Our firm assists foreign nationals in obtaining lawful permanent resident status and temporary visas through business and employment relationships.
LAWFUL PERMANENT RESIDENT STATUS (Green Card)
1. Permanent Residence for Investor/Entrepreneur
Our firm represents foreign nationals in obtaining lawful permanent resident status through business investments. A foreign national may obtain lawful permanent resident status through investment in the United States. This is commonly known as an “investor” or “employment creation” immigrant visa. To qualify under this category, the basic requirements are:
i) the person has invested (or is in the process of investing) at least $1 million (or at least $500,000 if investing in a targeted employment area) in a new commercial enterprise (for profit only);
ii) the investment must benefit the U.S. economy; and
iii) the investment must create full-time employment for at least 10 U.S. workers
The investor in this category is required to be involved in the management of the new commercial enterprise, meaning he or she must either be involved in the day-to-day managerial control of the commercial enterprise or manage it through policy formulation.
Under the Regional Center Pilot Program the investor is allowed to meet the criteria of the 10-minimum job creation through the establishment of indirect employment if he or she invests in a “designated” regional center that promotes economic growth or creates jobs. A regional center is “any economic unit, public or private, which is involved with the promotion of economic growth, including increased export sales, improved regional productivity, job creation, and increased domestic capital investment.”
If the regional center or individual commercial enterprise is in a targeted employment area, the capital investment is reduced to $500,000. A targeted employment area is an area that, at the time of the investment, is a rural area or an area that has experienced unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average.
Immigration under this category involves a two step process. If approved, the initial investment petition leads to a grant of conditional permanent resident status. Within the 90 day period immediately preceding the second anniversary of admission as a conditional resident, another petition must be filed to remove the conditional aspect of the residency. This is done to prove that the required investment was made or is still sustained and that the requisite 10 full-time jobs were created or will be created within a reasonable time.
2. Employment Based Petitions Leading to Permanent Residence (Green Card)
Our firm represents foreign nationals in all stages of employment based immigration, including labor certifications before the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) and employment petitions before Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS).
A foreign national may obtain lawful permanent residence through a petition filed by his or her employer. Most employment based immigrant petitions require, as a precondition, an offer of employment by a sponsoring employer and the filing and approval of a labor certification by USDOL.
We cover all employment based avenues of immigration, including petitions for:
-Persons of Extraordinary Ability in the Sciences, Arts, Education, Business, or
Athletics (no employer or labor certification required)
-Outstanding Professors and Researchers (no labor certification required)
-Multinational Executives and Managers (no labor certification required)
-Professionals holding Advanced Degrees
-Persons of Exceptional Ability in the Sciences, Arts, Athletics, or Business
(no employer or labor certification required if granted national interest waiver; no labor certification required if job is classified as a Schedule A, Group II),
-Professionals and Skilled Workers (no labor certification required if job is classified as a Schedule A)
TEMPORARY BUSINESS VISAS (Non-immigrant Visas)
Our firm assists foreign nationals in obtaining temporary business and employment visas. Some of the more popular categories include:
1. Non-immigrant Treaty Traders and Investor (E-1 and E-2 Visa)
E-1 Treaty Trader Visas and E-2 Treaty Investor Visas permit a foreign national to enter the United States to carry on substantial trade between the United States and the state in which the foreigner is a national (E-1) or to develop and direct an enterprise in which the foreign national has invested or is investing a “substantial amount of capital” (E-2). For the E-1 visa, the term “substantial trade” is determined by weighing the volume of trade, the number of transactions, and the continued course of trade including demonstrating commitments for future trade. For E-2 visa purposes, the term “substantial amount of capital,” referred to as a “substantial investment,” is not defined. There is no specific dollar amount that is required to be invested. The amount can vary from enterprise to enterprise and consulate to consulate. The greater the total size of the enterprise, the greater the investment must be. Some examples of active investments that can qualify the issuance of an E-2 visa include a retail store, a restaurant, an import/export company, and a real estate development company. The investment may include the purchase of an existing business. An E visa can be renewed in five year increments virtually forever, as long as the trade or enterprise is ongoing. As the terms “treaty trader” and “treaty investor” indicate, only foreign nationals of countries which have signed treaties of commerce and navigation with the United States are eligible for these types of visas. Spouses and children of E visas holders may accompany them to the United States, and spouses, in particular, are allowed to obtain work permits. Once in this status, a foreign national may consider applying for lawful permanent resident status through another or related vehicle.
2. Non-immigrant Visa for Intra-Company Transferee (L Visa)
A foreign national who within the preceding three years has been employed abroad for one continuous year by a qualifying organization may be admitted temporarily to the United States with an L visa to be employed by a parent, branch, affiliate, or subsidiary of that employer in a managerial or executive capacity, or in a position requiring specialized knowledge. This is a category that allows a person who has been working in a foreign company to be transferred to its U.S. subsidiary or affiliate company to engage in managerial, executive or specialized knowledge services. It is possible for a new U.S. company to be formed—affiliated in some way with the foreign company—but additional requirements must be fulfilled. There is nothing that prevents a foreign national from being the principal or the sole owner of both the foreign and United States entities. Initial admission may be for three years and may be extended, but this status cannot exceed a total of seven years for executives and managers, or five years for employees of specialized knowledge. Spouses and children of L visa holders may accompany them to the United States, and spouses, in particular, are allowed to obtain work permits. Once in this status, a foreign national may consider applying for lawful permanent resident status through another or related vehicle.
3. Specialty Occupation Non-immigrant Visa (H-1B Visa)
H-1B visas allow a foreign national to work in the United States in a specialty occupation, which generally means as professionals where possession of a bachelors or higher degree or its equivalent is normally the minimum requirement for entry into the particular position, the degree requirement is common to the industry in parallel positions among similar organizations. An employer may also show that its particular position is so complex or unique that it can be performed only by an individual with a degree, and that the employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position; or, the nature of the specific duties are so specialized and complex that the knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a bachelor’s degree or higher. The visa is issued for three years and may be extended up to six years; it may be extended beyond six years under certain limited circumstances. There is an annual fiscal year limitation of 65,000 H-1B visas that may be issued in a given year, commonly referred to as the “H-1B cap.” Spouses and children of H visa holders may accompany them to the United States. Once in this status, a foreign national may consider applying for lawful permanent resident status through another or related vehicle.
4. Non-immigrant Visitors for Business (B-1 – Business Visa)
This visa allows for brief visits for business meetings, conferences, and training of a brief duration. The visa is sometimes permitted for 6-month periods involving professional work activity, but may not normally be used for hands-on work activity.
5. Non-immigrant Visa for Aliens of Extraordinary Ability (O Visa)
O visas allow foreign nationals who have extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics to temporarily work in the United States. The applicant must have sustained national or international acclaim and have a demonstrated record of achievement. The O alien must be entering the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability. The maximum period of validity of an approved O petition is three years. A petitioner may seek an extension in one-year increments.
6. Non-immigrant Visa for Outstanding Athletes, Artists & Entertainers (P Visa)
P visas are reserved for athletes, artists and certain entertainers who have achieved national or international recognition as outstanding in their field. The standard is somewhat less than for O visas but the scope of eligible services is more limited. There are three subcategories: P-1. Members of entertainment groups, or individual athletes and members of athletic teams; P-2. Artists or entertainers who are part of reciprocal international exchanges; and P-3. Artists or entertainers coming to perform in programs that are culturally unique.