EB-5 Investor Visas – New Boss to Speed Up Process

Foreign Investors, Rejoice!

The much debated EB-5 Investor Visa is about to get a much wanted overhaul. There’s a new program director at the helm, and he’s rocking the boat. At least this is what a recent article on Huffington Post is signaling.

EB-5 Investor VisaNicholas Colucci, the newly appointed EB-5 program director, held a teleconference in february, in which he proposed major improvments to this immigration visa, that paves the way to a Green Card for foreign investors and their families. He signals that he has all the intentions to stir the boat in the right direction. The question is, will Congress want to start rowing?

For years, this program destined to help grow the US economy through foreign investment, has been getting more and more sluggish and inefficient.

According to USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), “USCIS administers the Immigrant Investor Program, also known as “EB-5,” created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors.” Basically, if you are an foreign investor, you have the opportunity to get a green card if you invest $500,000 to $1 million in a U.S. business venture, under certain conditions.

What Mr. Colucci intends to do, is bring more transparency and resources to the program, so as to make the entire process more efficient. Speeding up a process that normally takes up to 10 months to review is not the only goal, however. Increasing competency is also important, and Mr> Colucci is bringing on board more people with economic background, so that the decisions can increase the advantage to the US economy, as well. As the Huffinton Post article notes: “it makes no sense and is of little help to anyone in EB-5 to approve a project or investment that is not likely to succeed. Conversely, green-lighting projects that are well planned and likely to succeed will continue to strengthen the program’s image as well as provide much needed benefits to the U.S. economy.”

There are other issues that need improvement, besides the ones mentioned above, but they will need the help of Congress in order to become reality. For example, the EB-5 quotas: currently, the program allows for a total number of 10,000 visas to be approved, for year. However, this number is not limited to the investors alone, but includes the members of their dependands, as well. As such, the real number of investors that get approved for such visa, is actually around 3,000.

What Mr. Colucci is proposing, and Congress needs to vote into law, is to exclude the family members of those granted the investor visa, from counting towards the cap limits. This way, the number of actual investors will actually grow.

An added bonus is that these investors will not only obtain permanent residence (“green cards”) for themselves, their spouse, and children under age 21 in a relatively short period of time, but college age children will also have the option of attending in state colleges, a substantial potential savings to the individual investor, given the high cost of U.S. private higher education.  It also is a “no brainer” which potentially provides economic stimulus to the U.S. by the capital infusion and direct job stimulus.

The entire Huffington Post article HERE

Useful link: USCIS EB-5 Immigrant Visa Explained

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Innovative Immigration Defense

Leslie Snyder is attending the Innovative Immigration Defense Continuing Education & Stakeholder Meeting, at University of Miami School of Law.

This event is taking place today, April 4th. From the program:

CLE: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Intermediate and advanced training focusing on strategies for removal defense, including motions to suppress, objections to evidence, and contesting removal for criminal offenses.

Stakeholder Meeting: 3 – 5 p.m.

Forum for lawyers and nonlawyers in Florida to discuss strategies for defending immigrants against unlawful government action.

For more details, CLICK HERE

US Citizenship Explained

US Citizenship, American Flag

United States of America. Citizenship is conferred upon swearing allegiance to the flag.

The first step to acquiring United States Citizenship and a U.S. Passport is usually acquiring lawful permanent residence in the U.S., through family, employment, or refugee petition or through the Immigration DV Lottery. In order to apply for a U.S. passport, you must first be a citizen, either by birth, application or as a matter of law.

Naturalization is the process that the U.S. confers citizenship upon a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The general requirements for administrative naturalization include:

  • A period of continuous residence and physical presence in the United States;
  • Residence in a particular USCIS District prior to filing;
  • An ability to read, write, and speak English;
  • Knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government;
  • Good moral character;
  • Attachment to the principles of the U.S. Constitution;
  • Favorable disposition toward the United States;
  • An ability to pass the examination which is conducted in person at a U.S. Citizenship interview.

The other naturalization requirements may be modified or waived for certain applicants, such as spouses of U.S. citizens, members of the military, adoptive and natural children, ministers, and certain other individuals.

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3 Steps for Preparing an Approvable Immigration Waiver

There are 3 steps involved in preparing an approvable immigration waiver:

Immigration waiver application

Prepare your immigration waiver carefully.

  1. You must first have a valid visa application or immigrant petition that is approved or approvable.  If filing a provisional waiver, you must first pay the entire immigrant visa fees prior to filing the waiver.
  2. If a waiver is requested prior to the denial of an application, you must look carefully at the reason for the ground of inadmissibility, which you are charged with.   You may attack this on its face. as in some cases, this charge should never have been  filed.
  3. You must file the relevant application (usually Forms I-601, I-601A Provisional Waiver or I-212) with a brief in support of the application explaining in a very detailed way all of the relevant reasons that your waiver should be ranted, including the effect that separation from your U.S. Citizen or lawful permanent resident family member would have on him or her, and also the effect on your U.S. Citizen or lawful permanent resident family member should he or she be forced to travel with you and live in your home country for 3 to 10 years, or more.

Read also: The Top 5 Reasons You May Need an Immigration Waiver for Your Case

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The Top 5 Reasons You May Need an Immigration Waiver for Your Case

approveWhen Visas and Waivers Mix

There are many reasons why an immigrant visa applicant might need a waiver in order for his or her visa or petition to be successfully presented and approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of State, or Customs and Border Protection.   The top 5 reasons to need an immigration waiver for your case, are as follows:

  1. You have overstayed your visa in the United States for more than six months recently or in the past, and you have unknowingly or knowingly triggered the bar to reenter the U.S.  by departing and traveling abroad. This means you will not be able to reenter the U.S. for 3 years or more unless you obtain a waiver.
  2. You have overstayed your visa in the United States for more than one year, and you have unknowingly or knowingly triggered the bar to reenter the U.S.  by departing and traveling abroad. This means that you will not be able to reenter the U.S. for 10 years or more unless you obtain a waiver.
  3. You have entered the U.S. illegally without a visa at all, and then departed the U.S., and triggered bar to reentry, or you have married a United States Citizen and wish to become a lawful permanent resident through that marriage and to apply while living in the United States for a provisional waiver stateside.
  4. You have committed fraud or a crime and now seek to become a lawful permanent resident through a family or business petition on your behalf.
  5. You have been deported or excluded from the U.S. and seek to renter or to obtain your residence in the U.S.

Get Help with Your Immigration Waiver

It is very important that you consult counsel to provide you with a detailed preliminary analysis of your case prior to filing any applications with the government.  The filing of a waiver is a multi-step process fraught with potential pitfalls.    Any filing with immigration could have serious consequences, and it is important to remember that even if you have a valid family or business relationship, any application can be denied by the government, especially in the examples noted above, as a visa is viewed as a privilege, not a right.

Most cases involving immigration decision -making involve tremendous discretion. This means that the examiner or officer looking at your case has a lot of authority but he or she must also follow the guidance of the immigration laws, regulations, and operations instructions and an attorney in most cases can represent you.

Sometimes the reason for the denial can be overcome by submitting additional evidence, writing a good brief (or letter) supported by factual evidence that overcomes the reasons for denial, or filing a waiver. A waiver can be defined as a discretionary pardon or forgiveness for an immigration or criminal violation.

Read also: 3 Steps for Preparing an Approvable Immigration Waiver

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