Biden Plans Reopening of US Border in November as our Firm Obtains Another National Interest Exception to Travel to US

President Biden has indicated that the US border will reopen in November, until then the National Interest Exception remains the only viable option for many people to enter the country.

The US border has been closed to people from Schengen countries in Europe as well as the UK, Ireland, India, Brazil and a number of other countries. President Biden announced this week that the eighteen month ban will be lifted at some point in November without giving much detail. The exact date remains uncertain and it is not clear whether the ban will be rescinded for all countries or only apply to the UK and the Schengen Zone.

So, for now there are only two viable options: spend two weeks in a permitted third country or make the case that your visit is in the US national interest.

Our firm has secured a good number of National Interest Exceptions NIEs for clients since the start of the Covid pandemic last March. This week, for example, we obtained an NIE for an Italian client seeking to travel to the United States on business.

The client is one of the leading Italian sales agents for the high-quality ceramic tiles. He represents the interests of a network of Italian tile companies – many based around the city of Modena. He is their global represenative and his area of responsibility includes the United States.

On behalf of the client, we argued that his work was within the permissible exceptions for travel as they came under the exceptions listed in the “Advisory Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers during Covid-19 Response”, issued by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) on March 28, 2020.

His work supports the supply chain of building materials from production through application and installation, including cabinetry, fixtures, doors, cement, hardware, plumbing (including parts and services), electrical, heating and cooling, refrigeration, appliances, paint and coatings, and workers who provide services that enable repair materials and equipment for essential functions.

As we previously reported, these NIEs were recently bolstered to a year-long validity period with multiple entries to the United States permitted. That could soon be academic. If the restrictions on vaccinated travellers visiting the United States is lifted as indicated by the president next month.

There is also a chance that Biden will keep restrictions in place on some countries, so keep those National Interest Exceptions in mind


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.


US Immigration Pathway

E2 Treaty Investor Visa Advantages: Fast Processing Times

The head of our E-2 Visa Practice Verdie J. Atienza speaks in our latest video about some of the advantages of the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa. Firstly, we look at the fast processing times of this visa.

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa is unique in that the work is primarily done by embassies and consulates rather than the US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) US embassies and consulates have been closed or providing reduced services over the past eighteen month as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

They have started to reopen, but this is all very much dependant upon the individual location. With places in Europe reopening after lockdown and places in the Far East and Australasia clamping down.

In normal times, applicants can expect to wait just a few weeks and up to a month for the embassy to review their petition. Premium processing is also available, whereby you pay a little extra on the administration fee to jump the queue.

What is the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa?

The E-2 Treaty Investor allows a person to move to the US with their family for the purposes of owning and operating a business. The E-2 investor must be actively involved in managing the business, but the spouse can apply for authorization to work in the US. The visa is renewable in instalments up to 5 years, but provided the underlying business continues to operate, you can keep renewing it.

There is no minimum investment required for the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa, but it must be appropriate for the business in question and we usually recommend investments upwards of $100,000. This does not all need to be cash, but can also be inventory, intellectual property and other items.

The E-2 Visa offers flexibility in the type of business you can own and operate. You can expand your foreign business, acquire and existing US business, start a new business, or purchase a franchise business.

E-2 Visa Plus Citizenship by Investment (CBI)

To be eligible for the E-2 Visa your must be a citizen of an E-2 country. Click here to check if you are from an E-2 country. If you are not a citizen of an E-2 country then you need our E-2 + CBI package. This is where you first obtain citizenship by investment of an E-2 Treaty country and then progress to an E-2 application.

The two E-2 countries with the fastest and most cheapest routes to citizenship are Grenada in the West Indies and Turkey on the eastern edge of Europe. Grenada Citizenship starts from $150,000 for a donation and $220,000 for an investment. Turkish citizenship starts from $250,000 for an investment and $500,000 for deposits in a Turkis bank.

Average processing times for both Turkey CBI and Grenada CBI are fast – just a few months and in some instances just a month or two. When you couple that with the fast processing times of the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa, this dual step route can take just a matter of months.

Contact us to learn more.

E-2 Treaty Investor Visa Advantages: Quick Processing Times

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.


Investor Visa Application

EB5 Visa Remains at $500,000 as US Government Appeals

The minimum investment level for the EB-5 visa remains at $500,000 for now, but the appeal is a clear signal the Biden administration is intent on increasing the price.

The US government filed a last-minute appeal against a federal court ruling that reversed Trump-era changes to the EB-5 Visa investment thresholds. A federal judge in California ruled in June that a decision to increase the minimum investment level from $500,000 to $900,000 in November 2019 was unlawful because the head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had been improperly appointed. The Biden administration is now seeking to appeal her ruling and reinstate the changes.

The ruling saw the EB-5 investment level fall back to $500,000 in June for a short window before the Regional Center program expired at the end of that month. This resulted in a flurry of applications as people piled in to obtain Green Cards by investment for themselves and their families. While the EB-5 Regional Center route is on hold, Direct EB-5 remains open and accepting applicants the $500,000 investment amount.

Increasing the Minimum Investment for EB-5 Visa

The timeline on the appeals process is not clear. It could be done quickly, but is more likely to take many months. The appeal does underscore the Biden administration’s commitment to a higher EB-5 investment level than the current minimum threshold of $500,000. If the appeal process is successful, that would mean a return to $900,000 minimum investment level inside a Targeted Employment Area ($1.8 million outside these areas). The alternative is to go through the US Congress to change the rules for the EB-5 program and agree new investment thresholds.

There was a bipartisan attempt to reform and reauthorize the EB-5 Regional Center program before it expired. However, this failed when a single senator, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, opposed passing the bill following an eleventh hour attempt to pass it by Unanimous Consent. Senator Graham is not opposed to EB-5, but wanted more discussion on what a reformed investor-visa program should look like.

Congress and the EB-5 Program

Congress will need to revisit EB-5 after its summer recess. There could still be another attempt at bespoke reform for EB-5, but the packed legislative agenda may mean that it is folded back into spending legislation due at the end of September. Any reform package would seek to bring greater integrity to the program, may review the differential between TEA investment and non-TEA investment, and, critically for of investors, it may also amend the investment thresholds.

The increase to a $900,000 minimum investment has resulted in a drop in applications since it has pushed EB-5 outside of the reaches of the global middle class who have been the backbone of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa program since its inception in the 1990s. The US program is more affordable than many comparable citizenship or residency by investment programs worldwide – for example, the UK Tier One Investor Visa starts from £2 million (and is a visa that Davies & Associates can also assist you with).

The onset of the Covid pandemic soon after the price increase has also served to dampen demand, so it is tricky to draw conclusive trends based upon the 2020 EB-5 filing data.

A more modest increase in the minimum investment threshold to $700,000 or $750,000 could be a real possibility according to industry insiders. This would raise more revenue while keeping the EB-5 program within reach of more people. Such a change would require legislative approval.

Watch a recording of our most recent webinar where we delve deeply into this image and examine the potential reform and reauthorization of the Regional Center program.

Watch our recent webinar on the future of the EB-5 Regional Center Program

Next steps for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program

The good news is that EB-5 enjoys the backing of politicians from both main political parties. EB-5 brings in billions of dollars of investment and creates hundreds of thousands of jobs at no cost to the taxpayer. The EB-5 program played a vital role in bringing foreign direct investment to the United States amid the financial crisis in 2008 and EB-5 can serve in a similar manner as America emerges from Covid-19.

We cannot take any stance of the likelihood of success on the appeal, but it is a clear sign that the Biden administration intends to increase the investment minimum. But just filing the appeal does not have any immediate impact.  The investment amount remains at $500,000 until and unless they get a favorable appellate decision (or until they go through the rule change process properly). So, Direct EB-5 remains open to new applicants at the $500,000 limit, as would the Regional Center program – if and when it is reinstated. We will keep everyone updated as events unfold.


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.


EB5 Investor Visa

The Future of EB-5 Investor Visa: Webinar Recording

Last Friday we hosted a webinar on the EB-5 Immigration Investor Visa at a crucial time in the program’s history. The Webinar, titled “The Future of EB-5” featured key experts from the industry weighing in on the outlook for the program.

The EB-5 Investor Visa Regional Center Program is facing reauthorization before the end of June – this just refers to investments through the Regional Center program, Direct EB-5 (where the applicant makes and manages the investment themselves) is unaffected.

Watch our panelists debate the probability of reauthorization and the possibility of a temporary lapse if Congress cannot pass legislation in time. They detail the reform proposals in the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act in the Senate, as well the potential need to compromise with a rival bill.

Also discussed is the possibility of the investment amount lowering from USD 900,000 to USD 500,000 because of a lawsuit currently working its way through the California courts. The premise is that the 2019 price increase was illegal because Trump’s Department for Homeland Security DHS chief was improperly appointed.


The expert panel also answer a range of questions from more than 100 people who participated.

Webinar: Future of EB5

Webinar FEATURING

Kurt Reuss- Founder, EB5 Marketplace

Matt Hogan – Vice President of Project Development, CMB Regional Centers

Asif Chhipa- Managing Director – India, Pakistan, Middle East, First Pathway Partners

AND

Mark I. Davies- Global Chairman, Davies & Associates


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.


Investor Visa Application

EB-5 Investor Visa for Graduating Students

Although studying and working in America is a dream that many parents have for their children, the pathway to achieving this has never looked more challenging. There is, however, one route that removes all the hurdles at a single stroke: the EB-5 Investor Visa.

Fast Route to a Green Card

The EB-5 visa is one of the fastest routes to a Green Card (US permanent residency). A green card removes the need for students to jump through the hoops of F-1 student visas, Optional Practical Training (OPT), and the much-maligned H-1B visa. 

Permanent residency allows your children complete freedom to study or work anywhere in the United States and gives them time to find suitable employment. They may even qualify for in-state tuition fee rates.

OPT and the H-1B visa binds a student to a particular employer putting them in a weaker negotiating position when it comes to monetary compensation and benefits. It is harder to move jobs or, therefore, to leverage another offer to extract more concessions or a promotion. 

The EB-5 visa dispenses with these issues as your child’s presence in the US is not directly tied to their employment and there is no obligation to find a job or leave the country; it provides time to find a position with the best prospects for the future.

EB-5 Requirements

The EB-5 visa requires a minimum $900,000 investment. A whole family can receive green cards from a single investment, provided the children are under the age of 21. 

The US authorities apply a slightly complex calculation around the age of children. Their age freezes at specific points of the application process and then unfreezes at other stages, which gives rise to the slightly strange situation wherein their actual age may be different than their age in the eyes of US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 

It is best to discuss this with an immigration attorney since long-term forward planning is always recommended. There is a maximum of just over 700 visas available to each country each year, which means that countries face a waiting list if this number is exceeded. This could cause delays and push a child over the age of 21. If this happens, the child would require an EB-5 investment separate from the rest of the family.

EB-5 Visa Source of Funds Requirements

The money used to fund the EB-5 investment must come from acceptable sources, and the USCIS requires you to document and explain the source of your funds. Source of funds can be Sale of property, investments, gifts, etc. This can be a time consuming process depending on the complexity of the movement of funds and therefore, planning before your child reaches 21 years is vital if you intend to file a family application. Proper planning is advised for all remittances.

The EB-5 investment must be made in a new commercial enterprise and must create ten (10) jobs. Failure to comply could put the Green Card at risk. So, while there are few takers who decide to make and manage the investment themselves via Direct EB5 route, most people choose to invest with a government-approved Regional Center. 

There are many Regional Centers of varying quality; hence it is crucial to conduct due diligence on the Regional Center and its project to reduce any risks to the return of your $900,000 investment. 

EB-5 may just be the ultimate graduation present for your child, however it would be too late if you start intend to move forward with it just before graduation. Even though the process may take considerable time, the rewards of working in the US without hindrance are very enticing for any student or their parents.

By Girish Mohile, Connect with Girish.

EB-5 Process & Timeline

EB5 Process
Details of the Process & Timeline for an EB-5 Visa Application

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.


Vietnam clients of Davies & Associates

Thị thực EB-2 – Thường trú nhân thông qua Miễn trừ Lợi ích Quốc gia (NIW).

Davies & Associates đã nhận được sự chấp thuận của Chương trình Miễn trừ Lợi ích/Quyền lợi Quốc gia EB2 (NIW) cho một Nhà Tâm lý học Tổ chức/Công nghiệp từ Nam Phi. Ban đầu, khách hàng có một số lựa chọn thị thực khác, nhưng các luật sư nhập cư của chúng tôi đã đề xuất NIW là con đường tốt hơn và chi phí hơn.
 
Khách hàng của chúng tôi là một nhà Tâm lý Tổ chức/Công nghiệp có nhiều kinh nghiệm và vốn có tài năng với bằng cấp cao về Tâm lý học Tổ chức và Công nghiệp và có nhiều kinh nghiệm trong lĩnh vực của cô ấy.
 
By Verdie Atienza
VISIT OUR VIETNAMESE IMMIGRATION PAGE
Tâm lý học Công nghiệp & Tổ chức (I / O)
 
Tâm lý học công nghiệp và tổ chức (“Tâm lý học I / O”), còn được gọi là tâm lý học nghề nghiệp, là một thực hành ứng dụng trong lĩnh vực tâm lý học đa ngành và bí truyền. Nó là khoa học về hành vi của con người liên quan đến công việc và áp dụng các lý thuyết và nguyên tắc tâm lý cho các tổ chức và cá nhân tại nơi làm việc cũng như cuộc sống làm việc của cá nhân một cách tổng quát hơn. Các nhà tâm lý học I / O được đào tạo theo mô hình khoa học-thực hành. Họ đóng góp vào thành công của tổ chức bằng cách cải thiện hiệu suất, động lực, sự hài lòng trong công việc, an toàn và sức khỏe nghề nghiệp cũng như sức khỏe tổng thể cũng như chỉ số hạnh phúc của nhân viên.
Một nhà tâm lý học I / O thực hiện nghiên cứu về hành vi và thái độ của nhân viên cũng như cách họ có thể được cải thiện thông qua các phương pháp tuyển dụng, chương trình đào tạo, phản hồi và hệ thống quản lý.

 
Làm thế nào chúng tôi có được NIW?
 
D&A đã trình bày thành công nhóm công việc xuất sắc của khách hàng trong lĩnh vực này và chứng minh cách cô ấy đáp ứng các tiêu chí nghiêm ngặt cho phân loại NIW. Mặc dù các công việc đủ điều kiện để được Miễn trừ lợi ích quốc gia không được quy định theo luật, nhưng việc miễn trừ lợi ích quốc gia thường được cấp cho những người có khả năng đặc biệt và làm việc ở Hoa Kỳ sẽ mang lại nhiều lợi ích cho quốc gia.
 
Những người tìm kiếm miễn trừ cho quyền lợi quốc gia có thể tự nộp đơn (họ không cần chủ lao động bảo lãnh) và có thể nộp trực tiếp giấy chứng nhận lao động của họ với USCIS cùng với Mẫu đơn I-140, Đơn xin việc làm cho người nước ngoài.


Miễn trừ Lợi ích Quốc gia (NIW) là gì?
 
NIW (National Interest Waiver) là danh mục phụ thứ ba của loại thị thực dựa trên việc làm ưu tiên thứ hai (thị thực EB2). Thị thực dựa trên việc làm – bất kỳ thứ gì có tiền tố “EB” – là thị thực nhập cư cung cấp thường trú nhân / Thẻ xanh cho người nộp đơn.
 
Trong danh mục NIW, người nộp đơn có thể yêu cầu miễn chứng nhận lao động vì làm như vậy là vì lợi ích quốc gia của Hoa Kỳ (các danh mục EB-2 khác yêu cầu chứng nhận lao động). Những người làm việc trong bất kỳ ngành nào đều có thể nộp đơn xin NIW, nhưng người nộp đơn phải chứng minh được vai trò của họ là vì lợi ích quốc gia. Điều này làm cho nó đặc biệt phổ biến đối với những người trong ngành khoa học và chăm sóc sức khỏe.
Các danh mục phụ Visa EB2 khác
 
Hai danh mục phụ khác cho EB-2 là “Bằng cấp cao” – bất kỳ ai có bằng cấp cao cộng với ít nhất năm năm kinh nghiệm làm việc đáng tin cậy – và “Khả năng đặc biệt”. Điều này dành cho những người có khả năng đặc biệt trong nghệ thuật, khoa học hoặc kinh doanh. Về mặt này, nó tương tự như loại EB-1A dành cho những người có năng lực phi thường và loại EB-1C dành cho các nhà quản lý và điều hành quốc tế. Không giống như danh mục phụ NIW, hai danh mục phụ này yêu cầu chứng nhận lao động.
 
Ban đầu, khách hàng đã tiếp cận Davies & Associates với một lựa chọn loại thị thực khác và nhóm của chúng tôi đã đề xuất lộ trình EB-2 thay thế. Điều này nhấn mạnh tầm quan trọng của việc tham vấn với luật sư nhập cư sớm trong quá trình này. Nhóm của chúng tôi hỗ trợ các tư vấn miễn phí ban đầu cho các khách hàng tiềm năng như một phần của quá trình đánh giá hồ sơ của khách hàng.
Contact us for your application review
Bài viết này được xuất bản cho khách hàng, bạn bè và những người quan tâm khác chỉ nhằm mục đích cung cấp thông tin. Nội dung của bài viết không phải là lời khuyên pháp lý và không nhất thiết phản ánh ý kiến của Davies & Associates hoặc bất kỳ luật sư, nhân viên hoặc khách hàng nào của Davies & Associates. Các liên kết bên ngoài không phải là sự chứng thực của nội dung.

EB-5 Visa, L-1 Visa, E-2 Visa

E-2 Visa: Change of Status approved for a Singaporean national amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

By Verdie Atienza

The client entered the US on a visitor’s visa and recognized the opportunity to set up a full-service business coaching and management consulting company with the goal of improving client’s profitability and increasing operational efficiency. He is the head of a private equity and capital markets firm in Singapore responsible for raising millions in sees capital from various investors and overseeing all aspects of business strategy, corporate governance and product development for global startups. 

The client decided to apply to change status to E-2 Treaty Investor Visa for the following reasons:

  1. He wanted to capitalize on the opportunity in the US;
  2. He was concerned about not being able to come back to the US as soon as he would like if he applies for the E-2 visa at the Embassy because of COVID-19;
  3. He wanted to immediately be able to develop and direct the US company.

With the assistance of D&A, the client was able to timely file an application to change status to E-2. As expected, he received a request for evidence. The challenges to his E-2 change of status application were as follows:

  1. He was required to provide for additional evidence to prove business viability since his company is a start-up;
  2. He was asked to prove his capacity to develop and direct the enterprise considering that the company is a service-oriented one. USCIS has been known to issue RFEs for service-oriented businesses with the treaty investor applicant  as one of the primary service providers.
  3. He was required to prove his non-immigrant intent.

D&A successfully overcame the RFE and obtained an approval for the client. Our team worked closely with our business plan team to prepare a strong response to prove the business viability of the E-2 company even if it is a start-up. COVID-19 made things more challenging because the lockdown and restrictions to gather in big groups will force the company to resort to online or virtual trainings.

We also had to prove to USCIS that our client has the ability to develop and direct the company. Since the company is a service-oriented business, demonstrating that the client will be performing work that is “solely” focused on developing and directing the E-2 company may be difficult, however, we were able to prove that the activities of the E-2 investor applicant are primarily focused on business management and development. We successfully demonstrated that the client’s performance of consulting activities are incidental to their job developing and directing the business. 

With the approval of the change of status application, the Company will now be able to organize corporate trainings that will lead to the professional development and improvement of the employees. The Company will provide strategic consulting services to businesses, enabling them to achieve sustained, profitable growth. This service segment includes strategic advice in the areas of general growth strategy, leadership development, performance improvement, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate portfolio design. In the area of leadership development, the Company’s team views employee engagement as a potential source of competitive advantage. The services of the Company become particularly relevant as the most US companies have to rise above the economic slowdown as a result of the pandemic.

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa offers the opportunity to invest in and own a business in America. Applicants must come from an E-2 Treaty country. Click here to find out if your country holds an E-2 Treaty with the United States. If your country does not have an E-2 Treaty with the United States, it is possible to quickly obtain citizenship by investment of an E-2 Treaty country which would make you eligible. Grenada Citizenship by Investment and Turkish Citizenship by Investment are the quickest routes to E-2 Visa eligibility.


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.


US Business Immigration Visas: L1, E2, EB5 Comparison Table

US Business Immigration Visas: L1, E2, EB5 Comparison Table

Our firm has helped hundreds of business owners and families move to the United States on EB-5, E-2 and L-1 visas. Which visa is best depends entirely on your unique personal circumstances. We recommend every new client have a free consultation with our team to discuss the various options in light of their personal goals, budgets and interests.

L-1 VisasE-1 VisasE-2 VisasEB-5 Visas
Visa available to nationals of any country?Nationals of treaty trader countries onlyNationals of treaty trader countries only
Must I have worked for a related company abroad for one year?
Ability of dependent Spouse to work in US
Can the visa be renewed into perpetuity assuming I re-qualify?
Is a business plan a very key element of a successful application?
Minimum investment RequiredSufficient to operate valid foreign business and US office or business entityNo theoretical minimum, but enough investment to create a real, viable, businessSufficient to fund business enterprise, generally > $100,000 although less is possibleEither USD 900,000
or USD 1,800,000

Visa Duration

One of the key differences is the length of time you can remain in the United States on each visa. The EB-5 visa leads directly to a Green Card (permanent residency). This means you can stay in the United States permanently until such a time as you opt to surrender your Green Card or apply to naturalize as a US citizen.

The L-1 visa and the E-2 visa are both non-immigrant visas. These do not offer permanent residency, but the E-2 visa is perhaps the next best thing because you can renew it indefinitely. Unlimited renewals means that you could technically live in the United States forever, provided the underlying business remains in operation.

The L-1 Visa is renewable up to a maximum of seven years for the L-1A visa and five years for the L-1B visa. After this time you would need to leave the US or transition to another visa or apply for a Green Card. It is best to discuss your options with an L-1 Visa attorney. Good fits for the L-1 visa are the EB-1(c) visa or the EB-3 visa. You can of course, also explore options for transitioning to a Green Card from an E-2 visa if you wish to make your presence in the US more permanent and not tied to the E-2 business.

The amount of time granted on your initial L-1 and E-2 visa will vary depending upon where you are from. Each country has a so-called reciprocity schedule which dictates the maximum visa validity period. Note that your visa might not be granted for the full period listed under your particular country. The authorities may wish you to return sooner to check on the status of your business. For example, “New Office L-1 visas” are granted for just a year initially, so checks on your progress can be made.

Investment Requirements

Each visa comes with a different associated investment requirement. The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa – as the name suggests – offers a Green Card by investment. The investment requirements are $900,000 for investments in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) and $1.8 million outside these areas. In practice, the Regional Centers who manage the vast majority of EB-5 investments all work in TEAs and so only the $900,000 applies. If you wish to do Direct EB-5, we would need to make sure the investment is placed in a TEA to qualify for the lower amount.

By conducting due diligence on the Regional Center and its project, an EB-5 investor can mitigate risks not only to the Green Card but also to the return of your capital. Most Regional Centers offer very low rates of interest (in many ways the Green Card itself is the return on the investment). By investing with a reputable Regional Center in a reliable project there is no reason why the investor should not see the return of their capital after several years.

There is no fixed investment requirement for the E-2 Visa. A good rule of thumb is that it should be in excess of $100,000 and must be appropriate for the business you are proposing to start or acquire. We have seen some successful E-2 applicants for less than $100,000, so we encourage you to contact us regardless. The investment does not only need to be cash – it can also be in stocks of inventory, patents, equipment etc.

The L-1 visa does not require investment if you are simply transferring from the overseas branch to the existing branch of a multinational company. New Office L-1 visas inevitably require investment to set up and grow the new US office. This needs to be suitable to the needs of the business.

Work Authorization

The EB-5 visa offers complete freedom to work (or not work) in the United States. A single application/investment can include not just the applicant but any spouse and children under the age of 21. Each family member receives their own Green Card meaning they are free to work in the United States. We find many of our EB-5 clients are motivated by their children university education and work prospects after graduation.

The primary applicant for the E-2 and L-1 visas are obviously required to work in the role they moved to the US to fulfil. Spouses of these visa holders, however, can apply for work authorization in the United States. This offers a lot more employment flexibility than the popular H-1B visa for example, since you are not tied to a particular employer. As non permanent residents, you are only taxed on your US earnings.

There are many different pros and cons to each of these visa categories. It is vital to discuss your personal circumstances with our team so we can take you through every eventuality and thereby determine the best visa for you and your family.


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.


How Could a Writ of Mandamus help with the Upcoming EB-5 Visa Reauthorization?

How Could a Writ of Mandamus help with the Upcoming EB-5 Visa Reauthorization?

The EB-5 Regional Center Program faces reauthorization in the US Congress before the end of June 2021. The likelihood is that the program will be renewed, but some EB-5 clients are choosing to mitigate any risk by filing a writ of mandamus.

Congressional Reauthorization

The EB-5 Regional Center program requires periodic reauthorization. This is usually bundled up with “must-pass” appropriations legislation, so there was rarely a chance it would not be renewed. This is not unusual, Congress has so much to consider they often package topics together to lighten the work load. However, this time around is different.

This year, the EB-5 Regional Center program has been decoupled from the “must-pass” spending bills and requires reauthorization by itself. This means Congress needs to evaluate the program on its own merits and determine its future.

The timing is good. The EB-5 investor visa program brings in millions of dollars in foreign investment and creates hundreds of thousands of jobs at no cost to the US taxpayer. It played a helpful role as the US navigated its way out of the 2007/8 financial crisis. It can do the same as the US economy recovers from Covid-19.

There are also thousands of people working in the EB-5 industry all over America. It is not an industry whose benefits accrue to a narrow cluster. In fact, the Targeted Employment Area (TEA) requirements deliberately try to target EB-5 investment at areas of high unemployment as well as rural areas. This aspect was strengthened during the most recent reform to the program in November 2019.

Risk to the EB-5 Regional Center Program

So things augur well for reauthorization. However, in the febrile world of American politics there is always a risk that it would not be renewed . And with risk comes uncertainty. If the program was discontinued, it is not yet clear how existing and new investors will fare.

What is the EB-5 Investor Visa Program?

For new investors, i.e. people who choose to file an EB-5 petition (Form I-526) between now and June, there is a trade-off. On the one hand, you could tie up your capital under uncertain conditions to pursue the EB-5 Regional Center in case it ends forever in June. Or on the other hand, you could wait until there is certainty in the second half of 2021, but know that the price of that certainty could mean the EB-5 route is closed to you forever. The risk is up to the client, but it is worth talking through your options with an immigration attorney. D&A offers free consultations on this an EB-5 Investor Visa more generally.

For existing investors – those that have filed their Form I-526 but have not yet had an adjudication – there are things you could do to try to push USCIS into making a decision on your case faster.

Speeding up your EB-5 adjudication

It is best to engage your immigration attorney at the outset of this process to make sure all steps are taken properly and in a timely fashion. In the first instance, petitioners should contact the USCIS ombudsman’s office. This may not ultimately expedite your adjudication, but it is helpful to show evidence of seeking a solution should a petitioner need to subsequently escalate their case.

The second, perhaps contemporaneous step, is to contact the senator or congressional representative covering the state or district where the EB-5 project is located. Depending upon your circumstances, contacting other lawmakers may also be appropriate.

Read more about delayed EB-5

Writ of Mandamus

After these two steps have been exhausted, and if they do not cause an adjudication then you could consider filing a writ of mandamus. This is a lawsuit in a federal court to determine whether your immigration petition has been unreasonably delayed.

Don’t worry, it will have no bearing on whether or not your I-526 application is successfully approved. It does, however, force USCIS into adjudicating your case quickly if it is judged to have been unreasonably delayed. Sometimes simply initiating proceedings can galvanize action as USCIS has been known to adjudicate a plaintiff’s application in order to avoid progressing with the lawsuit. 

It is advisable to seek advice from an attorney throughout. Contact D&A for a free consultation to determine whether a Writ of Mandamus would be advantageous for your I-526 petition. Our team has filed dozens of successful writs of mandamus actions against USCIS for unreasonably delaying immigrant petitions. We can assist regardless of whether your I-526 application was prepared and filed by Davies & Associates.

The average time between filing a writ of mandamus and receiving an adjudication is around two months, in some cases it can be significantly less. 


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.


US Immigration Visa Approval

EB-2 Visas – Permanent Residency through National Interest Waiver (NIW). A Case Study

Davies & Associates obtained an EB2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) approval for an Organizational/Industrial Psychologist from South Africa. The client had initially wanted another visa, but our immigration attorneys proposed NIW as the better route.

Our client is a highly experienced and inherently talented Organizational/Industrial Psychologist with an advanced degree in Organizational/Industrial Psychology and extensive experience in her field.

Industrial & Organizational Psychology

Industrial and organizational psychology (“I/O psychology”), which is also known as occupational psychology, is an applied practice within the multi-discipline and esoteric field of psychology.  It is the science of human behavior relating to work and applies psychological theories and principles to organizations and individuals in their place of work as well as the individual’s work life in a more general manner. I/O psychologists are trained in the science-practitioner model.  They contribute to an organization’s success by improving the performance, motivation, job satisfaction, and occupational safety and health as well as to the overall health and well-being of its employees.  An I/O psychologist conducts research on employees’ behaviors and attitudes, and how they can be improved through hiring practices, training programs, feedback, and management systems.

How did we obtain the NIW?

D&A successfully presented the client’s outstanding body of work in the field and demonstrated how she meets the rigorous criteria for NIW classification. Although the jobs that qualify for a National Interest Waiver are not defined by statute, national interest waivers are usually granted to those who have exceptional ability and whose employment in the United States would greatly benefit the nation.

Those seeking a national interest waiver may self-petition (they do not need an employer to sponsor them) and may file their labor certification directly with USCIS along with their Form I-140, Petition for Alien Work.

What is the National Interest Waiver (NIW)?

The NIW (National Interest Waiver) is the third subcategory of the second-preference employment-based visa category (EB2 visa). Employment-based visas – anything with the prefix “EB” – are immigrant visas in that they offer permanent residency / Green Card.

In the NIW category, an applicant can request that labor certification be waived because it is in the US national interest to do so (the other EB-2 categories require labor certification). People working in any industry could apply for NIW, but the applicant should be able to demonstrate their role is in the national interest. This makes it especially popular for people in science and healthcare.

Other EB2 Visa Subcategories

The two other subcategories for EB-2 are “Advanced Degree” – anyone with an advanced degree plus at least five years of credible work experience – and “Exceptional Ability”. This is for people who have exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business. In this regard it is similar to the EB-1A category for people with extraordinary ability and the EB-1C category for international managers and executives. Unlike the NIW subcategory, these two subcategories do require labor certification. 

The client initially approached Davies & Associates with another visa category in mind and our team was able to recommend the EB-2 route instead. This highlights the importance of engaging with an immigration attorney early in the process. Our team offers an initial free consultation to prospective clients as part of this determination process.

Contact us to request your appointment.


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.