L-1A Visa – Benefits You Should Know [Infographic]

Do you dream of working and living in the United States of America? If you own a business, you should consider opening a branch of your company in the United States. You could then transfer yourself or a senior staff member to the USA on an L-1A Visa for the purposes of running that business. The business does not need to be in exactly the same field as your existing business, provided the ownership is the same. Unlike the H1B visa, there is no quota and the visa can be granted for a longer period of time.

 

 

 

 

It is always best to avail the services of a qualified immigration lawyer to determine the best immigration route to suit your particular circumstances. At Davies & Associates LLC, we are a leading immigration law firm having a top team of expert lawyers across the United States processing L1 visas every single day, reach out to us now!

 

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The Largest E Visa Market in the World

Cost of EB 5 Visa

Duncan Hill is marketing director at Davies & Associates LLC. Duncan is not a lawyer and nothing in this blog constitutes legal advice.

 

Our team is heading to the Land of the Rising Sun amid strong demand for the E2 Visa. Davies & Associates has one of the strongest E2 legal teams in the business and we enjoy high success rates as a result.

 

Japan has the highest number of E2 Visa applicants in the world. Although this is somewhat unsurprising given Japan’s preeminent business culture and strong commercial ties with the United States, the numbers are staggering. 75% of all E visas issued in Asia last year went to Japanese citizens. In fact, 25% of all E visas globally were issued in Japan.

In addition, the country registered consistently strong demand for L visas with Japanese citizens claiming 7% of a much larger global total last year.

 

And the country’s appetite for US investor visas continues to grow. E visas overtook student visas as the most popular visa category last year, and EB-5 applications also registered a sharp growth in 2018.

 

Our Senior Leadership team in bound for Japan and available to consult on a range of USA visas, as well as the Grenada Citizenship by Investment Programme, as well as exciting new Italian residency options. Contact us for a free consultation.


5 Reasons Why One Should Apply for an Investor Visa for the USA

Cost of EB 5 Visa

Girish Mohile is an Associate with D&A based in Mumbai, India. Girish works as local Business Development representative for the firm and acts as liaison between Indian clients and US attorneys on their source of funds. Girish is not licensed to practice law in the United States and nothing in this blog constitutes legal advice.

 

US, while known for its competitiveness and robustness in the market, offers the most exciting business entrepreneurship to its residents and foreign investors. However for investing in the US market, it is imperative to hold an investor visa which comes with some additional benefits to look out for. Here is a list of reasons why one should apply for an investor visa for the USA:

  1. Largest consumer market

The GDP of US generates around USD 20 trillion and is a home to over 300 million people and has some of the highest household spending in the world. Hence the consumer market offers ample amount of business opportunities to the investors. Investor visa for the USA can help the investor access the consumer market.

 

  1. Hub of innovation

US has been recognized in the world as a leading nation for research and development as the nation offers a safe place for new innovations. Person holding an investor visa can apply for patent, copyrights and trademark.

 

  1. Talented workforce

US has some of the best universities and in the initial stages, the public school offers free education. There is an option to join vocational training school in case someone is not keen to pursue University education. Overall, due to the higher education rate in the country, a talented and creative workforce would come handy for an investor visa holder.

 

  1. Abundance of resources

Since US is a huge country, it holds borders with other countries with diverse climate and hence has no shortage of resources. Resources like minerals and metals are in abundance in the country and would be abundantly rewarding to investor visa holder.

 

  1. Competitive and robust market

US due to its massive landscape, gives an opportunity to the investors to invest in fields which impact the market globally. Industries like aerospace, chemicals, consumer goods, energy, environmental technology are cutting edge and developed. This gives a huge impetus to an investor visa holder.

To take utmost advantage of abovementioned benefits, seeking professional help while applying for  US business immigration and US visa investment program is of paramount importance.


EB-5 Visa Price to Rise to $900,000

Cost of EB 5 Visa

Duncan Hill is marketing director at Davies & Associates LLC. Duncan is not a lawyer and nothing in this blog constitutes legal advice.

 

The clock in now ticking. The minimum price of an EB-5 visa is to increase by 80% to $900,000 as of November 21, 2019. Anyone wishing to lock in the current $500,000 rate should act fast. 

 

A key requirement of the program is to document that the funds used to pay for EB-5 have come from legitimate sources, and this can take time. In India, our largest market, it takes an average of two months to prove source of funds, which effectively narrows the window to a deadline of late September. 

 

The $900,000 rate is only for investments made in areas of high unemployment, which are so-called “Targeted Employment Areas” (TEAs). The price of investments made outside these areas will rise to $1.8 million from the current $1 million.  

 

What constitutes a TEA is also likely to change when the new rules come into effect in November. Currently, individual states determine their own TEAs, but from November, this will be determined by the Department for Homeland Security instead. This change is designed to prevent wealthy districts being packaged together into a TEA with poorer ones.  

 

The increase is not as steep as initially feared. The industry had been expecting the minimum investment level inside a TEA to increase to $1.35 million. This figure would have taken account of inflation since the program started in the 1990s. However, the US authorities opted for the lower level to maintain the same differential with EB-5 investments placed outside a TEA. 

 

With an expected rush of applications over the next few months, anyone able to afford the higher rate may prefer to wait. By conducting due diligence on your Regional Center project or direct investment, you maximize the chances of having your money returned along with your Green Card – whether it be $500,000 or $900,000. 

 

Davies & Associates continues to position itself at the forefront of the industry and we have been quoted in India’s leading newspapers on this issue. This includes the Times of India, the Hindu, the Financial Express, and the Hindu Business Line

 

Indian-born clients also have the additional complication of visa retrogression, so we recommend discussing this with us directly. We will have a large team in India over the next few months helping our Indian clients with EB-5, as well as discussing alternative and temporary options such as the L1 visa, Grenadian Citizenship by Investment, and the E2 visa. 

 

Outside of India, we have a large team of multi-lingual attorneys working with our global clients on their source of funds and I526 filing. 

 

Contact us as soon as possible to maximise your chances of locking in the current EB-5 rules and rates.


EB-5 Visa Potential Fee Hike – File Your Application Now

Cost of EB 5 Visa

Duncan Hill is marketing director at Davies & Associates LLC. Duncan is not a lawyer and nothing in this blog constitutes legal advice.

The cost of an EB-5 visa may soon increase as planned changes to the investment requirements moved a step closer to reality yesterday. The EB-5 visa, which currently requires a minimum investment of $500,000, is one of the fastest and most straightforward routes to a United States Green Card.

The required investment amount has not been changed since the program’s inception in the 1990s and calls have been made for this to be altered to take account of inflation. This would mean a new minimum investment level of $1.35 million per application if the investment is placed in a project in an area of high unemployment. Investments outside of these areas would increase to $1.8 million from the current $1 million.

Since this would have a significant impact on uptake, the industry has been pressing for a more modest increase. It is not yet clear which position has won out, so it is vital to keep an eye on developments and start preparing an application.

Grace Period

We expect the announcement to be made shortly after the July 4th holiday weekend. After this, there will be a “grace period” of either 30 days or 45 days before the new regulations take effect. For those who are unable to afford a higher investment, it is vital to begin an application as soon as possible. The US government has strict regulations regarding the source of the funds used to pay for EB-5 and proving compliance can take time.

Due Diligence & Risk Mitigation

For clients who can afford the higher minimum investment level of $1.35 Million, we encourage you to apply as normal. EB-5 will continue to offer one the fastest and most straightforward routes to a Green Card. While your investment is naturally at risk, Davies & Associates is uniquely positioned to help you assess the risks associated with various EB 5 Regional Center projects. This would allow you to mitigate risks to your investment and boost the chances of having your money returned, whether it be $500,000, $1.35 million, or something in between.

Securing your Child’s Future

Since the EB-5 Regulations allows for a whole family to come under one application, the higher investment level may still represent value for money for some clients. The majority of our clients are parents seeking educational and employment opportunities for their children in the United States and so, for those who can afford it, the higher investment level may still be worth the opportunity cost.

For Indian parents who now face retrogression delays, it is vital to make a family-based application many years before your children reach the age of 21 to prevent them from “ageing out” and requiring a separate application. For our clients in countries not facing retrogression there is more time, but we still encourage you to apply as soon as possible as well.

Alternative Options: Expand your Business with an L1 Visa

For some of our clients, the prospect of retrogression and a fee hike means that EB-5 is no longer an option. We recommend you contact us for a free consultation to discuss your options. We have a dedicated L-1 Visa Team in New York that specializes in helping clients expand an existing business from their country of origin to the United States. Under this package, our corporate lawyers help you set up a new US office and our L-1 team prepares an application to allow you or a colleague to relocate to the United States for the purpose of running that office.

Alternative Options: E2 Visas

Another alternative is the E2 visa, which allows an investor to live and work in the United States for the purpose of owning and operating a specific business. Many of our clients seek to purchase a franchise business specifically for this purpose. Only citizens of certain countries are eligible for E-2 visas. Citizens of countries like India, Nigeria, South Africa and China are not eligible. Nevertheless, we are able to troubleshoot measures to make a client eligible.

With so much change in the EB-5 industry, it is vital to engage with an immigration attorney to stay ahead of developments and be fully aware of your options. Davies & Associates offers free consultations so we can recommend the best solution to suit each client on the basis of their individual needs. Contact us today to arrange your consultation.


A Fast-Growing Market for the EB-5 “Green Card” Visa

Duncan Hill is marketing director at Davies & Associates LLC. Duncan is not a lawyer and nothing in this blog constitutes legal advice.

 

 

D&A’s global chairman, Mark Davies, will be visiting South Africa next week to meet with existing and prospective clients and to present at the Global Investment Immigration Summit 2019.

South Africa has become an increasingly important market for our firm. The country has a strong business and entrepreneurial spirit coupled with a growing tradition for global mobility. South Africa has more high-net-worth individuals than anywhere else in Africa, and a recent survey by FNB Estate Agents found that 18% of property sales by this group were prompted by the owners’ plans to move overseas.

Although South Africans have traditionally been attracted to the UK, Europe and Mauritius, we are seeing a growing interest in the United States. US student visas are up by a third over five years as more South Africans opt to study at American universities, and issuances of the H-1B visa for highly-skilled workers has registered a 50% increase over the same period.

Yet it is the EB-5 Investor Visa that has experienced the sharpest growth of any visa category among South Africans. There has been a six-fold increase in the number of EB-5 visas issued to South Africans since 2014. This visa is the fastest route to a US Green Card for individuals or families that are able to make a $500,000 investment. A Green Card offers a whole range of benefits, including the freedom to live, work, retire or study anywhere in the United States.

There has also been growth in the number of L visas issued to South Africans, albeit at a slower rate than EB-5. The L1 visa allows for the intracompany transfer of employees between the South African office and an American office of the same company. Davies & Associates specializes in helping companies set-up a new American office for the purposes of transferring employees on an L1 visa.

We are also seeing increasing number of inquiries from South Africans seeking a second passport to allow them to travel more seamlessly around the world. One popular option is the Grenada passport, which allows for visa-free travel to 50% more countries than the South African passport, including to the UK, the EU, Hong Kong, Singapore and the People’s Republic of China.

The Grenada passport also makes South Africans eligible for the United States E-2 Visa, which allows the holder to live in the United States for the purpose of owning and operating a business.

Mark Davies is a leading US immigration attorney with experience of successfully filing hundreds of EB-5 applications for our clients around the world. Please contact me to schedule a free consultation with Mark to determine the best immigration solution for you.

Mark will be in Johannesburg from June 20th – June 23rd and in Cape Town on June 24th. If you cannot make these dates or cities, please contact us to set up a telephone consultation with a view to meeting on his next visit.


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.


Seven Ways for Indians to Visit, Work, or Live in the United States

The United States of America is a nation that welcomes people from all over the world to be part of their coexistent culture. However, it can be confusing to understand the process of migrating to the country. While traveling abroad can be a great adventure in itself, it takes a great deal of preparation, planning, and form-filling before you can actually leave for the country. Here are seven ways Indians can visit, work, or even live in the US:

Apply for a US Visa and an EAD

You should have a US visa and a work permit aka Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to be employed in the States. As you delve further into the process, you’ll know that such visas have been classified into seasonal work visas, temporary work visas, exchange work visas, or even permanent work visas. You can obtain a US Visa from the US Consulate in your country.

Employment-based immigration

If you’re planning to study in the United States, apply for an F1 student visa. You should be enrolled as a full-time student at a language-training programme or an academic institute in the United States, prove your financial stability to finance your studies, and that you will maintain your identity as a foreign resident.

Apply for a green card

Formally called the United States Lawful Permanent Residency, a green card authorizes a non-immigrant to study, work, and live permanently in the States. Permanent residency becomes easier if you have a family member or are employed full-time in a company in the States. The family or employment agency in concern would be thus called your sponsor. For more information, check the USCIS website if you want to apply for an ‘adjustment of status’ if you belong to the categories mentioned.

Apply for an EB-5 visa

If you want to invest in the States, apply for an EB-5 visa to invest in a commercial project as a foreign investor. Begin by investing $50,000 in a commercial project based in the States for a duration of five years. In 18 months, you shall acquire conditional green cards that permit you and your family to study, work and live in the States. The project in question must have 10 or more American employees for a period of two years, after which you can acquire permanent resident green cards. You will get back your investment after five years from your first day in the United States.

Apply for an E-2 work visa

An E-2 work visa enables a resident from a treaty country to work in the United States; in other words, they sponsor themselves into the country. Though you invest an amount according to the company and industry, rates usually stay somewhere between $75,000 to $200,000. Moreover, spouses are permitted to work in the United States as well. Such visas can be extended for up to five years and be renewed for an indefinite number of times. If you’re lucky, you might just move forward in line for an EB-5 direct green card as well. Indians are not currently eligible for E-2 visas, but it is possible to first become a citizen of a country that is eligible. This includes Grenada in the West Indies, which is an E-2 Treaty nation to the United States.

Fiancé/Fiancée visa

The non-US fiancé/fiancée in question must apply for a K-1 non-immigrant visa to travel to the United States and marry their partner, who acts as their sponsor as well. However, the couple must get married within 90 days of arrival.

Become a lawful permanent resident

You can become a permanent US citizen only after continuously living in the States for a period of five years. Though you can make short trips overseas, you require a minimum of 30 months of continuous residency. The period will be reduced to three years instead of five if you’re in the military, or are married to a US citizen. As expected, you are required to follow the rules of the state.

These are the seven ways Indians can start a new life in the United States. If you want more information regarding the same, contact us at www.usimmigrationadvisor.com.


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.