The E-2 Visa and Real Property Investments

The E-2 investor visa was created to allow entrepreneurs from countries which maintain a trade and commerce treaty with the United States to establish new businesses in the U.S. through investment. Though E-2 visas are less often granted for investments in real property, there is a possibility that this type of investment may qualify for an E-2 visa if certain conditions are met. Here, we elaborate on these conditions. Before qualifying for an E-2 visa using a real property investment, a real property investor must first qualify for the E-2 visa through three requirements. Firstly, the entrepreneur must have invested, or be actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States. The investment cannot be a relatively small amount of capital in a marginal enterprise initiated solely for the purpose of earning a living. The business must also be active, meaning that an investment that is earned through minimal activity and with little daily effort or upkeep, such as investments in stocks, would not qualify. Secondly, the investor must be seeking entry into the United States solely to develop and direct the enterprise. And thirdly, the investor must intend […]
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Client of the Month: Monica Chang

Berardi Immigration Law is proud to have helped our client, Monica Chang, obtain a five-year E-2 Investor Visa! Monica is the owner of San Korean Kitchen, a manufacturer and distributor of authentic and traditional Korean delicacies and beverages located in Mill Valley, California. (You can learn more about Monica’s business here.) Monica had a vision to share her favorite Korean foods with the world.  After establishing her business here in the United States, Monica began the search for a U.S. immigration attorney. After speaking with several different firms, Monica decided to retain Berardi Immigration Law. Monica says, “I was immediately impressed by how attentive they were to my situation. They gave me a sense that my case was important, and I was in good hands.  They were professional and diligent but still able to give a human context when dealing with me and my case.”  Monica worked closely with our Senior Associate Attorney Gabriella Agostinelli to fully prepare the many documents and forms that need to be submitted for the E-2 visa process. Here at Berardi Immigration Law, we take pride in offering our clients “white-glove” service. We don’t leave our clients with unanswered phone calls or emails for weeks […]
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Important Changes to Form I-539

Beginning March 11, 2019, USCIS will be accepting only the revised Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, with an edition date of 02/04/19. All other additions will be rejected. The new I-539 form will be published along with a new Form I-539A, Supplemental Information for Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. Form I-539A replaces the Supplement A provided in previous versions of Form I-539 used for dependents.  The significant changes on Form I-539 will include the following:  (1) every co-applicant included on the primary applicant’s Form I-539 must submit and sign a separate Form I-539A (co-applicant must be mentally competent to sign; if under age of 14, a parent/legal guardian may sign for the co-applicant);  (2) every applicant and co-applicant must pay an $85 biometric services fee (except certain A, G and NATO nonimmigrants); and  (3) every applicant and co-applicant will receive a biometric services appointment notice, regardless of age, containing their individual receipt number. USCIS will reject any Form I-539 that is missing any of the required signatures or biometrics fees, including those required for Form I-539A. If you are interested in changing or extending your status, please contact Berardi Immigration Law to schedule a consultation with one of […]
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Travel Ban Update

The President’s third attempt at preventing certain foreign nationals from entering the United States has hit another speed bump. On December 22, 2017, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a unanimous decision to partially block the latest Trump travel ban, which was issued via Presidential Proclamation on September 24, 2017. The three-judge panel determined that the President exceeded his power in issuing the directive that established country-specific travel restrictions for nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. This ruling, however, will not have an immediate effect. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court issued a stay that will allow the government to continue fully implementing the travel ban despite the 9th Circuit ruling. Authority to Issue Travel Ban The President’s power to issue a travel ban is derived from federal statute and delegated to him by Congress. According to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), if the President determines that the entry of “any aliens or of any class of aliens” would be detrimental to the interests of the U.S., he may “suspend the entry of all aliens … or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem appropriate.” In addition, the President is authorized […]
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Travel Update: Changes to Visa Waiver Program

The Trump administration has announced new rules in place for the 38 countries participating in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP). On December 15, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it would be rolling out enhanced security measures for the VWP as part of the administration’s ongoing counterterrorism efforts. The new rules will target the screening and vetting protocols of the 38 participating countries.  For example, tighter screening and security measures will be put in place at airports in the VWP countries. This will include using U.S. intelligence on suspected terrorists and criminals to screen airport employees, as well as travelers entering the VWP country from third countries. DHS will also be implementing new measures aimed at curbing the number of overstays. In addition to existing penalties, which bar a traveler from using the VWP if they have previously overstayed, DHS will begin forcing countries with overstay rates above 2 percent to conduct public awareness campaigns aimed at educating that country’s citizens of the consequences of overstaying. Visa Waiver Program Overview The VWP allows citizens of participating countries to travel to the U.S. for tourism or business without first obtaining a visa and for a maximum period […]
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American Consulate in Toronto Implementing New Appointment Scheduling System for E-Visas

On December 5, 2017, the American consulate in Toronto implemented a new appointment scheduling system for E-visas. The new system is strictly a processing change that will allow the consulate to receive and review E-visa applications before the applicant schedules an in-person interview. Compared to the old system, which permitted applicants to schedule an appointment before submitting an application or supporting documentation, the new appointment scheduling system is anticipated to speed up processing times. When an E-visa application is submitted under the new system, it will be sorted into two processing streams based on the time needed to review the required documentation. First-time applicants and any individual wishing to renew the registration status of their E-visa company will be offered a “deferred interview” appointment. Also, keep in mind that first-time applicants and those wishing to renew the registration status of their E-visa company must apply in Toronto and will be provided with instructions on how to electronically submit their application and supporting documents to the U.S. Consulate in Toronto via [email protected] In addition, an applicant will still be required to create an appointment profile and pay the necessary visa application fee online, but the interview will be deferred until applicants […]
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Breaking News: USCIS to Implement the International Entrepreneur Rule

On December 14, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it would be taking steps to implement the International Entrepreneur Rule (IER). The IER establishes new regulatory provisions that guide the use of parole with respect to entrepreneurs of start-up entities, and is designed to provide an unlimited number of international entrepreneurs with a new avenue to apply for parole, enter the United States, and use American investment to establish and grow a start-up business. Applicants must be able to demonstrate that his or her parole would provide a “significant public benefit” to the U.S., because he or she is the entrepreneur of a new start-up entity in the States that has potential for rapid growth and job creation. The IER is derived from section 212(d)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which grants the Secretary of Homeland Security the discretionary authority to parole individuals into the U.S. temporarily, on a case-by-case basis, for urgent humanitarian reasons or “significant public benefit.” In implementing this new rule, DHS is hopeful that it will increase and enhance entrepreneurship, innovation and job creation in the U.S. DHS believes that the IER will encourage foreign entrepreneurs to create and develop start-up entities […]
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