The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued the final rule on January 30, 2018 for H1B cap-subject petitions. The changes will likely result in an increase in the percentage of foreign nationals selected in the lottery who have advanced degrees from U.S. universities. The rule also calls for the creation of a registration system for employers planning to file cap-subject H1B petitions. The registration system, however, will not be implemented until the following fiscal year 2021.
On Nov. 30, 2018, in Zhang v. USCIS, No. 15-cv-995, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia certified a class that includes any individual with a Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, that was or will be denied on the sole basis of investing loan proceeds that were not secured by the individual’s own assets. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia vacated these denials and ordered USCIS to reconsider the petitions.
If you believe you have received an I-526 denial solely on this ground and would like to identify yourself as a potential class member, please email USCIS.ImmigrantInvestorProgram@uscis.dhs.gov, using the subject line “Zhang Class,” and provide the following:
by QUARTZ India, A. Bhattachya
In 2018, the average case processing time by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) was 46% longer than in 2016, according to the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Compared with 2014, when Barack Obama was still the president, the average case processing time last year was 91% longer.
U.S. law generally requires visa applicants to be interviewed by a consular officer at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. After relevant information is reviewed, the application is approved or denied, based on standards established in U.S. law.
While the vast majority of visa applications are approved, U.S. law sets out many standards under which a visa application may be denied. An application may be denied because the consular officer does not have all of the information required to determine if the applicant is eligible to receive a visa, because the applicant does not qualify for the visa category for which he or she applied, or because the information reviewed indicates the applicant falls within the scope of one of the inadmissibility or ineligibility grounds of the law. An applicant’s current and/or past actions, such as drug or criminal activities, as examples, may make the applicant ineligible for a visa.
If denied a visa, in most cases the applicant is notified of the section of law which applies. Visa applicants are also advised by the consular officer if they may apply for a waiver of their ineligibility. Several of the most common reasons for visa ineligibilities are explained below. For more information, review the visa ineligibilities in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
USCIS is revising policy guidance for the validity period of Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record.
The updated policy, which goes into effect on Nov. 1, 2018, will require applicants to submit a Form I-693 that is signed by a civil surgeon no more than 60 days before filing the underlying application for an immigration benefit. The Form I-693 would remain valid for a two-year period following the date the civil surgeon signed it. As such, USCIS is retaining the current maximum two-year validity period of Form I-693, but calculating it in a different manner to both enhance operational efficiencies and reduce the number of requests to applicants for an updated Form I-693.
USCIS officers use Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, to determine whether an applicant for an immigration benefit in the United States is inadmissible under the health-related grounds of inadmissibility. By specifying that the Form I-693 must be signed no more than 60 days before the applicant files the underlying application for which Form I-693 is required, the validity of the form is more closely tied to the timing of the underlying application.
Additionally, requiring submission of a Form I-693 that was signed no more than 60 days before the date the underlying application was filed may, in some cases, maximize the period of time Form I-693 will be valid while the underlying application is under USCIS review. Officers will still have the discretion, as they have always had, to request a new Form I-693 if they have reason to believe an applicant may be inadmissible on the health-related grounds. Delays in adjudicating the underlying application will also be reduced if fewer requests for updated Forms I-693 are necessary.
Please see the Policy Alert (PDF) for more detailed information regarding this update and how USCIS will handle a Form I-693 submitted before Nov. 1, 2018.
Of the 52,656,022 nonimmigrants admitted to the United States via air and sea ports of entry in fiscal year (FY) 2017, 98.67 percent departed the United States on time and in accordance with the terms of the their admission, according to a report released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Of that number, 1.33 percent or 701,900 nonimmigrants, overstayed. Of these, there were 606,926 suspected in-county overstays or 1.15 percent at the end of FY 2017. This includes those who remain in the United States beyond their period of admission and for whom there is no identifiable evidence of a departure, an extension of period of admission, or transition to another immigration status.
At a Glance
Fragomen July 26,2018
Forbes Magazine, Semotiuk
Jul 12, 2018
If you are thinking of investing in a United States business, or if you are ready to expand your company and establish a new office in the U.S., then you are probably already familiar with L-1 and E-2 visas. Both work visas can be obtained within a few months - they are therefore the best to use for investors who want to immigrate quickly to the U.S. In general, although both visa classifications are intended for investors, there are some essential differences between the two classes. The best way to navigate through the L-1 and E-2 requirements is to have a clear overview of what you want to achieve. However, even if you do not have a plan yet, the following table may assist you in coming up with one.
The L-1 classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from one of its affiliated foreign offices to the United States. This classification also enables a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send an executive or manager to the United States with the purpose of establishing one. The E-2 visa allows a national of a treaty country to be admitted to the United States when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. If your country does not have an investment treaty with the U.S., unfortunately, your only option would be the L-1 visa. Even if you are eligible to apply for either visa, however, your choice will depend on the requirements involved and your intentions.
Money is not everything, but let me begin with the financial aspects. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service defines an investment as placing capital, or other assets at risk to make a profit. The capital must be subject to loss if the investment fails. The treaty investor must show that the funds have not been obtained from criminal activity.
The requirements of the E-2 investor visa do not establish a minimum amount of investment. However, the amount must be “substantial” relative to the total cost of either purchasing an established company or creating a new one. It must also be sufficient to ensure the investor’s financial commitment to the success of the company. My working rule is that the minimum amount should be $ 150,000 U.S. to start in most instances.
In the L-1 visa scenario, if you open a new office in the U.S., you will need to prove that it is adequately funded so that you will be able to maintain its operation and pay employees. I use $ 175,000 U.S. per employee as my working rule. Moreover, you will be asked to show that you have physical premises for your new office so a lease agreement should be obtained.
As for how long you can stay, an L-1 intra-company transferee can initially stay for up to three years, while setting up a new office allows a maximum initial stay of one year. An extension of stay may be granted in increments of up to an additional two years until the employee has reached the maximum limit of seven years.
While the E-2 visa is usually granted by the U.S. Consulate for five years, holders of the visa can only count on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at a port of entry to grant them a maximum initial stay of two years, subject to renewal. Further extensions of stay are granted in increments of up to two years on each entry, provided the visa in the passport is current. There is no maximum limit to the number of extensions for E-2 visas granted by the Consulate. Nevertheless, you need to keep in mind that extensions are not automatic.
L-1 and E-2 visas require the applicant to be involved in the business. They were not created for passive investors. In both cases, the investor will have to demonstrate that his U.S. company is an active, thriving, for-profit business. For L-1 holders it is important for their non-U.S. entity to remain in operation – it is, after all, called an intra-corporate transfer.
Holding E-2 status demands a lower level of commitment since there is no need for the investor to participate in day-to-day management. On the other hand, active management is required from an L-1 investor, and a more active presence in the U.S. is expected. L-1 visa holders must have worked abroad for the foreign company for at least one year within the last three years. In the E-2 case, no previous experience is required from the applicant. In both instances, however, proof of English language proficiency is required.
Both L-1 and E-2 visas, allow your spouse and dependent children under 21 years of age to accompany you into the United States. The L-1 visa also gives you an opportunity to apply for a green card through the EB-1 category. On the other hand, E-2 investors must demonstrate and maintain their intention to depart the U.S. when their business is completed. No green card is available that way.
The E-2 application process is generally considered to be easier than L-1, but if you have a viable foreign entity, getting an L-1 approval is not that great a challenge.
Hopefully the chart and this explanation will help you to better understand the two visas.
U.S. visa News
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