On April 18, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order titled “Buy American and Hire American.” The President insisted that the Executive Order would favor American workers more so than the policies already in place. He also intended, among other things, for the “Buy American and Hire American” Executive Order to address his concerns with the H-1B visa program. The President thought that the H-1B lottery system should be modified so that H-1B visas would only go to the most skilled and highest-paid applicants. He also insisted that the H-1B system should not be allowed to replace American workers with foreign workers. The new Executive Order was meant to address these flaws in the H-1B program. Technically, the executive order did not create any laws or modify any that already existed. Instead, the Order set in place a policy for the maximization of the production, and sale of goods, products and materials produced in the United States. With an eye toward fulfilling the mandate of the “Buy American and Hire American” Executive Order, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has applied new rules, directives and adjustments to safeguard the jobs of American workers and to avert abuses of […]
The E-2 visa category offers foreign entrepreneurs who wish to invest in an American business the opportunity to come to the United States. The E-2 visa carries with it many distinct advantages. Unlike other visa categories, the E-2 visa allows the applicant to be self-employed, which makes it a better option for entrepreneurs than other employment-based visas, such as the H-1B or O-1 visa. Additionally, the E-2 visa is good for up to five years, a longer term than some of the other available categories. E-2 investors may also be able to obtain E-2 status for certain employees that are needed to help establish and run a business in the U.S. Of course, there are restrictions for those interested in applying for an E-2 visa. First, at the most basic level, there are two qualifications for an E-2 visa that must be met: (1) an investment of a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. enterprise and (2) development and direction of the enterprise as the sole purpose of arrival in the United States. Second, only investors from countries with which the United States has a treaty investor agreement are eligible. Very recently, the United States has signed a long-awaited […]
the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) California Service Center (CSC) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Blaine, Washington, port of entry (POE) announced a new pilot program for Canadian citizens seeking L-1 nonimmigrant status under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The program was designed to evaluate how long USCIS needs to adjudicate these petitions and...
Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), a foreign national can be found inadmissible to the United States for both a nonimmigrant and immigrant visa for a number of reasons, one reason being that you are likely to become a public charge. If a consular officer believes an applicant is likely to become “primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, as demonstrated by either the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance, or institutionalization for long-term care at government expense,” the applicant can be denied entry to the U.S. In making that determination, an officer is required to take into account the totality of the foreign national’s circumstances at the time of the visa application, including age, health, family status, assets, resources, financial status, and education and skills. In addition, the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM), which details Department of State regulations, was recently updated to include an additional factor — officers are now permitted to consider “past or current receipt of public assistance of any type.” On top of the enumerated factors, an adjudicating officer may also consider an affidavit of support, which is generally submitted on behalf of an applicant with his or her immigrant visa application. This […]
A drunk driving record can have serious implications for individuals as they apply for a U.S. visa. The Department of State has determined that alcohol abuse constitutes a mental disorder, and harmful behavior associated with that mental disorder (drunk driving) can bar an applicant from entering the country. How Does This Work? When filling out a visa application, all applicant are required to provide information regarding any arrests or convictions from their past. If this initial inquiry reveals an arrest or conviction for drunk driving or other alcohol-related offenses, an investigation will ensue to determine admissibility. The Department of State has instructed consular officers handling these types of cases to evaluate the applicant’s admissibility from a mental health standpoint. Under the current system, individuals with at least one drunk driving arrest in the past five years are referred to a panel physician for evaluation. The physician then determines whether the applicant suffers from an alcohol-related mental disorder, and if so, whether that disorder is associated with any harmful conduct or behavior. If the answer to both these questions are yes, and the physician determines that this harmful behavior is likely to reoccur in the future, an applicant is deemed inadmissible […]
The United States is currently building a new Embassy in the Nine Elms area of London. Back in 2008, U.S. officials began playing with the idea of renovating the current U.S. Embassy building on Grosvenor Square to accommodate the various needs and threats of the 21st century. As it stood, the Embassy was outdated. It was eventually determined that the best way to incorporate a modern, secure and environmentally sustainable design was to construct a new facility that utilizes the latest in energy-efficient building techniques. At its core, the new building will demonstrate exceptional environmental leadership that is at or beyond the leading edge of practice. It will minimize energy consumption by focusing on renewable energy technologies. Solar energy will be used as a low maintenance method of producing electricity, while a number of innovative components work together to increase water efficiency and reduce the demand on the municipal wastewater system. This process will eventually produce a modern, welcoming, safe and energy efficient embassy well-suited for the 21st century. With the final stages of construction quickly approaching, it is important to keep in mind what that will mean for individuals seeking Embassy services. As resources and staff are shifted from […]
The Russian Government recently imposed a personnel cap on the U.S. mission in Russia. As a result, the U.S. Embassy and Consulates now lack the personnel to handle the normal influx of nonimmigrant visa (NIV) applicants, and NIV issuance has been temporarily suspended beginning Aug. 23, 2017. Operations are set to resume on Sept. 1 but on a greatly reduced scale, and nonimmigrant visa interviews will be conducted at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow only. What You Need to Know: NIV interviews at the U.S. Consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok are suspended until further notice; As of 0900 Moscow time Monday, Aug., 21, the U.S. will begin cancelling current NIV appointments in Russia; Affected applicants will receive an email with a phone number to call to reschedule their interview at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow; NIV applicants who have their interviews cancelled should call +7 (495) 745-3388 or 8-800-100-2554 (ITFN) to reschedule; University students studying in the U.S. will be offered a visa appointment in early September; Since visa operations will be greatly reduced, NIV appointments will be prioritized with first priority given to officials of the UN, international organizations with offices in the U.S. and bilateral missions. […]