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.


Investor Visa Application Price Increase

Mastering E2 Visa Interview Questions With Expert Tips

E2 Treaty Investor Visa

An E2 Investment Visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows nationals of E2 treaty countries to reside in the US with their families. Each E2 investor is required to make a substantial investment in a U.S. enterprise or business.

A treaty country is defined as a country that has a signed treaty with the United States or with a qualifying international agreement, or which has been deemed qualified by legislation. A list of E2 visa countries is available by following this link.

The E2 Treaty Investor Visa allows you to start a successful business in the U.S. and stay in the U.S. indefinitely. The E-2 Visa process for applying for this visa can be complex. After submitting your application and documents, you will need to arrange an appointment to attend an interview with the immigration officer in your local US consulate to answer any questions regarding your application and provide additional information should it be needed.

It is also possible to change status to E2 status from within the United States. As an applicant for change of status is already in the US E2 visa is not initially needed. Once a person and an interview can be avoided. However, upon leaving the US a person in visa status will need to obtain an E2 visa at a US consulate.

E 2 Visa Expectations

An E-2 Visa interview has a number of purposes. An E-2 investment Visa interview serves to not only to verify your identity but also to check any information the visa applicant has provided in their application and to ensure that they satisfy all the requirements of the visa. If you’re the applicant, you may be asked to provide additional information even though you have provided all documents or information needed.

The interview is usually conducted by a consular officer who will ask questions related to your visa application and your future stay in the U.S. The officer may start with a few general and simple questions before going into detail about your application.

If you fail to answer your interview questions or simply fail to attend the interview itself without any reasonable explanation, your visa may be refused. So it’s important to attend and prepare for your interview.

The key to success in an E2 visa interview is to thoroughly understand your business and the business plan.

Preparing for an E2 Visa Interview

There’s nothing wrong with overpreparing yourself for your visa interview, especially since it will determine if you’re qualified for an E2 Visa. To help you prepare for your interview, we’ve highlighted some of the things you need to do:

Lay the groundwork

There’s nothing wrong with overpreparing yourself for your visa interview. You  have to bring necessary documents such as a complete copy of your E2 visa application process and copies of your and your family members’ passports, birth certificates and marriage certificates. Where the US business is already operations we also suggest brining updated business bank account statements to the interview. The interviewing officer may also request additional documents
before your interview, so you should be ready to submit them.

As the requirements at each US consular post vary we strongly suggest that applicants speak with an immigration lawyer experienced with E2 visa interviews at your consulate. They will be able to give more detailed guidance as to documents typically required at interview.

Study ahead of time

The interview will focus on your business and relevant personal qualifications in great detail. You must therefore be able to discuss in your business including source of funds, type of business, industry, and financial and personnel projections. The consular officer will ask extremely detailed questions to see and make sure your business can contribute to the U.S. economy.

Keep a calm composure

There are times that the consular officer will appear unfriendly or rude when they ask you questions, but it’s important to note that their job is to ascertain that everything you have provided is true. Always maintain a calm and professional composure throughout your interview.

Be cordial

Appearing confident during your interview will be helpful but also being warm and friendly. Make sure not to be overly friendly as you still need to appear courteous and respectful as well.

Take you lawyer with you

While some consulates do not allow lawyers to be present at visa interviews others do. Singapore and Zurich are amongst those consulates who have allowed lawyers to attend E2 visa interviews with their clients in the past.

Required Documents for an E2 Visa Interview

There are only a few documents that you will need to show and provide during your interview. A majority of the documents should have been submitted together with your visa application to the U.S. Consulate or Embassy.

  • DS-160 confirmation;
  • A printed interview appointment confirmation
  • A copy of your current and expired passports;
  • Evidence of any previously issued U.S. visas, if any;
  • Two coloured photographs that comply with the U.S. visa photo requirements. You are allowed to wear a headdress if required by the religious order in which you are a member;
  • A copy of the fee payment receipt; and
  • Proof of your nationality or immigration status with your home country such as bank statements, leases, property deeds, etc. It’s important to take note of the active E2 countries to make sure you’re qualified.

The consular officer may ask ahead of time for additional documents that you would need to submit during your interview, so you would need to bring them as well.

E2 Visa Interview Questions and Answers

During the interview process, the immigration officer may ask you a lot of things related to you and your investment. If you’re still nervous about your upcoming interview, we’ve highlighted some of the questions that may be asked to you divided into categories:

General

Why are you going to the U.S.?

Answer the reason why you’re going to the U.S., highlighting that you’re travelling to manage and control the E2 business.

Have you visited the U.S. previously?

Answer with a definite yes or no. The immigration officer may also ask about the specifics of your previous visits if there are any.

Do you have any family members in the U.S.?

Answer with a definite yes or no.

Do you intend to settle permanently in the U.S.?

Since the E2 Visa is a nonimmigrant visa, you need to answer no to make sure that your intent to depart is proven to the officer. Since the officer may want to know if you’re going to permanently live in the U.S., you may also provide evidence of your ties to your home country such as a dependent family member.

Do you have a family in your home country?

Answer with a definite yes or no.

Do you own or lease real estate, and vehicles, or own businesses?

Answer with a definite yes or no.

What do you plan to do once your visa expires?

Answer with your plans and goals after your visa expires.

Personal

What is your current job?

Answer with your current job title in your home country.

What is your source of income?

Answer with any source of income you may have including salary, pensions, and
businesses among others.

How did you meet your business partners? (if you have)

Answer with the reason you met your business partners, including how you
started the business.

How did you get the idea for the business?

Answer how you came up with the business.

Why do you think you’ll have a successful outcome for this business?

Answer how you think your business can give you success, highlighting any
financial trajectory you have.

How will you manage the business in the U.S.?

Answer with your clear plan on how will you manage your business and your
commitment to its success. You need to prove that you will be actively
involved in the management of the E2 business.

What is your long-term plan and goals for the business

Answer with your clear goals and plans for the business, including your
long-term plan. A more detailed business plan outlines your business’
projected outcomes and strategies.

What is your experience in business management?

Answer with any experience you have in managing a business. You may also
provide a resume or curriculum vitae to outline your experience in the
relevant and particular industry of your business.

Are there business interests you are actively involved in?

Answer with a definite yes or no.

What will be your role in the company?

Since the E2 Visa allows you to control the business in the U.S., you have to
answer a role that shows you have control over the business.

Investment-related

Is your investment committed to an active U.S. business?

Answer with a definite yes or no. You can also provide evidence that your
investment is irrevocably committed to the U.S. enterprise.

What are the details and nature of your investment?

Answer with the details of your investment such as the business type,
location, and amount.

How will you finance the investment?

Answer with the legal source of your investment funds. You may also provide
evidence such as bank statements and tax returns.

How much have you invested in the business?

Answer with the clear investment amount that you have placed for your E2
business.

What enterprise are you investing in the U.S.?

Answer with the type of enterprise you have invested in the U.S.

How will the U.S. economy benefit from your investment?

Answer how your investment will create jobs and contribute to the U.S.
economy, such as your plan for job creation or economic growth.

How many people are you planning to hire?

Answer with the number of people you’re hiring for your business, including
your plan on how to pay them.

Where do you think your business will be in 5 years?

Answer with your projection for your business in 5 years. As we have said,
your investment plan or business plan can give you a clear picture of the
trajectory of your investment.

As questions can vary by consulate we suggest contacting us for a list of
questions commonly asked at your consulate.

Maximising Chances of E2 Visa Approval

The E2 Visa application process can get complicated especially with its requirements. Moreover, you have to convince and satisfy the consular officer that you meet these requirements.

An E2 visa immigration lawyer can give you expert advice on how you can maximise your chances of getting approved for the visa. They can also give you an overview of what you can expect for the interview, and a list of relevant documents you can submit depending on your circumstance to cut down the processing time of E2 Visa. Additionally, they can give you advice on what to do should problems or issues arise during your interview and application process.

Take note that you can’t risk getting your E2 visa refused as it carries financial risk to your E2 business and will make you permanently ineligible for the ESTA waiver program.. If you’re not approved, you will  need to hire another person to oversee the business operations.


Eb-5 Visa Investment Level Increase

USCIS Announces Premium Processing Fee Increase for Form I-907

On December 27, 2023, USCIS has announced a final rule that will increase the filing fee for Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing, to adjust for inflation. The fee increase will take effect on February 26, 2024. The premium processing fee will be increased to $2,805 from $2,500.

More information: https://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/alerts/uscis-announces-inflation-adjustment-to-premium-processing-fees#:~:text=The%20adjustment%20increases%20certain%20premium,%241%2C965%2C%20and%20%242%2C500%20to%20%242%2C805.


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 Verdie J. Atienza, Esq., Senior Immigration Attorney, Head of E-2 and L-1 Visas Practice Team at Davies & Associates, New York Office.

Verdie J. Atienza is a Senior Attorney in charge of the firm’s L-1 and E-2 visa practice. He is a dual qualified lawyer in New York and in the Philippines and is qualified to practice immigration law in any state in the United States. 

 


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.