EB-5 Source of Funds for Italians Webinar

New Consular Fees for Non-Immigrant Visas

The US Department of State published a Final Rule on March 28 regarding an increase in fees for certain categories of non-immigrant visa applications. The fee increase will be effective May 30, 2023.

The consular fee for employment-based categories such as the H-1B, L-1, and O-1 will increase from $190 to $205, and for the E-1 trader and E-2 treaty investor visa categories, the fee will increase from $205 to $315.

Other consular fees are not affected by this rule, including the waiver of the two-year residency required fee for certain exchange visitors. Current fees will continue to apply until May 30.

Fee information can be found on the Bureau of Consular Affairs website, travel.state.gov, and on the websites of U.S. embassies and consulates


E-2 Visa approved for a Singaporean national during COVID-19

New Policy Guidance on Employer’s Ability to Pay in I-140 Filings

On March 15, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a policy guidance addressing the analysis of an employer’s ability to pay the proffered wage for certain employment-based immigrant petitions. This guidance, contained in Volume 6 of the Policy Manual, is effective immediately and applies to I-140 petitions filed on or after March 15, 2023. The updated guidance discusses in more detail various types of evidence and explains how USCIS reviews all evidence relevant to the employer’s financial strength and the significance of its business activities.

US employers seeking to sponsor employees under EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3 employment-based immigrant classifications that require a job offer must demonstrate their continuing ability to pay the proffered wage to the employee as of the priority date of the immigrant petition. The employer’s/petitioner’s ability to pay the proffered wage stated on Form I-140 is one of the essential elements that USCIS considers in evaluating whether the job offer is realistic.

Regulations require an employer to submit annual reports, federal tax returns, or audited financial statements for each available year from the priority date. An employer can alternatively submit a financial officer statement attesting to its ability to pay the proffered wage if it has 100 or more workers. Additional evidence such as profit and loss statements, bank account records, or personnel records may also be submitted. Many employers satisfy the ability to pay requirement by also submitting payroll records demonstrating that, during the relevant time period, they have been paying the employee at least the proffered wage indicated on the Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers (Form I-140).

Here’s what the updated USCIS guidance provides:

· USCIS reviews all evidence relevant to the employer’s financial strength and the significance of its business activities.

· Employer must submit one of the three forms of initial required evidence listed in the regulation but may also include other types of relevant evidence.

· Discussion of each form of initial required evidence listed in the regulation and several other forms of additional evidence employers might submit to establish their ability to pay the proffered wage.

· Explains how USCIS analyzes evidence and issues relevant to an employer’s ability to pay the proffered wage, such as the petitioner’s current employment of the beneficiary, prorating the proffered wage for the priority date year, multiple beneficiaries, successors-in-interest, and non-profit organizations.

· Addition of information about types of business structures to help officers better understand the types of petitioning employers and the evidence they may submit to establish their ability to pay the proffered wage

Chapter 4 – Ability to Pay | USCIS

20230315-AbilityToPay.pdf (uscis.gov)

EB1c Visa | EB1c US Lawyer | Davies & Associates (usimmigrationadvisor.com)

Merit Based EB-1A Visa | National Interest Waiver (usimmigrationadvisor.com)

EB3 Visa | Permanent Residency for Skilled Workers | Davies & Associates LLC (usimmigrationadvisor.com)


Eb-5 Visa Investment Level Increase

Deciding between an E-2 visa and an L-1 visa

Deciding between an E-2 visa and an L-1 visa depends on your individual circumstances and business goals.

The E-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows foreign investors to live and work in the United States based on their investment in a U.S. business. To qualify, you must make a substantial investment in a U.S. business, and you must own at least 50% of the business. The E-2 visa is typically valid for up to five years and can be renewed indefinitely as long as the investor maintains their investment in the U.S. business.

On the other hand, the L-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows multinational companies to transfer executives, managers, or specialized knowledge employees from a foreign branch to a U.S. branch. To qualify, the foreign employee must have worked for the foreign company for at least one year in the three years preceding the transfer and must be coming to the U.S. to work in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity. The L-1 visa is typically valid for up to three years and can be extended up to a maximum of seven years for executives and managers, and five years for specialized knowledge employees.

If you are an investor who wants to start a new business in the United States, the E-2 visa may be the better option for you. If you are an executive, manager, or specialized knowledge employee of a multinational company with a U.S. branch, the L-1 visa may be the better option for you.

It is important to note that both visas have their own requirements and limitations, and it is recommended to consult with an immigration attorney to determine which visa is best suited for your individual circumstances.


US Investor Visa

What is an E-2 visa?

The E-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows foreign investors to live and work in the United States based on their investment in a U.S. business. Here are some of the most common E2 visa questions:

  1. What is an E-2 visa?
  2. Who is eligible for an E-2 visa?
  3. What are the requirements for an E-2 visa?
  4. How much money do I need to invest to qualify for an E-2 visa?
  5. How long can I stay in the U.S. on an E-2 visa?
  6. Can my spouse and children come with me on an E-2 visa?
  7. Can I work for a different company while on an E-2 visa?
  8. Can I apply for a green card while on an E-2 visa?
  9. How do I renew my E-2 visa?
  10. Can I start a new business while on an E-2 visa?

It is important to note that E-2 visa requirements and processes can vary depending on the individual circumstances of the applicant, so it is recommended to consult with an immigration attorney for personalized guidance.

Please see our questions and answer pages on the E2 Visa:

https://www.usimmigrationadvisor.com/e-2-treaty-investor-visas.html


Grenada CBI to the E2 visa

New Law Impacts those Seeking E2 Visa via Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Route

Just before breaking for the holidays, Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act. Buried within this gigantic bill was a provision to add Portugal as an E2 country and a clause stipulating that anyone who acquires citizenship through a financial investment must be domiciled in that country for three years before they can apply for an E2 visa. 

We recently held a series of webinars on this topic, scroll down to view the recording.

Does the change to the law impact me?

If you are interested in applying for an E2 visa, but you do not come from an E-2 Treaty country, this legislation could impact you. India, China and Vietnam are among the countries that do not have an E-2 treaty with the United States. Click here for the full list.

Why would I want to apply for the E2 Visa?

The E2 Treaty Investor Visa category permits an applicant to make a substantial investment in a US business or franchise and move to the US for the purposes of running that business. 

  • Relatively low investment expectations (usually > $100,000, sometimes less)
  • Ability to travel freely to and from the United States
  • Unlimited renewals subject to conditions
  • Spouse & children under 21 can accompany applicant to US
  • Spouse permitted to work in the US
  • No annual caps/quotas
  • Relatively quick processing times

What if I am not a citizen of an E2 Treaty Country?

If your country is not on the list of E2 countries, then are able to apply if you first obtain citizenship of an E2 country. One of the fastest ways to obtain citizenship of an E2 treaty country is via the Grenada Citizenship by Investment Program or the Turkey Citizenship by Investment Program. The new law will have implications for this pathway to an E2 visa.

What should I do next?

If you already hold Grenadian or Turkish citizenship that was acquired by investment, you should contact us immediately. There may be a small window to submit an E2 visa application before the changes take effect.

What if I have not started the process yet?

We recently held a webinar to discuss potential solutions, click below to watch the webinar and contact us to discuss your options.

Watch our webinar

Useful links:

Grenada Citizenship by Investment Program  

Turkey Citizenship by Investment Program.

Just before breaking for the holidays, Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act. Buried within this gigantic bill was a provision to add Portugal as an E2 country and a clause stipulating that anyone who acquires citizenship through a financial investment must be domiciled in that country for three years before they can apply for an E2 visa. 

We will be holding webinars on this topic in January 2023.
Scroll down for details.
This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.

EB-5 Regional Center Program faces reauthorization in the US

New Legislation may add Three Years to Obtaining E2 Visa Via Grenada or Turkey CBI

UPDATE: CONGRESS HAS NOW PASSED THIS BILL. IT WAS FOLDED INTO THE NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT (NDAA) AND PASSED THE HOUSE AND SENATE ON DECEMBER 16. IF YOU ARE SEEKING AN E2 VISA VIA CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT, PLEASE CONTACT US TO DISCUSS YOUR OPTIONS.

The US House of Representatives has passed the Advancing Mutual Interests and Growing Our Success (AMIGOS) Act, which could have repercussions for those seeking an E2 Visa via Grenada or Turkey.

While the AMIGOS Act is aimed at opening the E2 Treaty Investor Visa and the E1 Treaty Trader Visa to Portuguese citizens, it also includes a clause stipulating anyone acquiring citizenship of an E2 country or E1 country via investment must hold that citizenship for three years before they are eligible for to apply for an E2 visa or E1 visa.

How might this ruling affect me and my potential E2 Visa application?

The E2 visa permits a citizen of a treaty country to move to the United States for the purposes of investing in and operating a business or franchise. If you are not a citizen of an E2 treaty country, you are currently permitted to become a citizen of an E2 country and then apply for an E2 visa. There are currently no rules regarding the length of time you must hold citizenship of an E2 country before applying.

Davies & Associates was one of the first US law firms to assist clients through this two step process of acquiring citizenship by investment and then an E2 visa. Most of our clients typically obtain citizenship by investment (CBI) of either Turkey or Grenada because both are E2 Treaty countries with relatively fast and cost-effective routes to citizenship. Once we have assisted our clients with obtaining their Turkish or Grenadian passport, we then assist them with applying for an E2 visa. The process can take as little as six to nine months, but under the changes proposed in the AMIGOS Act this would increase to just over three years.

In fact, just last week, we obtained an E2 visa for an Indian client who first had to obtain a Grenada passport because India does not hold an E2 Treaty with the United States. The whole process was wrapped up in less than a year (including a six-month delay because E2 processing was suspended at the US Embassy in Barbados which covers Grenada). India is not the only country not to be eligible for the E2 visa – Russia, China, Vietnam, South Africa also do not hold E2 treaties with the US. Click here for a full list of countries with an E2 treaty with the United States. If your country is not on the list you would first need to obtain citizenship of an E2 country.

Will the AMIGOS Act become law?

The AMIGOS Act has just passed the House of Representatives. For it to become law, it would also need to pass the Senate. Frequently the bill introduced in one chamber is not the same as the bill introduced in the other chamber. If different bills are passed in both houses then the two bills go to “conference” where the differences are ironed out into one mutually agreeable bill.

We currently do not have visibility of the Senate bill or whether this would be given time in the Senate. With one chamber, the House, controlled by the Republicans, and the other chamber, the Senate, controlled by Democrats, it can often be tricky to get any legislation passed. However, since the target of this bill is improving bilateral relations with Portugal, it may receive bipartisan support. The changes to the length of time a person must hold citizenship are not the headline part of the bill and may pass under the radar.

Next Steps…

As we do not know whether or not the AMIGOS Act will pass, we cannot advise clients definitively on this matter. If you are considering an E2 application via Grenada or Turkey you may wish to try to complete the process soon in case the AMIGOS Act becomes law.

There is no information on whether this would retroactively impact people who already hold an E2 visa based upon Grenada or Turkish citizenship that has been held for less than three years. Please note, the AMIGOS Act, as passed by the House only impacts people who obtain citizenship by investment. If you obtain citizenship of an E2 country via non-investment routes, you would still be permitted to apply for the E2 visa immediately under the proposed law.

It is also worth noting that, for some of our Grenada CBI clients, the primary applicant has filed a joint application with their spouse. But for others, the primary applicant has applied for Grenada CBI as an individual and then the spouse has obtained their passport later by virtue of their marriage to a Grenadian citizen. It is difficult to know at this stage how a US consular officer would view an E2 application from the spouse under this second scenario – i.e. whether they would be subjected to the three year rule proposed in the AMIGOS Act.

This is a developing story. To learn the latest information and to learn more about CBI to E2, please contact our firm for a free consultation.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


Set up beauty company in US

Approved: E2 Visa for Owner of Norwegian Skincare Company

We are happy to share that we have successfully assisted a Norwegian national with his E-2 visa application. The client acquired an existing company which is a developer, manufacturer, marketer, distributer, and online retailer of organic skincare products.

The E2 business

The Company offers its skincare products to markets across the globe, including the U.S., Europe, Mexico, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia. ISUN Skincare’s product line consists of both professional products sold to business-to-business (B2B) clients and retail products for sale through business-to-customer (B2C) channels. 

Challenges

There were a lot of challenges to overcome with the application. The total acquisition cost of the company is in the millions and the applicant was only able to make a 10% down payment. Our team had to work with the client and the seller to structure the deal to make the investment E-2 compliant. We also successfully used the escrow account mechanism to minimize the risk on the part of the applicant/investor.

What is an E-2 Visa?

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa permits citizens of treaty countries to move to the United States to invest in and run a business there. While there are no minimum investment levels, E-2 investors must make a substantial investment in a US business – which could also include a franchise. The E-2 visa is a temporary, non-immigrant visa, but it is possible to keep renewing the visa so long as the underlying business continues to operate. Spouses of E-2 visa holders are authorized to work in the United States and children under 21 can accompany their parents.

What if you are not from an E-2 Treaty Country?

Check our list to see if your country has an E-2 treaty with the United States. If it does not have an E-2 treaty and you wish to apply, you can first become a citizen of an E-2 treaty county. Our firm offers a Grenada Citizenship by Investment + E-2 Visa package and a Turkish Citizenship by Investment + E-2 Visa package. Contact us for more information.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content..


US Immigration Lawyer

Numerous Recent Visa Approvals for D&A Clients

The clients of our firm have been granted a number of different visa approvals over the past week, with the feeling that the Covid pandemic is increasingly behind us. Here are some examples:

E2 Visa for Singapore National Setting Up Advisory Firm in California

We are happy to share that we have secured an approval for another E2 Treaty Investor Visa applicant from Singapore. The applicant will operate as an advisory firm in California. The Company will raise money from qualified investors who will acquire limited partnership interests in a limited partnership fund, and then advise the fund to make minority equity investments in selected startups. The Company will receive advisory fees from the fund and a profit in the form of carried interest when the equity held by the fund in a startup is acquired by an acquirer, or when the startup goes for an initial public offering. 

The E2 company will be committed to partnering with frontier tech entrepreneurs as they start out, becoming their trusted advisor and providing them with the necessary advice to succeed. The Company’s investment philosophy will be to patiently identify and invest in highly-qualified entrepreneurs and accelerate growth through its network of executives in the IT Industry. It will coach frontier tech startups on initial customer selection and how to create compelling marketing pitches. The Company will facilitate meetings with lighthouse customers to help startups achieve success fast. Lighthouse customers are consumers who embrace a product soon after its launch. They will provide considerable and critical feedback to help startups develop and refine their products. Identifying and developing strong relationships with these customers is crucial for startups’ future success.

E2 Treaty Investor Visa for a Swiss National

The E2 Treaty Investor invested in a farm management company based in California. The company will provide custom harvesting and farm management services. The Company purchased selected farming equipment to provide local farmers with harvesting services that will maximize their output and profitability. Additionally, the company will hire agricultural advisory who will help farmers select crops for planting and organize their entire annual cycles to increase their operations’ cost-effectiveness. 

The company will provide its services to farmers from Fresno, Woodland, and Lodi, Californian cities known for their disproportionately high agricultural output and excellent products. The Company will focus on nut tree farmers, primarily those that cultivate almonds and pistachios. 

L1 Visa Extension for a Polish Shipping and Logistics Executive

We have helped a US company secure an extension of status for its current President on L-1A visa. Established on January 8, 1992, the US company was founded with the purpose of securing proper representation of a state-owned shiping company in Poland in North America and to conduct business in the lucrative North American market.  The US Company represents the Polish company’s  interests in all aspects and matters concerning North and Central America and the Caribbean markets; providing the closest and most effective link between Poland’s largest ship owner and all current and future business partners and customers.

As General Agent for the PZM Group in North American and Caribbean ports, the US company provides the following services:

  • Serving as financial center (treasury department/cash manager) for various financial transactions involving United States currency
  • Serving in a similar capacity for North American and Caribbean operational activities 
  • Serving as Chartering Broker for the Polish company’s vessels
  • Supervising execution of shipments performed by vessels within North and Central America
  • Arranging port operations through local Agents’ network, dealing with contractors and sub-contractors, including tugs, pilots, stevedores, terminal operations, holds/tanks cleaners, slop disposal services, ship chandlers, etc.
  • Arranging bunkers and spare parts supplies for vessels, including dealing with suppliers and bunker brokers
  • Controlling all costs and expenses regarding ship’s call to North American market
  • Arranging and coordinating crew changes
  • Arranging cargo, ship, draft, bunker, class, technical surveys and all necessary reports

H-1B for an Indian Developer

The US Company was set up in 2016 and it aims to empower enterprises to unleash the power of cloud on their terms by helping them rapidly achieve continuous and autonomous cloud governance at scale. The company enables enterprises to realize outcomes across FinOps, SecOps and CloudOps such as 40% decrease in cloud costs and 50% increase in operational efficiencies by governing operations, security, cost, access, and resources. CoreStack also assures 100%compliance with standards such as ISO, FedRAMP, NIST, HIPAA, PCI-DSS, AWS CIS & Well Architected Framework (WAF).

Enterprises face significant cloud challenges including unpredictable and unabated cloud costs, ever growing security risks, stringent regulatory compliance needs and operational complexities as they navigate the digital transformation journey. The company helps enterprises overcome these challenges by offering deeper cloud visibility, preventative governance

guardrails, and automatic remediation. With a unique Cloud-as-Code approach that uses deep AI/ML, declarative definitions, connector-less model, and a patented cloud service-chaining technology, CoreStack continually innovates to harness the real power of cloud. The company works with many large global customers across multiple industries including Financial Services, Healthcare, Retail, Education, Telecommunications, Technology and Government.

The H-1B beneficiary will assume the position of a Developer who will perform highly specialized duties in the occupation of application development and analysis with a focus on software application design and development and engineering support.

By Verdie Atienza, Head of E2 & L1 Visa Practice Group


Grenada CBI to the E2 visa

Approved: E2 Visa following Grenada Citizenship by Investment

Our firm is happy to share that we have obtained another E2 Treaty Investor approval for yet another client. He is a citizen of South Africa who first obtained a Grenada passport to apply for E2.

The client came to us seeking assistance in applying for the E2 visa. We would ordinarily encourage him to apply for his E2 visa at the US Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados. However, considering that the US Embassy in Barbados suspended E-2 visa processing, we decided to submit his application at the Consulate in Johannesburg instead.

We helped him set up a real estate brokerage firm based in Washington State. The Company provides real estate brokerage services to domestic and international clients and guides them in every step of the selling or purchasing process for a residential or commercial property.

The Company works closely with clients in order to provide them with the optimal solution. The company performs a comparable real estate market analysis to determine the value of the clients’ property, prepare a marketing and sales plan, facilitate the services of a mortgage broker to help clients with their financial needs, and offer real estate legal guidance until the sale/purchase is closed.

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa offers the foreign nationals of treaty countries the opportunities to live and work in America by investing in and running a business.

Click here to find out whether you are from an E2 Treaty Country.

If, like this client, you are not from an E2 Treaty Country, it is possible to become eligible for the E2 Visa by first obtaining citizenship of an E2 Treaty Country. This client became a citizen of Grenada before applying. A Grenada passport can be obtained in a matter of months with options starting from $150,000. Alternatively, Turkey offers a citizenship program starting from $250,000.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


US Immigration Lawyer

E2 Visa Approval for Bangladeshi Client in Vitamins & Supplements Business

We closed last week with another E-2 visa approval for another Bangladeshi national. The client is the second Bangladeshi national that we have assisted in obtaining an E-2 visa this year. 

We helped the client set up a Limited Liability Company in Texas that will sell vitamins, supplements, and other health-related products, both imported and sourced from local suppliers, online, via its e-commerce store and sales platforms, such as Amazon.com and Walmart.com. Additionally, the Company will operate as a wholesaler selling these products to other wholesalers and retailers.

This approval follows a number of reason successful visa petitions for Bangladeshi nationals, as we continue to enjoy a 100% success rate for our Bangadeshi clients

The E-2 Visa allows citizens of Treaty countries to invest in and run a business in the United States. Anyone who is not from a Treaty country can become eligible by obtain citizenship of a Treaty Country. The Grenada and Turkish citizenship by investment programs offer the fastest and most cost-effective pathways to the E-2 Visa.

Click here to learn more about the E-2 Visa