February 2013  

Immigration Reform is Here . . . . Almost

On January 29, 2013, the President made a speech in Las Vegas, calling for immigration reform. This speech, although did not mention the specific details of a proposed legislation, it did mention some broad principles upon which the President wants a bill to be tailored.

First, according to the President, there must be provisions made to secure our borders. Second, businesses and employers must comply with better identity checks of their employees so that everyone plays on a level playing field. Third, students who have attained advanced degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), should be provided an option to acquire residency in the U.S.; to prevent the "brain drain" to competing countries and instead, to retain the professionals we train in our country. Fourth, children who were brought the United States against their will should be permitted to adjust their status. Fifth, there should be a path to citizenship for those individuals who meet certain conditions, including learning English and civics, and have passed a criminal background check. The U.S. Senate has also agreed to a similar preliminary frame work for further discussions.

These principles are commendable. Perhaps there should also be an emphasis on laxing residency requirements for investors. Such could be a boon to our sluggish economy.

Nonetheless, the details will be important. Hopefully, the above proposals will translate into meaningful details that will help us all to move forward as one nation. Stay tuned to our newsletters to get further updates on Immigration Reform.

Heads Up . . . H-1B Season Approaching Fast!

On April 1, 2013, the USCIS will begin accepting H-1B petitions for the fiscal year 2013. Cases will be considered accepted on the date that USCIS takes possession of a properly filed petition with the correct fee. USCIS will not rely upon the date that the petition is postmarked. Those with approved petitions and H-1B status, may begin employment with the petitioner on October 1, 2013.

Background: Anyone with an offer of employment for a "specialty occupation," requiring a bachelor's degree or higher, may be eligible for this valuable H-1B employment visa. There is a cap of 65,000 petitions per fiscal year. Some aliens of advanced degree are provided an exemption from the cap, i.e. for the first 20,000 petitions filed for beneficiaries who have obtained a U.S. master's degree or higher.

If you are looking for an employment-based visa in order to remain in the U.S., consult with an experienced immigration attorney immediately.

White House Hosts Strategy Session, Invites Attorney from NeJame Law

In January of 2013, one of our immigration attorneys, Nayef Mubarak, was invited by the White House for a "Strategy Session with Arab-American Community Leaders." Attorney Mubarak was joined by other "Arab-American" leaders from across the country. The group of roughly 15 individuals met with Administration officials to discuss immigration reform and the concerns of Arab-Americans regarding the reform. The individuals also reviewed the President's blueprint for immigration reform, discussed possible timelines for the change to occur, and core areas of immigration law where reform must be made. It was an honor for Mr. Mubarak to attend such a meeting; specifically the opportunity to voice the concerns of those whom do not have a voice in our political system.

Crossing Borders for Love

As our world becomes more and more intertwined, the romantic metaphor of crossing the seven seas for your beloved becomes ever more a reality. Cross-cultural marriages are now part of the norm.  But which is better? Filing as a fiance or spouse? Let us explore both options.

When Love is Abroad

When a U.S. citizen marries abroad, he or she can return home to the U.S. and file a marriage petition from here. Once the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) confirms that the marriage is bona fide (not just to confer a green card on someone), the agency will approve the petition and then eventually forward it to the U.S. consulate or Embassy in your spouse's home country, where an interview will be set for the issuance of a visa.

In This Issue

Newsletter Issues


Q & A -The E-2 Investor Visa

Q: Dear Immigration Counselors,
I am buying gas station in full cash a gas station in Orlando. I need an E2 visa and my wife and for my two young kids. It is worth $200k. Is this sufficient for a E-2?


A: Dear A.M., If you seek to invest a substantial amount in a U.S. business enterprise, which you would also develop and direct, then you may qualify for the non-immigrant E-2 Treaty Investor Visa.

Here are the main requirements:

  • The investor, either a real or corporate person, must be a national of a treaty country;
  • The investment must be substantial. It must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise. The percentage of investment for a low-cost business enterprise must be higher than the percentage of investment in a high-cost enterprise;
  • The investment must be a real operating enterprise. Speculative or idle investment does not qualify. Uncommitted funds in a bank account or similar security are not considered an investment;
  • The investment may not be marginal. It must generate significantly more income than just to provide a living to the investor and family, or it must have a significant economic impact in the United States;
  • The investor must have control of the funds, and the investment must be at risk in the commercial sense. Loans secured with the assets of the investment enterprise are not allowed; and
  • The investor must be coming to the U.S. to develop and direct the enterprise. If the applicant is not the principal investor, he or she must be employed in a supervisory, executive, or highly specialized skill capacity. Ordinary skilled and unskilled workers do not qualify. Although the regulations do not define "substantial," they do state that the business must be more than just to provide a minimal living for the investor and his family.

We hope that the above information was helpful to you.

To ask Immigration Counselors your questions, please email attorney@immigrationcounselors.com


Your Visa Bulletin

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