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.


End of US Travel Ban Releases Pent-Up Demand from Nigeria

President Biden’s decision to reverse President Trump’s travel ban has released pent up demand for US immigration services from Nigeria.

Nigeria was hit with a US travel ban in February 2020 after President Trump introduced new restrictions as part of his ongoing immigration reforms. The move added Nigeria and five other countries to what was widely referred to as a “Muslim Ban” that dated back to the start of his administration.

In Nigeria, where around half the population are Muslim, the ban specifically targeted those seeking permanent residency in the United States. This hit particularly hard in the family-based immigrant (Green Card) categories, but also effectively put a halt to the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program in the country.

EB-5 Visa Nigeria

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program had been growing rapidly in popularity in Nigeria over the past few years, albeit from a low base. In 2016, 38 EB-5 visa were issued to Nigerians, and by 2018 that number had jumped to almost 100.

The travel ban coincided with an increase in the minimum investment amount for EB-5 to $900,000 and then the outbreak of Covid-19. So a temporary dampening of demand in 2020 was likely with or without the travel ban.

But now EB-5 reopens and the pent-up demand is able to unleash. There are just over 700 EB-5 visas available to each country each year. This means Nigeria has a way to go before it hits its annual cap. But if its EB-5 growth trajectory resembles other countries like India, things could move fast.

The EB-5 program provides a fast route to a Green Card for a minimum $900,000 investment that creates ten jobs. Most people invest with an EB-5 Regional Center to help ensure compliance, but it is also possible to make the investment yourself through Direct EB5. A single investment can cover the primary applicant, a spouse, and any children under 21.

L-1 Visa Nigeria

Where we are seeing the most interest right now from Nigeria is the L-1 Intracompany Transfer Visa. Technically Nigerians were not prevented from applying for this visa as part of the travel ban, but it made the whole process much harder.

Then in June 2020, President Trump announced a worldwide ban on the L-1 visa among many other visas as part of his plans to contain the economic impact of Covid-19. The L-1 visa is only just reopening as Trump’s ban expires. The pent up demand has built up quite a queue worldwide, so it is a good idea to get started on an application.

The L-1A visa allows an international manager or executive to move from the Nigerian office to the US office of the same company. If you are looking to expand your business to the US, you can use the L-1 visa to move to the US to oversee the set-up and growth of the new office. The L-1B visa permits you to transfer an employee with “Specialized knowledge” to the US.

The L-1A visa is limited to a maximum of seven years and the L-1B for a maximum of 5 years. But you would not get the full amount in one go. Nigerian L-1 visas are issued up to a maximum of 2 years, at which time you would need to apply for a renewal. After the maximum period, you must switch to a different visa or return to Nigeria.

E2 Treaty Investor Visa Plus CBI

The other visa a lot of potential Nigerian clients ask us about is the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa. The E-2 visa allows a person to move to the US for the purposes of owning and operating a business. People use it to buy restaurant franchises or gas stations, but the business opportunities are much broader than this. You no longer even need physical premises.

The visa is hugely popular, but there is one catch for Nigerians. Nigeria does not hold an E-2 Treaty with the USA. This means that Nigerians seeking an E-2 visa need to first become citizens of a country that does have a treaty. The process is known as E-2 + CBI.

The two E-2 countries with the cheapest and fastest routes to citizenship are Turkey and Grenada. Turkish citizenship can be obtained with an investment in real estate from $250,000 or bank deposits worth more than $500,000. Grenadian citizenship can be obtained with a donation from $150,000 or a real estate investment from $220,000. Citizenship of both countries can be obtained in a matter of months.

The extra step can seem like a hassle, but we have helped clients through this prcoess and it is simpler than it sounds. Plus, for many, the E-2 visa is worth the effort. Spouses of the primary applicant can apply for a separate US work permit, investment requirements are relatively low, and the visa can be renewed forever – provided the business is still in good operation.


The combination of Covid-19 and a travel ban has hit Nigerian immigration to the United States hard. But the travel ban is lifting and the vaccination program is underway. The 2020s look set to be brighter for Nigerians hoping to move to the United States.


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.


Business Immigration from the UK to the USA

Political headwinds have left entrepreneurs and business owners looking for more effective ways to trade. Namely, moving to the source and setting up a business in America.

The United Kingdom is America’s seventh largest trading partner with imports from the UK totalling $125 billion and exports to the UK exceeding $147 billion in 2019.

While bilateral trade grew to an all time high before the pandemic, Trump administration policies have been making things harder for certain sectors. A trade dispute with the European Union over subsidies to Airbus resulted in tariffs being imposed on a number of British products. The Scotch whisky industry, for example, was hit by a 25% tariff on its exports to the US market.

Things should start changing as a result of Brexit and the inauguration of President Biden, but there has not yet been any hurry to remove these tariffs on the US side. Moreover, continued uncertainty around the future of trade and globalization has left many business leaders asking how they can do things differently to hedge against future instability.

As a result, we have seen an increase in the number of people coming to our firm to discuss business immigration options. Not just from Great Britain, but from across the European Union – from Germany, France, the Netherlands and beyond.

There is increased interest in business expansion to the United States, as well as with people wishing to set-up new enterprises. The good news is that, being a land of commerce, the U.S. has multiple options for just such people.

The L-1 Intracompany Transfer Visa

The L-1A Visa allows a manager or executive level employee to move from the British office to the US office of the same company. More than 10,000 L-1 visas were issued to Brits in 2010. Many of them work at large multinationals and move between established offices.

Yet, the L-1 can also be used to set-up and grow a new office in America. Businesses who do not yet have a presence in America can set one up and then transfer a senior-level employee to manage the business on an L-1 visa. D&A’s L-1 Visa can take care of the company formation as well as the immigration work.

The L-1 is a time limited, non-immigrant visa. British people are granted an initial visa of up to a maximum of 60 months (five years). New office L-1s are granted for a much shorter period so the authorities can monitor the progress for the business. Yet, these visas can be renewed – up to a maximum of seven years for an L-1A visa. There is also an L-1B route for people in the company with “specialized knowledge”. This is limited to a maximum of five years. To remain in the United States for longer, an L-1 visa beneficiary must switch to a different visa. The EB-1C and EB-3 visas offer permanent residency and fit well with the L-1 visa.

Click here to visit our UK L-1 Visa Page

E-2 Treaty Investor Visa

The E-2 Visa allows a person to move to the United States to operate a business. To qualify for the E-2 visa, a person must be a citizen of a country that holds a relevant treaty with the United States. The United Kingdom holds the oldest such treaty, dating back more than 200 years.

Click here to visit our UK E-2 Visa webpage

Eligibility is determined by citizenship, so if you were born outside the UK and subsequently became a British citizen, you would still eligible. This contrasts favorably with U.S. family-based and employment-based immigrant visa categories, where eligibility is determined by your country of birth.

There is no stipulated investment amount, but it must be credible to support the business plan. Generally speaking, it should be upwards of around $100,000.

Unlike the L-1, the E-2 visa can be renewed indefinitely provided the underlying business continues to trade and meets its targets. The maximum length of time an E-2 visa can be issued for is five years, at which point a renewal is required.

Family of both L-1 and E-2 visa holders can move from the UK to the US with the primary applicant. That includes a spouse and any children under the age of 21. Spouses can apply to work in the United States and often clients arrange their E-2 visa around the spouse’s career ambitions.

Visit our UK E2 Visa Center

EB-5 Visa

To have true freedom to work in the United States (and indeed study or retire), permanent residency is the best course of action. One of the fastest routes to a Green Card for UK nationals is the EB-5 Investor Visa. It offers a quick path to a Green Card for a $900,000 investment. This is cheaper than the UK’s own investor visa program, which starts from £2 million and increases in value if you wish to reduce the time period before your wish to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

The number of EB-5 visas available to each country each year is just over 700. The United Kingdom is not close to using up its quota, so there is no oversubscription or waiting list for UK EB-5. However, your EB-5 quota depends upon your country of birth. So, for example, an Indian-born British citizen would count under India’s quota. Given India’s population size and the popularity of the United States as a destination, India is often close to its annual cap.

Davies & Associates is one of the most well established EB-5 law firms in India. We have helped many Indian families successfully apply for their EB-5 visas and have been consistently quoted on the subject in the Indian media. Our Russian speaking lawyers and paralegals are also well placed to help the Russian community in the UK with their US immigration goals.

UK Solutions for Americans

Trade cuts both ways and Americans are inevitably also interested in UK visas. The United Kingdom is still gearing up its post-Brexit immigration system, but there are plenty of opportunities for American business owners and entrepreneurs. There is a UK intracompany transfer visa, which is similar to the L-1 Visa. There is a Sole Representative Visa, which has some similarities to the new office type of L-1 visa. The UK also has a start-up and innovator visas designed to attract innovative, scalable and viable technologies to the United Kingdom.

Davies & Associates is uniquely placed to help Brits looking to move to America and vice versa. Our chairman and founder is a Brit who migrated to America many years ago. Our core teams sit in New York, Chicago and London. Contact us today to discuss your specific circumstances.


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.


Keeping a Family together through the E-2 Visa: Client Case Study

Our client wanted to be temporarily reunited with his wife who was living in the United States, but time limitations to his visitor visa meant he had to seek a longer- term alternative. The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa proved the optimal solution.

By Verdie Atienza, Senior Attorney, Head of E-2 and L-1 Visa Practice

Our firm assisted a Jordanian national to with obtaining an E-2 visa and subsequently a green card. While he is married to a US permanent resident, he did not initially wish to reside in America permanently.

Since he did not want to be apart from his wife for too long, he entered the US on his visitor’s visa and was given a period of 6 months of authorized stay.

Prior to the expiration of his period of authorized stay, he has decided that he wants to stay for a longer period of time to determine whether he wants to permanently decide to live in the US or convince his wife go back with him to Jordan. We recommended the change of status to E-2 option for him.

Our firm assisted him in setting up his E-2 company and guided him on making the investments. He opened a bakery restaurant which offers a variety of Lebanese-style flatbreads with a variety of toppings, with options for meat-lovers, vegetarians, and vegans.  

Having a permanent resident wife posed a hurdle in terms of proving his non-immigrant intent. We worked with the client in documenting ties to Jordan and we successfully obtained an approval which granted a period of authorized stay of two years on E-2 status.

The success of his business changed his mind about his future in America. He decided to apply for permanent residency by virtue of his marriage to a Green Card holder.

The priority date for spouses of permanent residents had recently become current and so we advised him to immediately file an adjustment of status application.

The application has been approved and he is now waiting for his Green Card. With careful planning, our firm managed to lessen the client’s physical separation from his wife.

What is the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa?

The E-2 Visa allows a person to move to the United States for the purposes of investing in and running a business. The visa is renewable indefinitely, provided the underlying business remains in operation.

Spouses can move to America along with the primary applicant and can apply to work outside the business. Dependant children can also move to the United States with their parents.

Investors can choose to purchase a ready-made franchise business provided it complies with the E-2 visa regulations. Davies & Associates has a team of corporate lawyers to make sure the franchise or start-up is structured in a way that complies with all the immigration regulations.

While many E-2 clients opt to invest in restaurants or retail, some choose to have businesses that do not necessarily require a bricks-and-mortar presence. These people benefit from a recent innovation to the E-2 visa program that no longer requires the business to have a physical premises.

Who is eligible for the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa

Eligibility for the E-2 Visa is determined by country of citizenship. An applicant must hold citizenship of a country that holds an E-2 Treaty with the United States.

The full list of countries with E-2 Treaties can be found here. Jordan holds an E-2 Treaty with the United States, so this client was directly eligible for the program. Since there are no quotas for this program, the client was not subject to any waiting lists and his application could progress quickly.

Furthermore, since the E-2 Treaty is governed by treaties, it is less exposed to political machinations than most other visa categories. These treaties tend to outlast short-term political changes in Washington.

If the client had not been from an E-2 Treaty Country, the client would need to have first obtained citizenship of an E-2 Treaty Country. The two E-2 treaty countries offering the quickest and most cost-effective pathways to citizenship are Grenada and Turkey.

Grenada offers dual citizenship within just a few months in exchange for an investment in real estate starting from $220,000 or a donation to a government fund starting from $150,000. Turkey requires a $250,000 investment in real estate or $500,000 deposits placed with Turkish banks.

Please contact us for more information: vatienza@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. External links are not an endorsement of the content.