Archive for the ‘ visas ’ Category

U.S. Embassy In Russia Stops Issuing Nonimmigrant Visas

Posted on: August 29, 2017 by in visas
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The latest development in the diplomatic maneuvering between the United States and Russia came on August 21st, when the U.S. Embassy in Moscow announced that it will trim down the visa services it provides in Russia.

The announcement was made in response to the Russian government’s recent reduction of the U.S. diplomatic staff in Moscow.

Russia also seized a warehouse and a resort complex in Moscow used by U.S. diplomatic personnel.

Those moves by Russian officials were responses to new U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia – sanctions enacted in response to alleged Russian tampering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Nonimmigrant visas are issued to foreign nationals to enter the United States for temporary stays and include tourist, student, and work visas.

The nonimmigrant work visas that will be affected are primarily L-1A and L-1B visas, H-1B visas, and E visas for intracompany transferees, skilled workers, and investors.

H-1B visas are offered to foreign workers in specialty occupations or jobs requiring “exceptional” skills or talents.

L-1 visas allow U.S.-based employers to transfer executives, managers, or specialists to the U.S. for short-term business visits.

E visas are granted to foreign citizens who desire to enter the U.S. for purposes linked to investment or trade.

WHAT ARE THE DETAILS OF THE U.S. EMBASSY’S ANNOUNCEMENT?

Details of the reduction of visa services to Russian visa applicants were disclosed in an August 21 “fact sheet” released by the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, which states: “As a result of the Russian government’s personnel cap imposed on the U.S. Mission, all nonimmigrant visa (NIV) operations across Russia will be suspended beginning August 23, 2017.

Visa operations will resume on a greatly reduced scale. Beginning September 1, nonimmigrant visa interviews will be conducted only at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

NIV interviews at the U.S. Consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, and Vladivostok are suspended until further notice.”

The visa interview at an embassy or a consulate is a legal requirement for almost all visa applicants, but exceptions can be made for diplomats, for official government travel, and – at the consular officer’s discretion – for a renewal within the same class of visa within one year of a visa’s expiration.

The consular officer may or may not require an interview for such a visa renewal.

However, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow is continuing to process nonimmigrant visas without interviews for those applicants who qualify.

On its website, the embassy in Moscow reports that, “Capacity for interviews in the future will be greatly reduced because we have had to greatly reduce our staffing levels to comply with the Russian government’s requirement.”

The website adds that, “The U.S. Embassy in Moscow and three consulates will continue to provide emergency and routine services to American citizens….”

WHAT HAPPENED PRIOR TO THE U.S. EMBASSY’S ANNOUNCEMENT?

How did all of this happen? In July, Congress voted to impose new sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea. President Trump signed off on those new sanctions early in August.

The sanctions target parties that undermine U.S. cybersecurity, that invest substantially in Russia’s energy export pipelines, that conduct significant transactions with Russian defense and intelligence agencies, and that commit or assist in the commission of human rights abuses.

Parties suspected of corruption inside the Russian government are also targeted. The sanctions include freezing assets, revoking visas, and a number of other punitive measures.

In response to the new sanctions, Russian officials have determined that the U.S. diplomatic corps in Russia cannot exceed the size of Russia’s own diplomatic corps – 455 – in the United States. That means the United States is relocating more than 700 diplomats and support personnel.

The U.S. Embassy’s announcement regarding reduced nonimmigrant visa services, which will make beleaguered U.S.-Russia relations even more embittered, means that Russian citizens who want to visit the U.S. as tourists, students, or as temporary workers may no longer apply at U.S. consulates in Russia outside of Moscow, and waiting periods will be lengthy.

According to the U.S. Department of State, the United States approved more than 182,000 nonimmigrant visas to Russian citizens in 2016, but now, with a substantial reduction in the embassy’s capacity to process visa applications, that number may drop dramatically and remain low for quite some time.

“We will operate at reduced capacity for as long as our staffing levels are reduced,” the embassy reports on its website.

WHERE CAN VISA APPLICANTS TURN FOR HELP?

While no one can make the U.S. immigration system move faster, if you are applying for a U.S. nonimmigrant visa – from Russia or from any other nation – arrange as quickly as you can to speak with an experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney.

A qualified immigration lawyer in the United States can ensure that you meet all U.S. immigration requirements and will review your visa application to make certain that everything is accurate and complete – so that nothing on your end and no mistakes or misunderstandings unnecessarily delay or derail the processing of your visa application.

Have some patience – every immigration procedure takes some time.

The United States admits international workers in a wide variety of jobs and job categories each year. Every foreign worker must have authorization to be employed in the United States.

Some foreign nationals already have authorization for employment on the basis of their immigration status.

Others may need to apply individually; in most cases, an employer or prospective employer must file a work authorization petition on a prospective employee’s behalf.

Every employment category entails different requirements and conditions, and any violation of a visa’s terms or conditions could result in a worker’s deportation or a denial of re-entry into the U.S.

If you are an employer who depends on nonimmigrant visas to bring foreign employees to the United States, you should be working with a skilled Las Vegas immigration attorney on a regular basis to help you keep up with the changes and stay in compliance with the law.

Whether you are a student in Vladivostok or an employer in Phoenix. Los Angeles, or Las Vegas, when you apply for a nonimmigrant U.S. visa, an experienced immigration lawyer’s advice and insights can be invaluable – and perhaps even more so in 2017, when the immigration rules seem to be changing unexpectedly and almost weekly.

How Social Media Use Can Affect Your Visa Status

Posted on: May 11, 2016 by in visas
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In Southern California on February 3, a 24-year-old named Emad El-Sayed, an Egyptian Muslim, logged onto Facebook and posted what could be considered a death threat against one of the candidates running for President of the United States. El-Sayed added that he would be “doing the world a favor.” The young man was in the United States on a student visa, studying at the Universal Air Academy in Los Angeles.

When authorities at the flight academy saw the Facebook post, they reported El-Sayed to federal immigration officials and revoked his I-20, the document verifying that a school supports a foreign national’s student visa. Without his I-20, El-Sayed’s student visa was null, and he became automatically in violation of his terms of admission to the United States. Although the post certainly didn’t appear to be a legitimate threat, jokes in poor taste and other questionable comments posted online can jeopardize someone’s legal status in the United States.

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As recently as five years ago, the internet wasn’t considered very important by immigration authorities, but as it becomes increasingly linked to security threats and terrorism, the internet now comes up in every part of immigration investigations. “Immigration officers are absolutely looking at social media,” one immigration attorney told Vice.com. “We’ve come to realize that, when it comes to immigration issues, the government will definitely use social media to investigate an individual.”

WHAT ARE IMMIGRATION AUTHORITIES LOOKING FOR?

Mostly, immigration authorities are looking online for any evidence of fraud, inconsistencies in someone’s testimony, or illegal activity. Another immigration lawyer told Vice that immigration officers “routinely review social media in making assessments of eligibility for immigration status, or alternatively, if they are planning on charging someone with a violation of immigration law.” Any immigrant with concerns regarding online comments or photos may want to discuss those concerns with an experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney.

Even something that could not convict a person of a crime – like a single photograph posted on Facebook showing someone allegedly taking illegal drugs in the past – can be a sufficient reason to deny a person’s visa application in the present. “I’ve seen that happen in the past, where the client had pictures of illegal activity,” the attorney said. “The government brought printouts from social media into court.”

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As for those individuals who are already in the United States, El-Sayed isn’t the first person to have his immigration status challenged because of a threat allegedly made online. In December 2014, Keshav Mukund Bhide, a 24-year-old student from India, was deported after he posted comments on Google+ about planning a campus shooting at the University of Washington.

And in March of this year, Hanxiang Ni, a 22-year-old Chinese student at the University of Iowa, was deported because of an alleged threat that he posted on Weibo, which, according to the Daily Iowan, promised to “let [his] professors experience the fear of Lu Gang.” Lu Gang, a Chinese graduate student, and the shooter in a 1991 campus shooting at the University of Iowa, killed four of the university’s faculty members.

WHAT’S A THREAT – AND WHAT’S A JOKE?

The problem faced by immigration authorities investigating comments posted on the internet – especially those posted by university students – is determining what’s a genuine threat and what’s simply a joke. In 2012, a pair of Irish tourists were denied entry into the United States after one of them tweeted: “Free this week for a quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America?”

Emad El-Sayed told reporters that what he wrote on Facebook was just “a stupid post,” without any real threat attached. But immigration attorneys say the line between a joke and a threat is razor thin. “I’ve seen things like this rise to the level where [it is treated as] an alleged terrorist threat,” said one immigration lawyer. “It’s unfortunate in the immigration context, because if an American citizen made a similar comment – and I’m sure many have – those aren’t a problem.”

El-Sayed’s case is complicated by his enrollment in a flight academy. Flight schools, in particular, have been ton “high alert” since the 9/11 hijackers learned to fly planes at American flight schools. Flight schools “were really under the microscope for several years after 9/11, because of who they admitted to their schools,” another immigration attorney told Vice. “I can kind of understand why a flight school might be hypersensitive to those kinds of statements, but I think that it was probably an overreaction,” the attorney said.

If you are an immigrant in the United States or if you are hoping to enter the United States in the future, it’s imperative to understand that anything you post on the internet can be used against you. Immigrants and those seeking entry to the United States shouldn’t do anything illegal that might jeopardize their immigration status. If you put something on the internet, it’s forever, and even if you delete it, there’s still a record of it somewhere.

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In March, Emad El-Sayed’s legal team requested a voluntary departure, which would allow him to leave the United States and return to Egypt without having a deportation on his record. That request was granted, and a representative from his attorney’s office confirmed that El-Sayed will soon be boarding an Egypt Air flight back to Egypt. He will return to Cairo where his family lives, his attorney said.

ARE THERE ADDITIONAL REASONS TO USE CAUTION ONLINE?

Another reason why immigrants need to be careful online is to protect themselves from criminals and con artists. Immigrants are natural targets for criminals. These scam artists collect information wherever they find it, and they use it to convince their victims of their legitimacy. Just because a person knows your name and where you’re from does not mean that person has any authority as an immigration official or an as immigration lawyer.

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Immigrants in the U.S. should trust only a licensed and practicing attorney – someone like an experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney. The right lawyer will give you sound legal advice and can help you to achieve your goals in the United States. And as far as the internet is concerned, the less you say online about your time in the United States or your current immigration status, the better.

What Does The Visa Expiration Date Mean?

Posted on: April 16, 2016 by in visas
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Almost everything about the immigration laws of the United States is complicated – if not downright baffling. For example, understanding the difference between the “visa expiration date” and the actual length of time that a person has permission to remain in the United States can be very confusing. These are quite different terms, and the differences are important to understand.

A U.S. visa only gives a foreign citizen permission to apply to enter the United States. By itself, a validation doesn’t grant entry into the U.S. Rather; it merely shows that a consular officer at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate has determined that the visa holder is eligible to travel to a U.S. port-of-entry – an airport, seaport, or a land border crossing. At the port-of-entry, an immigration officer with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) decides whether to permit the visa holder to enter the U.S. and how long that person can stay for any particular visit. Only a U.S. immigration officer with the CBP has the authority to permit someone to enter the United States.

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WHAT ARE THE TWO DATES ON A VISA? WHAT DO THEY MEAN?

Two dates are on a visa – the visa issuance date and the visa expiration date. The period of time between the validation issuance date and the validation expiration date is called “visa validity,” which is the length of time a person is permitted to travel to a port-of-entry and seek entrance into the United States. A validation that has been issued for a single entry into the U.S. – as noted on the validation under “Entries” with the number “1” – is valid for traveling one time to a U.S. port-of-entry.

A visa approved for multiple entries – as noted on the validation under “Entries” with a number larger than “1” (or with the letter “M” for multiple entries) – can be used as many times as allowed to travel to a U.S. port-of-entry. These multiple entries are allowed from the date it is issued until the date it expires. It’s imperative to understand that a validation does not guarantee entry into the United States. Someone’s entry and the length of that person’s authorized stay in the U.S. are decided by a CBP officer at the port-of-entry each time a person travels to enter the U.S.

The period of visa validity can be voided or canceled in some circumstances. If a validation holder remains in the United States beyond the end date of his or her authorized stay – the date provided by the CBP officer at the port-of-entry or by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) – the validation is automatically voided. The exception is when the validation holder has filed an application for an extension of stay in the U.S. or a change of immigration status and that application is pending.

WHAT HAPPENS AT A PORT-OF-ENTRY?

When a validation holder arrives at a U.S. port-of-entry, the Customs and Border Protection official will record either an “admitted-until” date or a “D/S” (duration of status) on the validation holder’s admission stamp or paper Form I-94. If a validation holder’s admission stamp or paper Form I-94 has a specific date recorded on it by the CBP officer, then that is the date by which the validation holder must leave the United States.

If a validation holder has “D/S” recorded on his or her admission stamp or paper Form I-94, that validation holder may then remain in the United States as long as the person continues his or her course of studies, participation in an exchange program, or authorized employment. The “admitted-until-date” or D/S notation, as shown on the validation holder’s admission stamp or paper Form I-94, is the official record of that person’s authorized length of stay in the U.S. The “visa expiration date” does not determine or in any way refer to anyone’s length of stay in the United States.

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HOW CAN A STAY IN THE U.S. BE EXTENDED?

If someone enters the United States on a nonimmigrant validation and wants to extend his or her stay, before that person’s authorized length of stay expires – and in fact, well before the expiration date – he or she must apply to USCIS for an extension of stay or for a change of immigration status. At this time, the visa holder should probably consult with an immigration lawyer. An experienced California or Nevada immigration attorney, for example, can review a change of immigration status application for accuracy and thoroughness and can also provide helpful insights and recommendations.

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To extend a stay in the United States, a validation holder must file a Form I-539 (“Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status”) with the USCIS before the period of authorized stay expires. The USCIS recommends applying at least 45 days before the authorized stay expires. Anyone who remains in the U.S. longer than he or she is authorized may face deportation and a permanent denial of re-entry. Visa holders can check the date in the lower right corner of Form I-94, “Arrival-Departure Record,” to determine when their authorized stay expires. A visa holder may apply to extend a stay in the U.S. if that visa holder:

  • lawfully entered the U.S. with a nonimmigrant validation and that status remains valid
  • has not committed any crimes that make someone ineligible for a visa
  • has not violated the conditions of admission
  • has a valid passport that will remain valid for the duration of the stay

WHO MAY NOT EXTEND A STAY IN THE U.S.?

Those admitted to the United States for ninety days as part of the Visa Waiver Program may not apply to extend a stay, and neither can those in transit through the United States with a “C” nonimmigrant visa or without a visa. Additionally, crew members in the U.S. on a “D” nonimmigrant validation may not extend a stay in the United States. Finally, fiancés of U.S. citizens (and the dependents of those fiancés) holding “K” nonimmigrant visas and criminal informants holding “S” nonimmigrant visas may not apply to extend a stay in the United States.

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Visa holders must diligently consider and understand the dates of their authorized stays and make sure that they are following all immigration procedures and adhering to the terms of the visa. Failure to do so will put a visa holder “out-of-status.” Remaining in the U.S. beyond the authorized period of time is a violation of U.S. immigration laws, and a validation holder in violation will typically have his or her visa voided and will become ineligible for a future visa for return travel to the United States.

It’s worth repeating. Almost everything about the immigration laws of the United States is complicated – if not downright baffling. And anyone needing questions answered about visas will need to have those questions answered by someone who knows the law, someone like a California or Nevada immigration attorney. The important thing is to know and understand what the dates on a visa represent and to adhere to all of the visa’s terms. If someone who is eligible to enter the U.S. needs to enter the U.S., it can usually be done, but validation holders must understand the dates and terms of their visas.

The H-1B Window Opens April 1

Posted on: February 9, 2016 by in blog, visas
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Every year during a brief filing period beginning April 1, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) accepts H-1B visa petitions for the following fiscal year. Employers across the United States are already evaluating their H-1B visa needs for the April filing period and consulting immigration attorneys to handle the visa petitions and to provide sound legal insights and advice. For U.S.-based employers seeking H-1B visas or seeking to learn more about H-1B visas, the first thing to know is that the number of available H-1B visas is capped and that the competition for those particular visas is aggressive. Since 2005, the H-1B cap has been set at 65,000, although an additional 20,000 H-1B visas are also made available for employees holding advanced degrees earned at U.S. institutions.

The qualifications required to obtain H-1B visas are quite strict, and the demand exceeds the supply by about 3-to-1. In 2013, 120,000 H-1B applications were received by April 2, so a lottery system has now been implemented to distribute H-1B visas. The lottery is a random selection process of the H-1B petitions received to determine which will be assigned an H-1B cap number and adjudicated. Last year, USCIS received approximately 233,000 H-1B petitions in the first week the window was open. Employers hiring foreign national employees who need H-1B sponsorship should contact an immigration attorney today in order to ensure their sponsorship petitions are received at USCIS on April 1, 2016. The deadline is approaching swiftly, so you and your immigration attorney need to begin preparing your H-1B petition package immediately

DIFFICULT TO OBTAIN

H-1B visas are frankly difficult – but not impossible – to obtain. If you are an employer in the United States, an experienced immigration attorney can help your company meet all of the required deadlines, provide accurate and complete information, and avoid the mistakes and misunderstandings that keep many employers from acquiring the visas they need. A good immigration lawyer, in other words, can put you in the best possible position to obtain H-1B visas and can probably help you if necessary with other appropriate visa options. Employers who need H-1B visas can arrange right now to speak with an experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney.

Many businesses based in the United States use the H-1B visa program to hire international workers in specialty occupations that require the practical or theoretical application of highly specialized knowledge. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 defines a “specialty occupation” as employment requiring specialized knowledge in a particular field and requiring a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. International workers fill critical hiring needs in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields. Those workers include but are not limited to computer programmers, mathematicians, engineers, and scientists in fields including chemistry, robotics, and biotechnology. The current demand for workers in those industries actually exceeds the supply, so it’s important for employers to be knowledgeable and fully-prepared when applying for H-1B visas and to have the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney.

H-1B work authorization is restricted to employment provided by a sponsoring employer. If all other conditions are met, H-1B work authorization is good for three years and may be extended to six years. However, H-1B visa regulations do not require the visa holder to remain with the sponsoring employer for a specific length of time, provided that a new employer sponsors the employee for another H-1B visa.

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WHO CAN QUALIFY?

It’s also important to know – despite what you may have read or heard – that H-1B visas are not issued exclusively to companies like Microsoft, Google, and Facebook. Employers in all regions of the country petition for and acquire H-1B visas. A number of companies in a number of major cities request 250 or more H-1B visas every year. H-1B visa holders contribute to their local communities and to the national economy, and they help employers create even more new jobs and new opportunities for economic growth.

Employees approved and selected for H-1B visas this April will receive those visas in October at the start of FY2017. Employers now should identify those candidates who need sponsorship. Some of those candidates may already be employed and working in the U.S. with temporary work authorizations. Employees and candidates who may need H–1B sponsorship may include:

  • Candidates currently in H-1B status with an H-1B cap-exempt employer (a college or university or an affiliated non-profit, a nonprofit research organization, or a governmental research organization) who are seeking work with a cap-subject employer
  • Students and recent graduates currently working in Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Curriculum Practical Training (CPT) who will need H-1B sponsorship when their OPT or CPT expires
  • Candidates currently holding another nonimmigrant work visa (such as a TN, H-3, H-2, O-1, or J–1 visa) who need to change their status to H–1B

RESPONSIBILITIES OF SPONSORING EMPLOYERS

When the H-1B employment period has concluded, the employer must contact USCIS to have the H-1B petition revoked. As long as the H-1B petition remains in effect, the employer must pay the worker’s wages. If the employer terminates the H-1B worker, the employer must offer to pay for return transportation to the worker’s last place of residence abroad. The return transportation requirement does not apply if the H-1B worker resigns from the position or leaves voluntarily. Employers, however, are not responsible for return transportation costs for the H-1B worker’s dependent family members.

Employers must also avoid any allegations of discrimination based on citizenship status or national origin, so the questions they ask of candidates must be worded carefully. An experienced immigration attorney can help employers draft appropriate interview questions and avoid any charges of discrimination. Employers in the U.S. face potential legal liability if they favor American citizens over authorized foreign guest workers in layoffs, pay decisions, and other such actions. The Immigration and Nationality Act bars discrimination in employment based on citizenship or immigration status by employers with more than four employees, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also prohibits employment discrimination based on national origin by employers with fifteen or more employees.

REASONS FOR DENIALS

An H-1B visa may be denied if the sponsoring employer does not appear to be a real, established, operating U.S. company with the capacity to hire and pay an H-1B worker. Employers petitioning for H-1B visas must provide documentation such as a tax identification number, tax returns, or financial statements. Insufficient documentation will lead to the automatic rejection of an H-1B visa application.

An H-1B visa petition may also be rejected if the job that iss offered does not qualify as a “specialty occupation.” If the H-1B petition states that the employee will work offsite at a client location, this may raise questions about whether the employee will genuinely be working for the sponsoring employer. The employer may be asked for evidence such as a contract agreement and a clear statement that only that employer will have employer control over the employee who will be working at the client location. Failure to include any of this evidence in the initial visa petition may result in a denial. A good immigration attorney will know precisely what is required.

DEPENDENT FAMILY MEMBERS

Dependent family members (spouses and children under age 21) are eligible for H-4 visas to accompany an H-1B worker to the United States. In 2015, the Department of Homeland Security extended eligibility for work authorization to certain H-4 dependent spouses of those H-1B visa holders who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident (LPR) status. DHS will now allow these H-4 visa holders to accept employment in the United States. Qualifying H-4 spouses must file Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) with supporting documentation and the required fee in order to obtain a Form I-766, the Employment Authorization Document (EAD). When USCIS approves the Form I-765 and the H-4 dependent spouse receives an EAD, he or she may begin working in the United States.

U.S.-based employers who hire international workers should know from the beginning that they must adhere to a number of immigration laws and immigration-related employment regulations. Federal agencies may inspect your employment records and your overall operations to ensure your compliance. Compliance investigations are routinely conducted by several U.S. government agencies and departments: the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL); U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS); U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); and the U.S. State Department.

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THE HELP EMPLOYERS NEED

A good immigration attorney can verify that your company’s policies are in compliance or can show you what changes need to be made. If you are cited for non-compliance by any enforcement agency, have an experienced immigration lawyer suggest the appropriate remedial legal action and the changes needed to prevent a recurrence. If you are investigated for possible violations of immigration or employment laws, or if you are an employer who is currently appealing a finding or a ruling from a government agency, you very much need to be represented by an experienced immigration attorney.

Immigration law in the United States is baffling, confusing, and exceedingly complicated. If you are a U.S.-based employer hiring international employees to work for your business, the laws you deal with will be numerous and complex. You can obtain help right away from an experienced immigration Las Vegas attorney if you have any immigration-related questions or concerns or if you are dealing with any specific, legal immigration issue. Employers, hiring managers, and international workers are all urged to contact an experienced immigration attorney by phone or by e-mail to have your visa questions answered or to begin the H-1B visa petition process. The April 1 deadline is rapidly approaching, so employers should make the call and get started as quickly as possible.

Learn About The Treaty Investor Visa

Posted on: October 19, 2015 by in blog, investment, visas
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Las Vegas immigration lawyerIf you’re an international investor but you don’t want or need to reside permanently in the United States, the E-2 treaty investor visa may be right for you. If you are from one of the many nations that has a commercial treaty with the United States, and if you can make a “substantial” contribution in a U.S.-based business, discuss the E-2 visa promptly with an experienced Las Vegas immigration lawyer. The E-2 visa should not be confused with the EB-5 visa, which requires a minimum investment amount of $500,000 and provides the investor with lawful permanent residence in the United States. An E-2 visa requires no minimum investment amount provided that the investment is “substantial.” A potential E-2 investor must satisfy these requirements:

  • The investment must be substantial, with contribution funds or assets committed and irrevocable. It must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise.
  • The investment must be a real operating enterprise, that is, an active commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking. A paper organization, speculative, or idle contribution does not qualify.
  • The contribution must generate significant income beyond your living expenses or it must have a significant economic impact in the United States.
  • You must have control of the funds, and the contribution must be at risk in the commercial sense.
  • You must be coming to the United States to develop and direct the enterprise. If you are not the principal investor, you must be considered an essential employee who works in a supervisory, executive, or highly-specialized capacity.

If you are an international investor with a desire to invest in the United States, promptly seek the counsel and expertise of our experienced Las Vegas E-1 E-2 investor lawyers. Both immigration law and American business are complicated and frequently confusing, but a good immigration attorney will be able to answer your questions, address your concerns, and help you with the documents and paperwork. Don’t procrastinate when it comes to your hopes and dreams. Instead, contact an experienced Las Vegas E-1 E-2 investor lawyer today.

Eb-5 Visas And Targeted Employment Areas

Posted on: October 9, 2015 by in blog, EB-5, visas
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Las Vegas immigration attorneyFor international investors participating in the EB-5 investor visa program, having an EB-5 investment project designated as a “targeted employment area” (TEA) reduces the required minimum investment from $1 million to $500,000. To receive a TEA designation, an EB-5 project must be set in a rural area or in a location with high unemployment. For help with obtaining an EB-5 visa and with all aspects of the EB-5 investor visa program, you should have – from the beginning – the legal counsel of an experienced Las Vegas employment immigration lawyer.

To qualify as a TEA “rural area” project, an investment project cannot be located in what the U.S. Office of Management and Budget designates as a “metropolitan statistical area.” A rural area project cannot be on the outskirts of a town or city with a population of 20,000 or higher. To qualify as a TEA “high unemployment area,” the location must have an unemployment rate of at least 150 percent of the U.S. national average. A high unemployment area must be located in a county or a metropolitan statistical area with a population of 20,000 or more.

To obtain the TEA designation, an EB-5 investor applicant must provide evidence that the project is located within a rural area or a high unemployment area. Several forms of evidence can be used, and an experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney can help you gather that evidence and provide additional advice. Nineteen states provide a certified list of targeted employment areas that have already been identified, but certifications are still issued on an individual basis.

Acquiring an EB-5 visa and locating an appropriate investment opportunity can be complicated and time-consuming, but thousands of international investors have found that the benefits are well worth their efforts and patience. An experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney can usually help you obtain an EB-5 visa, locate an appropriate investment project, and address any of your additional concerns and questions. Investment opportunities are waiting, so you shouldn’t. Instead, make the call to an experienced Las Vegas employment immigration attorney as quickly as possible.

Abandoning Your Green Card?

Posted on: August 19, 2015 by in blog, visas
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experienced Las Vegas immigration attorneyThousands of immigrants work diligently to obtain a green card. They’ve obeyed all the laws, hoped and sometimes prayed, and waited months and sometimes years. That’s why turning in your green card and abandoning your lawful permanent resident (LPR) status is an important decision that should not be made in haste. Before you take that step – which is permanent – discuss your other options and alternatives with an experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney.

For most green card holders, the bigger concern is involuntarily or accidentally losing LPR status. That can happen if you have been outside the United States for more than a year. An immigration officer at a port of entry may confiscate your green card and leave it to an immigration judge to make a final determination. Even prolonged, continuous visits outside the U.S. for less than a year per visit can put you at risk of losing LPR status if you do not maintain a proper residence and domicile in the United States.

By contrast, voluntary abandonment – usually for tax or travel reasons – requires a green card holder to complete Immigration Form I-407, “Abandonment of Lawful Permanent Resident Status,” and present it at an embassy or consulate abroad. By surrendering the green card, it may be possible in some cases to terminate U.S. tax obligations. Some people are confused about the meaning of a green card and acquire one without grasping its significance. A green card is for someone who makes the U.S. his or her permanent residence, not for someone who simply wants to visit the U.S. occasionally. If a person’s primary, permanent residence is elsewhere, then a visitor visa, not a green card, is the proper document for entering the United States.

Form I-407 is not downloadable at the USCIS website; it is provided by the embassy or consulate, and each embassy, consulate, or USCIS field office abroad has its own procedure. The Mexico City Field Office posts this caveat on its website:

“The relinquishment of lawful permanent resident status is irrevocable. An individual who relinquishes lawful permanent resident status and who later wants to reclaim such status must again qualify for immigrant status and go through the entire immigration process. Therefore, one should give careful thought to relinquishing lawful permanent resident status.”

If you want or need to abandon your LPR status, or if you need or desire to obtain a green card, discuss your situation with a good immigration lawyer. Get the advice and help you need by contacting an experienced Las Vegas immigration attorney as quickly as possible.

Israel Approves E-2 Investor Visa

Posted on: September 15, 2014 by in investment, visas
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Israel Approves E-2 Investor VisaEarlier this year, the Israeli government finally approved the E-2 investor validation for Israeli entrepreneurs who want to take their investments to America. Approval by Israel’s government also means that Americans seeking to invest in Israeli businesses will be eligible for a comparable Israeli visa. The E-2 or “treaty investor” validation allows individuals to enter the U.S. to invest in a new or existing business enterprise. The investor needs to prove that the business will generate profits and provide jobs to U.S. citizens. Obtaining an E-2 visa, however, is a complicated process with plenty of potential for mistakes and misunderstandings that can delay approval of your visa petition. Investors seeking the E-2 visa should not hesitate to obtain help from our experienced E-1 E-2 investor lawyers who can review your validation petition and other pertinent documents for thoroughness and accuracy.

The E-2 visa program requires investment in an active U.S. business; stock and bond holders are therefore ineligible. In fact, a significant investment must be made prior to filing for the E-2 visa. If you are already in the United States, an E-2 validation applicant must complete form I-129 for a change of status. To avoid any mistakes, let a good immigration lawyer complete or review the paperwork for you. Upon Israel’s approval of the reciprocal validation agreement between Israel and the U.S., Israel’s Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar told Ynet News, “The U.S. is a major economic partner for Israel. It is the main source of foreign investment in Israel and is at the same time one of the major destinations for investments by Israelis.”

Investors should know that an E-2 visa is not a substitute for an immigrant visa. Persons wishing to remain permanently in the United States must apply for the appropriate immigrant visa abroad or apply for an adjustment of status after entering the United States. Spouses and children under 21 may obtain derivative E-2 visas to accompany or follow the principal validation holder to the United States. If you are a foreign national investor interested in investing here, a good immigration lawyer can answer your questions and determine if the E-2 is the right validation for you. Legal questions and complications are always part of obtaining a visa, so do not hesitate to obtain first the counsel and services of an experienced E-1 E-2 investor attorney.

Napolitano Welcomes Dreamers To UC

Posted on: January 6, 2014 by in immigration, visas
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bigstock-Business-meeting-in-an-office-21258410“Let me be clear. UC welcomes all students who qualify academically, whether they are documented or undocumented.” – University of California President Janet Napolitano

Since her appointment as president of the University of California (UC) in July, Janet Napolitano has sought to ease concerns that she might be hostile to undocumented immigrants because of her background with the Department of Homeland Security. In October, Napolitano announced that UC will devote $5 million to provide financial aid and counseling to students who are undocumented immigrants. The announcement came in Napolitano’s first public speaking engagement since assuming the UC presidency. The $5 million, Napolitano said, will “support these students with resources like trained advisers, student service centers, and financial aid.”

“Consider this a down payment,” Napolitano suggested, “one more piece of evidence of our commitment to all Californians.” Also beginning this year, California is allowing students who are undocumented immigrants – and thus ineligible for federal financial aid – to qualify for state scholarships and grants.

UC officials believe that in a student population of almost a quarter-million, the state university system enrolls fewer than one thousand undocumented immigrant students who were brought into the country as children, a group now popularly dubbed the “dreamers.” At the moment, most of these students are protected from deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy enacted by the Obama Administration in 2012. Napolitano met with student groups representing the dreamers on her first day as UC President.

If you are an undocumented immigrant, if you’re seeking a visa for school or for work, or if you’re an immigrant who is facing any legal issue whatsoever, speak with an experienced immigration attorney right away. A good immigration lawyer will walk you through hearings, applications, and other legal procedures pertaining to immigration. An experienced immigration attorney will also provide you with the sound legal advice you need and will fight vigorously to defend your rights. Don’t hesitate to contact a good immigration lawyer today.

More H-1B Visas to be Issued Every Year

Posted on: September 16, 2013 by in visas
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bigstock-Social-security-28216202Foreign citizens who are interested in coming to the United States for the purposes of work now have more opportunity to do so if they hold certain skills or perform certain jobs.  The H-1B visa, which is intended for individuals performing highly technical jobs, research and development work for the Department of Defense, and fashion model assignments, was previously issued at a rate of no more than 60,000 visas per year – but recent changes to the system now allow for up to 155,000 H-1B visas to be issued.  Changes also now allow spouses of H-1B visa holders to work while they are in the United States; previously, spouses were not allowed to work.

Job Requirements for the H-1B Visa

There are three versions of the H-1B visa – the H-1B, the H-1B2, and the H-1B3.  In order to qualify for the H-1B visa, the job which is to be performed by the immigrant must be one that requires a bachelor’s degree or higher (or foreign equivalent) as a minimum job requirement, must be one that the industry normally requires a degree to perform, must be one that it is normal for an employer to require a degree, must be one that is so complex that it cannot be performed without first obtaining a degree, must be one that a person must hold a degree in order to be qualified for, or must be one so complex and specialized that a degree is usually required in order for a person to gain the knowledge necessary to perform in the job.

Job Requirements for the H-1B2 Visa

In order to qualify for the H-1B2 visa, the job performed must be one which is administered by the U.S. Department of Defense and that requires at least a bachelor’s degree or foreign equivalent.

Personal Requirements for the H-1B and H-1B2 Visas

While the job requirements are different between the H-1B and H-1B2 visas, the personal requirements are the same.  Applicants for either of these two visas must hold at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. school of higher learning, or the equivalent of at least a bachelor’s from a recognized foreign school of higher learning, or a license, registration, or certification that allows the individual to practice his or her profession in the state where he or she will work.  A history of progressive responsibility within a field can also be considered in place of education requirements.

The Fashion Model Visa

Also included under the H-1B series of visa is the H-1B3 Fashion Model visa.  This visa is issued to individuals who have reached a level of distinguished recognition in the field of fashion modeling and who will work on a project in the United States that requires a prominent fashion model.

Letting an Attorney Help

For the best chances of being approved for an H-1B series visa, applicants should partner with an experienced visa attorney before starting any of the necessary paperwork.  In fact, the attorney will fill out the paperwork and submit the application on the applicant’s behalf, which will help to ensure that the application packet is filled out fully and completely.