D&A Newsletter July 2020: India, US, Italy, Vietnam Immigration

Join our EB-5 Visa Webinar | July 8 2020

Interest in EB-5 visa is growing quickly because it has not been included in President Trump’s “immigration ban”. 

Join us for a free webinar where our Global Chairman, Mark Davies, will answer all your EB-5 questions. Mark will be joined by Matt Hogan, Vice President of Project Development at CMB Regional Centers. The EB-5 visa offers a path to US permanent residency (Green Card) for a minimum $900,000 investment per family. Conditions apply.

July 8, 2020 – 5:30pm India | 7pm Vietnam | 1pm London | 8am New York

Click here to register

Davies & Associates Italy: Expansion

We are pleased to announce the appointment of a new Italian-speaking team member, Matteo Tisato. Matteo is based in our Miami, Florida office and brings experience from working for law firms on both sides of the Atlantic. Matteo is already busy assisting our Italian clients with realizing their US immigration goals. He is also our go-to staff member for anyone seeking residency and citizenship of Italy. Matteo can be reached at mtisato@usimmigrationadvisor.com 

Siamo lieti ti annunciarvi l’ingresso di Matteo Tisato nella squadra Davies & Associates. Matteo gestisce il nostro ufficio a Miami (Florida), assiste tutti i nostri avvocati americani ed è punto di riferimento per la clientela Italiana. Matteo si occupa inoltre di permessi di soggiorno e naturalizzazioni Italiane

Read Matteo’s latest blog on the Italian Elective Residency Visa

Davies & Associates India: Remittance Taxes

The Indian government is changing the way it collects tax on remittance payments from October 1. People seeking to emigrate who do not wish to pay this tax at source and rather account for it later may wish to move their money ahead of the new rules coming into effect. It is possible to pre-emptively move money into an escrow account in the United States until such a time as they are ready to proceed with emigration process.

Read more about India’s remittance tax at source 

Davies & Associates Vietnam: New Hanoi Office

Davies & Associates is opening a new office to meet demand in Vietnam. Our new premises are located in the Hanoi Lotte Center in Ba Dinh, Hanoi. This complements D&A’s Ho Chi Minh City office, located in the landmark Bitexco Tower. Davies & Associates Global Chairman Mark Davies is currently based out of our Vietnam office and is available for meetings. 

Davies and Associates đang mở một văn phòng mới để đáp ứng nhu cầu tại Việt Nam. Cơ sở mới của chúng tôi được đặt tại Trung tâm Lotte Hà Nội, quận Ba Đình, Thành phố Hà Nội.

Contact us to schedule a meeting with D&A Chairman Mark Davies

Davies & Associates India: Retrogression

Big news for EB-5 in India is that the country is technically no longer in retrogression. This may be the artificial result of a slowdown in processing at USCIS. Given recent changes to the way USCIS sequences applications, this could be a favourable time to make an application before processing picks up and India potentially returns to retrogression.

Contact us for a more detailed explanation. 

D&A in the News

Davies & Associates was quoted in the Financial Express on the impact of President Trump’s suspension of H-1B, J-1 and L-1 visas through the end of the year. Mark Davies, Global Chairman of D&A, explained that restrictions on the H-1B have been tightening for years, and that we are seeing an increasing number of H-1B holders looking at the E-2 and the EB-5 visa as alternatives. Both visas have been exempted from the “immigration ban”.

Read the article here.

Finally: Happy Independence Day to Those Celebrating on Saturday

EB-5 Project Due Diligence in Covid-19 era

By Mark Davies, Global Chairman, D&A

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

Contact me for more information.

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


Insolvency & Bankruptcy in India during Covid-19

Neha Mehta analyses what the Indian government is doing to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on bankruptcy and insolvency.

COVID-19 & INITIAL MEASURES

Covid-19 has altered the fabric of the global economy. Worldwide lockdowns, travel restrictions, restraint on international trade and other stringent measures to curb the pandemic, has led to uncertainty around the future of many businesses.
With the objective of lending support to struggling businesses, most nations, including India, have introduced fiscal, monetary and protective measures to prevent multiple bankruptcies.
In its first measure to protect small and medium enterprises, already under severe financial stress, the Government of India, in March 2020, raised the threshold of the default amount for invoking the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC) to Rupees One Crore (earlier Rupees One Lakh).
The Government, to support and provide relief to businesses across all sectors subsequently indicated that it may suspend, for an initial period of six months, the (key) sections 8, 9 and 10 of IBC which trigger the insolvency process, and perhaps further extend such shield to a year, if the pandemic continues.


THE UNCERTAINTY
The effective date of such amendments would be the date of promulgation of an ordinance. However, as one was not issued, till now, speculation was rife over what the Government will do, especially with respect to the cut-off date to invoke insolvency under sections 8, 9 or 10.
In the midst of this, there has been an overwhelming section of the public that has been disenchanted over the attempt to shield defaulters and provide them benefits that they may not deserve. There has also been concern over whether the protections would extend to prior defaults, existing pre Covid-19. This includes borrowers, banks, financial institutions, legal professionals and parties affected by breached contracts.

Ultimately, on 17th May 2020 the Union Finance Minister, in line with earlier announcements, announced that the Government will promulgate an ordinance suspending initiation of fresh insolvency cases for a year, and that the amended definition of ‘default’ under the IBC would exclude Covid-19 related debt.
Despite the announcement, it was unclear whether fresh insolvency filings would include a debt or default occuring prior to the onset of Covid-19.

CLARITY
The air was cleared with the promulgation of an Ordinance on 5th June 2020 (Ordinance), suspending the Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (CIRP) for all defaults arising on or after 25th March 2020 for a period of six months, with a possible extension upto one year that may be notified subsequently (Suspension Period)
In essence, by virtue of the Ordinance no CIRP proceedings, may be invoked at any time in future, for defaults that have arisen during the Suspension Period. However, defaults occurring before or after the Suspension Period are not protected.
In addition, the Suspension Period is excluded from the six-month default period for declaration of a debt as a non-performing asset (NPA).


LENDERS – A HAPLESS BUNCH?
To say that these are challenging times for lenders would be an understatement. The IBC has not only provided efficacious and speedy remedy for recovery, it has also proved a strong deterrent against borrowers defaulting.

In the absence of this formidable weapon and shield, lenders may turn to The Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Securities Interest Act, 2002 (SARFAESI) for enforcement of security interests, including enforcing mortgages of real property, and assuming management and control of a debtor.

While the Government has not suspended SARFAESI (at least not as yet), the deferment of NPA classification for the six-month Suspension Period may render SARFAESI a toothless tiger. This may leave lenders with the sole option of invoking dispute resolution provisions, as a method of recovery, in respect of a default. 

As far as affected parties to a contract, as IBC is off the table for the time being, their only option would be to resort to dispute resolution, which, of course, is neither as economical or as speedy as the CIRP process. 

CONCLUSION 

With a flood of defaults looming, questions will arise over whether these protective measures shield those who don’t really deserve protection, with a view to save the few who are genuine and well-intentioned. The argument in favour will, of course, be that the Government, by taking the broader long-term view, and allowing distressed businesses to heal and recover, will help the economy recover and, in the long run, even recoveries. Certainly, that would be the ideal outcome, but until we see that happen, lenders and parties to contracts that are owned monies will have to hold their breath and hope for the best. 

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. For more advice on the topic, please contact the author. 


India Tax Changes on Remittances Delayed to October

Sukanya Raman, Associate in our Mumbai office, analyses changes to India’s taxation of remittances.

In February, 2020 the Union Budget had proposed the levy of Tax Collected at Source (TCS) on remittances made under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) of the Reserve Bank of India. Although, the Scheme was introduced in the year 2004 with a limit of USD 25,000. This is the first time TCS shall be levied at 5% on remittances over and above certain limit.

TCS was to be applicable for remittances on or after April 1, 2020, as per the budget 2020. However, the provision shall now be effective from October 1, 2020.

In a Financial Year (FY) April- March under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme a resident individual can remit USD 250,000, equivalent to INR 1,90,00,000 with an exchange rate of INR 76.00.

LRS is applicable to resident individuals which also allows minors to remit money to any permissible current or capital account transaction or a combination of both. If remitter is a minor, then their natural guardian must undertake a declaration form. The LRS cannot be availed by corporates, partnership firms, HUF, Trusts etc.

TCS shall be collected at the rate of 5% on remittances aggregating to INR 7,00,000 or more in a financial year. 

Per the RBI guidelines, LRS is permitted for private visits to any country (except Nepal and Bhutan), gift or donation, traveling abroad for employment, emigration, investment abroad, maintenance of close relative abroad, medical treatment abroad, overseas education and Any other current account transaction which is not covered under the definition of the current account in FEMA 1999.

Under the LRS, remittances can be consolidated in respect of close family members. However, it shall be subject to the individual family members complying with the terms and conditions of the LRS.

The remitter is eligible to claim credit for the tax collected (TCS) by the bank while filing their Income Tax returns, if it is remitted to the sender’s own account abroad.  

Based on the data released by RBI, remittance rose by 36% in  FY20 to USD 18.75 billion over the previous high of USD 13.78 billion in FY19.

This blog is for informational purposes only and is not meant as legal advice. For advice on this matter, please contact our team.


Italy Relocation: Molise, Sambuca & One Euro Homes

David Cantor is a licensed attorney in the State of New York based in our Florence, Italy office. David oversees Client Relations for Davies & Associates Global Investor and Business Visa Practice.

 

Recently, select municipalities throughout Italy (Molise, Sambuca, Mussomeli, Patricia, and others) have launched official economic programs to stimulate and rescue dwindling communities. These unprecedented economic strategies involve marketing lucrative offers for individuals and families to establish residency and businesses in select, dwindling, provincial townships and communities – from purchasing 1 EURO homes to effectively gifting 25,000 EUROS/year to those that qualify.

These “too good to be true” offers have attracted significant international media attention, and consequently a high-volume of candidates who wish to pursue the Italy dream. In fact, you do not have to go far to find information – simply Google: “1 Euro Home” or “Molise Italy”.

 

Yet, like many “too good to be true” offers, these Italy relocation programs come with fine-print and unique challenges. While there is still merit to these official programs and there aim to bolster dwindling rural townships, there are some practical considerations for anyone seriously considering them.

 

At Davies & Associates, along with our Italy-based partners, we have taken our time to perform due-diligence on these various programs, learn more about the practical details, challenges and concerns. We have spoken to official representatives at Molise, and scheduled appointments in Mussomeli, Sicily to visit the 1 Euro homes. To say the least, these provincial townships, once quiet, can barely handle the in-flux of inquiries. Many municipalities have had to hire English-speaking staff to simply answer the phones.

 

All considered, before packing any bags and making plans to migrate with the entire family to collect 700 Euros/month out of thin air, it is necessary to understand some basics with regards Italy’s immigration and residency regulations.

 

“You still need a visa for this program,” comments Pietro Pennisi, Partner & Senior Immigration Attorney at JMU law firm in Italy. “Many of the people interested in this program are being misled, or misinformed. You cannot obtain a visa in Italy through these programs, you need a visa for this program.”

 

For non-EU members, to obtain Italian residency, you need the requisite visa for Italy. If you are a member of the European Union, you need proof of health insurance and the ability to demonstrate you have the required minimum capital in your bank accounts. For Non-European Union residents, it is even more complicated. For example, the Molise program (offering 25,000 EUROS or roughly 700 EUROS/month for three years), which will no longer be accepting applications after November 30th, requires you to establish a business in Molise. This requires a work-permit. A work permit requires a visa. Through the visa, you can then apply for residency.

 

In other words, simply purchasing a one EURO home or being accepted into the Molise program does not grant the immediate right to receive a visa for Italy. This still needs to go through traditional, formal immigration processing channels, and eligibility for obtaining a visa in Italy will vary on a case-by-case basis.

 

At Davies & Associates, we offer a full-suite of relocation and business services for Italy. This includes immigration and residency solutions, real-estate and property representation, business and corporate support, as well as tailored tax advice.

 
In fact, the above programs are simply one part of the bigger picture when it comes to Italy’s efforts to stimulate the national economy (read more about Italy’s new Impatriate Tax Regime for high net worth individuals, investors and pensioners). For those interested in learning more about opportunities to migrate and live in Italy, please contact us today.


Qualifying for a Merit-Based US Visa Application

David Cantor is a licensed attorney in the State of New York based in our Florence, Italy office. David oversees Client Relations for Davies & Associates Global Investor and Business Visa Practice. 

The current administration is favorably adjudicating “merit-based’ visa applications. While “merit-based” is a broad concept, applicable to multiple US visa categories, it generally refers to individuals whom can demonstrate that they have achieved a certain level of success and recognition in their respective professions. At Davies & Associates, we focus on two immigrant-visa categories that do not require an employer sponsor (i.e. a job-offer). In essence, the applicant may self-petition based on their respective achievements and professional profiles. At Davies & Associates we successfully represent qualified individuals from a variety of professions: foreign medical practitioners and researchers, multinational business executives, scientists, philanthropists, artists and many more.

Can I get a visa without a job-sponsor or employer?

The two main immigration pathways that we specialize in are the Employment Based (EB), and National Interest Waiver (NIW) visa categories.

As part of our in-take procedure, our qualified legal professionals with thoroughly evaluate your candidacy and determine the most suitable immigration strategy.

Succinctly, the extraordinary ability category (Employment Based 1st Preference – i.e. EB-1A) requires an applicant to prove that they have risen to the top of their field and attained sustained acclaim. The National Interest Waiver category (NIW) requires proof that your work is of “substantial merit” and “national importance” and that you will be coming to the U.S. to continue the type of work you have been doing overseas, ensuring it continues to constitute “substantial merit” and “national importance”.

The extraordinary ability and national interest waiver classification applications must demonstrate that an applicant meets a specific series of criteria.  In many cases, a potential candidate you will have the opportunity to apply for one or both categories.  There are many factors to consider.

Please contact our firm today to request EB-1A criteria and similar materials pertaining to NIW criteria.

EB-1A

This is the highest level of visa classification and USCIS looks very closely to determine that you have received or been nominated for a major industry award or meet at least 3 of the ten “alternate” criteria.

You must meet 3 out of the 10 listed criteria below to prove extraordinary ability in your field:

  • Evidence of receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence

  • Evidence of your membership in associations in the field which demand outstanding achievement of their members

  • Evidence of published material about you in professional or major trade publications or other major media

  • Evidence that you have been asked to judge the work of others, either individually or on a panel

  • Evidence of your original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field

  • Evidence of your authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media

  • Evidence that your work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases

  • Evidence of your performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations

  • Evidence that you command a high salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field

  • Evidence of your commercial successes in the performing arts

** Examples of Documentary Evidence That A Person is an Outstanding Professor Or Researcher

  • Evidence of receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement

  • Evidence of membership in associations that require their members to demonstrate outstanding achievement

  • Evidence of published material in professional publications written by others about the alien’s work in the academic field

  • Evidence of participation, either on a panel or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or allied academic field

  • Evidence of original scientific or scholarly research contributions in the field

  • Evidence of authorship of scholarly books or articles (in scholarly journals with international circulation) in the field

NIW

With NIW status, the emphasis is on the work an applicant is conducting as we must demonstrate that it is of “substantial merit” and “national importance.” In addition, it must be shown that the applicants “prospective endeavor” in the U.S. is so important that using the traditional route of filing a labor application would be detrimental to at least a segment of the U.S. population. Although the applicant is not required to have an employer sponsor for NIW classification, we need to demonstrate the clear possibility of prospective U.S. work in the applicants area of endeavor and it is in fact preferable that the applicant have a substantive employment scenario lined up (it need not, however, be a traditional employment arrangement).

At the center of an NIW petition is the nature of the “proposed endeavor” an applicant will undertake upon the approval of your permanent residence application. As requirements for legal immigration become more stringent, the “proposed endeavor” in the U.S. is becoming increasingly more important; it is the “centerpiece” of the NIW petition. To successfully prepare an applicant’s petition, we require a detailed description of the professional activities that an applicant will prospectively perform upon entering the United States as a U.S. permanent resident, together with a detailed explanation of why this role would be considered important to various industries in the United States.

Timeframes for EB-1A and NIW petitions

All EB-1A and NIW petitions are submitted to the Texas Service Center which then has the option of forwarding these matters to the Nebraska Service Center based on the workloads of both Service Centers – we have no control over this.  At the time of this writing, the TSC is processing both EB-1A and NIW petitions that were submitted on or before March 10, 2019 while the NSC is working on both types of petitions that they received on or before February 7, 2019. Therefore, they are quite close as to processing times, having a 7 or 8 month backlog.

For the most recent processing times please visit the US Government website.

Second stage of U.S. permanent residence

Applying for EB-1A or NIW classification permits an applicant to skip the first procedure generally required in the permanent residence process which involves submitting an application to the U.S. Department of Labor. Having to submit this labor application can add up to a year to the processing of a permanent resident application, so it is of great benefit timewise that an applicant will not have to go through this.

The U.S. Department of State monthly bulletin

Each month the US Dept. of State publishes a visa bulletin in which they list the “priority dates” of all categories for both family and business-based immigration. The priority date refers to the date that the first stage of your permanent residence process was filed.

You can find updated information on the US Department of State website here. Please contact our attorneys to learn more about processing times and how it may influence your immigration strategy.

Working in the U.S. while your permanent residence application is being processed

A large number of foreign nationals applying for U.S. permanent residence use the option of obtaining a temporary visa status so they may work in the U.S. while they wait for their permanent residence application to be approved. In many of our “merit-based” client situations, an O-1A visa can be appropriate for this purpose. The criteria for O-1A visa status is very similar to that pertaining to EB-1A visa status.

Although O-1 visa classification has benefit’s that other types of temporary status do not, it is required that to qualify for O-1 visa status an applicant must have an employer willing to sponsor them. However, the applicant may also use an agent who will serve as an intermediary if you have multiple short term or part-time employers.  An applicant may also work for multiple employers as long as they are included in the petition, and we may add additional employers during the duration of an applicant’s O-1 petition.

Our Firm and Intake Procedures

Through immigrant visa applications a candidate will be granted permanent residence. To be granted a United States Green Card based on your own professional and career achievements is significant matter. At Davies & Associates we do not accept every case and our prospective clients are put through a rigorous initial evaluation to determine eligibility.

If you are interested to learn more about these visa-categories, and whether or not you may qualify please contact us today.


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.


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.


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.