E-2 Visa: Worried about your Children “Ageing Out”?

Are you worried about your children “ageing out” of a family E-2 visa? Are you worried about leaving behind extended family members? We can help you solve this issue with some careful planning.

By Verdie Atienza & Sukanya Raman

If you are planning to move to America but are concerned about your child age and your extended family members to be a part of your application, we have a solution for you.

We see that a lot of Indian nationals are enthusiastic to move to America for obvious reasons like business opportunities, better standards of living, healthcare, education, etc. Though, take a step back as in most visa categories are limited to spouse and children below the age of 21 including the E-2 Treaty Investor visa.

The spouse and children may apply for E-2 derivative visas. The spouse may apply for Employer Authorization Document (EAD) to work for any US employer and the children are permitted to study.  

There are ways to structure the E-2 enterprise to address the issues of ageing-out for children and qualifying other family members. As once the children turn 21 they will cease to qualify as dependents under the E-2 Visa.

We can structure the E-2 enterprise in such a fashion that it qualifies children over the age of 21, dependent parents, unmarried siblings.

To qualify for the E-2 Treaty Investor visa, the requirement is to own at least 50% of the E-2 company to show operational control. For this reason, the E-2 company may qualify two Treaty Investors having 50-50 ownership. The child who may age-out can make an investment to acquire at least 50% of the E-2 enterprise to qualify himself as a Treaty Investor.

If the goal is to bring members of the extended family like parents or siblings, they can be made 50% owners of the E-2 company, and they may also obtain derivative visas for their spouse and dependent children as well.

In cases where there are multiple family members, two or more E-2 enterprises can be set up. With relatively low investment requirements, it should not be too difficult for foreign entrepreneurs to raise capital.

Another advantage of the E-2 option is that the E-2 enterprise may file a petition for E-2 employees who must be the same nationality as the treaty investor. The prospective employees must either be engaged in duties of an executive or supervisory character or if employed in a lesser capacity, have special qualifications.

Children over 21, parents, siblings, and other extended family members may potentially qualify for E-2 Employee Visas provided they have the same nationality, and they meet the requirements for employees under the treaty.

India is not a Treaty country, but with attractive Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programs offered by countries that have E-2 treaties with the US like Grenada, Turkey and Montenegro, the path to the E-2 visa are clear. Compared to the investment the amount for EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program and the wait time to get a green card is much longer than the E-2 Visa.

The processing time for E-2 visa is much quicker ranging from six to eight months from the date of application. Meaning, your children can start school in American from the next academic year onwards. E-2 visa is not like other non-immigrant visas. E-2 visa can be renewed indefinitely, which gives you stability and permanency. There are no country limit or quota limit under the E-2 Visa.

To conclude, below are the most well-known advantages of the E-2 visa:

1.           Quick Processing Times

2.           No Quota Limitations

3.           Relatively Less Capital Investment Needed

4.           Funds to be Invested may come from various sources

5.           Control of Investment Funds and the Treaty Enterprise

6.           You may opt for a franchise

7.           Dependents are entitled to E-2 derivative visas

8.           Flexibility with Travel

9.           Potential Tax Advantages

10.         Relatively Low Legal Costs     

This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients.


UK Government Extends Citizenship offer to Hong Kong Residents

The British government is proposing to offer a pathway to citizenship for around 3 million residents of Hong Kong. The move is a response to China’s introduction of a new national security law in the Special Administrative Region. The UK views this as a breach of the agreement surrounding the handover of the territory in 1997.

“We made clear that if China continued down this path we would introduce a new route for those with British National Overseas Status to enter the UK, granting them limited leave to remain, with the ability to live and work in the UK, and thereafter to apply for citizenship,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom.

Some three million Hong Kong residents are thought to be eligible for British National Overseas Status. Under current regulations, a British Overseas National is able to move to the United Kingdom for six months.

In response to developments in Hong Kong, the British government is planning to extend that period from six months to five years. UK rules mean a person can apply for citizenship if they can prove they have lived in the United Kingdom for five years.

This is not the first time the United Kingdom has taken such a step. In the 1970s, thousands of Ugandans of Indian descent emigrated to London after they were expelled by Idi Amin. Many Kenyan Indians also migrated to the United Kingdom around this time.

With Hong Kong, the scale could be one-hundred-times larger. While it is estimated that around 30,000 Ugandan Asians emigrated to Britain in the 1970s, around 3,000,000 Hong Kong residents could claim the right to take up the British government’s opportunity.

Just how many people would seek to emigrate is uncertain. The younger generation are likely to be more receptive to the move. Hong Kong remains a major global business hub, despite the febrile situation on the streets.

Britain is just one of the options open to Hong Kong residents seeking a way out. The United States, for example, has a range of visas that could be attractive to Hong Kong residents. The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa program offers a Green Card in exchange for a $900,000 investment in the US.

Each country is limited to 700 EB-5 visas per year. Fortunately, Hong Kong is eligible for its own quota, separate to China. The EB-5 program in China has been oversubscribed for years, and Chinese face a long waiting list. Please note, the EB-5 program is determined by country of birth.

Alternatively, countries all around the world offer citizenship by investment programs. The two countries with the fastest and most cost-effective programs are Grenada and Turkey. Grenadian citizenship can be obtained in less than two months starting from just $150,000.

Both Turkey and Grenada offer the additional benefit of providing Hong Kong residents with access to the United States E-2 Visa. This non-immigrant visa allows a person to move invest around $100,000 or more to acquire or start-up a business in the United States.

Davies & Associates can help our Hong Kong clients with all the aforementioned visas, including their interest in the United Kingdom. Please contact us to discuss your specific circumstances.

Written by Duncan Hill, Marketing Director, D&A. This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients.


Grenada Citizenship by Investment: Spouses & Single Applicants

Grenada has one of the most cost-effective citizenship by investment programs in the world. A $150,000 donation to the National Transformation Fund or a $220,000 investment in real estate leads very quickly to citizenship of a beautiful, stable, economically diverse country.

The investment route is especially popular, because it offers the chance of having the capital returned. The main investment opportunities are luxury hotel developments under construction on the island. Yet some people opt for the donation route because it better suits their own circumstances.

Unlike the investment route, the donation requirement changes depending upon the number of family members seeking Grenadian citizenship. A single applicant is required to invest $150,000. However, that increases to $200,000 if you plan to bring a spouse with you.

The extra $50,000 may be prohibitively high to some applicants. This could be the case if they are planning an E-2 investment and need capital to start-up or acquire a business in the United States.

There is a way around this. The Grenadian constitution entitles the spouse of a Grenadian citizen to Grenadian citizenship. So it is possible to apply as a single applicant, save $50,000, and arrange citizenship for the spouse at a later stage.

There is a timing issue here. Citizenship by Investment processing times are incredibly short – averaging just 45 days. If both spouses require citizenship quickly then it you should consider a dual CBI application.

However, if you are in no rush for the spouse to obtain Grenadian citizenship, you could consider the slower route. Applying for Grenadian citizenship as a spouse through the general processing route may take two years.

Such a situation might suit someone considering an E-2 application. Provided that the E-2 applicant is the same as the Grenada CBI applicant, an accompanying spouse does not need to have citizenship of an E-2 Treaty country. This explains why there are small numbers of E visas granted to Indians (221 visas in 2019) and Vietnamese (19 in 2019). Neither is an E-2 Treaty Country.

Each person or family’s situation is different. It is vital to engage with an attorney to discuss the best options to suit your circumstances. The information in this blog is for illustrative purposes and does not constitute legal advice. Please contact us directly to arrange a consultation.


E2 Visa Validity and Authorized Stay in the United States: Know the Difference

Cost of EB 5 Visa

Mark I. Davies is the Global Managing Partner and founder of our firm. Mark also Chairs our Global Business and Investor visa team and focuses his practice on EB5, L1, E2 and other business and investor visa solutions.

 

There is significant confusion as to the difference between E2 visa validity and the period of authorized stay in the United States.

What an E2 Visa Does?
A valid, unexpired, E2 visa gives you the ability to come to the US border and seek entry to the United States in E2 status.  Although an E2 visa does NOT grant the right to be inside the United States in E2 status or any other status it ordinarily results in a visa holder being lawfully admitted to the United States in E2 status.Beyond the tweet, there is very little detail on what would be covered in the executive order. Immigration is a broad concept in the United States, ranging from asylum and the rights of undocumented workers to green cards for investors under the EB-5 Visa program. Would, for example, spouses of Americans (K-1 visas) be included in a ban?

What is E2 Status
E2 status is legal status granted to individuals located in the United States who have been admitted to the United States under the terms and conditions of the E2 program or had their status changed to E2 status from another visa category.

How do I obtain E2 Status?
There are two ways to obtain E2 status:

  1. Using an E2 Visa to Seek Entry to the United States at an International Border
    When you use your E2 visa to come to a US border and seek entry to the United States the CBP officer at the border will approve or refuse your admittance into the United States in E2 visa status. Usually the officer at the border will admit the holder of a valid E2 visa holder into the United States for a period of two years of authorized stay, regardless of when the E2 visa expires.Please note that while a period of two years is usually granted on occasion CBP officers have granted a period of authorized stay of less than two years.  In addition, CBP officers often make mistakes when documenting the period of authorized stay in the US Government’s computer systems.
    Retrieve your Form I-94 here
  2. Change of Status
    If you are already in the United States in another visa status it is possible to “change status” to E2 status from within the United States.   In this way it is possible to be in lawful E2 status in the United States without ever having obtained an E2 visa.


My Authorized Stay is About to Expire but my E2 visa is still Valid?

The fact that you have a valid E2 visa is irrelevant to your period of authorized stay in the United States.  To extend your period of stay in lawful E2 status you can either:

  1. Apply for an extension of status form USCIS; or
  2. Leave the country and re-enter the US using your valid E2 visa. You will likely be given another two (2) year period of stay when you re-enter the US.

I am Inside the US and my E2 Visa has Expired
The fact that your E2 visa has expired is completely irrelevant to your period of authorized stay in the United States.  You can continue to live and work in the US until your period of authorized stay has expired.

When you next leave the United States you will need to go to a US consulate to obtain a new E2 visa renewed.  You will need a new E2 visa to re-enter the United States.

How do I know How Long my Period of Authorized E2 Stay is or if a Mistake has Been Made?
Every time you enter the US you must, within 24 hours, download a copy of your I-94 after entering the US.

Make sure the details are correct and that you have been granted a period of stay of two years.  If there is a mistake you can return to CBP at the port where you entered the US to have changes made.


The President’s Immigration Ban: Update

President Trump has signed the Executive Order temporarily suspending some visa categories for an initial 60 days. This mostly applies to people outside the United States seeking permanent residency / Green Cards, excluding the EB-5 program.
The State Department has just issued a clarification stating that the Order is not retroactive and that “no valid visas will be revoked under this proclamation.”
There are a number of exclusions and exemptions. We recommend you contact us to discuss your specific circumstances.

What is NOT included in the ban:

What is also NOT included in the ban, but subject to a 30-day review:

E-3 Australian Professional Specialty Visa

EB-5 Visas Exemption
The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa has been given a special exemption from the ban. EB-5 is a job-creating program. Each EB-5 investment is required to create ten American jobs. The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is a fast route to a Green Card for families or individuals able to invest $900,000.

Review of Non-Immigrant Visas
The Executive Order only covers immigrants outside the United States seeking permanent residency (Green Cards). Non-immigrant categories, such as the E-2 Visa, the L-1 Visa, and the H-1B Visa are not currently included in the ban.
However, the Executive Order does call for a review of non-immigrant programs within 30 days with a view to “other measures” affecting these categories. The Order instructs the Secretary of Labor, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Secretary of State to report recommendations to the President within 30 days regarding restrictions (if any) on non-immigrant visas.

Adjustment of Status
The order only applies to those seeking immigrant visas (i.e. those outside the US seeking to go through consular processing). It does not impact those inside the US already on a valid visa that are eligible to do Adjustment of Status (AOS). Clients should consult us before traveling outside of the United States if they have a pending AOS application or may be eligible to file one in the near future.

Our Advice
We recommend that anyone seeking a US visa proceed with their application. Much can change in the time it takes to prepare one.
With flights grounded and American embassies closed to consular appointments, the Executive Order makes limited material difference in the short term. There are likely to be a number of lawsuits challenging the ban. This is also an election year. A new administration could be expected to reverse this Order.
We will provide updates on the 30-day review of non-immigrant visas. Some non-immigrant categories, such as the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa, bring investment to the United States and create jobs.

Each client’s circumstances are different. Please contact us to discuss how this may affect you.

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The President’s Immigration Ban: Why you Should Still Apply for a Visa

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.

 

President Trump tweeted last night that he would sign an executive order banning immigration to the United States. While it is still unclear how this will play out, it is only likely to be a temporary setback. Anyone hoping to apply for a US visa should continue as normal if their circumstances permit.

“In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy,” the president tweeted, “as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration to the United States.”

Beyond the tweet, there is very little detail on what would be covered in the executive order. Immigration is a broad concept in the United States, ranging from asylum and the rights of undocumented workers to green cards for investors under the EB-5 Visa program. Would, for example, spouses of Americans (K-1 visas) be included in a ban?

Despite the lack of detail, it might still be advisable for would-be immigrants to press on with their applications. For one thing, any ban would likely cause a build-up of demand. Therefore, progressing an application would help secure a good position in the line once a ban is lifted.

While it is difficult to predict when such a lifting would occur (especially as the ban has not yet been ordered), there are still clues. For starters, President Trump said in his tweet this would only be temporary. Moreover, there are also likely to be legal challenges as there were over Executive Order 13769, the so-called “Muslim Ban”. Additionally, this being an election year, a change of administration in January 2021 would likely result in a reversal.

The second, closely related reason to persevere with an application is that it takes time to prepare one. Davies & Associates specializes in EB-5 visas, E-2 visas, and L-1 visas, all of which require significant preparation. This work could still be conducted while a ban was in progress.

Under the EB-5 program an entire family can obtain Green Cards in exchange for a minimum $900,000 investment. The US authorities are meticulous that each dollar is properly accounted for, and this can take time to document.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which processes EB-5 applications, is still operating in spite of Coronavirus. While they are closed to public interactions, they continue to adjudicate cases. Processing times currently range from 30 to 50 months. Reform to the EB-5 adjudications process will probably reduce this, but it nevertheless points to a time frame much greater than a temporary immigration ban.

The E-2 visa allows a family to move to the United States for the purposes of owning and operating a business. The applicant must pitch a credible business case to the US authorities, which takes time to prepare.

E-2 applicants must come from an E-2 Treaty Country. If you are not from an E-2 Treaty country, it is possible to become eligible for an E-2 visa by first taking citizenship of a country that is eligible. The cheapest and most cost-effective of these is Grenada, Turkey and Montenegro.

Processing times for these citizenship-by-investment programs are quick. In Grenada, for example, citizenship can be obtained in less than three months. The Grenadian authorities are still processing applications, despite a strict lockdown. There is no requirement to visit the country so applications can be made remotely.

Davies & Associates has helped clients obtain the E-2 visa in this way. Countries non directly eligible for the E-2 visa include India, China, Russia, Vietnam, South Africa and Nigeria. Davies & Associates has helped people from non-Treaty countries become eligible for the E-2 visa.

The L-1A visa moves managers within the same company, from an overseas office to an American one. At D&A we specialize in so-called “new office” L1s. This is where we help clients set up a US branch of their existing business and then move themselves or a colleague there to manage the new office.

Inevitably it is necessary to set up the US office before applying for the visa. Again, this is work that could be done regardless of an immigration ban. Our corporate lawyers have helped hundreds of foreign businesses relocate and thrive in the United States.

So, given the time it takes to prepare a visa application and the uncertainty surrounding the ban, it is advisable to start applying regardless. The USCIS and American embassies would likely face a backlog once any ban is lifted. Secure yourself a good position in the queue by proceeding with your application.

 


Investors look to the E-2 Visa as the Cost of an EB-5 Visa Increases from Thursday

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.

 

Barring an eleventh-hour intervention, the minimum investment required for an EB-5 application is increasing from $500,000 to $900,000 in areas of high unemployment and from $1 million to $1.8 million everywhere else.

 

Given the time it takes our attorneys and paralegals to prove that a client’s source of funds meets with strict US requirements, it is most likely too late to apply for an EB-5 at the current rate. 

 

For those who can afford the higher investment amount, the EB-5 visa remains one of the fastest routes to a Green Card. 

 

For those who cannot afford the higher investment amount there are a range of options available. Here at D&A, the team picking up most of the slack is the E-2 Visa team (although there are a range of other options available and we advise you to discuss them with us.)

 

The E2 Visa is designed for people seeking to move to the United States to own and operate a business. Processing times are quick, and spouses are eligible to apply for work authorization in the United States. It is possible to expand an existing business, open a new one, or buy an off-the-shelf franchise.  

 

Only citizens of countries with a relevant commercial treaty with the United States are eligible for E-2 visas. This excludes some countries where demand for US visas is the highest, including India, China and Vietnam. Citizens of these three countries already face a multiple-year wait for an EB-5 visa because demand has far outstripped supply.

 

Yet at D&A we are part of a wave of pioneering law firms working to help citizens of such countries become eligible. For example, we have helped clients obtain E-2 visas by first becoming citizens of Grenada in the Caribbean. Coupling an E-2 Visa with Grenadian citizenship in this way has allowed people to live and work in the United States while on the EB-5 waiting list. If the business becomes large enough, it is feasible that it could be transitioned to a Green Card via EB-5.

 

Grenada is a cost-effective option with no residency requirement or tax on worldwide income.  Processing times are quick and have just got even faster. It is possible for the whole process of Grenada and E-2 to take just a matter of months. Grenada is not the only option available and D&A works with a range of E-2-eligible citizenship by investment programs around the world, including Turkey, Montenegro, and various EU countries. 

 

Contact our team today to discuss a bespoke immigration solution to suit your needs.