Why Are Investor Visas To The U.S. So Popular?

It’s quite common in the U.S. in 2019 to hear that immigration is “controversial,” but even those who would restrict some types of immigration tend to be in favor of investor immigration, and almost everyone in the United States welcomes those who invest when they arrive here.

A “typical” international investor who is seeking to enter and invest in the United States is already an affluent individual who owns and operates one or more successful businesses. Many also have families that will accompany them to the United States. This is where a Columbus investor visa attorney can help.

WHY DO SO MANY NATIONS ENCOURAGE INVESTOR IMMIGRATION?

Canada, Australia, the United States, and many other nations encourage investor immigration for one obvious reason – the investment funds that international investors bring. When international investors come to the United States, they create jobs, businesses, and prosperity.

Apart from their investments, which must be substantial, international investors who enter and invest in the United States do plenty of spending. They buy homes, vehicles, and many send their children to U.S. universities. They also pay a substantial amount of local, state, and federal taxes.

visa options for international investors

The United States offers two visa options exclusively to international investors – the EB-5 investor visa and the E-2 non-immigrant “treaty partner” visa.

HOW DOES THE E-2 VISA WORK?

If you are an investor from one of the many nations that has a commerce treaty with the U.S., and if you can make a “significant” investment in a U.S.-based business, you may be qualified to receive an E-2 visa.

The E-2 visa program requires a “significant” investment in an active U.S. business. The investor must make that significant investment before petitioning for the visa. The E-2 program does not offer the investor a green card.

What is considered a “significant” investment? There is no exact figure specified by the law, but it is generally difficult to obtain an E-2 visa with an investment of less than $100,000. Depending on the type of investment, that amount may vary considerably.

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE E-2 VISA?

The investor who is seeking the E-2 visa must prove that the investment will generate profits and provide jobs to U.S. citizens. Any misunderstandings or mistakes can delay approval of the visa.

investors generating profits

An E-2 visa applicant must also satisfy these additional requirements:

  1. The investment must be made in an active entrepreneurial or commercial undertaking. A paper organization or an idle or speculative investment will not qualify.
  1. The investment must generate income beyond the investor’s living expenses.
  1. The investor must be personally in control of the funds.
  1. The investor must be coming to the U.S. personally to direct and develop the investment.

WHAT ELSE DO E-2 VISA APPLICANTS NEED TO KNOW?

Investors should understand that an E-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa. If an E-2 visa holder wants to remain in the U.S., he or she must apply for the appropriate immigrant visa while still abroad – or submit a Form I-129 to request an adjustment of status if you are already in the U.S.

Minor children and spouses usually qualify for derivative E-2 visas to accompany or follow the E-2 visa holder to the U.S. When an E-2 visa expires, under the current rules, E-2 visa holders must either leave the U.S. or apply for an extension.

HOW DOES THE EB-5 VISA WORK?

Although the EB-5 program began slowly after it became law as part of the Immigration Act of 1990, the number of EB-5 visas issued has more than quadrupled since 2008. In 2014, EB-5 investments surpassed $2.6 billion and created more than 16,000 full-time jobs in the U.S.

The EB-5 visa currently requires a minimum investment of $500,000 into a U.S. business and the creation of at least ten jobs. Investors receive a green card after two years if the jobs have been created and all of the other requirements are met.

investors creating jobs

EB-5 visa applicants have a number of options. An international investor can, for example, make a direct investment of $1,000,000 in a qualifying business that creates at least ten jobs, provided that the investor actively manages the investment.

WHAT ARE EB-5 REGIONAL CENTERS AND TARGETED EMPLOYMENT AREAS?

Alternatively, an international investor can invest $500,000 in one of about nine hundred EB-5 “regional centers” that manage EB-5 investor funds. These centers typically finance or buy equity in job-creating capital projects in “targeted employment areas” with high jobless rates.

A solo international investor may also directly invest $500,000 in a targeted employment area. The EB-5 program offers participating international investors the benefits of lawful permanent residency in the United States.

It can be difficult – and it may take some time – for you to acquire an EB-5 visa. It typically takes eighteen to twenty-four months for EB-5 applications to be adjudicated and processed.

WHAT ELSE DO EB-5 VISA APPLICANTS NEED TO KNOW?

The EB-5 filing fee is currently $3,675. An investor’s personal life and financial details will be closely scrutinized. An investor must produce evidence that the investment is being made with capital that was legally acquired.

For the first two years, EB-5 visa holders are granted conditional permanent resident status. After two years, if all other requirements have been satisfied, EB-5 visa holders can apply for full lawful permanent resident status.

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Dependent children under age 21 and spouses are granted the same immigration status and receive their own green cards. EB-5 visa holders, their spouses, and their dependent children under age 21 may qualify for U.S. citizenship five years after the initial approval.

EB-5 funds have been used to build hospitals, office towers, ski resorts, shopping malls, and even film studios in the U.S.

HOW CAN AN IMMIGRATION LAW FIRM HELP?

International investors seeking an E-2 or EB-5 visa should not hesitate to retain the advice and services of an experienced Columbus immigration attorney who can prepare or review your visa petition and the other necessary documents.

In 2019, impressive and abundant investment opportunities are found in every part of the United States. Visas take time, so international investors need to get started as early as possible.

Both immigration law and American business law can be confusing, but a good U.S. immigration attorney will be able to address your concerns, answer your questions, and help you with the necessary documents and the required legal paperwork.

Investors can make the call right now from anywhere in the world and arrange to speak with a qualified Columbus immigration attorney. If you want to invest in the United States, the right time is now.

What Can You Do If Your Work Visa Is Denied?

Thousands of foreign nationals enter the United States every year by applying for and receiving a work visa, and several important industries in the United States depend on these immigrant workers. But what if your request to work in the U.S. is denied? Can a work visa lawyer help?

Whether you are already here or if you’re still outside of the U.S., what are your options if your request to work in the United States is rejected?

You can’t apply for an employment visa unless you already have an employment offer from a U.S.-based employer. The first step is that the prospective employer must submit a Form I-129 (“Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Before any work visa will be issued, the I-129 petition must be approved. Most I-129 petitions are granted without difficulty, but you cannot be certain that an I-129 petition will be approved.

WHAT IS FORM I-129?

Approval of Form I-129 qualifies the worker to begin or to maintain employment if the worker is already in the U.S. If he or she is not already in the U.S., an approved Form I-129 may be used to submit an employment visa request.

Form I-129 is used by USCIS for a number of purposes. It’s a complicated document which requires information about the employer, the job being offered, and the foreign worker receiving the job offer.

Most employers will need some help with Form I-129, especially if they’ve never before completed the form. It’s 36 pages, not including the 29 pages of instructions. Don’t hesitate to seek the help and advice you need from an Ohio immigration attorney.

WHY MAY AN I-129 PETITION BE REJECTED?

The different work visas each entail different and precise requirements, but every work visa requires foreign workers to meet particular requirements and have specific qualifications.

Should USCIS determine that an individual does not meet the requirements or possess the qualifications for a particular work visa, or if the information on Form I-129 is inaccurate or incomplete, USCIS will reject the I-129 petition.

If an I-129 petition is denied, it is imperative for both the prospective worker and the sponsoring U.S.-based employer to understand the reasons behind the rejection – especially if they choose to submit another Form I-129.

If you are the prospective worker, what are your options if an I-129 petition is rejected? Those options will depend on whether you currently are outside of the country or already here in the U.S.

AFTER A REJECTION, WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS IF YOU’RE NOT IN THE U.S.?

If you’re not in the United States, after USCIS rejects an I-129 petition, you have several courses of action available.

In many cases, the prospective U.S.-based employer will reboot the process and simply submit another I-129 petition. This the best strategy if the first I-129 was denied for a reason or reasons that can be easily remedied by the employer.

Here’s an example: To receive an H-1B visa, an international worker must have at least a bachelor’s degree from a U.S.-based university – or have the equivalent of that degree.

If the sponsoring employer did not include a copy of the worker’s degree along with the Form I-129, the I-129 will be denied, but the problem is easily fixed by including the copy with a second Form I-129.

However, when a Form I-129 is denied for one or more other reasons, merely refiling the I-129 after checking it for accuracy and completion will not always be enough to resolve the reason or reasons for the denial.

For example, under current immigration law, only 85,000 H1-B visas can be issued annually. If all 85,000 are issued before the employer submits a second I-129, no H-1Bs will be available until the next year.

AFTER A REJECTION, WHAT IF REFILING FORM I-129 IS NOT AN OPTION?

What if a prospective employer’s I-129 is rejected, you are not in the United States, and filing the I-129 a second time isn’t a possibility?

If you want to enter the United States, but submitting a second I-129 isn’t an option, you may want to consider applying for a different category of nonimmigrant visa – for a student visa or for a tourist visa, for example.

While there is no yearly cap on these other visas, every visa entails its own specific qualifications and requirements.

In this circumstance, you will need to arrange a consultation with an experienced immigration attorney – online or by phone from wherever you may be – about the best way to move forward in your particular situation.

AFTER A REJECTION, WHAT CAN YOU DO IF YOU ARE ALREADY IN THE U.S.?

If you’re here in the United States and your employer files an I-129 petition, the employer is making two requests:

1. to change your current immigration status to an employment-based status
2. to extend the length of your stay in the U.S.

For instance, if someone is in the United States with an F-1 student visa, wishes to remain in the U.S, and has a job offer from a U.S.-based employer, the employer can submit the Form I-129 asking USCIS to change the person’s immigration status and to extend the person’s stay.

If USCIS rejects the I-129 petition, the employer can submit another I-129 petition to correct any errors or omissions in the original petition.

If those errors or omissions cannot be remedied, another option is attempting to extend the person’s current immigration status.

WHAT IF YOUR IMMIGRATION STATUS CAN’T BE CHANGED OR EXTENDED?

If someone’s immigration status can neither be changed nor extended, that person must depart from the United States when his or her current status expires. Those with an F-1 student status have a sixty-day period from the date their studies are completed.

Remaining in the U.S. beyond sixty days, in this instance, constitutes unlawful presence, which can have serious ramifications that could include deportation or a finding of inadmissibility.

In today’s global marketplace, employers must have sound advice regarding foreign-born workers and immigration laws.

Foreign-born workers also need accurate legal information. Immigration law is complex, continually changing, and non-compliance penalties are severe.

If you desire to work in the United States, or if you hire foreign workers in the U.S., you must have the advice and insights of an experienced Columbus immigration lawyer.

How To Acquire A Work Visa For Employment In The United States

People from many parts of the world want to work here in the United States. You are about to learn what it takes to hire an international employee in the United States and what it takes for both international employees and their employers to stay compliant with the law. Also, what a work visa law firm can fo to help you.

An employment visa allows a foreign national to be employed temporarily in the United States. Most international employees are “sponsored” by their U.S. employers, and it is the employers who must apply for and acquire their employment visas.

WHAT IS REQUIRED FOR AN IMMIGRANT TO WORK IN THE UNITED STATES?

A work “visa” should not be confused with a work “permit” or Employment Authorization Document (EAD), although an international employee will need an EAD as well as a visa.

How to apply for an Employment Authorization Document will be explained after this brief look at how to obtain a work visa.

In order for a foreign national to work legally for an employer in the United States, that person must:

1. Have both an employment visa and an Employment Authorization Document (EAD); or
2. Be a lawful permanent resident of the United States (a green card holder).

When sponsoring a foreign national to work in the U.S., the U.S.-based employer must acquire the proper visa. In most cases, this will be an H-1B, L, TN, or EB-1 visa.

An experienced immigration attorney can help U.S. employers determine which visas they need and also help employers to acquire those visas. If you are seeking to reside in California, a San Diego, CA green card lawyer may be able to help.

WHAT IS THE H-1B VISA?

Here are the details that employers need to know about the most frequently-sought employment visas: The H-1B visa allows U.S.-based businesses to hire international workers in fields such as science, medicine, engineering, and math.

Employers who intend to acquire H-1B visas must first be approved by the Department of Labor for a Permanent Labor Certification (or “PERM”).

The Permanent Labor Certification ensures that no qualified U.S. workers are available for the position being offered, and it additionally ensures that the wage being offered for the position is comparable to the wage offered for similar positions in that geographical region.

H-1B candidates must have earned at least a bachelor’s degree and may remain employed in the United States for as long as six years.

H-1B visas are “capped” – only 85,000 total H-1Bs are issued each year – and a lottery (held each year beginning on April 1st) determines which U.S. employers are “awarded” the visas.

WHAT OTHER WORK VISAS ARE FREQUENTLY REQUESTED?

These are the other most-frequently requested employment visas:

1. L-1 visas let employers bring managers, executives, or specialists from an employer’s foreign subsidiary or branch to the U.S. L-1A visas for executives and managers are good for seven years; L-1Bs for workers with specialized knowledge are valid for five years.

2. TN visas let Canadian and Mexican professionals enter the United States for brief business visits.

3. Sponsoring employers may seek an EB-1 visa for managers, executives, and for “outstanding” professors or researchers who have shown an “extraordinary” ability in the arts, sciences, business, education, or sports.

WHAT IF AN INTERNATIONAL WORKER’S SPONSOR GOES OUT OF BUSINESS?

All work visas require the visa holder to remain employed by the sponsoring employer. If the company goes out of business, the visa may be suspended.

If that happens, the employee may need to return to the country of origin and seek another sponsoring employer in the United States.

However, if you are the employee whose employer has gone out of business, speak with an immigration lawyer first. Immigration law is quite complicated, so there may be an exception that would allow you to remain in the U.S. while you seek another sponsoring employer.

WHO NEEDS AN EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION DOCUMENT (EAD)?

Some immigrants in the United States, including those admitted as lawful permanent residents and those who are granted asylum or refugee status, may have automatic employment authorization as a direct result of their immigration status.

Others will need to apply for and receive a work permit or “EAD,” an Employment Authorization Document`.

If you are an immigrant and you do not know your residency status – or if you are not absolutely certain – you need to resolve the question with the help of a skilled immigration lawyer, and you will need to resolve it prior to requesting an EAD.

WHAT IS REQUIRED WHEN YOU REQUEST AN EAD?

Your immigration lawyer can also review (or help you with) the Application for Employment Authorization (Form I-765) so that there are no misunderstandings, mistakes, or delays in the processing of your request.

Immigrants submitting Form I-765 must determine their “eligibility category,” and they’ll need documents to prove they belong to a particular eligibility category. Again – this can’t be emphasized enough – you’ll need an immigration lawyer’s help when you complete Form I-765.

As of 2018, the EAD filing fee is $410. Several eligibility categories will also require an additional $85 biometric services fee.

You will be contacted by mail if your Form I-765 is returned for mistakes or inaccuracies, denied, or approved.

WHAT IF YOUR EAD REQUEST IS RETURNED OR DENIED?

If your Form I-765 is returned because you failed to include anything, you will be permitted to correct the form and re-apply. If your Form I-765 is denied, you will need to review your remaining options with your immigration lawyer.

EADs are usually approved for one year. Renewals cannot be requested more than 120 days before the current EAD expires. Immigrant workers may apply for a replacement for a lost, stolen, or mutilated EAD or for a document that includes incorrect information.

Many observers describe the U.S. immigration system as “broken.” If you’ve read this far, you can see that it is certainly complicated, that the paperwork can be almost overwhelming, and that the opportunities for delays, mistakes, and misunderstandings are abundant.

IS THE SYSTEM REALLY BROKEN?

But the system is not entirely broken. If you are a foreign national, unless you have committed a crime, or you have disqualified yourself in some other way, an immigration attorney can almost always help you achieve your goals in the United States.

Similarly, if you are a U.S. employer seeking to hire foreign nationals, you’ll need some patience – and the ability to tolerate a mountain of paperwork – but a lawyer with substantial immigration experience will probably be able to help you hire the international workers you need.

Finally, don’t even try to obtain a work visa, a Permanent Labor Certification, or an Employment Authorization Document without help from a qualified immigration attorney.

The law is simply too complicated, and mistakes can be far too costly. Get legal help before you make those mistakes.

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FAQs About Changing Your Visa Status

Nonimmigrant visas are approved for immigrants who plan to be in the United States temporarily. The federal government has established more than forty very precisely-defined nonimmigrant visa categories.

That provides a lot of options for those who want to enter the U.S. temporarily to work, study, conduct business, or simply take in the sights and attractions. It also makes obtaining a nonimmigrant visa or changing your nonimmigrant visa status quite complicated.

You are about to learn how – and when – you may seek a change of your immigration status, how an L-1 visa law firm can help, and more. For example, if you entered the U.S. with a tourist visa, but now you want to become a student, you must apply for a change of your immigration status.

If you have decided to seek temporary employment in the United States, your prospective employer must submit a Form I-129 (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker) on your behalf.

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CHANGING YOUR VISA STATUS?

Some nonimmigrant visas allow for temporary employment in the U.S.; others allow tourists, students, and diplomats to enter the United States temporarily.

If you are in the U.S. with a nonimmigrant visa, and if your original reason for entering the United States changes, you may be required to change your nonimmigrant status before you can lawfully engage in any new activities linked to your requested new immigration status.

And to change your nonimmigrant status, you are going to need the help of a skilled immigration attorney.

FAQ #1: HOW DO I QUALIFY FOR A CHANGE OF MY IMMIGRATION STATUS?

You may qualify to have your immigration status changed your status if:

1. You were admitted lawfully into the United States.

2. You have done nothing that would disqualify you from receiving an immigration benefit.

3. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines that nothing warrants requiring you to leave the United States before re-entering with a different status.

4. You apply for a change of status before the expiration date on your Form I-94 (Arrival-Departure Record). If you miss that date, your change of status request may be rejected.

FAQ #2: WHO IS INELIGIBLE FOR A CHANGE OF STATUS?

If you were admitted to the United States in one of these nonimmigrant categories, you may not change your nonimmigrant status: C, D, K1, K2, S, WT, WB, J1, M1, and Q2.

If you are classified in any of these categories, you must leave the United States on or prior to the expiration date on your Form I-94.

FAQ #3: WHAT STEPS DO I TAKE TO CHANGE MY NONIMMIGRANT STATUS?

To change to any of the employment-based nonimmigrant categories listed here, the prospective employer must submit a Form I-129 (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker) before your Form I-94 expiration date: E1, E2, H1B, H2A, H2B, H3, L1A, L1B, O1, O2, P1, P2, P3, Q1, R1, and TN.

And you will need to submit Form I-539 to change to any of the nonimmigrant categories listed here: A, B1, B2, E, F, G, H4, K3, K4, L2, M, N, NATO, O3, P4, R2, and TD.

FAQ #4: CAN I CHANGE MY STATUS IF MY ORIGINAL STATUS HAS EXPIRED?

The answer is no, and exceptions are made only if you can prove that you are out of status because of circumstances beyond your control.

If your original status expired prior to filing a change of status request, you are out of status, and you may be unable to receive immigration benefits or even return to the United States.

FAQ #5: WHEN SHOULD I FILE? HOW LONG WILL A STATUS CHANGE TAKE?

You can submit a request for a change of immigration status for up to six months before the expiration date on your Form I-94, and you should make your request at least 60 days before that date.

Be patient. The amount of time USCIS needs to process a change of status request can vary greatly. That’s one reason why your application needs to be absolutely accurate, complete, and on deadline. If it’s not, your change of status request will be delayed or possibly even denied.

FAQ #6: IF I QUALIFY, WILL MY CHANGE OF STATUS BE APPROVED?

A status change is not automatically granted. USCIS scrutinizes every change of status request individually.

USCIS will take into account your current immigration status and your stated reasons for desiring a change.

Until you are notified by USCIS, don’t presume that your requested new status will be approved, and do not change your visa-related activities in the United States.

FAQ #7: WHAT IF NO DECISION IS MADE BEFORE MY I-94 EXPIRES?

If USCIS receives your change of status request prior to your I-94 expiration date, and if you have not violated any of the conditions or terms of your visa, you can stay in the U.S. until USCIS approves or rejects your change of status request.

However, if USCIS rejects your change of status request after your I-94 expiration date, you will be considered “out of status” since that date, and you will have to leave the United States immediately.

And while awaiting a decision, you may not begin any of the activities associated with the requested new status until USCIS grants your request and officially changes your status.

FAQ #8: WHEN IS A CHANGE OF STATUS NOT NECESSARY?

If you entered the U.S. for business purposes with a B-1 visa, you are not required to change your nonimmigrant status if you stay in the U.S. for tourism until your authorized stay expires.

A change of status is not needed to attend school in the U.S. if you are the spouse or child of someone currently in the U.S. in one of these nonimmigrant categories: A, E, F, G, H. I, J, L, and M.

Additionally, if you are a vocational student with an M-1 visa, you may not change your status to any H (temporary worker) category or to F-1 (for academic students).

FAQ #9: WHY WILL YOU NEED AN IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY’S ADVICE?

Every immigration procedure is complicated. Every immigration procedure takes time and patience. It is easy to miscommunicate with immigration authorities, and it’s easy to make a mistake when you are trying to complete all of the forms and applications.

That is why, if you are seeking to change your immigration status, or if you are an employer seeking the proper visa for a prospective employee, you will need the advice and guidance of an immigration attorney.

FAQ #10: HOW CAN AN IMMIGRATION LAWYER HELP?

Immigration laws are changing rapidly. There’s a great deal of confusion and misinformation, and most of that misinformation is on the internet.

Immigrants and their employers need to have their questions answered by an experienced immigration lawyer who is reliable, trustworthy, and stays abreast of current developments.

Finally, you need to work with an attorney who is familiar with immigration procedures and laws because the penalties can be harsh for immigrants – and for employers – who fail to comply.

Get the advice and help you need. And don’t accept immigration advice from anyone but a qualified immigration lawyer.

How Unexpected Changes In The H-2B Visa Process Affect Seasonal Workers

A number of U.S.-based businesses are now hoping that they will have enough seasonal employees to stay open through the summer of 2018.

Why the worry? Because of an unexpected change in the way H-2B visas are being issued to temporary foreign workers.

You are likely going to be impacted by the change if you own a business that hires seasonal foreign employees – or even if you vacation or dine out during the summer.

Early in March, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that due to an unexpected surge in the number of H-2B visa applications, and also due to processing delays at the Department of Labor (DOL), H-2B visas are now being handled differently.

HOW ARE H-2B VISAS NOW BEING APPROVED?

USCIS is now using a lottery system to approve H-2B visa petitions instead of using the “first-come, first-served” system that USCIS had previously announced and used for H-2B visas.

Why is that change important? It means the U.S. businesses that request H-2B visas can be far less sure that they will be granted visas for the seasonal foreign workers they will need this year.

HOW ARE EMPLOYERS RESPONDING TO THE CHANGE?

Timothy McNulty is a co-owner of the Lobster Pot, a restaurant in Provincetown, Massachusetts. What he told the Cape Cod Times echoes the sentiments of scores of business owners this spring:

“They went against what they said they were going to do. They’re changing the rules as they go. We’re all in a holding pattern. The worst part about this is, here we are March 1, and we have no idea. I don’t know if I’m getting part of my staff … It was a hard slap in the face.”

HOW DO EMPLOYERS OBTAIN H-2B VISAS?

The H-2B visa program permits foreign workers from sixty-two nations to be employed temporarily in the United States so that U.S.-based employers can meet seasonal labor shortages.

The employers who seek H-2B visas must offer those jobs first to U.S. workers and must advertise those jobs before the employers can be certified by the DOL to hire foreign workers.

If certified by the DOL, employers may then apply to USCIS for the H-2B visas they need. Finally, if those visas are granted, employers must obtain final approval for the particular individuals they want to hire.

The number of available H-2B visas is capped by Congress at 66,000 per year: 33,000 for the workers who are hired from October through March and another 33,000 for the workers who are hired from April through September.

WHAT TYPES OF WORK ARE H-2B EMPLOYEES HIRED FOR?

H-2B visas are provided primarily for seasonal positions in the hospitality and food industries – housekeepers, short-order cooks, dishwashers, meatpacking workers, and similar types of positions.

2018, however, is the first year that a lottery system has been used to approve H-2B visa requests.

USCIS received requests for approximately 47,000 workers from about 2,700 employers in February. USCIS conducted the H-2B lottery for the second half of fiscal 2018 on February 28th and approved 33,000 visas.

Representative William Keating (D-Massachusetts) said that using a lottery system to approve H-2B visas reflected “ineptness at its best and arrogance at its worst.”

“Thousands of businesses across the country will not be able to fully operate without H-2B worker assistance,” the congressman said in a brief statement.

WHY HAVE H-2B VISAS BEEN SO POPULAR POLITICALLY?

The H-2B visa is not generally considered politically controversial. It has considerable support in both parties since politicians want to advance the interests of the industries in their own states.

Senator Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina) says the H-2B program “is vital for businesses that desperately need temporary help to keep their doors open and keep their American workforce employed.”

It is simply not true that U.S. businesses use the H-2B program to save money by hiring cheap labor.

Employers pay for the visa application fees, and some U.S.-based companies even reimburse an employee’s transportation costs for travel to the United States.

In Ohio and Michigan, food packing and processing are the businesses that request the most H-2B visas.

If you hire seasonal foreign workers using H-2B visas, let an experienced Michigan or Ohio immigration attorney review your situation and discuss your options and possible alternatives.

HOW CAN AN IMMIGRATION LAWYER HELP?

U.S.-based employers who seek to hire temporary foreign workers face an avalanche of complex paperwork. An attorney can help you with it.

For example, before USCIS will approve an employer’s petition for temporary workers, that employer must file a labor certification application with the Department of Labor declaring that:

1. An adequate number of qualified U.S. workers are not available for the positions.
2. Hiring H-2B employees will not negatively impact the working conditions and wages of U.S. workers in similar positions.

Especially now, U.S.-based employers must not file visa petitions without legal advice and review. A good immigration lawyer will spot and help you avoid the mistakes that can get a visa petition rejected.

If you are a U.S.-based employer and you can’t find the employees that you need locally, discuss your circumstances with an experienced Michigan or Ohio immigration attorney.

If you are a temporary foreign worker in the U.S. with questions about your visa, your employment rights, or your legal status, a good immigration lawyer can answer those questions and address your concerns.

Employers who bring H-2B workers to the U.S. must comply with all employment and immigration laws.

WHAT KIND OF LEGAL GUIDANCE DO EMPLOYERS NEED?

A multitude of regulations govern employers who hire foreign employees, so you must have the sound and knowledgeable advice of an attorney who knows immigration law comprehensively.

Immigration laws change constantly, and the current legal and political situation is frankly unpredictable, so it is imperative to have the guidance of a knowledgeable immigration lawyer who stays on top of the ongoing developments.

EB-5 Applications Are On The Rise In India

Thousands of Indians are planning to arrive in the U.S. and invest in a business or start up a new business. Why are they doing it? Why now?

The EB-5 program lets Indians and other immigrants invest in a U.S. business or development project. Investors and their immediate family members receive green cards in return.

WHO CAN OBTAIN AN EB-5 VISA?

The EB-5 visa program offers two basic investment options. Who can qualify?

1. Indians and other investors who can place at least $1 million in a U.S.-based business and create at least ten new full-time jobs can qualify for an EB-5 visa.

2. Indians and others who invest in a pre-designated “Targeted Employment Area” or “TEA” can qualify for an EB-5 visa with a minimum investment of $500,000.

A quarter of the Indians who sought EB-5 visas in 2016 chose the first option – investing at least $1 million.

That’s a far higher figure than the overall percentage of EB-5 applicants who choose that option – about five to seven percent.

HOW DOES A “TEA” INVESTMENT WORK?

To receive a TEA designation, the EB-5 investment must be made in a rural area or in an area where the unemployment rate is at least 150 percent of the national U.S. unemployment rate.

By providing permanent legal residency – a green card – to qualified Indians and others, the EB-5 visa program expands the U.S. economy by providing great investment opportunities.

EB-5 visa applications from India have tripled in just the last three years, a figure that reflects an increasing interest in the United States among Indian investors.

WHY ARE EB-5 VISA APPLICATIONS SOMETIMES REJECTED?

That interest is rising despite the rejection of about a third of the EB-5 applications originating from India – 34 percent in 2016. The three leading reasons for that high rejection rate are:

1. an inaccurate or incomplete EB-5 visa application
2. a lack of the required educational, financial, or employment records or other documents
3. choosing an investment option that does not qualify for the EB-5 visa program

EB-5 visa applicants also must prove that their investment funds were obtained legally. This requirement serves to keep criminal gains from going into legitimate U.S. investments.

HOW CAN A U.S.-BASED IMMIGRATION LAWYER HELP?

An experienced, U.S.-based Michigan or Ohio immigration attorney can help Indian investors:

1. complete an EB-5 visa application
2. identify the additional documents that will be needed
3. choose a qualified and appropriate investment option
4. prove that their investment funds were legally acquired

WHY IS INTEREST IN EB-5 VISAS INCREASING?

Some observers believe that the rising Indian interest in EB-5 visas is a consequence of the lengthy waiting lists for EB-2 and EB-3 employment-based visas.

In October 2017, the U.S. State Department reported that Indian applicants wait about nine years in the EB-2 advanced degree category and about eleven years in the the EB-3 skilled worker category.

India’s growing prosperity, combined with a rising awareness about the EB-5 program, are also cited as reasons for the recent increasing interest by Indian investors in the EB-5 visa.

WHAT SHOULD INVESTORS KNOW ABOUT THE EB-5 VISA PROGRAM?

Investors who are unfamiliar with the EB-5 visa program may welcome a brief introduction, so keep reading. The EB-5 visa category was created by the Immigration Act of 1990.

It is the only immigration category that allows Indians and other investors to enter the United States as legal permanent residents – green card holders.

In recent years, investors not only in India but around the globe have responded to the EB-5 program with rising interest.

For example, since 2008, the number of EB-5 visas being issued has more than quadrupled.

EB-5 investments surpassed $2 billion in 2014 and created over 16,000 new full-time jobs in the United States that year.

WHAT IMPACT ARE INDIANS HAVING IN THE UNITED STATES?

Indian immigrants in the U.S. have reached the top ranks at major corporations. Satya Nadella became the CEO at Microsoft in 2014; Sundar Pichai was named the CEO at Google in 2015.

In fact, the Migration Policy Institute tells us that about 90,000 immigrants from Indian now live in Silicon Valley, and most of them are employed in the tech industry.

The Indian-born population in the United States – which numbered barely 200,000 in 1980 – today exceeds 1.8 million.

At the present time, 10,000 EB-5 visas are offered each year to international investors.

HOW DOES THE EB-5 PROGRAM ENHANCE THE U.S. ECONOMY?

U.S. developers are coming to rely more frequently on EB-5 investments to finance projects that include posh new hotels, new stadiums with all the amenities, and luxury vacation resorts.

EB-5 investments have totaled more than $6.5 billion – and have created over 130,000 new jobs in the United States – in the last decade.

HOW IS THE EB-5 PROGRAM BENEFITING INTERNATIONAL INVESTORS?

Every qualified investor – from any nation – may apply for an EB-5 visa.

As the terms of the EB-5 program are met – ten new jobs must be created, for example – the investors and their immediate family members qualify for lawful permanent residence.

Acquiring an EB-5 visa and choosing just the right investment takes genuine time and effort, but scores of Indian investors are learning that the benefits of the EB-5 visa are worth that effort.

The EB-5 visa program makes the American Dream available to qualified investors.

It also provides developers and business owners in the U.S. with a vital funding option. The typical return on EB-5 investments is approximately eight percent.

However, many investors from India and elsewhere care more about acquiring green cards, a path to U.S. citizenship for themselves and their families, and university educations for their children.

TO ACQUIRE AN EB-5 VISA, WHERE DO YOU BEGIN?

Indian investors who are seeking a great investment opportunity in the U.S. should consult from the beginning with a U.S. immigration lawyer who routinely works with international investors.

The EB-5 visa program is an excellent path to permanent residence – and to eventual citizenship – in the United States.

Investors can learn more or begin the application process by consulting an experienced, U.S.-based Michigan or Ohio immigration attorney – online or by phone.

As mentioned previously, only 10,000 EB-5 visas are available each year, so many investors will have to wait two or three years and sometimes longer. And that means the time to get started is now.

To learn more, speak promptly – from anywhere in the world – with a U.S. immigration lawyer who can answer your questions and help you obtain an EB-5 investor visa.

H-1B Visa – What To Expect In 2018

Employers seeking H-1B visas in 2018 will be submitting their visa petitions at a moment when a variety of immigration changes are being proposed and considered.

As you probably know, the policy of the current White House is to tighten the loopholes in current immigration laws and to enforce those laws aggressively.

U.S.-based employers who are considering hiring foreign workers on H-1B visas should contact our H-1B visa lawyers immediately.

Every year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) accepts only a limited number of petitions for new H-1B visas.

The demand for these visas has far exceeded the supply on the first available day to file (April 1) for the last several years.

So if the employer’s H-1B applications were not 100% complete, accurate, and on time, the employer (and the employees) could miss out on the opportunity to obtain an H-1B visa and then be forced to wait another year.

So right now, U.S.-based employers are deciding what their H-1B needs are, and they’re working with immigration lawyers to make sure that their H-1B applications are carefully prepared.

WHO QUALIFIES FOR H-1B VISAS?

H-1B visas are nonimmigrant work visas that allow U.S.-based employers to hire professional foreign employees in a “specialty occupation.”

The employee and the employer both must satisfy exacting criteria and qualifications before an H-1B visa will be issued.

To be eligible for an H-1B visa, foreign employees must possess at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in a field that is closely linked to the offered position.

The U.S.-based employer must also have a position available that requires a bachelor’s degree in the specific field of study.

WILL H-1B VISA EXTENSIONS BE ELIMINATED?

Under current U.S. immigration law, there are limited circumstances that enable an H-1B worker to extend H-1B status beyond the initial six-year maximum.

If the process to obtain an employment-based green card for the H-1B employee has begun, an extension may be possible.

A plan to eliminate that extension has been rumored.

Such a plan would compel hundreds of thousands of predominantly Indian H-1B visa holders in a variety of highly-skilled jobs to leave the U.S.

However, according to Jonathan Withington, the chief of media relations for USCIS, such a plan is not under consideration.

Witherington explained to Newsweek, “The agency is considering a number of policy and regulatory changes to carry out the president’s ‘Buy American, Hire American’ executive order, including a thorough review of employment-based visa programs.” But he added, “USCIS is not considering a regulatory change that would force H-1B visa holders to leave the United States by changing our interpretation of … H-1B extensions beyond the 6-year limit.”

WHAT CHANGES TO THE H-1B VISA PROGRAM ARE UNDER CONSIDERATION?

At least for now, the extensions discussed above proceed as usual. Unfortunately, in the absence of new legislation, immigration authorities may make more aggressive use of their existing enforcement tools.

For example, mandatory face-to-face interviews with H-1B candidates could add another hurdle to an already lengthy process and could also give immigration authorities one more opportunity to refuse to grant the visa to particular candidates.

More H-1B candidates and their sponsoring employers are also receiving much higher volume of requests for evidence (RFEs), which can significantly delay the process and burden both the employer and employee with cumbersome document requests.

The USCIS requests for evidence usually question a U.S. employer’s need for the H-1B visa or challenge the employer’s qualifications for obtaining the visa.

Employers, through their attorneys, must then submit more evidence to prove eligibility and need.

That’s another reason why employers seeking H-1B visas should have the advice and counsel from skilled immigration attorneys from the very beginning of the H-1B visa application process.

HOW MANY REQUESTS FOR EVIDENCE ARE BEING MADE?

According to Reuters, from January 1 through August 31, 2017, USCIS issued approximately 85,000 requests for evidence to H-1B visa petitioners.

To give some perspective, this is a 45 percent increase over the same time period in 2016, while the number of actual H-1B petitions received by USCIS increased by only about 3 percent.

Visa holders and employers also cannot expect that H-1B extensions will be virtually assured, as they may have been in the past.

Employees on student visa (F-1) seeking longer term employment through the H-1B program should also know that there is a proposal under consideration that could eliminate or reduce the length of the Science/Technology/Engineering/Mathematics (STEM) Optional Practical Training (OPT) program – a program that currently can provide two additional years of employment authorization after the initial one-year post-completion period of employment authorization.

Another proposal that Congress is considering would raise the minimum annual salary for employees holding H-1B visas from $60,000 to $90,000.

Clearly, if such a proposal becomes law, it would reduce or even remove the ability of many employers to sponsor the highly-skilled employees they need.

SO WHAT CAN H-1B VISA PETITIONERS GENERALLY EXPECT THIS YEAR?

In general, U.S.-based employers, and the potential employees they seek to sponsor, can expect more frequent and longer delays throughout the H-1B visa application process.

Additional interviews, additional requests for evidence, and heightened scrutiny of every detail of the visa petition should not, in most cases, be a cause for alarm.

Of course, with only 85,000 new H-1B visas made available each year, some will miss out.

Experienced immigration attorneys can make sure that an employer’s H-1B visa petition is accurate and complete and can put an employer in the best possible position to have its application approved. With this year’s April 1 deadline quickly approaching, employers must act now.

Fortunately, for employers who are unable to obtain H-1B visas, there may be practical alternatives.

In fact, for some employers and employees, an L-1 “intracompany transfer” visa or an O-1 visa for individuals with “extraordinary abilities” may be more appropriate than an H-1B visa.

If you are a U.S.-based employer, immigration attorneys can explain your options and help you acquire the visas that your company needs to meet business goals.

Applying For Permanent Residence While On An H-1B Visa

If you are an immigrant who is here in the United States on a temporary work visa, in most cases, you may not apply for permanent residence in the U.S.

However, the H-1B temporary nonimmigrant work visa is an exception.

How do H-1B temporary employees apply for lawful permanent residence, and what is the role of the employer who originally acquired the visa? Can an H-1B law firm help?

But first, a brief explanation of the H-1B visa. U.S.-based businesses use H-1B visas to hire scientists, engineers, mathematicians, computer programmers, and other international workers with highly specialized skills and knowledge.

Every year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) accepts H-1B visa petitions from U.S.-based employers during a short filing period that begins on April 1st.

At the present time, 85,000 H-1B visas are made available to U.S.-based employers every year, and the demand for those visas far exceeds the supply.

Of the 85,000 H-1B visas offered annually, 20,000 are reserved for immigrants who hold advanced degrees from U.S.-based institutions.

WHEN DO H-1B VISAS EXPIRE?

The remaining 65,000 H-1B visas go to employers hiring international workers who possess (at least) a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.

The H-1B visa is good for three years and may be renewed once for a maximum of six years. H-1B visas are quite difficult – but not impossible – for employers to acquire.

In fact, scores of employers across the United States are right now determining their H-1B visa needs for the filing period which will begin on April 1, 2018.

If you are a U.S.-based employer and you need to acquire H-1B visas for international employees, you must understand that the competition among employers for these visas is intense.

There are no guarantees, but a skilled immigration attorney can help an employer avoid any misunderstandings or mistakes might keep a company from obtaining the H-1B visas it needs.

A good immigration lawyer can also help an employer complete and file the Form ETA 9089 as well as the Form I-140 – explained below – and can put an employer in the best possible position to acquire H-1B visas.

IF YOU ARE SEEKING A GREEN CARD, CAN AN IMMIGRATION LAWYER HELP?

For the international employee/visa holder, your application for an H-1B work visa permits you to indicate your intention to seek lawful permanent resident status as one of the reasons you are requesting an H-1B visa and entry into the United States.

An immigration attorney in Michigan or Ohio can guide you through the application process and help you understand the terms and conditions of a temporary H-1B work visa.

When you arrive in the United States with an H-1B visa, you may begin the process of seeking permanent residence status. What’s the first step?

Your employer must apply for Permanent Labor Certification from the Department of Labor (DOL).

After the Permanent Labor Certification application (Form ETA 9089) is submitted, the procedure usually takes from 120 to 180 days.

A labor certification from the DOL verifies that there are not enough qualified and available U.S. workers for the position that is being filled by the international employee, and it additionally confirms that hiring an international employee will not negatively impact the working conditions or wages of U.S. workers in comparable positions.

WHAT IS FORM I-140?

After approval of Form ETA 9089, the employer must file Form I-140 (“Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker”).

Form I-140 establishes that the international employee qualifies for an immigrant visa based on employment and that the U.S.-based employer has the funds and assets necessary to pay the worker the wage confirmed in the labor certification process.

Most employers will need the guidance of a qualified immigration attorney through the labor certification process.

If you are the employee, however, and the company goes out of business while the labor certification is pending, you’ll either have to leave the U.S., immediately find another employer and transfer your H-1B work visa, or apply for a tourist visa to legally remain in the United States.

If you are a U.S.-based employer or an H-1B specialized international employee with concerns or questions about permanent labor certification, let a skilled immigration lawyer help.

For example, your attorney can review or help you fill out the Form ETA 9089 to ensure your compliance with the DOL’s many permanent labor certification regulations.

WHAT IS ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS?

“Adjustment of Status” is the process of applying for permanent resident status in the United States; it’s the final step of the H-1B visa-to-lawful permanent resident process.

To apply for Adjustment of Status, the H-1B visa holder must submit Form I-485 (“Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status”).

Lawful permanent residents – “green card” holders – may live, work, and attend school in the United States and may travel abroad at will.

However, they may not vote or hold certain federal jobs, and when lawful permanent residents are convicted of crimes or otherwise abuse their status, they may be subject to deportation.

WHAT SHOULD THOSE WHO SEEK GREEN CARDS KEEP IN MIND?

If you are an international employee who is in the United States on an H-1B visa and you are ready to seek a green card, or if you are not ready but you want to learn more about lawful permanent resident status, speak personally with an immigration attorney, and take seriously these suggestions:

Don’t become a victim. No one legally sells visas, green cards, or other immigration documents. Steer clear of the con artists and always have the advice of a good immigration lawyer.

Fill out every form and document accurately and completely. Otherwise, your application could be delayed or even rejected.

A good immigration lawyer will see to its that your forms are complete and accurate and that all deadlines are met.

Make and keep copies of all immigration-related forms, documents, and other papers.

Whenever you send an immigration document through the U.S. Postal Service, send it by certified mail and ask for a return receipt that will confirm the delivery.

Whether you are the employer or the employee, a good immigration attorney will be able to answer your immigration-related questions and address your concerns.

And because acquiring an H-1B visa isn’t something that can be guaranteed, an experienced immigration lawyer also will explain your other visa options and help you obtain the visas – or the green card – that you need.

Can a Revoked Visa be Reinstated?

If you hold a U.S. visa, you should understand that your visa can be revoked or canceled at any time and for a variety of reasons.

Visa holders must adhere to the terms and conditions of the visa, and they must exit the United States when their stay expires.

If you have any questions about obtaining a visa, or if you are a visa holder with any questions about the terms and conditions of your visa, have those questions answered by an Ohio immigration attorney.

The United States issues two types of visas: A “nonimmigrant” visa is issued to those who have been approved for temporary stays in the United States as visitors, students, or employees.

An “immigrant” visa is issued to immigrants who have been approved for lawful permanent residence in the U.S.

According to CNN, in the fiscal year 2016, the United States issued more than ten million nonimmigrant visas and over 600,000 immigrant visas.

Every visa spells out the activities that are and are not permitted to the visa holder.

For example, someone who holds a B-2 tourist visa cannot work or accept employment in the United States.

That person would have to apply for a change of status and obtain a work visa – an H-1B visa, for example – in order to work or accept employment in the U.S.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A VISA IS REVOKED?

Visa holders who are outside of the United States should know that a consular officer is authorized to revoke both immigrant and nonimmigrant visas at any time, at his or her discretion.

A revoked visa is no longer valid for entry or reentry into the United States. It is not uncommon for a consular officer to approve a visa, and after new information emerges, to revoke that same visa.

A visa can be revoked if the visa holder is deemed inadmissible to the U.S. on security, criminal, medical, financial, or other grounds, or if the visa holder is ineligible for that particular visa category.

A visa might also be reinstated after new information emerges or after an interview with a consular officer, or the officer might simply suggest applying for a new visa.

From 2001 through 2015, approximately 122,000 U.S. visas were revoked.

Visa revocations targeting visa holders who are already in the United States are becoming more frequent.

For example, a visa may be revoked if the visa holder became involved in a criminal incident in the U.S.

A minor criminal incident – even an arrest where the charge is dropped – could potentially result in a visa revocation.

Any visa holder in the U.S. facing this kind of situation should contact an immigration lawyer for legal assistance at once.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A VISA IS CANCELLED?

A visa cancellation is usually less serious than a revocation, and a cancellation does not necessarily mean that the visa holder is being accused of doing anything wrong.

A visa might be canceled because of a minor paperwork mistake, for example, but that merely means that the mistake must be corrected before the visa can be approved.

A U.S. consulate or embassy will mark the visa “Cancelled Without Prejudice,” which means that the cancellation does not impair the individual’s eligibility to obtain a valid visa and enter the United States.

A visa might also be canceled, however, if any evidence emerges that the visa holder may use the visa for a purpose other than those purposes spelled out by the visa’s terms and conditions.

And a visa can be revoked if someone applies for a new visa and any evidence emerges that the old visa was misused in some way.

One leading reason why visas are revoked is “overstays,” when visa holders remain in the U.S. beyond the time allowed by the visa.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, the rate of overstays for business travelers and international tourists was only 0.9 percent in 2015, or about 416,000 out of about 45 million.

It’s vital for visa holders to know that the “expiration date” printed on a visa is not the last day that the visa holder is allowed to be in the United States.

Instead, that date indicates the last date that the visa can be used as a document for entry into the U.S.

It’s a significant difference and often the source of confusion.

A visa holder’s Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record is where you will find the actual date when a visa holder must exit the United States.

If a visa holder remains in the United States after that date – without a pending application for a change of status or a visa extension – that individual’s visa will be automatically canceled.

IF YOUR VISA IS CANCELLED OR REVOKED, WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?

When a visa is canceled, the visa holder must leave the U.S. at once – or delay his or her plans to enter the U.S. – until that person has applied for and been approved for a new visa.

If you believe that your visa has been unjustly, unfairly, or wrongly canceled or revoked, you should challenge that decision aggressively.

In some cases, a visa revocation can result in the visa holder being barred for years – sometimes permanently – from the United States.

Even the ability of your family members to obtain visas could potentially be affected.

Individuals should speak with an immigration lawyer if they need legal advice about their visa status, their eligibility for admission to the United States, or any other matter of immigration law. Visa and eligibility matters are sometimes exceedingly complicated.

Do not hesitate to contact an experienced Ohio immigration attorney about any questions, problems, or concerns regarding your visa or your immigration status. You’ll receive sound legal guidance.

While these are serious matters, the fact is that most problems with visas can be remedied easily with an attorney’s help, and most of the people who are facing these issues will remain eligible to obtain visas and enter the United States.

Just as the government can cancel or revoke a visa, the government can reinstate a visa or issue a new visa.

If it’s necessary, a good immigration lawyer can represent you before immigration authorities, protect your legal rights, and advocate on your behalf at a legal proceeding or immigration hearing.

Lame-Duck Congress Ignores Chance For EB-5 Reforms

The EB-5 immigrant investor visa program bolsters the U.S. economy through capital investment and job creation. Each year, up to 10,000 EB-5 visas are offered to international investors who place a minimum of $500,000 into development projects or into other investments that create at least ten full-time jobs for U.S. workers. The investor and his or her qualifying family members will receive green cards after two years, provided that the ten or more jobs have been created and that all other EB-5 requirements have been met.

EB-5 visa applications nearly tripled from 2013 through 2015, but the visa’s popularity has also exposed what critics say are serious flaws with the way the EB-5 investor visa program operates. Just before leaving Washington for the holidays, the last Congress renewed the EB-5 visa program for another four-and-a-half months as part of a year-end spending bill. Despite the controversies that surround the program, no reforms were made in 2016. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, one of the lawmakers who believe the program needs reform, said, “After another year, we have yet another missed opportunity.”

The EB-5 program – and the several controversies associated with it – will now be inherited by a new President and a new Congress. The EB-5 program was initially established during the first Bush Administration to encourage international investors to place considerable amounts of capital into new U.S.-based business ventures. In the years since, Congress has enhanced the EB-5 program’s appeal to foreign investors in a number of ways, including a less precise definition of job creation and a lower minimum investment amount.

WHAT IS THE APPROVAL RATE FOR EB-5 APPLICATIONS?

International investors have responded with rising interest in the EB-5 program, and the approval rate for the EB-5 visa is about 90 percent. The EB-5 offers international investors a path to U.S. citizenship if they invest at least $1 million in most instances, although a half-million dollar investment is the minimum that’s required if the investment is in an economically-depressed region.

A Government Accountability Office report published in September 2016 says that the Department of Homeland Security is currently addressing several potential fraud risks in the EB-5 program. And despite the President-elect’s well-known opposition to undocumented immigration, some advocates of the EB-5 are even expecting the program to flourish under the new Trump Administration.

“His strong stance [is] against illegal immigration,” said former New York Governor George Pataki at a recent investment conference in China. “And EB-5 is a legal immigration program. He understands the need for capital, the need for investment.” The executive director of the U.S. Immigration Fund, Charles Gargano, also believes that the EB-5 program will thrive because of Mr. Trump’s own experience as an investor. “Under President-elect Trump, a developer himself, he will magnify the need for a program like this,” Gargano explained to the same conference in Shanghai in November.

HOW SOON ARE EB-5 REFORMS LIKELY TO HAPPEN?

Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is in charge of a Jersey City complex that has purportedly leveraged $50 million in EB-5 funds as a portion of its financing. And despite broad agreement that the EB-5 visa program needs reform, drastic change isn’t likely under the new administration and new Congress, according to David North, a spokesperson at the Center for Immigration Studies. “I don’t think the program’s going to get killed,” North adds.

Advocates of the EB-5 program say that more than $11 billion in investments and more than 220,000 U.S. jobs will vanish if the EB-5 visa program is eliminated. Peter D. Joseph, the executive director of the EB-5 trade group Invest in the USA, says, “We’re working for important reforms that improve rigorous vetting of projects and investors, so that the program can continue investing in communities and providing quality American jobs.”

The previous Congress made no changes to the EB-5 program in 2015 and 2016. A number of reform proposals were offered, but in the end the program was renewed without change. For now, to obtain an EB-5 visa, a foreign investor must put at least $1 million into a new U.S. business that creates ten or more full-time U.S.-based jobs, or the investor must put at least $500,000 into a “Targeted Employment Area.” An applicant must also prove that his or her investment dollars were received legally and legitimately. This requirement helps to ensure that the EB-5 program is not dealing with money laundered by crime networks or terrorists.

WHAT ARE EB-5 REGIONAL CENTERS?

Most EB-5 international investors work with the EB-5 Regional Center Program. Regional centers are private-sector groups that pool investment funds to develop resorts, hotels, retail centers, and other major projects. From 2005 through 2013, the EB-5 investor visa program brought more than $5 billion into the United States. Foreign investors can best take advantage of the EB-5 program by working from the start with an Ohio immigration attorney who routinely helps investors dealing with immigration issues. There is an annual cap – only 10,000 EB-5 visas are offered annually – so investors should initiate the application process as early as possible.

Anyone with any questions or concerns regarding the EB-5 investment visa or any immigration matter should speak as soon as possible to an experienced U.S. immigration lawyer. If you are an international investor considering a business investment in the United States, let an experienced Ohio immigration attorney work on your behalf. You can arrange for a consultation by email or by calling from anywhere in the world. The economy is rising strong once more in the United States, and excellent investment opportunities are found in every one of the fifty states.

All qualified international investors may petition for an EB-5 visa. The EB-5 visa does not require a sponsor or a labor certification. Through the EB-5 investor visa program, the U.S. allows international investors to invest in U.S.-based businesses and to live here with their immediate families. As the conditions of the EB-5 visa are satisfied, investors and their families qualify to receive green cards. Learn more about the EB-5 visa and other options for investors by speaking with an Ohio immigration attorney. The EB-5 visa is an excellent path to lawful permanent residency in the United States for the willing and able international investor.