5 Non-Immigrant Visas for the USA

There are many different type of non-immigrant visas for people wishing to work, study or do business in the USA. If you select the wrong visa, you may be denied entry at the United States border, or in the worst case, you might face a ban on entering the country. It is important to be aware of the different types of visa,


1. Business Visa: The B1 visa is a non-immigrant visa for the USA for people wishing to visit America to conduct business. It is for people who want to attend a conference or a business meeting in the United States. Importantly, this american business visa does not allow a person to set up a new business in the USA. You must apply at least 60 days before the date you want to travel. Avoid buying air tickets in advance if you have not received your visa yet.


2. Work Visa: There are various categories for this type of visas like H, L, O, P and Q. Which one you need depends on the type of your work for which you are going the USA. These types of visas are also temporary and holders of these visas cannot stay in the USA for a lifetime. Once your visa expires you will have to return to your country of origin. You can not get the visa until USCIS approves your petition.

3. Student Visa: People who want to study in any school or college in the USA have to apply for student visa. You may be asked to pass a certain language test for eligibility. By this test, they see how efficiently you can read, write, listen and speak that particular language. Most of them ask for an English language test. When you are on a student visa you can not take a break for more than 5 months or you may lose your visa.

4. Artists and Athletes Visa: Professional artists like actors, singers and stage performers can apply for this visa type. It includes actors shooting a movie, stage performance and attending an awards show. Athletes can also apply for the visa if there is a tournament or match to attend.

5. Media and Journalist Visa: Journalists can apply for an I visa which allows them to travel to the United States so that they can cover American news for their domestic audiences.


6 Key Things To Know Before Applying for an L1 Visa

The L1 visa program is one of the most popular options for companies operating in the United States of America, to bring skilled workers at the executive or managerial levels, from overseas into the country. It is a non-immigrant visa, which means that it is granted to applicants who are not looking to permanently migrate to the country and hence is a short-term option. Every year there are millions of workers who apply for the L1 visa for USA from India, due to the vast presence of Indian companies in the country. The American L1 visa can range in duration from three months to 7 years, depending on the migrant’s country of origin. The L1 visa also allows for owners of small businesses to expand their business in the United States and transfer an executive member of staff to the United States to manage that business.

If you are looking for information about the L1 program read our guide that will tell you about 5 key things you should know before applying for one:

  1. Reciprocity schedule: The duration of validity of the L1 visa ranges from 3 months to 7 years. This is largely based on the relations of the country of origin of the worker, with the United States of America. For countries like India and Japan, the L1 visa is granted for 5 years, which can be extended for 2 years more. If you are applying for the L1 visa, please check the US government website to refer to the reciprocity schedule and check the status of your country. There are also certain exemptions granted to specific countries relating to documents and paperwork.
  2. Refusal rate: It’s also important to note that the L1 visa faces a high rate of rejection as compared to other programs. This is due to many factors which involve mistakes with paperwork, incomplete documents or exercise of discretion by USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), which comes under the Department of Homeland Security. Recently, the refusal rate for the program was more than 18% so make sure you don’t go wrong with your application. Take professional help from legal firms based in the United States.
  3. Familial rights: The L1 visa is also much sought after due to its multiple familial benefits. As a spouse of an L1 visa holder you are automatically entitled to work in the United States and are granted an L-2 visa, once your employee authorization is cleared. The children of the L1 visa holder can also avail the L-2 visa (under the age of 21 years) and are eligible to apply for American schools and colleges.
  4. Permanent residency: The L-1 is also a legally compliant and valid route to permanent residency, in the form of Green card. This is due to the doctrine of dual intent, applied by US courts and immigration authorities.
  5. Application process: You can get an L-1 by directly applying to the USCIS by filling form I-129. Your company must qualify under the guidelines issued for your application to be considered valid. Again the process involves lot of intricate paperwork so it’s best to seek help. Note that ndian consultants and advisors are not licensed US Immigration lawyers and are not authorized by the US government to offer immigration advice. Be sure to get a legal advisor on your side.
  6. Business Plan: Unless you are a very established or multinational business that can produce US tax returns a properly prepared business plan is critical. At D&A, we believe that a successful business plan needs to be prepared as a collaborative effort between the client, an immigration lawyer and an immigration business plan analyst. Our specialist team that provides US business expansion services incorporates both business analysts and lawyers.

Davies & Associates has a long history of successfully helping people from all over the world get L1 and L2 visas to the United States. Please don’t hesitate to get in contact if you have any questions about this or any other visa.


Philippine National Seeking U.S. Visas: The Options

Verdie Atienza

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

Once bound together, the Philippines and America have a unique and special relationship. After the Philippines was granted independence in 1946, the two countries established close cultural, military and economic ties, and so it is no surprise that many Filipinos want to live and work in America today.

Given the strong historic bonds between the Philippines and the United States, there are a number of options open to Filipinos seeking a working visa to the United States. At Davies & Associates, we specialize in helping businessmen, entrepreneurs and high-net-worth individuals secure investor visas to the United States.

We have been seeing increasing demand for investor visa from across the Philippines, and from among the Filipino-Chinese community in particular. The Filipino-Chinese community has a reputation for business ownership and entrepreneurship that makes them especially eligible for several types of investor visas to the United States.

Having been born and raised in the Philippines and having practiced law there, I am always pleased to hear from Filipinos interested in investor visas for the United States. I speak Tagalog and understand the special cultural and business climate of the Philippines. I work closely with our Filipino clients to determine the best visa for their individual requirements.


E-2 visas

The E-2 visa is the most common visa solution for members of the Philippine business community seeking to set up a business in USA. The Philippines has been an E-2 Treaty country of the United States since 1955. This allows Philippine nationals to be admitted to the United States when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business.

A Filipino investor qualifies for E2 classification if he or she meets the following criteria:

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

An investment is the Filippino investor’s placing of capital, including funds and/or other assets, at risk in the commercial sense with the objective of generating a profit. The capital must be subject to partial or total loss if the investment fails.

A substantial amount of capital is:

  • Substantial in relationship to the total cost of either purchasing an established enterprise or establishing a new one.
  • Sufficient to ensure the treaty investor’s financial commitment to the successful operation of the enterprise.
  • Of a magnitude to support the likelihood that the treaty investor will successfully develop and direct the enterprise. The lower the cost of the enterprise, the higher, proportionately, the investment must be to be considered substantial.

E-1 Visas

The E-1 non-immigrant classification allows Philippine nationals to be admitted to the United States solely to engage in substantial trade between the U.S. and the Philippines on his or her own behalf. Trade is the existing international exchange of items of trade for consideration between the United States and the treaty country. Items of trade include but are not limited to:

  • Goods
  • Services
  • International banking
  • Insurance
  • Transportation
  • Tourism
  • Technology and its transfer
  • Some news-gathering activities.

EB-5 Visas

Filipinos seeking more permanent residency in the United States can seek a green card through the EB-5 visa program. Under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, entrepreneurs (and their spouses and unmarried children under 21) are eligible to apply for a green card if they make a minimum 500,000 USD investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States and, in doing so, create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs.

Most successful applicants to the EB-5 visa program place their investment in the Regional Center Program. EB5 Regional Centers are USCIS-approved funds who invest applicants’ money in appropriate commercial enterprises that meet the job-creation requirement.


L-1A and L-1B visas

The L-1A nonimmigrant classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from one of its affiliated Philippines offices to one of its offices in the United States. This classification also enables a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send an executive or manager to the United States with the purpose of establishing one.

The L-1B nonimmigrant classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer a professional employee with specialized knowledge relating to the organization’s interests from one of its affiliated offices in the Philippines to one of its offices in the United States. This classification also enables a Philippines company which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send a specialized knowledge employee to the United States to help establish one.


H-1B Visas

Every year, the U.S. government make work visas available for specialty occupations. A specialty occupation requires theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge along with at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. Specialty occupations include but are not limited to, architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, business specialties, accounting, law, theology, and the arts. Considering the substantial equivalency of the college/university degrees obtained in the Philippines to that of US degrees, Filipinos are a step ahead in qualifying for visas for specialty occupations.


Specialist Visas for Medical Professionals

Filipino medical professionals are also at an advantage for obtaining professional licensure and immigration solutions for the US. In fact, Philippine-trained physicians and dentists comprise one of the largest groups in the United States. Today, the healthcare sector is one of the most critical areas of professional practice in the United States of America due to shortage of qualified professionals. Our FMP Practice Team is composed of established immigration lawyers and specialist consultants that work together to ease the burdensome barriers of entry for qualified professionals seeking to enter the United States.

Given a long and close history, there are many different options for Philippine nationals seeking to live and work in the United States. At Davies & Associates, our Tagalog-speaking team works closely with our clients to determine the best visa for their individual requirements.


EB-5 USA Green Card Visa – Key Features & Qualifying Criteria

If you are someone who wants to immigrate to USA for business related opportunities, then you must know about the EB-5 Visa that comes with all the essential features that you may require. The key features and qualifying criteria of the visa are as follows:

1. Investment

If you are immigrating to another country for business purpose, often the amount you are allowed to invest can get in the way. However, if you hold the EB-5 U.S.A. Green Card Visa, you can invest how much ever you want for any business. However, the minimum investment should be more than $500,000.

2. Time period

Often, other visa holders need to visit, leave and revisit the country. However, through the EB-5 visa, you needn’t leave the country after a certain term. You can manage your business there as you are holding the EB-5 visa.

3. Employment

People who hold the EB-5 visa can work the way they want. This is the significant advantage of this visa. You can run the business, invest and trade or you can also retire there. Holding this visa poses no legal problems for any position you work for.

4. Visa Denial

If you have the EB-5 green card visa, you need not worry about visa denials in future because it provides the holder with convenience whenever they want to immigrate for business. Also, another feature that comes with the green card is that the holder can and must reside in the country for 180 days per year. So, you can stay in the country without worries.

5. Eligibility

To apply for this visa, you must be financially well off to invest more than $500,000. You should also get the approval form from the “Immigration Petition by Alien Entrepreneur.” In your company at least ten U.S. employees should work within two years of investment. Also, you cannot run the business alone; you must have a business partner.

Hold the EB-5 Green Card Visa and make maximum out of its features that include holding any employment position you want, staying in the country without having to leave and starting your business with a partner. So, if you are looking for a good U.S business immigration attorney, then you must consult a US Immigration Advisor who has the best EB-5 immigration lawyers to guide you through the immigration process.


5 Tips to Consider Before Choosing an EB-5 Immigration Attorney

The EB-5 program is envisaged to give a boost to the economy of the United States by attracting investors belonging to other nationalities to make investments in US-based businesses. The minimum amount that is to be invested under the program is US $ 1,000,000 (and US $ 500,000 in targeted employment areas). The business must provide employment to 10 US citizens, apart from the business owner and family members. If the application under EB-5 is approved, then the applicant is granted a 2 years residence in the US on a conditional basis.

The process to obtain an EB 5 visa is complicated and tricky which is not possible for a layman to complete on its own. This is where the requirement of an experienced US business immigration attorney comes up. An expert EB 5 visa attorney will ensure that all the steps are duly followed, and the only accurate information is furnished to the authorities.

Being of such great importance to the prospects of one getting an EB 5 visa application approved, due diligence must be exercised while selecting an EB 5 business attorney. Here are five essential tips to be considered before choosing a US business immigration attorney: –

  1. Experience: – The attorney who is chosen to handle the EB5 visa application process, must have proper credentials and prior experience in the field. Therefore, it is recommended to conduct a background check before making a final decision.

  2. Expertise: – It needs to be ascertained as to what type of applications the attorney handles because the process for filing a Direct EB 5 application and Regional EB 5 application is entirely different as both of them require different skills set to be managed.

  3. Fees: – Although, fees should be the last issue that should affect the decision of selecting a US business immigration attorney. Though, it is recommended that the scope of services being offered must be compared with the cost being levied.

  4. Time: – In the case of EB 5 visa application, time is of the essence. It is therefore advisable that the time devoted by the attorney to understand the client business must be given careful consideration.

  5. Reputation: – Reputation also counts a lot when finalising a decision regarding an immigration attorney. It is recommended to research regarding the track record of the attorney.

Selecting a competitive Us business immigration attorney is an essential step towards realising the dream of living and working in the United States. Above mentioned tips will help anyone make a sound and informed decision.


Tips on How to Get Your Green Card for the USA

Obtaining a green card for the United States is something which most people wish to achieve. The US green card gives you the permission to live in the United States and even work there permanently. It also grants you the permission to be able to apply for citizenship. You are allowed to travel freely to and fro from the US, study there and also can participate in the employment programs which are conducted in the US. You also get US government benefits if you own a green card in the US.

Obtaining a green card is a somewhat complicated procedure. Below listed are some of the tips which can be followed to get a US green card:

1) If you marry a citizen of the United States, then you can get a US green card easily. If your loved one belongs to the US and has American citizenship, then after marrying, you are eligible to obtain a green card. However, just for getting a green card for the US, if you marry or date someone, then it is regarded as a case of immigration fraudulence.

2) If any of your family member who resides in the United States and has American citizenship is willing to sponsor you for obtaining a green card, then you can also be able to acquire US citizenship. US citizens have the option of sponsoring their family or relatives staying in another country to obtain a green card through their sponsorship. However, this type of sponsorship can take up to a few months to even years for obtaining it. You should always carefully find out the priority dates and the approximate wait time before deciding to get a green card for the US through this method.

3) You can also obtain a green card if a US-based company sponsors you. If you have the required and necessary skills and knowledge which a US company needs, then you can get sponsored by that company for obtaining a green card. If you do not live in the United States, then you can contact employers of the US companies to sponsor you in this regard. It can be complicated for you to obtain a green card if you do not have any contacts or sources in the US.

4) If you have enough money and resources and can afford to start your own business in the United States or invest in any US-based company, then you can obtain a green card. However, this method involves large capital investments and money.

5) You can also try your luck by taking part in the Green Card Lottery. If you are lucky enough to be randomly chosen amongst all the other applicants, then the process of obtaining a US green card will be a rather more simple and quick process for you.

If you really wish to permanently live and work in the United States and acquire a green card, then you should keep in mind to apply for a green card in the US in such a way which offers you permanent residence in the United States quickly and easily.