EB5 Visa: Cost of Form I-526 Increasing by 9% from October

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the outcome of its biennial fee review earlier this month. Form I-526 – Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor – will be subject to a price increase. The form, which is the first step of the EB-5 application process, will increase to $4,010 from October. This represents a 9% increase on the current price of $3675.

An increase in the minimum investment amount last November is the principle reason for the large increase. At that time, the minimum investment requirement almost doubled from $500,000 to $900,000 in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) and from $1 million to $1.8 million outside of a TEA.

USCIS argues that the increased investment amount means that the Source of Funds work – critical to an I-526 adjudication – has become more complicated, resulting in additional work for the agency. Complicated source of funds often need to go through a managerial review, adding extra cost.

While the price increase is partly to reflect the increased workload for USCIS case officers, there is another reason behind this. The review states that USCIS significantly “overestimated” demand for EB-5, which will lead to a budget shortfall. USCIS is almost entirely fee funded, which makes this especially problematic.

The reason for the overestimation is that demand was calculated before the minimum investment amount increased last November. That increase has dampened demand and the cost of the I-526 has been increased to mitigate that.

The I-829 Form – the Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Residency Status – has registered a more modest 4% price increase. This form comes later in the EB-5 process when an investor is eligible to remove the conditions on their Green Card. The new price of an I-829 is $3,900.

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. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


E2 Visa: You Now No Longer Need a Physical Office Space

By Sukanya Raman, Associate, D&A Mumbai Office

On July 17th 2020, the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) was updated by the United States Department of State (DOS). The updates state that an applicant need not have a physical office space to qualify for E Visa.

E-1  Treaty Trader and E-2 Treaty Investor visa applicants shall benefit the most. E-1 and E-2 visas are non-immigrant visas. Under an E-1 visa, applicants of the treaty country are permitted to enter the U.S. wholly to engage in international trade. Under the E-2 visa, applicants of the treaty country are permitted to enter the U.S. by investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business.

The E visa the classification has a lengthy list of requirements, a few of the  general ones are as follows:

Treaty Agreement

Nationality of E visa qualifying country

50% ownership and/or control & possession

Trade is predominantly between the United States and the treaty country

Enterprise must be real and operating a commercial enterprise

Substantial capital investment

Must be in the position to “develop and direct” the enterprise

Physical office space (no longer mandatory)

Above mentioned are a few mandatory requirements for the E visa application. However, having a physical office space is now optional to qualify for an E visa application.

E visa can now be available for businesses with virtual offices in the U.S. This gives the flexibility to  the applicants to save a huge amount of money from the substantial capital investment in leasing office space and other associated costs to it. We see a lot of clients substantial capital investment amount was invested in leasing the office premises, which they can now utilize in the business for explanation or for development, provided the other requirement of the E visas are met.

The new FAM  reads as “An applicant does not necessarily need a physical office space to qualify for an E visa.  Although having physical office space may be relevant in determining whether the requirements for an E visa have been met, it is not a requirement to qualify for the visa.”

The E-2 Visa is available to citizens of Treaty Countries. Click here to see if your country is on the list. If your country is not on the list, it is possible to become eligible by first obtaining citizenship of an E-2 Treaty country. Click here to learn more about this process.

sraman@usimmigrationadvisor.com

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.


The Italian Dream is now Half Price

The Italian government is reducing key investment requirements for its Investor Visa by 50%.

By Matteo Tisato, Senior Immigration Analyst, D&A Italy

Just yesterday, the Italian Parliament passed into law a governmental Decree with a number of measures aimed at relaunching the Italian economy as a response to the dramatic impact that the Covid-19 health emergency had on the Italian and global economy.

In particular, the Italian government has taken actions in order to attract and encourage foreign capitals and investments from abroad, by reducing by 50% some of the minimum thresholds of the “Investor Visa for Italy”. 

In light of the above said, citizens from all around the world are now entitled to apply for and obtain this visa and its related Permesso di Soggiorno (Permit of Stay) by performing one of the following investments in the country:

• at least 250.000 Euros (previously was 500.000 Euros) in an innovative start-up company incorporated in Italy; 

• at least 500.000 Euros (previously was 1 Million Euros) in equity instruments of companies incorporated and operating in Italy; 

• at least 2 million Euros in Government Bonds issued by the Italian Republic (no changes in the new law)

• philanthropic donations of at least 1 million Euros, in the field of culture, education, immigration, scientific research, recovery of cultural assets and landscapes. (no changes)

The above change in the law does not affect the practical aspects of the procedure. Once the Investor Visa has been issued, the investor (and their family) is entitled to enter Italy and to apply for the Permesso di Soggiorno (permit of stay), which will be issued on the sole condition that the applicant performs one of the above-listed investments within 3 months after the date of first entry in the country. 

The Permesso is issued for an initial period of 2 years and can be renewed for further periods of 3 years, provided that the investment has been fully executed according to the Italian Immigration Law

The steps for obtaining the citizenship of Italy, which is the 3rd largest economy in the European Union, and the 8th largest by nominal GDP in the world, can be quite extended unless all the documents are prepared in accordance with the requirements imposed by the Italian authorities. 

If you think of applying for the Investor Visa for Italy, contact our offices in Florence or Miami, and our attorneys will assist you step by step with this process.

mtisato@usimmigrationadvisor.com

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.


Trump’s Immigration Ban leads to Surge in Interest in UK Visas

By Duncan Hill, Marketing Director, Davies & Associates

Our clients have always been interested in the UK, but we have certainly seen a spike since President Trump suspended a whole lot of US visas in April (and then a whole lot more last week).

The first thing to say is that not all US visas have been suspended. We specialize in two key categories that are exempt. The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program and the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa were not included by President Trump, probably because they create jobs and promote investment in the United States.

Nevertheless, our teams around the world are noticing above-average-levels of interest in Britain, especially from clients and agents in Vietnam and India.

One of the ostensible aims of Brexit is to create a more “Global Britain“, attracting the best and brightest from around the world. As part of that, a new points-based immigration system will be introduced next year. Points will be awarded for things like English-language capability, salary bands, and education levels.

As the UK gears up to this, one change has already been made with the introduction of the Global Talent Visa in February. This change is rather more one of style than substance, since it is mostly a rebranding of the “Exceptional Talent Visa

The Global Talent Visa is one of a range of so-called “Tier One” visas offered by the British government. Tier One visas are for “high-value migrants”, such as people bringing investment or talent. By contrast, Tier Two visas are for skilled immigrants with a job offer in the UK.

Another Tier One visa is the Investor Visa, which requires a minimum £2 million investment in UK bonds or shares. Anyone with this visa can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (IDLR) in the UK after five years. That waiting time can be reduced to three years for a £5 million investment or two years for a £3 million investment. It is possible to apply for UK citizenship 12 months after obtaining IDLR, subject to certain other requirements.

Investment AmountApply for Indefinite Leave to Remain
> £2 million5 years
> 5 million3 years
> 10 million2 years
UK Investor Visa

The Innovator Visa and the Start-Up Visas, are also classified as Tier One. These visas are very similar in that they target people with a business idea that is deemed innovative, viable and scalable.

Where they differ is in the stage of development of the businesses they target. The Start-Up visa targets early stage companies and does not require any investment requirement, whereas the Innovator Visa targets slightly more mature firms by requiring minimum investment funds of £50,000.

Start-up visa holders are expected to transition to the Innovator visa when they can prove they have hit the funding threshold. After three years, anyone with an innovator visa can apply to settle in the UK, subject to certain other conditions.

All of these visas will be transitioned to the points based system in a favourable way. So, for example, a £2 million investment will give a person 75 points meaning they automatically exceed the 70-point-minimum threshold for entry.

While there is still considerable uncertainty surrounding immigration policy as the Brexit negotiations drag on, one thing is clear: The UK still wants to attract the “best and the brightest” to its shores.

Davies & Associates has offices in the United Kingdom and throughout the world. We are able to offer advice on the best ways for you to move your business and family overseas. As a law firm with both immigration lawyers and corporate lawyers, we are able to help our clients not just obtain visas, but to establish their firms overseas and stick by their side as they prosper.

Nothing in this blog constitutes legal advice. Please contact Davies & Associates to schedule a free consultation.


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.