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

221g Administrative Processing – What is it and What Can be Done

Pursuant to your non-immigrant visa (L, H-1B, E-2, O-1) interview, the consular officer will typically indicate whether they are approving or refusing/denying the visa.  But at times, officers may require additional information due to which they are unable to approve or deny the visa at the end of the interview.  In such instances, the officer will “refuse” the visa application placing it under “221g Administrative Processing,” requiring further scrutiny.  Generally, the applicant will receive a notice from the consular officer indicating that their case is undergoing administrative processing, and in some situations, listing further documents that may be needed.

There’s often confusion that a “Refused” visa status on the Department of State’s case portal means that the visa was denied. A Refused status in the context of administrative processing does not mean that the visa was denied or that the refusal is final; it means that the final decision is put on hold until necessary checks are completed.  A refusal may be overcome by providing further information and/or documents as may have been requested by the consulate.

Possible Reasons for Administrative Processing

  • Additional Background Checks – In certain situations, a consular officer will need to verify or confirm certain data.  For example, in H-1B cases, where the applicant will be deployed to an end-client worksite, common in the IT industry, the officer may need to contact the end client to verify assignment and worksite details or employer-employee relationship. 
  • Missing Documentation or Information – If any material information is missing or inaccurate, the officer will likely not make a decision and request further information or clarification as they deem fit. 
  • Criminal Background – If an applicant has a criminal record, the consular officer may need to conduct additional checks to determine their visa eligibility and further evidence such as police and court records may be needed.
  • Prior Visa denial – A prior visa denial does not necessarily hinder obtaining a visa in the same category (or a different one).  That said, if an applicant is unable to satisfactorily explain the change in circumstances from the last visa denial if applying in the same visa category, the consular officer may issue a 221g notice requesting further documentary evidence to clarify change in circumstances.  
  • Material Misrepresentation or Fraud Suspicion – Should an officer suspect fraud, for example, material inconsistencies in information provided in the petition and the applicant’s responses, the consular officer may want to perform additional checks or forward the application to their Fraud Prevention Unit for further investigation, which could involve employer site visits and interviews. 
  • Legal Question – In cases involving complex ownership corporate structures in the E-2 and L-1 visa context, an officer may want to seek guidance from higher authority or wish to review necessary departmental guidance and regulations. 
  • Petitioner Information Management Service (PIMS) – This generally happens when the underlying non-immigrant petition (filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) has not been updated at the Kentucky Service Center, which scans the duplicate into PIMS systems for consulates to access petition data.

 Timeline and What Can be Done?

There is, unfortunately, no predictable timeline to the administrative processing phase, it can take from a few weeks to several months. 

If the consulate requests specific documents or information via their letter or email, one should ensure that the requisite items are submitted promptly as per their submission instructions. 

DOS has stated that their goal is to complete administrative processing within 60 days.  It is advisable to write to the post (via email and through their online portal) regarding the status of your case if there’s no decision within this timeframe.  If you believe that the consular officer expressed concern regarding any specific point or that you were unable to answer a material question, it might help to address that particular concern or question by way of an email to the consulate.

If the case is stuck in administrative delay for  n excessive period of time, a Mandamus lawsuit could be an option, seeking a U.S. court’s order to direct the post to adjudicate the visa application.

Once the administrative processing is complete, the consulate will issue the visa or refuse/deny it.  In cases where fraud is suspected, the consulate may return the petition to the USCIS with a recommendation for revocation. 

What to Bear in Mind

Administrative processing not only prolongs visa adjudication but to an extent, adds an element of uncertainty; hence it’s important to apply well in advance and factor in such delays.  Certain factors prompting administrative delays are beyond one’s control.  That said, to minimize chances of such delays, the applicant should be prepared to answer all questions as best they can and truthfully.  If you believe there’s anything in the petition or your background that might warrant scrutiny, ensure that you have the necessary explanation and supporting evidence if any.  And very importantly, it helps greatly to understand the requirements of your visa category and be well versed with key petition documents.  As good practice, one should carry all pertinent paperwork to the interview.

D&A attorneys routinely assist and guide visa applicants in the consular processing stage.  Please feel free to contact us if you require assistance in this regard.


This article has been written by Zeenat Phophalia, Esq. Of Counsel, Davies & Associates, India Office.

Zeenat Phophalia is qualified to practice law in New York, United Kingdom and India. She practices in the area of U.S. immigration law with a focus on business immigration, and has represented corporate clients including large and medium sized companies and startups across sectors such as IT, consulting, consumer goods, manufacturing and telecommunications.

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


L1 Visa India

United States Sets Visa Records in India in 2023

In a recent press release, the U.S. Mission in India has stated that in 2023, the consular team in India processed more non-immigrant and immigrant visas than ever before – a record-breaking 1.4 million.  There was a 60% hike in visa applications compared to the previous year, with demands surging across all visa categories.

Employment visas remain a top priority.  Consular officers in India processed over 380,000 employment visas (L-1, H-1B, etc.) for Indians and their family members in 2023 alone. Most petition-based visa processing was consolidated in cities such as Chennai and Hyderabad to increase efficiency and maintain minimal appointment wait times.  

The U.S. stateside 2024 pilot program which has kicked off, allows certain H-1B employees to renew their visas in the U.S., further streamlining processing.

The post in Mumbai which processes immigrant visas in India eliminated a queue of over 31,000 immigrant visa cases delayed by the pandemic.  Immigrant visa applicants can now obtain an appointment within the standard, pre-pandemic appointment window.

The U.S. Mission continues to invest in the future of consular services in India and explore ways to provide more efficient and convenient services.  

Source: https://in.usembassy.gov/


This article has been written by Zeenat Phophalia, Esq. Of Counsel, Davies & Associates, India Office.

Zeenat Phophalia is qualified to practice law in New York, United Kingdom and India. She practices in the area of U.S. immigration law with a focus on business immigration, and has represented corporate clients including large and medium sized companies and startups across sectors such as IT, consulting, consumer goods, manufacturing and telecommunications.

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


H1-B visa India Interview

The Pilot Program to Renew H-1B Visa Applications within the U.S 

The Department of state has launched a pilot program to resume visa renewals for qualified H-1B non-immigrant visa applicants within the U.S. nearly after two decades.

The program has started from January 29, 2024, through April 1, 2024, or when all application slots are filled, whichever comes first. Under this program the department will make a maximum of 20,000 application slots available for approximately 4,000 per week for applicants whose most recent H-1B visa was issued by U.S. Mission India with an issuance date of February 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021, and for applicants whose most recent H-1B was issued by U.S. Mission Canada with an issuance date of January 1, 2020, through April 1, 2023.

This move will help to reduce the workload on officers at the U.S. consulate abroad and also the H1-B beneficiary could continue stay within the country while the visa is being processed. This move will surely a good start, if and when the program becomes permanent it would be a smooth renewal process.

Who are eligible for renewal within the country?

Applicants who fulfil the below criteria shall be eligible for renewal within the country

· Seek to renew an H-1B nonimmigrant visa only;

· Prior H-1B visa that is being renewed was issued by U.S. Mission India or by U.S. Mission Canada;

· Are not subject to a non-immigrant visa issuance fee also known as commonly “reciprocity fee”;

· Are eligible for a waiver of the in-person interview requirement;

· Have submitted ten fingerprints to the Department in connection with a previous visa application;

· Prior visa does not include a “clearance received” annotation;

· Do not have a visa ineligibility that would require a waiver prior to visa issuance;

· Were most recently admitted to the United States in H-1B status;

· Are currently maintaining H-1B status in the United States;

· Have an approved and unexpired H-1B petition;

· Period of authorized admission in H-1B status has not expired; and

· Intend to re-enter the United States in H-1B status after a temporary period abroad.

If the above criteria’s are met then the applicants must submit following list of documents and fees to renew the visa within the U.S.

· A DS-160 barcode sheet for a properly completed and electronically filed form DS-160, Online Non-immigrant Visa Application

· A passport valid for travel to the United States, which is valid for at least six months beyond the visa application date, and contains at least two blank, unmarked pages for placement of a visa foil. RECOMMENDED: A passport containing the most recently issued H-1B visa if the visa is not in the current passport

· Non-refundable and non-transferable $205.00 MRV application processing fee

· One photograph not older than six months

· Copy of current Form I-797, Notice of Action

· Copy of Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record

The department is processing only H-1B Visa and not H-4 visas under the program. However, if the program becomes permanent then maybe more non-immigrant visa category shall be added such as L-1 visas, E-2 Visa, etc.


This article has been written by Sukanya Raman, Davies & Associates, India Office.

Sukanya is an Independent Consultant working the capacity of Associate of the firm’s Bengaluru office. She earned her first undergraduate degree in Commerce from Mumbai University in 2013 and her second undergraduate degree in Law from Indian Law Society’s Law College, Pune at Savitribai Phule Pune University in 2017.

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


S

Importance of Timely Extension Filings and USCIS Update 

A foreign worker on a non-immigrant visa status in the United States (such as L-1, H-1B, E-2, etc.) may be needed to stay longer and work beyond the expiry of their admitted stay that was granted at the time of entering the United States, or as per their latest I-94, in which case the filing of an extension petition may become necessary.  The foreign worker’s US employer will file the I-129 with the USCIS, requesting to extend their non-immigrant status.  Extension petitions can be filed only if the employee (beneficiary) is present in the US at the time of filing.   

USCIS will generally not grant an extension approval if the foreign workers have failed to maintain their non-immigrant status or if their status has expired before the extension petition filing date.  Even during the validity period of their granted stay in the US, an employee could fall out of status; for example, an L-1 employee could lose their status if there is a structural change in the foreign employer abroad resulting in severance of the “qualifying relationship” between the foreign and US employer, as required for L-1 purposes. 

The timing of filing the extension petition is crucial as it has implications.  A late filing of an extension request, meaning filing after the expiry of the granted stay (generally until expiry of latest I-94), can result in them falling out of status.  This can at times have dire consequences, as unlawful presence in the US beyond certain prescribed periods trigger various bars to entering the country.  Thus, it’s very important to keep a track of petition/expiry dates and ensure timely filings of extension requests to avoid undesirable situations.   

Under certain circumstances, USCIS has discretion to condone late extension filings.  These circumstances are: 

  • Delay was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond the person’s control; 
  • The length of delay was commensurate with the circumstances; 
  • The person has not otherwise violated their nonimmigrant status; 
  • The person remains a bona fide nonimmigrant; and 
  • The person is not the subject of removal proceedings and deportation proceedings. 

On January 25, 2024, USCIS updated their Policy Manual to clarify extraordinary circumstances that would allow USCIS discretion to excuse untimely extension filings.  These circumstances include situations where delay arose from a stoppage of work involving a strike, lockout, or other labor dispute; or due to inability to obtain a certified labor condition application due to a lapse in government funding supporting those adjudications. 

If USCIS approves an untimely extension petition, the approval is effective as of the date of the expiration of the prior non-immigrant admission period.  


This article has been written by Zeenat Phophalia, Esq. Of Counsel, Davies & Associates, India Office.

Zeenat Phophalia is qualified to practice law in New York, United Kingdom and India. She practices in the area of U.S. immigration law with a focus on business immigration, and has represented corporate clients including large and medium sized companies and startups across sectors such as IT, consulting, consumer goods, manufacturing and telecommunications.

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


US Visa application - Immigration lawyer

New Guidance on Employer Ability to Pay in Certain Green Card Cases 

On January 5, 2024, the USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) issued a Policy Guidance regarding analysis of an employer’s ability to pay the proffered wage in certain I-140 cases involving change of employers.

US employers seeking to sponsor workers under the EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3 employment-based immigrant classifications that require a job offer are required to demonstrate their continuing ability to pay the proffered wage to the worker from the priority date of the immigrant petition until the time that the worker acquires permanent resident status. The employer/petitioner’s ability to pay the wage as stated on Form I-140 is one of the essential elements that USCIS weighs in evaluating whether the job offer is realistic. 

To demonstrate ability to pay, 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’s statement attesting to the employer’s ability to pay the proffered wage if they have 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 I-140. 

USCIS’ updated guidance explains that when the beneficiary of an I-140 immigrant petition moves (or “ports”) to a new employer under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000 (AC21) while their I-140 is in process, USCIS determines the ability to pay requirements only by reviewing the facts in existence from the priority date until the filing of the I-140.   

The AC21 provisions allow a beneficiary of a pending I-140 to port to a new employer provided their adjustment of status application (I-485) is pending for at least 180 days and the new job offer is in the same or similar occupational classification as the earlier one.  USCIS clarifies that an unadjudicated or pending petition is not valid merely because it was filed with USCIS or through the passage of 180 days, rather, the beneficiary must have been entitled to the employment-based classification at the time of such filing, and therefore must be approved prior to a favorable determination on a portability request.  

The guidance, which is effective immediately, is controlling and supersedes any related prior guidance.  It builds on the prior guidance from March 15, 2023, on how USCIS analyzes employers’ ability to pay the proffered wage, covered in D&A’s blog: New Policy Guidance on Employer’s Ability to Pay in I-140 Filings (usimmigrationadvisor.com) 

USCIS is also making other minor technical revisions to improve clarity and streamline existing guidance. 

Source: USCIS Issues Policy Guidance on “Ability to Pay” Requirement When Adjustment of Status Applicants Change Employers | USCIS


This article has been written by Zeenat Phophalia, Esq. Of Counsel, Davies & Associates, India Office.

Zeenat Phophalia is qualified to practice law in New York, United Kingdom and India. She practices in the area of U.S. immigration law with a focus on business immigration, and has represented corporate clients including large and medium sized companies and startups across sectors such as IT, consulting, consumer goods, manufacturing and telecommunications.

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


USA Immigration

U.S. Stateside Renewal Pilot To Kick Off in Jan 2024 

The much-anticipated stateside renewal pilot program is set to run from January 29 to April 1, 2024.  Under the pilot, certain H-1B visa holders will be able to renew their visas within the United States, without having to leave the country for visa stamping.   

The program is limited to a total of 20,000 visa applications.  4,000 application slots will be opened up by the State Department every week, from January 29 through Feb 26.  

While the pilot is currently applicable to H-1B employees only, there is a possibility of it being expanded in the near future to other non-immigrant visa categories like the L-1. 

To qualify under the pilot for domestic visa renewal, the H-1B worker, who has an approved and unexpired H-1B petition and is seeking to renew their visa stamp must: 

  • Have been issued the visa by Mission Canada with an issuance date from January 1, 2020, through April 1, 2023; or by Mission India with an issuance date of February 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021; 
  • Not be subject to a nonimmigrant visa issuance fee (“reciprocity fee”);  
  • Be eligible for an in-person interview waiver;  
  • Have been fingerprinted in the past in connection with a prior visa; 
  • Not have a prior visa that includes a “clearance received” annotation;  
  • Not have a visa ineligibility that would require a waiver prior to visa issuance;  
  • Be currently maintaining H-1B status in the United States;  
  • Have a period of authorized admission in H-1B status that has not expired; and 
  • Intend to re-enter the US in H-1B status after a temporary period abroad. 

 Eligible applicants will be able to apply for renewal through the State Department’s dedicated domestic visa renewal website by submitting the DS-160 and paying the requisite fee, after which applications will then be sorted to determine whether they fall within the scope of the pilot. 

Source: 2023-28160.pdf (federalregister.gov)

D&A will closely follow this development and provide updates as and when they become available. 


This article has been written by Zeenat Phophalia, Esq. Of Counsel, Davies & Associates, India Office.

Zeenat Phophalia is qualified to practice law in New York, United Kingdom and India. She practices in the area of U.S. immigration law with a focus on business immigration, and has represented corporate clients including large and medium sized companies and startups across sectors such as IT, consulting, consumer goods, manufacturing and telecommunications.

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


EB5 Visa for Vietnamese Investor: Direct versus Regional Center - what is the better option

Visa EB5 cho Nhà đầu tư Việt Nam 2023 – 2024: Trực tiếp so với Trung tâm vùng – lựa chọn nào tốt hơn?

Ngày 2/12/2023, một sự kiện toàn cầu về di cư và đầu tư được tổ chức tại Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh bởi John Hu Migration Consulting, với chủ đề nổi bật là cung cấp cập nhật về chương trình visa EB-5, thu hút doanh nghiệp và nhà đầu tư Việt Nam đang tìm kiếm cơ hội tại Hoa Kỳ.

Tại sự kiện, ông Mark Davies, nhà sáng lập của hãng luật chuyên về di trú và định cư Davies & Cộng sự, và ông Simon Thien Nguyen, Chuyên viên Đầu tư giàu kinh nghiệm của hãng, chia sẻ những hiểu biết quý báu về các tùy chọn khác nhau trong chương trình thị thực visa EB-5 dành cho nhà đầu tư Việt Nam. Các thông tin được luật sư chia sẻ nhằm giúp nhà đầu tư Việt Nam hiểu rõ hơn về các lựa chọn visa khác nhau để bắt đầu kinh doanh tại Hoa Kỳ.

Điểm chính về triển vọng Visa EB-5 cho nhà đầu tư Việt Nam trong giai đoạn 2023 – 2024:

Luật sư Davies đảm nhiệm phần thảo luận, tóm tắt về chương trình EB-5 và giải thích về các lựa chọn cho nhà đầu tư Việt Nam. Diễn giả đi sâu vào chi tiết về chương trình EB-5, mang đến cho mọi người cái nhìn rõ ràng về các con đường visa mà doanh nghiệp và nhà đầu tư có thể tham khảo.

Visa EB5 hình thức đầu tư trực tiếp (direct) so với Trung tâm Vùng (regional center): Lựa chọn nào cho nhà đầu tư Việt trong 2023 – 2024?

Luật sư Mark Davies nói về một vấn đề phổ biến mà nhà đầu tư Việt Nam thường gặp: lựa chọn giữa các chương trình visa EB-5 Trực tiếp và EB-5 Trung tâm Vùng.

Luật sư nhấn mạnh tầm quan trọng của việc giảm thiểu rủi ro khi đầu tư visa EB5, đặc biệt là khi xem xét tùy chọn Trung tâm Vùng. Luật sư nhấn mạnh ưu điểm của việc giảm rủi ro khi chọn đầu tư Visa EB5 dạng Trung Tâm Vùng, khi khách hàng nhận được sự cố vấn và hỗ trợ của nhiều bên: đại diện trung tâm vùng, chủ đầu tư, luật sư cố vấn và công ty tư vấn đầu cư định cư. Việc này sẽ giúp khách hàng tránh được rủi ro nhiều hơn hình thức EB5 trực tiếp, giảm trách nhiệm quản lý một doanh nghiệp EB-5 độc lập, nơi yêu cầu tạo ra và duy trì 10 việc làm.

Trả lời câu hỏi của người tham dự sự kiện về EB5:

Visa EB5 cho nhà đầu tư Việt Nam 2023 trực tiếp và trung tâm vùng

Tại sự kiện cũng diễn ra một phiên hỏi và đáp cùng các nhà đầu tư về việc sử dụng tài khoản escrow. Những câu trả lời của ông nhấn mạnh về tầm quan trọng của việc có một công ty luật đáng tin cậy giám sát quy trình, đảm bảo rằng quỹ của nhà đầu tư được xử lý một cách an toàn theo quy định của EB-5.

Tổng kết, Davies & Associates LLC, đại diện bởi ông Mark Davies và ông Simon Thien Nguyen, đóng vai trò quan trọng trong việc giúp mọi người hiểu rõ hơn về chương trình visa EB-5. 

Sự kiện không chỉ giới thiệu về chuyên môn của công ty trong lĩnh vực pháp lý nhập cư mà còn đối mặt với những lo ngại quan trọng của nhà đầu tư, như việc sử dụng tài khoản Escrow. Bằng cách làm rõ những khía cạnh này, Davies & Associates LLC mong muốn tiếp tục hỗ trợ doanh nghiệp và nhà đầu tư điều hướng thành công trong thế giới phức tạp của chương trình EB-5.


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


EB5 Visa for Vietnamese Investor: Direct versus Regional Center - what is the better option

EB5 Visa for Vietnamese Investor 2023 – 2024: Direct versus Regional Center – what’s the better option?

On 12/2/2023, a special global migration and investing event was organized in Ho Chi Minh City by John Hu Migration Consulting, with one of the notable topics being to explain the ins and outs of the EB-5 visa program, attracting Vietnamese businesses and investors looking for opportunities in the United States.

During the event, Mr. Mark Davies, who is the Managing Partner at Davies & Associates LLC, and Mr. Simon Thien Nguyen, an experienced Investment Consultant, shared valuable insights about the various options within the EB-5 visa program for Vietnamese Investors. They aimed to help Vietnamese investors understand the different visa choices available for starting a business in the U.S.

Key Points about EB-5 Visa outlooks for Vietnamese in 2023 – 2024:

Mr. Davies led the discussion, providing a summary of the EB-5 program and explaining the choices for Vietnamese investors. The speaker went into the details of the EB-5 program, giving everyone a clear idea about the visa paths that businesses and investors can explore.

EB5 Direct vs. Regional Center:

A key point discussed at the event was Mr. Mark Davies talking about a common problem that investors often face: deciding between the EB-5 Direct and EB-5 Regional Center programs.

He stressed how important it is to reduce risks, especially when considering the Regional Center option. Mr. Davies pointed out the benefit of involving different parties within the Regional Center structure, offering clients more support and lessening the responsibility of managing an EB-5 business on their own. Additionally, he highlighted the significance of job creation in the Direct EB5 model, where creating and maintaining 10 jobs is a requirement.

Interactive EB5 Q&A Session:

EB5 Visa for Vietnamese Investor: Direct versus Regional Center - what is the better option

We also had an interactive session where Mr. Davies answered questions from the audience, including concerns about using Escrow accounts. His responses emphasized the importance of having a reliable law firm oversee the process, ensuring that investors’ funds are handled securely according to EB-5 regulations.

In conclusion, Davies & Associates LLC, represented by Mr. Mark Davies and Mr. Simon Thien Nguyen, really seeks to help everyone understand the EB-5 visa program through reality – proven case studies.

The event also showcased the firm’s expertise in immigration law and addressed important concerns for investors, such as the use of Escrow accounts. By providing clarity on these aspects, Davies & Associates LLC hope to continue supporting businesses and investors navigating the complex world of the EB-5 program successfully.


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


US Immigration

US Visa Options for Entrepreneurs

Whether you are desiring to start a business in the United States or have established one already, you may be eligible for a non-immigrant or immigrant visa.  Fortunately, US immigration law provides multiple options in this regard. 

This article briefly touches on the popular routes available to foreign entrepreneurs seeking to live and run their business in the US. 

E-2 Treaty Investor Visa 

The E-2 visa is a great and often times, quick option for entrepreneurs seeking to establish a business in the United States or invest in an existing one.  The E-2 non-immigrant visa is available to nationals of specified countries that have a certain treaty with the US.  One must demonstrate a substantial investment in the US entity; there’s no prescribed minimum, and substantiality is generally assessed based on the proportion between the invested funds and value of the business.  Investments can be by way of cash, inventory, or intellectual property. The capital must be sufficient enough for the business’ operational success.  For example, while an investment of USD 60,000 may be substantial for a juicery, it would not work for a inventory-heavy or manufacturing business.  

An E2 visa can be renewed indefinitely as long as the business continues to operate and the investor – entrepreneur remains actively engaged in the business.  To qualify, the investor does not need to own or run a business in their country or if they do have one, the nature of the US E-2 business need not be the same as their foreign business.   

L-1 Intracompany Transferee Visa

The L-1A, a dual-intent nonimmigrant visa, is used for the transfer of qualified managerial and executive personnel from an overseas company to a related company in the United States. The key criteria are: (1) existence of a qualifying relationship between the foreign and US entity (the US entity should be a parent, subsidiary, affiliate or a branch of the foreign company); (2) the applicant should have worked in a managerial or executive capacity for the foreign employer abroad for at least a year (3) should be assuming a managerial or executive role in the US as well. 

An eligible foreign business owner desirous of expanding their business operations into the US or venturing into a new business line can apply for the L-1 visa for themselves.  The business need not be operational, an L-1 can be applied for “new office” purposes too, where the US business is a startup and has not been engaged in activities for more than a year.  Here as well, there is no prescribed minimum investment amount.  A founder and CEO of an established logistics and warehousing company in Vietnam for example, who is keen on starting and running a similar or different business or businesses in the US may be eligible for the L-1A visa option.  

EB-1C – Multinational Managers and Executives 

The EB-1C visa is a green card/immigrant visa category, available to certain multinational executives and managers who have been employed abroad for at least a year and whose employer is related to a U.S. company (by way of being a parent, subsidiary, affiliate or branch). The US EB-1C sponsor must be engaged in business for at least a year and must offer to employ the foreign applicant in a managerial or executive capacity in the United States.   

The US business does not need to be large; there’s no minimum revenue, earnings, investment or staff prescribed, even small businesses may qualify as long as the EB-1C requirements are met and the company can show the financial ability to pay for the proffered position. 

The EB-1C visa grants permanent resident status.  This category does not require the lengthy labor certification process and the wait time for obtaining a green card is significantly shorter compared to those of the other employment categories.  

EB-1C is a common route adopted by L-1A executives or managers employed in the US to transition to permanent residency.  EB-1C, however, is not limited to L-1 employees; it can be used to sponsor the green card for a multinational manager or executive who has not worked in L-1 status in the US as long as the visa requirements are met. 

EB-5 Investment (Direct) 

The EB-5 immigrant visa is reserved for foreign investors/entrepreneurs who are willing to invest capital in a new or existing business in the US, that will result in jobs for US workers.  Unlike the EB-5 regional center route, under direct EB-5, the investor invests his money directly into their own or a family member’s business which can be a new or an existing one.  The minimum amount is $800,000 in a commercial enterprise in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) or $1,050,000 in a non-TEA.  Business options under the EB-5 direct route can include retail, services industry, franchise model, restaurants, gas stations, manufacturing and so on. 

Upon approval of the I-526 which is the first stage, the investor will receive a two conditional green card, which later leads to permanent resident status upon fulfilment of certain criteria. 

O-1 Extraordinary Ability

The O-1 visa is reserved for individuals having extraordinary ability in business, education, sciences or athletics.  It’s a good option for accomplished entrepreneurs desirous of starting a new business in the US.  One has to demonstrate extraordinary ability by a documented record showing that they have sustained national or international acclaim, are recipients of awards, have testimonials form leading experts in their industry, among other things.  Evidence is usually in the form of media coverage, publications, press coverage, testaments from experts, etc. 

Similar to the L-1 or E-2, the investor’s own start-up company can sponsor them for the O-1 visa.  Unlike the EB-5, there is no minimum investment in the company.  The O-1 visa initially granted grants the entrepreneur 3 years with available extensions. 

EB-2 (National Interest Waiver) 

Certain entrepreneurs can also avail the Employment-Based (EB-2National Interest Waiver visa, which is an immigrant visa, leading to a green card.  There’s no US job offer or sponsor needed, the entrepreneur can self-petition.  The entrepreneur needs to demonstrate exceptional ability or that they have an advanced US degree along with demonstrating that their work has “substantial merit and national importance;” they are in a good position to achieve what’s stated in their business proposal, and that their endeavor on balance, would be beneficial to waive the job offer requirement. 

Entrepreneur applicants must be ready to present multifaceted and specific evidence along with a very well-articulated business plan.  Evidence can include educational credentials and work experience, investments, revenue growth and job creation, awards, grants, media and press coverage, testament from leading experts and industry organizations and so on. 


This article has been written by Zeenat Phophalia, Esq. Of Counsel, Davies & Associates, India Office.

Zeenat Phophalia is qualified to practice law in New York, United Kingdom and India. She practices in the area of U.S. immigration law with a focus on business immigration, and has represented corporate clients including large and medium sized companies and startups across sectors such as IT, consulting, consumer goods, manufacturing and telecommunications.

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


Technology Visas

L-1A Petition Approved for Tech Company Managers

Davies & Associates is pleased to share another approval of an L-1A Visa petition, this time for an Armenian national. The beneficiary is the second executive to be transferred to the the US company from the Armenia firm.

We initially secured approval of the L-1 Visa new office petition for its CEO and now we have secured approval of the petition for the second beneficiary who will assume the position of Vice President for Customer Success.

The L-1A Visa is a non-immigrant category for multi-national managers and executives who are transferring to the existing or newly established US office of their foreign company. The visa is valid for up to seven years, during which time it is possible to apply for US permanent residency (Green Card) under the EB-1c Visa route.

The client’s foreign company is based in Yerevan, Armenia and it is involved in data center and telecommunications industries. It has developed an intent-based lifecycle management platform for open networking. The US company is a subsidiary of the foreign company. The subsidiary was set up in the US to replicate the foreign company’s success in the US and have access to a bigger market. 

Prior to the approval of this second petition, we also had the CEO’s L-1A status extended. The extension petition and the petition for the second executive of the US company were both approved without a “Request for Evidence” RFE).

He is interested in pursuing EB-1C Visa, which is a Green Card option for International Executives & Managers.


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.