D&A at Vietnam expo April 2023

EB-5 & Global Immigration Expo in Vietnam: Insights on Expedited Options for Investors and Developers

EB5 Investors Magazine and Uglobal Immigration Magazine held an in-person EB-5 & Global Immigration Expo in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, on April 4th and 5th. The event brought together migration agencies, immigration attorneys, global service providers, regional centers, project developers, and investors from all over the world to discuss the United States EB-5 Immigrant Investor program as well as a variety of global residency and citizenship programs.

Concurrent filing, adjudication trends, the E-2 road, and smart project selection are some of the expedited choices available to investors and developers.

Davies & Associates, an international immigration law practice, was one of the event’s sponsors. The firm’s founder and managing partner, Mark Davies, hosted a panel discussion on expedited options for investors and developers, concurrent filing, adjudication trends, the E2 road, and wise project selection. Alvin Wong of Manhattan Regional Center and Niral Patel of KLD LLP were among the panelists.

In addition to the panel discussion, Davies & Associates presented a business presentation with Zeenat Phophalia, an L1 lawyer from India, Matteo Tisato, an Italian Senior Immigration Analyst, Mark Agbuya, a Regional Operations Manager, Eric Dela Cruz, a corporate lawyer both from the Philippines, and Simon Nguyen, a lawyer and business development executive from Vietnam. The presentation highlighted Vietnam as one of the world’s major EB-5 markets, with the fastest growth rate of HNWIs.

The event provided an excellent opportunity for high-net-worth individuals, international migration agents, regional centers, project developers, immigration and securities attorneys, broker-dealers, and many other industries service providers to connect with EB5 and global industry influencers and expand their global business networks. Attendees were also able to learn from interactive educational panels and present their businesses to a large group of EB5 and worldwide stakeholders.

Vietnam’s GDP is predicted to rise to 5.5% in 2022, while the country’s UHNWI population increased by 320% between 2000 and 2016. As a result, Vietnam is the world’s second-largest EB-5 market, and the number of HNWIs in Vietnam is quickly increasing, with growth predicted to reach 170% by 2026, the highest pace in the world.

In conclusion, the EB-5 & Global Immigration Expo in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, provided a valuable chance for industry participants to network, gain expertise, and present their firms to a global audience. Davies & Associates‘ involvement in the event demonstrates the firm’s dedication to meeting the global immigration needs of its clients while remaining at the forefront of the ever-changing RCBI market.

Looking for an US immigration lawyer? Request free consultation at Davies & Associates or find our closest location around the world.

This article has been written by Mark Agbuya, Operations Manager at Davies & Associates, Manila Office.

Us Immigration Attorney

Is EB5 going into retrogression?

The EB-5 visa category is subject to a quota system, which means that only a limited number of EB-5 visas are available each fiscal year. When the number of visa applications exceeds the available visa numbers, the visa category is said to be in retrogression, which means that the processing of certain applications will be delayed until more visas become available in the next fiscal year.

As of March 2023, the EB-5 visa category is not currently in retrogression. However, it is important to note that retrogression can occur at any time due to high demand or changes in government policies. In recent years, the EB-5 visa category has experienced periods of retrogression, particularly for applicants from China, due to high demand for visas.

It is recommended to consult with an immigration attorney or a reputable EB-5 regional center to stay informed about any potential changes or updates to the EB-5 visa category.

Check our EB5 visa program for more information:


EB-5 Project Due Diligence in Covid-19 era

By Mark Davies, Global Chairman, D&A

While the pandemic was not predictable economic shocks such as the mortgage crisis or just a plain economic downturn are.

Without making any comment at all on any specific EB-5 project, it is true that investors need to make sure that proper protections are in place when investing in any project. Many, not all, EB5 projects simply do not have the protections in them that a normal non-EB5 investor would demand.

There absolutely are real estate EB-5 projects in the market that are doing well, such as pre-leased warehouses or office buildings that are pre-leased to “AAA” clients.

There is far more to EB-5 project review than EB-5 compliance.

It is quite common to see EB-5 projects that have no language protecting clients from future subordination of the EB-5 position. In pre-leased commercial projects immigration lawyers often fail to take “due diligence” step 101 and read that lease on behalf of their client.

There are absolutely steps clients facing challenged projects must take now to protect themselves. Workouts 101.

Also, consider the position of a developer who is also a Regional Center in a workout or bankruptcy. Can they effectively represent the interests of EB5 investors?


The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program offers a direct route to a US Green Card. The minimum investment requirement is $900,000 and other conditions, such as job creation, apply. The EB-5 Visa is exempted from President Trump’s current “immigration ban”.

Contact me for more information.

Nothing in this blog constitutes legal advice, please contact Davies & Associates for a consultation with an attorney

July Visa Bulletin shows India EB-5 Visa Priority Date as “Current”

The State Department has published the July Visa Bulletin, which offers some insight into the waiting times for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program. The most notable change in this month’s Visa Bulletin is that EB-5 Visa Priority Date for India has become “Current”.

What this means is that India is no longer in retrogression and EB-5 applicants born in India can progress to the next stage and schedule their visa appointment once they are approved.

At first glance this is exciting news and would appear to spell the end of the waiting list for Indians seeking an EB-5 Green Card. However, as we have cautioned before, this is likely to be artificial.

The probable explanation is that the rate of I-526 adjudications at the US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) has slowed significantly. Only after an I-526 has been approved can an applicant progress to obtaining a visa. So with fewer adjudications there is likely to be less demand at the National Visa Center, causing India to appear as “Current”.

With Covid-19 compounding the slowdown at USCIS, we will be keeping a close eye on the priority dates for you over the next few months.

The Solution to a Stuck EB-5 Visa Application – Filing Writ of Mandamus

The United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) has slowed the pace at which it adjudicates I-526 petitions. The I-526 form demonstrates a petitioner’s eligibility for the EB-5 visa and constitutes the first official step in the application process for would-be immigrant investors.

The slowdown in adjudications are the result of political, administrative and external factors. They are evidenced in the fact that “priority dates” for countries in visa retrogression are quickly shifting forward. The changes to the priority dates is most likely the artificial result of low demand for visas caused by a slow rate of adjudication rather than meaningful changes to the number of applicants waiting for EB-5 visas.


USCIS Ombudsman

There are several courses of action open to any immigrant petitioner who suspects their I-526 application to have been unreasonably delayed. In the first instance, petitioners should contact the USCIS ombudsman’s office. This may not ultimately expedite your adjudication, but it is helpful to show evidence of seeking a solution should a petitioner need to subsequently escalate their case. Another option is to contact the senator or congressional representative covering the state or district where the EB-5 project is located.


Writ of Mandamus

It is possible to file a lawsuit in a federal court to determine whether your immigration petition has been unreasonably delayed. This lawsuit, known as a writ of mandamus, will have no bearing on whether or not your I-526 application is successfully approved. It does, however, force USCIS into adjudicating your case quickly if it is judged to have been unreasonably delayed. Sometimes simply initiating proceedings can galvanize action as USCIS has been known to adjudicate a plaintiff’s application in order to avoid progressing with the lawsuit.


Filing a Case

Since filing a writ of mandamus is a legal course of action which may require litigation, it is always advisable to seek advice from an attorney. Contact D&A for a free consultation to determine whether it would be advantageous for your I-526 petition. Our team has filed dozens of successful writs of mandamus actions against USCIS for unreasonably delaying immigrant petitions. We can assist regardless of whether your I-526 application was prepared by Davies & Associates. The average time between filing a writ of mandamus and receiving an adjudication is around two months, in some cases it can be significantly less.


Act Quickly

It is anticipated that USCIS might suddenly start processing applications at a faster pace. It is advisable to file a writ of mandamus as soon as possible to have your case reviewed ahead of a possible surge.

Direct EB-5 Visas – The Criteria

If you are an investor and looking to expand your business to the United States, then the EB-5 visa program allows you to set up a commercial entity within the territory of the United States, subject to the fulfillment of its various criteria. More than 90% of EB-5 investments are made through EB 5 Regional Centers, and as a result, very few law firms have experience with the alternative: the so-called “Direct” EB-5 applications.

A Direct EB-5 application is one where an investor opens, expands or acquires EB-5 qualifying businesses in multiple and varied industries across the United States. Davies & Associates has a successful history of representing clients from all around the world start and invest in businesses in the United States. This includes clients from India, Russia, Brazil, Azerbaijan, Egypt and many more countries. In this blog today we will discuss the criteria for getting a direct EB-5 Visa to the USA.

  • Capital Requirements: A Foreign company run by a foreign individual is required to make a minimum investment of 1 Million dollars for fulfilling the first requirement of EB-5. This amount is brought down to $ 500.000 if the investment is in a TEA region or a targeted employment region, which refers to mostly underdeveloped areas with high levels of unemployment. This requirement is statutory and this capital does not include costs incurred in processing and legal fees. It’s important to note that these criteria cannot be fulfilled with financed money, for example if you have borrowed from a bank and should come from the existing profits of a company.
  • Non-Profit Entities: Non-profit entities are ineligible for the EB-5 visa subject to certain exceptions. If you are looking to set up an NGO or any other organization on a non-profit model, then you would have to look for other avenues.
  • United States Commercial Entity: This one’s pretty basic, and requires the commercial entity to be registered in the territory of the United States and subject to federal and state laws. If your country has an investment treaty with the United States you can also look at the E2 visa which is by far the fastest way to get into the country. In case of an E2 visa, you can hire yourself and be your own sponsor for your immigration to the country.
  • Employment Generation: Other criteria of the EB-5 visa is an undertaking to create at least 10 full time jobs for US citizens. It’s important to keep this in mind if you are planning to get the workforce from another country.

We have told you briefly, about the criteria for getting an investor visa for the United States of America. We at Davies and Associates LLC have helped hundreds of corporations, successfully set up their businesses in the country, and we would love to hear from you in case you have any further questions.

5 Advantages of Taking EB-5 Visa Through Regional Center

The EB-5 visa is usually the quickest, most straightforward way to a Green Card to the United States. Applicants are able to secure a Green Card for themselves, their spouses and any children under the age of 21 within an average of around 18 months. There are two different routes to a Green Card. One is an investment of $1 million or $500,000 in setting up a new commercial enterprise. This is called the Direct EB-5 route and D&A is one of the few law firms with significant experience of this. The other, and by far the most popular option, is by investing with a Regional Center.

Why is the Regional Center route so popular?

  1. Compliance: It is important to remain compliant with EB-5 regulations so that there are no threats to the Green Card. One important requirement is that each EB-5 investment should create and sustain ten full-time American jobs. This can be a challenge to investors setting up their own business and non-compliance can put the investment and Green Card at risk. The Regional Centers are allowed a more complex calculation for job creation and, while there are never any guarantees, a good Regional Center can be expected to comply with the regulations on your behalf.
  2. Less work: EB-5 Investors simply need to place the requisite funds with the Regional Center and they do all the rest of the work for you. Setting up your own business comes with addition work, but of course, this can also be exciting and Davies & Associates Corporate Team is able to assist you every step of the way. Many of our clients decided to go the Regional Center route and then establish their own business when they have their Green Card. This means their business is not tied to EB-5 regulations and there is more leeway to grow the business in the most appropriate way.
  3. Lower investment: Regional centers usually locate their projects in so-called “Targeted Employment Areas” (TEAs), these are areas of high unemployment and rural areas. The EB-5 investment is actually set at $1 million, but this is halved to $500,000 if the investment is made in a TEA. People pursuing the Direct EB-5 route need to ensure that they establish their business in a TEA if they wish to make the lower investment. Davies & Associates is able to provide advice on this.
  4. Interesting Projects: Regional Centers invest in some truly exciting projects, from Golf Courses in Florida to hotels in Hollywood, California where all the A-list celebrities hang out. There are so many different projects with different business cases, it can be exciting selecting which project to invest in.
  5. Maximum flexibility: Investing in an EB5 regional center will give you utmost flexibility, in terms of not having to micro manage your investment. You are not required to live near the area where you have invested and you can travel and reside anywhere in the territory of the United States.

With over 800 Regional Centers of varying quality across the United States, it is vital to conduct due diligence on your chosen projects. Davies & Associates is uniquely positioned in that we have attorneys experienced in financial real estate who can provide advice on your chosen Regional Center and project.

EB-5: The Best Route for Russians Seeking a U.S. Education for their Children

Irina Lust

Irina Lust, Head of Russia Practice Group, Davies & Associates LLC
Irina Lust heads up our Russia Practice & East European Practice Group at D&A. She has been featured in multiple newspapers, tv shows, and print media publications for her opinion on US business immigration as it pertains to the Russian speaking world. Having immigrated to the United States from Siberia, Irina is a native Russian speaker.


Most of the Russians I speak to are reluctant to emigrate. They are proud of their country and those who choose to move overseas are often motivated by their children’s education. Since America has some of the best universities in the world, it is understandable that many Russians wish to send their children here. 

Almost 5,000 U.S. student visas were issued to Russian nationals last year – more than Great Britain and almost as many as France and Germany. These F-1 student visas are classified as non-immigrant visas and students must return to their country of origin after graduation, or in some cases, after the completion of an extra training period. 

This is not always enough. Many parents want to ensure their children can stay on after completion of studies. Working in the United States offers lots of professional and personal advantages, many of which can be brought back to Russia in the future. 

For those who can afford it, the EB-5 visa is the best solution to this. This visa allows the applicant, a spouse, and dependants under the age of 21 to live, work and study in the United States. It is the fastest route to a green card currently available to Russian nationals.

The EB-5 program requires an investment of $500,000 in an area of high unemployment or a $1 million investment in other parts of the United States. There are two routes open to investors: to make a direct investment in a new commercial enterprise, or to make an indirect investment through a government-approved “Regional Center” fund.

Regional Centers compete for investment from EB-5 applicants for a range of commercial real estate projects. This is usually the most straightforward route because the Regional Center ensures compliance on behalf of the applicant. For example, there is a requirement that each EB-5 investment should create and sustain ten full-time American jobs. There are over 800 Regional Centers of varying quality across the United States. Our team analyse Regional Center projects from a real-estate finance perspective and help clients identify any risks associated with these projects. 

While the overwhelming majority of clients opt for the Regional Center route, the Direct EB-5 route offers entrepreneurs exciting business opportunities in the United States. We are one of the few U.S. immigration firms with significant experience of this pathway, and both our immigration and corporate legal teams are able to offer end-to-end solutions for our clients. 

We have helped a number of Russian clients secure EB-5 visas over the years. As a Russian immigrant to the United States myself, I understand the joys and the challenges of this whole process. It has been my pleasure to build personal, as well as professional relationships with my clients, even, in some cases, touring university campuses so that they can realise their dream of an American education for their children. 

EB-5 Visas as an Alternative to the H1-B Visa

Mark Davies

Mark Davies,Mark Davies is Chairman and Managing Partner of Davies & Associates. Dual qualified as a lawyer in the U.S. and the UK, Mark chairs our Global Business and Investor Team


Most highly skilled Indians looking to move to the United States are familiar with the H1-B visa for specialty workers. Yet fewer know about another more reliable and less time-consuming pathway: the EB-5 Investor Visa program.

Nearly three quarters of all the H1-B visas set aside for highly-skilled migrants are awarded to people from India. But this most sought-after route to working in the United States has never faced more uncertainty. 

The H1-B visa is a lottery-based, non-immigrant visa that requires sponsorship from an applicant’s employer. Approval rates are subject to the inconsistent and ever-changing immigration landscape in the United States where immigration is a contentious political issue. 

Only about one in three applicants are successful in their quest for an H1-B visa. And even when work-visa petitions are approved by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), there is still a considerable amount of uncertainty that can discourage the sponsoring employer.  

The EB-5 visa offers a way to sidestep all this uncertainty. This program allows foreign immigrants to invest a minimum amount of $500,000 in the US economy and acquire a Green Card for their immediate family and themselves within a span of 18 – 20 months.

The applicant can choose to invest their money in a so-called Regional Center fund, which uses the money to build anything from hotels to golf courses across the United States. The Regional Center takes away all the burdens of reporting compliance to USCIS. For example, the Regional Center will prove that the investment is being used to create ten American jobs per applicant, which is a requirement of the EB-5 program. 

Since there are almost 1,000 Regional Centers of varying quality across the United States, it is vital that that an applicant selects an attorney who is not only experienced in EB-5 visas, but who also has business acumen. This will help them navigate this web of opportunities so as to maximize the chances of the investment capital being repaid and ensuring there are no risks to the green card.  

The EB-5 has grown steadily in popularity in the last two years and there is a chance that USCIS may start operating a waiting list for Indian nationals from 2019. Yet, for those who want to acquire the ability to work in the United States sooner, other options are available.


One possibility is the E-2 visa, which allows a person to live in the United States for the purpose of owning and running a qualifying business or enterprise. Such visas can initially be granted for any period up to five years, during which time the visa holder can travel freely into and out of the United States. E-2 visas can be renewed indefinitely, so long as there is still a need to manage and direct the underlying business. 

However, Indian nationals are not currently eligible for E-2 visas. Only countries with trade and commerce treaties with the United States can pursue this option and India and the United States do not currently have such a treaty in place. Nevertheless, the two countries have a long history of close economic ties, and the United States has just granted India Strategic Trade Authorization-1 (STA-1) status. This has eased controls on India’s defense and high technology exports. It is therefore possible that the two countries could negotiate an E-2 treaty in future, under which Americans would need to be grated reciprocal access to India. 

In the meantime, we have still managed to help our Indian clients secure E-2 visas. An increasing number of Indians are interested in “citizenship by investment” schemes operated by a range of countries around the world. For example, Davies & Associates has a well-established presence in Grenada, which offers a whole range of benefits, including a stable investment environment and a passport that has visa free access to 127 nations worldwide. Grenadian citizens are also eligible for E-2 visas, and we have assisted a number of clients with securing E-2 visas after they have become citizens of Grenada. 

The E-2 visa is cheaper than the EB-5 with shorter processing times, which means that many clients choose to combine an EB-5 with an E-2 visa. E-2 processing times can be as little as one month and can cost around $100,000.00 depending on the business being developed. Pursuing an E-2 visa allows clients to live and work in the United States whilst their EB-5 application is being processed. The Grenadian authorities are also very efficient and the processing time for the Grenada Citizenship by Investment Programme is less than three months. This programme requires a $150,000 donation to Grenada’s National Transformation Fund or a $350,000 investment in real estate offers the possibility of Grenadian citizenship. 

Another possibility is the L-1 visa, which allows an Indian investor to expand their existing business into the United States. If a person has owned a business that they have worked at for more than one year, they may be able to obtain an L-1 non-immigrant visa by opening a branch in the United States. It is vital to have a carefully prepared business plan and to have an understanding of the complex tax and other reporting requirements. Indian consultants and advisors are not authorized by the United States government to give immigration advice. It is vital that clients engage a licensed L-1 Visa lawyer to increase their chances of submitting a successful application. After one year, an L-1 visa-holder may be able to apply for a green card as an international manager or executive through the EB1-C program.


So the high-rejection rate and uncertainty surrounding the H1-B visa program need not spell the end of an applicant’s American dream. The key is to find a competent and experienced immigration attorney who will work closely with an applicant to find the most appropriate solution to keep their dream alive. 

Why the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa is the Next Best Thing to a Green Card

Verdie Atienza

By Verdie Atienza,Head of E-2 visas & Philippines Practice Group, Davies & Associates LLC,
Verdie Atienza leads the L1/E2 team at Davies & Associates. He is dual qualified to practice law in Philippines and the United States. As an immigrant to the United States, Verdie handled his own adjustment of status application and retains a strong interest in all kinds of immigration issues.


The E-2 nonimmigrant classification permits a national of a treaty country (a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation) to be admitted to the United States when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. Certain employees of such a person or of a qualifying organization may also be eligible for this classification.

You may follow the link below to check the list of the treaty countries:

Treaty Countries

To qualify for E-2 classification, the treaty investor must:

  • Be a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation
  • Have invested, or be actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States
  • Be seeking to enter the United States solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise. This is established by showing at least 50% ownership of the enterprise or possession of operational control through a managerial position or other corporate device.

Below are the specific reasons why the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa may be the next best thing to a green card:

1.Quick Processing Times

If one already in the U.S. on another lawful non-immigrant status, there is an option to apply to change status to E-2. The Treaty Investor applicant may choose premium processing by paying an additional fee of $1,410. With premium processing, USCIS will adjudicate the application within 15 days.

On the other hand, if one is outside the U.S., consular processing is the way to go. Processing time varies with every Embassy or Consulate. It usually takes the E-2 Consular Section around two weeks to a little over a month to review the E-2 visa application before they schedule the appointment for interview. 

2.Relatively Less Capital Investment Needed

There is no minimum capital investment required but the investment amount must be logical and reasonable in relation to the nature of the business. In general, we recommend an investment of at least $100,000. The investment amount varies depending on the nature of the business. A service-oriented business like a consulting company will require less capitalization as compared to a full-service real estate company which will require more than $100,000. 

3.Funds to be Invested may come from various sources

The funds to be invested should be the personal funds of the applicant. The funds may come from employment or business income or from the sale of property. The funds may also be from a loan provided it is not secured by the E-2 enterprise or its assets. 

Interestingly, the funds may also be gifted to the applicant. If the applicant, does not have enough personal funds, relatives and even friends may gift additional funds to the applicant.

4.Control of Investment Funds and the Treaty Enterprise

The treaty investor applicant will come to the US to develop and direct the enterprise. Essentially, the applicant has discretion as to how he wants to spend start-up funds or working capital for the success of the enterprise. The applicant is responsible for making all business decisions to ensure that the enterprise will be a success.

5.You may opt for a franchise

It can be challenging to make start-up company a success. With the franchise option, the applicant has all kinds of support from the franchisor to make sure that the E-2 enterprise will meet its targets and generate revenues and employment. There are numerous franchise opportunities in the US that are suitable for the E-2 visa that do not cost a fortune.

6.Dependents are entitled to E-2 derivative visas

The spouse and dependent children of the treaty investor applicant qualify for E-2 derivative visas should the application be approved. With the derivative visa, the spouse may apply for Employment Authorization Document and work for any employer in the US while the children are permitted to study in American public schools.

7.Flexibility with Travel

Since the E-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa, there is no requirement to establish residence or domicile in the US. The applicant is free to travel for as long as the E-2 visa is valid. This is an important advantage especially for individuals who have businesses in various parts of the world.

8.Potential Tax Advantages 

Depending on the duration of stay in the US, the treaty investor applicant may potentially be classified as a non-resident and therefore not be liable for tax on worldwide income. Consultation and tax planning is highly recommended especially for high net worth individuals who choose to apply for the E-2 visa.

9.Relatively Low Legal Cost

The legal and filing fees to obtain an E-2 visa are significantly less than legal and filing fees for other visa categories like the EB-5 visa or the Immigrant Investor Program. Our firm offers a fixed fee so the applicant has the assurance that he or she will not pay exorbitant legal fees.