following the appropriate procedures and providing the necessary evidence of a bona fide marital relationship, you can increase the chances of a successful outcome in bringing your spouse to the United States. With offices located in London, Brussels, and Paris, the US visa team at Barella Global is uniquely equipped to assist clients throughout the UK and Europe with their US immigration and visa matters.
Please find our contact information below if you wish to arrange a confidential consultation with our US immigration lawyer.
Barella Global - London
+33 20 4576 8367
Barella Global - Brussels
+32 2 883 14 88
Barella Global - Paris
+33 1 59 06 79 15
Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Consult with an immigration attorney for personalized guidance on your specific case.
Following several tense days of election results and updates, a clear winner is finally visible. Joe Biden will serve the United States of America as the 46th President. Additionally, in a historic result, the United States will also gain its first female Vice President, Kamala Harris – who will also be the first VP of color.
During his presidency, President Trump did not shy away from making his views known regarding US immigration policy. He took unilateral action throughout his four years to curtail legal immigration – even at the expense of separating minor children from their parents. Trump’s promise to build a border wall between the United States and Mexico fell flat, as only 400 miles of wall was ever built. All but nine miles of that construction was replacement walling for old barriers.
In terms of US business immigration – many hoped that President Trump would spare any significant changes which would be detrimental to foreign investors and companies looking to gain a foothold in the US market. Nevertheless, Trump’s barrage of Presidential Proclamations and Executive Orders effectively destroyed legal business immigration for potential clients from the UK and Europe.
The question on everyone’s minds now is, how will the Biden administration handle US immigration policy?
We will not know the answer to this question until President-Elect Biden assumes office and begins serving the American people as President. For now, the best metric people have for how US immigration will be impacted under Biden is to look at his immigration plan for which he campaigned on in the run-up to the election.
Biden’s campaign website stated that during his first 100 days in office, the Biden Administration will (www.joebiden.com/immigration):
In addition to the above, the Biden administration promises to modernize and improve the US immigration system. It’s important to note that any significant changes to US immigration law would require approval of the US House and Senate.
President-Elect Biden’s campaign website outlines a variety of proposed changes – much of which address family based, asylum based, or refugee based immigration matters. While there is less content directly addressing business immigration matters, President-Elect Biden does seek to promote and encourage entrepreneur based immigration, as well as expand the availability of visas for skilled workers.
Additionally, we can assume that many – if not all – of Trump’s Presidential Proclamations will be cancelled once the global COVID crisis is under better control.
The entire Barella Global team understands the importance of re-establishing business travel between the UK, Europe, and the United States. Expansion of foreign companies into the United States, as well as the transfer of employees and directors is the cornerstone of US immigration policy. Further, foreign investment and innovation will be key in rebuilding the US economy following the global pandemic.
To learn more about Barella Global and your company’s US visa options, contact our London or Brussels office for additional information. Our US immigration lawyers in London and Brussels are available for telephone consultations.
Barella Global (London)
5 Chancery Lane
London WC2A 1LG
+44 (0) 20 3026 0054
Barella Global (Brussels)
Avenue Louise 54
+32 (0) 2 808 8053
COVID-19, the global pandemic most commonly known as the Coronavirus, has slowed (and in some cases devastated) much of the world’s leading economies. Since the virus emerged in China at the end of 2019, in a matter of months it spread through Asia, Europe, North America, and Latin America. Leading economic powerhouses such as the European Union and the United States have taken drastic measures in an attempt to protect their respective healthcare systems. Unfortunately, the cost of slowing the virus has resulted in economic and financial devastation for many across the world.
The response in the United States varied from state to state, with some US states enforcing strict lockdown measures while others took a more relaxed approach. Ensuring preservation of the US economy was never far from the minds of officials in charge of lockdown orders. Nevertheless, the response of the federal government as it relates to US immigration went far beyond even that of the most strict US states.
In the middle of March 2020, the US Department of State effectively stopped issuing visas when major US Embassies and consular posts were closed around the globe. Large posts such as the US Embassies in London, Paris, Brussels, Rome, and the Consulate General in Amsterdam ceased providing routine visa services to foreign nationals living in those countries. Even US citizenship services were scaled back to only providing emergency appointments. The result was the de facto banning of any new immigrants and nonimmigrants to the United States.
Following closure of the world’s consular posts, the US government, in an effort to ‘protect’ the US economy, took further measures to ban certain individuals from obtaining immigrant visas, travelling to the US in general, and obtaining specific nonimmigrant visas.
While the temporary closure of US Embassies was extremely detrimental for foreign businesses looking to invest, expand, or continue business operations in the United States, the president’s latest Presidential Proclamation from 22 June 2020, suspended issuance of L1 visas through the end of 2020 – a move which will continue to negatively impact international business in the United States.
The L1 visa allows a foreign company a path to expand their business and establish an office in the United States, as well as to facilitate the transfer of foreign employees to the US branch. It’s an extremely beneficial visa category which allows foreign companies the opportunity to generate more revenue within the US market AND it inevitably has a positive impact on the local US economy where the new US business is established.
Each L1 visa Barella Global has had the pleasure of working with has hired local US citizen/Legal Permanent Resident employees. Additionally, these companies contract with other third party companies in the US which increase other US businesses’ profits. When a foreign company establishes an office in the US, in addition to employing US citizens, the company pays office rent, purchases local equipment and supplies to furnish the office, contracts with local telephone, internet, and service providers, among other expenses. The ‘trickle down’ benefit of a foreign company obtaining a foothold in the US market increases the US economy and benefits the local area. Barella Global’s Managing Attorney, Kyle Barella, sees no economic benefit to the US economy by suspending L1 visa issuance. In fact, he firmly believes that any foreign investment and expansion into the United States will make a positive impact on the US economy in the post COVID-19 sphere.
Take the following hypothetical: XYZ Ltd. is a UK limited company producing specialist manufacturing equipment for the solar power industry. Due to an increase in business from the United States, XYZ’s Director decides to open a branch office in Virginia via the L1-A visa category. She will spend one year in the States ensuring the office is properly staffed and able to operate autonomously and with little oversight from the UK.
As a result of the expansion, the economic benefit to the United States involves both direct and indirect value to US workers and businesses. Firstly, XYZ’s US enterprise will require sufficient office space. This will directly benefit the rental space for which they contract with, as well as provide indirect employment for the rental company’s employees and contracted staff. Additionally, XYZ will hire US citizen employees and contract with third party providers to ensure smooth operations.
The new US location will lower prices for the company’s US customer base, and indirect organizations will continue to benefit during the normal course of business (shipping/post, raw materials, etc.).
Now consider the ban on the issuance of L1-A visas pursuant to the Presidential Proclamation. Would a director of a foreign company still wish to pursue a US expansion if they will not even be allowed to work in the US at their own company? It’s unlikely. As a result, the US economy is missing out on economic recovery it truly needs – foreign investment. One can imagine the negative impact the ban will have on the US economy and America’s reputation as a safe place to do business. US workers – especially those impacted by COVID-19 also miss out on the opportunity for gainful employment.
Now that consular posts have started to resume visa processing, are there any alternatives for foreign businesses looking to expand to the United States?
Fortunately, the latest Presidential Proclamation does NOT impact the E2 Treaty Investor Visa. Nevertheless, this visa is only available to nationals of countries who presently maintain a treaty of commerce with the United States. Despite this limitation, we anticipate interest in the E2 investor visa will continue to grow in the coming months, as it is left as the most viable option for foreign expansion into the United States market.
The E2 Treaty Investor Visa allows an eligible foreign investor the opportunity to temporarily live and work in the United States by investing a substantial amount of money in a new start-up or the purchase of an existing business (or franchise). Most European and UK nationals are eligible to apply for the E2 visa. It is an extremely popular visa option and the number one visa Barella Global sources for its clients.
To date, Barella Global has a 100% success rate on E2 applications filed at the US Embassy and London and the various US consular posts within the EU. Additionally, we have an in-house partner company which can be retained to form the US entity in the US, as well as draft the E2 compliant business plan. Barella Global prides itself on its full-service E2 offerings and concierge style service for our investor clientele.
To learn more about E2 eligibility and requirements, contact one of our US immigration lawyers. Barella Global maintains offices in London, United Kingdom and Brussels, Belgium.
www.barellalaw.com | firstname.lastname@example.org
The future of the E2 Treaty Investor Visa has never looked brighter. Despite what some perceive as an overhaul of the US immigration system by the Trump administration, the E2 visa remains relatively unchanged in its basic requirements.
Since new rules were put in place beginning in November 2019 which increased the minimum EB5 investment amount from $500,000 USD to $900,000 USD, the E2 visa has gained increased interest from qualified nationals. It is predicted that the popularity of the visa will continue to grow as the E2 visa offers an extremely quick path to living and working in the United States (compared to other US visa categories).
While the E2 visa does not lead directly to a green card as its EB5 cousin, most clients will have ‘visa in hand’ in under six months – comparing that to USCIS’ current processing for EB5 petitions, which is a shocking 32 to 49 months.
As the E2 visa does not lead directly to US permanent resident status, the documentary evidence required, as well as the scrutiny it faces by US immigration officers is generally less than that of the EB5 visa.
The fact that the E2 visa is directly applied for and adjudicated by a US consular post adds to its advantage given the streamlined application process. Bypassing USCIS, which is notorious for tough adjudication and challenging Requests for Evidence (RFE), warrants utilizing the E2 Treaty Investor Visa as a means for temporarily living and working in the United States.
Contrary to what one finds on the internet, one cannot apply for an E2 visa from within the United States. One may only apply for a Change of Status to E2 status, which will be granted for a maximum period of two years. Additionally, if one leaves the US during this period, they will be required to apply for an E2 visa at their local US consular post before re-entering, as leaving the US effectively cancels your change of E2 status.
The steady rise of taxes in the United Kingdom and Europe render entrepreneurship weak at best, and obsolete at its worst. Nevertheless, those with the entrepreneurial drive may find a great deal of success with expanding or creating a new business in the United States where taxes remain much lower than those in the UK and Europe. Despite the Trump administrations anti-immigrant rhetoric, the US remains a popular destination for foreign investment and ingenuity.
A freelance entrepreneur in Belgium may find little motivation to grow their business by remaining in Belgium where 50% of their earnings will be taxed on any amount over €40,480 (not to mention additional payments for social insurance contributions). Instead, they can bring their entrepreneur spirit and business ideas to the United States for development.
Perhaps the greatest advantage of the E2 visa is that there is no minimum investment amount. The proper investment is the amount of money it takes to establish the business and get it up and running (i.e. turn key). Nevertheless, as the investment is required to be a ‘substantial’ amount, you should discuss your business venture with a qualified US immigration lawyer before making any investment expenditures.
Barella Global and its team of E2 visa lawyers are able to assist clients from start to finish. In addition to its E2 immigration services, Barella Global’s in-house partner company can incorporate your US company in your state of choosing, as well as draft the E2 compliant business plan – a critical aspect of the E2 investor visa process.
To speak with an E2 visa lawyer in London or Brussels, contact our office today.
London: 5 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1LG, +44 (0) 20 3026 0054, email@example.com
Brussels: Avenue Louise 54, 1050 Brussels, +32 (0) 2 808 8053, firstname.lastname@example.org
By: Kyle J. Barella, Esq.
Despite past scandal and a tarnished reputation among certain American politicians, the EB-5 investor visa remains an attractive and successful path for obtaining US permanent residency (Green Card).
The often negative press surrounding the EB-5 visa is underserved, as it focuses solely on corrupt project developers, greedy foreign agents, and incompetent immigration lawyers. It fails to highlight the success stories (which are many) and the contributions EB-5 investors make to US culture, and more importantly, the US economy.
The EB-5 program allows high-net-worth individuals the opportunity to obtain a Green Card in exchange for a large investment in a US business which must create (or save) ten (10) full-time jobs for US citizens (or those authorised to work in the US). The current investment is set at $1 million USD, which may be reduced to $500,000 USD for investments located in Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs).
Who qualifies for the EB-5 visa program?
The advantage of the EB-5 visa scheme is that there are no educational or language requirements. One needs no familial ties in the United States and does not require a job offer from a US company. In addition to being of good moral character (clean law enforcement history), an investor must simply be able to meet the minimum investment amount.
When consulting with a potential EB-5 client, our firm performs an assessment to ensure the investor qualifies for their selected EB-5 project. In addition to our assessment, we ensure the potential client has a realistic view of the EB-5 program. We often advise that the EB-5 investment is not a ‘get rich’ type of investment. In fact, the return on investment (ROI) is usually quite low. We recommend potential investors keep in mind the three goals of the EB-5 visa program, as outlined by Barella Global.
The first goal is to obtain the Green Card (US permanent resident status).
The second goal is to recoup the initial capital contribution (i.e. $500,000 USD in the case of a Regional Center investment).
Finally, the third goal would be to make a little money off the investment if at all possible.
A successful EB-5 investment in the opinion of our firm is one where the investor obtains their Green Card and eventually recoups their initial investment. In this instance, the investor has essentially immigrated to the United States for next to nothing.
Who should avoid the EB-5 visa?
Unfortunately, the EB-5 visa is not a suitable option for everyone considering immigration to the United States. Potential EB-5 investors who would be spending a significant amount of their net-worth to fund the investment should be cautious about proceeding down the EB-5 path.
Like with any investment, there is always risk involved. In fact, one of the rules regulating the EB-5 program strictly forbids guaranteed investments.
Nevertheless, clients who will be spending a large amount of their savings to proceed with the visa can successfully obtain their Green Card if they are fully informed and knowledgable about the EB-5 program and the individual project they choose to invest in. We always advise potential investors speak with an EB-5 lawyer before reaching out to EB-5 projects or Regional Centers independently.
How much can I expect to spend?
How much money an investor typically spends depends on whether they proceed with a Regional Center investment or a Direct EB-5 investment. The below figures account for a standard Regional Center EB-5 investment (by far the most popular route utilised by investors).
EB-5 capital contribution = $500,000 USD
EB-5 project administration fee = $30,000 USD - $50,000 USD
EB-5 government filing fees = $3,675 USD
Embassy Fees = $500 USD
EB-5 Lawyer Professional Fee = $15,000 USD - $25,000 USD
Approximate Total Cost = $549,175 USD - $579,175 USD
Why is the negative EB-5 reputation undeserved?
As mentioned above, the vast majority of media outlets only focus on the scandal caused by corrupt projects and inexperienced lawyers. The vast majority of EB-5 cases process successfully through USCIS. Unfortunately, as is typical with any industry, a few ‘bad apples’ cast a negative light over the overwhelming successful EB-5 industry.
The real truth about EB-5 investors and their family is that they contribute tremendously to the US economy. Not only is their investment required to create employment for ten (10) workers, they often end up establishing additional businesses in the United States which produce more jobs. EB-5 investors also contribute through paying taxes, purchasing real estate and consumer goods, all of which benefit the United States. EB-5 investors are the type of immigrants the US wants and needs.
The Barella Global Advantage
I founded Barella Global with a focus on assisting EB-5 investors in their dream of achieving US permanent residency. Prior to my work as Managing Attorney of the firm, I worked for a prominent London based US immigration firm where I was the lead EB-5 counsel. Additionally, I previously served as External General Counsel for a successful EB-5 investment advisory firm. We have a great deal of experience assisting EB-5 investors and provide concierge style service to our investor clientele.
We are the only US immigration firm in Europe with a dedicated EB-5 website. We assist high-net-worth investors throughout Europe. We maintain offices in London and Brussels to work conveniently with our clients in their timezone.
To learn more about the EB-5 visa program and how Barella Global can assist you, contact our London or Brussels office to arrange a consultation. Additional information may be found on our firm’s website, www.barellalaw.com or our dedicated EB-5 website, www.eb5investmentlaw.com.
E2 Treaty Investor Visa versus L-1 New Office/Transfer Visa: Which visa works best for your business?
Frequently our firm receives telephone calls from potential clients asking for our quote to source their company a L-1A visa for an executives or managers. After collecting the requisite preliminary information, the first question we ask is why do they believe the L-1A visa is the best visa option for their company.
Were they advised by a US immigration lawyer this is the appropriate visa? Have they previously transferred employees to a US branch or subsidiary office under this visa category?
The most common answer received is usually the potential client informing us they did a bit of independent research online and found the L-1A visa best fit their company’s needs.
However, is the L visa always the best option for transferring an employee abroad or establishing a new branch, subsidiary, or related office in the United States?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a straightforward answer to this question. Much depends on the company, the employee to be transferred, and the longterm corporate immigration goals. Nevertheless, most potential clients who ring our office inquiring about the L visa do not realise there may be a more suitable visa category which would save their company time and money.
At the most basic level, the L-1 visa allows a company to transfer an executive or managerial employee to an existing US subsidiary or branch office, or establish a new branch or subsidiary company in the United States.
If approved, employees being transferred to an already existing related office will be granted the L-1A visa for a period of three (3) years. New office L visa petitions will be granted for a period of one (1) year. A new office is any related US entity which has been operating (i.e. trading) for a period of less than one (1) year.
Nationals of certain countries, including the United Kingdom, Belgium, and much of the European Union, may benefit from exploring an alternative visa option which accomplishes the same goal as the L-1 visa. This options is the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa.
Why is the E-2 a better option over the L-1 visa?
For qualified applicants, the E-2 visa may be a more cost effective solution. This is particularly the case for those exploring the idea of opening of a new US branch or subsidiary.
As discussed above, the L-1 visa for a new office in the United States will be granted for a maximum period of one (1) year. Alternatively, the E-2 investor visa may be granted for a period of five (5) years. This includes visas for startups.
By utilising the E-2 visa, clients can save valuable time and money should they obtain a five (5) year visa over a one (1) year L-1 visa. Additionally, the E-2 visa is processed directly through the investor’s local US Embassy or Consulate. The L-1 visa, although partially processed at the consular level, must first go through adjudication at USCIS in the United States. Further, the government filing fees for the L-1 visa are approximately $2,000 USD, whilst the E-2 government fees are approximately $350 USD.
Most US immigration lawyers are also of the opinion that the burden of proof required by US immigration officials is higher for L-1 visas being processed through USCIS versus the E-2 visa at the consular level.
Some potential clients wish to explore the L-1 visa as they do not want to make an investment in the business, as required by the E-2 visa. However, both the E-2 and L-1 visas have similar requirements which inevitably lead to an investment in the US enterprise.
Both visa categories require a US entity to be incorporated, an office space to be secured, and the appropriate equipment and operating capital to begin trading. Both visas also require a comprehensive business plan to be submitted along with the petition/application.
In the end, most qualified clients are better suited to proceed with the E-2 visa over the L-1 visa, as they will save money and have the potential to be granted a visa for a longer period.
When would the E-2 visa not be an appropriate visa option over the L-1 visa?
As the E-2 visa is treaty based, nationals of countries that do not have the requisite treaty with the United States are not eligible for the E-2 visa.
For example, if a potential client holding a Russian passport consulted with our office regarding a business expansion visa, we would not discuss the E-2 visa as the United States do not maintain a treaty with Russia.
Fortunately, Belgium, the United Kingdom, and much of the EU do maintain an E-2 treaty with the United States.
Some larger companies with complex corporate structures may also not qualify for E-2 visa status if they are unable to account for at least 50% ownership from the same treaty company.
Take the following hypothetical.
Acme Company Ltd. is a United Kingdom limited company looking to make a US expansion and send over their VP of Operations, a UK national, to run the new US entity. The US entity, Acme Company LLC is owned 100% by Acme Company Ltd.
Acme Company Ltd. is privately owned by four individuals. One of the owners is a United Kingdom national. The remaining three owners are Belgian nationals.
We would not be able to proceed with the E-2 visa in this scenario, as the employee needing to be transferred is a UK national, and the ultimate owner of the US entity is not owned at least 50% by UK nationals (only 25%).
Alternatively, since Belgium is also an E-2 treaty country, the company could be registered as an E-2 entity if they wished to send employees to the US who also hold Belgian nationality.
Contact our London or Brussels office to speak with a US immigration lawyer and to learn more about your business’ US expansion options.
Barella Global | www.barellalaw.com
Nearly every day our office receives a call from a potential European client who has just been refused a B1/B2 visa at one of the many European consular posts. Typically they call in a panic, worried they have blemished their otherwise spotless record with US immigration officials. The first question I ask is, "Why did you apply for a B1/B2 visa in the first place?" I receive a variety of responses ranging from, "I thought I needed one to travel" to "I thought I was doing the right thing by applying for a visa." I then ask if they were represented by a US immigration lawyer for their visa application. 99% of the callers reply, "No." The 1% who were represented by a lawyer typically retained a US immigration attorney whose primary office is based in the United States, where they are less familiar with immigration law at the consular level.
Why do the majority of European nationals not require a B1/B2 visa to travel to the United States?
The vast majority of European nationals are eligible to travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), sometimes simply referred to as "ESTA." Traveling to the United States with a valid ESTA application entitles the passport holder to spend up to 90 days in the US as a business visitor or holiday-maker. It is important to note that business visitors cannot engage in productive work. They may conduct a very limited number of business transactions while in the States.
Consular posts place intense scrutiny on any tourist visa application made by eligible Visa Waiver nationals. Immigration officers take the view that nationals of Visa Waiver countries already can stay in the US for up to 90 days without a visa and there is no reason for them to apply for a visa unless they have an underlying immigrant intent (i.e. they want to permanently live in the United States).
For this reason, the majority of the B1/B2 tourist visa applications are refused unless there is some genuine reason for the applicant needing the visa. Simply wanting a visa to stay in the US for six months would not be considered a valid reason for making the application.
When would a Visa Waiver national require a tourist B1/B2 visa?
There are certainly instances when a national of a Visa Waiver country does require a tourist visa. Take the below examples.
Simon is a UK national living in London. Eager to start a business in the United States he applies for the E2 Treaty Investor Visa through the US Embassy in London. Unfortunately, Simon did not retain the services of an E2 visa lawyer and his application was refused. Simon abandons his desire to start a business in the US but now simply wishes to travel to Florida to visit Disney World with his family.
Shortly before his trip, Simon completes a new ESTA application. The application asks Simon if he has ever been refused a US visa. As such, Simon answers in the affirmative and submits his ESTA application. Unfortunately for Simon, his ESTA is refused. Simon is not eligible to travel under the Visa Waiver Program and he must now apply for a visa even to travel to the US to visit Disney World as a tourist.
Domenico is national of Italy living in Naples. Domenico's best friend from University, Jamal, invites Domenico to his wedding taking place in Sudan on 1 July 2018. After returning from Jamal's Sudanese wedding, Domenico and his partner Chiara become engage and wish to mark the occasion with a road trip across America. Domenico is not eligible to travel under the Visa Waiver Program, as he visited Sudan on or after 1 March 2011. He must first apply for a tourist visa before entering the country.
In addition to the above scenarios, nationals with law enforcement or medical issues may also be ineligible to travel under ESTA. It is advised they seek advice from a qualified US immigration lawyer regarding their eligibility to travel.
To learn more about ESTA and the various US visas available, contact Barella Global to speak with a US immigration lawyer at our London or Brussels office. We may be reached via email at email@example.com or by telephone at (UK) +44 (0) 20 3026 0054 and (Belgium) +32 (0) 2 808 8053. For additional information please visit our website at http://www.barellalaw.com.
Now more than ever, prospective immigrant investors looking to obtain a green card through the EB-5 Visa Program should speak to an experienced EB-5 attorney.
The current EB-5 Visa Program allows a foreign national to obtain a U.S. green card through a $1,000,000 investment into a US business. The EB-5 investment must create 10 full-time jobs for qualified citizens and residents. An EB-5 investor can also choose a reduced investment of $500,000 in a Regional Center project, or a direct EB-5 project located in a TEA. Both options allow the investor to procure a green card.
In approximately 4 months, the EB-5 Regional Center Program ($500,000 EB-5 investment), is due to end. While it’s more than likely Congress will renew the program, there is serious discussion that the US Congress will increase the investment amount.
Currently, a Direct EB-5 investment and a Regional Center investment can be reduced to $500,000 if the EB-5 project is located in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA).
DC politicians have discussed plans to increase the TEA / Regional Center investment amount to $800,000. This nearly doubles the current TEA investment amount of only a half-a-million.
Presidential hopeful, Jeb Bush, has even called for the dismantling of the Regional Center / TEA EB-5 option all together. If that were to happen, all investors would need to make a direct $1,000,000 EB-5 investment to qualify for the program.
While increasing the investment amount to $800,000 isn't set-in-stone at this point, there is strong support among members of congress to raise the EB-5 investment to at least $800,000.
Potential immigrant investors should contact our office to get started on their EB-5 investment today - before any increase in investment amount. Though the EB-5 visa is here to stay, the reduced investment has an uncertain future.
To learn more about the EB-5 Visa Program and how our EB-5 lawyers can assist your EB-5 investment, please visit our dedicated EB-5 website at www.eb5investmentlaw.com.
As an immigration attorney representing EB-5 investors, one of the frequently asked questions is: what is the total cost of an EB-5 Regional Center investment? Savvy investors understand, in order to go through the EB-5 Visa process, they will incur other expenses in addition to the $500,000 capital investment.
So what is the cost of an EB-5 investment? Unfortunately, there is no set dollar amount. Each client’s case is distinct, and there are a multitude of factors that may influence their costs. This article will address the most common EB-5 costs - but it’s important to keep in mind that expenditures for your specific case may vary.
One cost that is universal for all clients is the invested capital. Most Regional Center projects are located in a Targeted Employment Area, which allows for a reduced investment amount of $500,000.
Just as you wouldn’t forgo obtaining a doctor to perform a surgery, you also want to be sure to retain a competent EB-5 attorney to file your petition. Depending on whether your lawyer bills a flat fee or hourly rate for an EB-5 investment, you can expect to pay anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 for legal services. Depending on the firm you choose, this may or may not include the services of an EB-5 Investment Advisor.
Project Administration Fees:
The majority of projects out there charge an administration fee when subscribing to their project. The typical administration fee ranges from $30,000 to $60,000. These fees are generally used to pay marketing costs, as well as “finder fees” for agents abroad.
With every I-526 Petition filed, USCIS requires the payment of a filing fee. Currently, the filing fee for an I-526 Petition is $1,500.
USCIS requires any documentation or evidence not in English to be accompanied by an English translation. Further, in their latest EB-5 stakeholder meeting, USCIS indicated that the entire document will need translating and abstract translations are not accepted. Translation service fees vary depending on the document content and number of words. You can expect to pay between $0.25 and $0.50 per word.
If you choose to travel to the US to speak with Regional Centers or your attorney, you might incur additional expenses such as travel, housing and visa costs.
Although these are a few of the most common expenses associated with the EB-5 investor visa, additional costs may arise depending on your individual case. You may also be able to mitigate the costs of EB-5 through varies means. A conservative estimate of an EB-5 investment from start to finish will be around $568,000.
H-1B season is upon us, and it’s that time of the year when employers looking to hire a foreign national should consider contacting an immigration attorney to begin the application.
Last year’s cap season began on April 1, 2013 and was met only days later on April 5. USCIS received nearly 125,000 applications, of which there were only 65,000 spots under the general H-1B category, and 20,000 under the advanced degree exemption.
What do these numbers mean for employers? If you want to ensure the best opportunity for your employee to receive an H-1B visa, your attorney must file the application with USCIS on the first of April.
It’s important to start the process early (no later than mid February) to allow yourself adequate time for the application. The process may be best broken down into three stages. The first stage is to submit a Labor Conditions Application (LCA) to the Department of Labor. Following the LCA you begin the process of gathering all the required documentation and supporting evidence. Finally, the proper form(s), along with the relevant evidence are sent to USCIS in a filing package.
As the number of applicants in the past far exceed the number of available visas, it’s extremely crucial that the filing package is in order, and all evidence accounted for. If your application is incomplete it will be returned, and your priority date will be lost.
For more information on the H-1B Visa application, please feel free to contact our office.
The Information contained in this blog is for information purposes only, and should not be considered legal advice for any individual case or situation. The information provided is not a substitute for consultation with an attorney. No attorney/client relationship is created by the information contained herein.