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.

 


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.