Tag: Immigration Status

Investor Visa Options

On December 1, 2011, in Immigration, by John A. Weber IV, ESQ.

Investor Visa Options under EB-5

The EB-5 visa is a federal program aimed at immigrant investors.  Created by the Immigration Act of 1990, the visa provides immigrants the opportunity to obtain a green card for foreign nationals who invest money in the United States.  Individuals who can invest $1,000,000 or at least $500,000 in a targeted employment area while creating or preserving at least 10 jobs for U.S. workers may be granted the EB-5 visa.

A foreign national whose petition is approved will be granted conditional permanent residence valid for two years.  The investor must provide evidence documenting the full investment and or jobs created and must be submitted in a timely fashion.

In 1992, Congress created a temporary pilot program designed to stimulate economic activity and job growth, while allowing eligible aliens the opportunity to become lawful permanent residents. Under this program, foreign nationals may invest in a pre-approved regional center, or “economic unit, public or private, which is involved with the promotion of economic growth, including increased export sales, improved regional productivity, job creation, or increased domestic capital investment.” Investments within a regional center provide foreign nationals the added benefit of allowing them to count jobs created both directly and indirectly for purposes of meeting the 10 job creation requirement.

The Startup Visa Act (projected EB-6 visa), introduced in Congress in 2010 and subsequently in 2011, is planning to use unallocated numbers from the EB-5 visa.

The program is limited to 10,000 visas annually. Potential Immigrant Investors are trading a preferred immigration status for a $500,000 investment and job creation in a rural area or a community with high unemployment.

The foreigner must invest the money in a United States enterprise that has received preliminary approval from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). After a background check, the immigrant makes the investment and applies for a conditional green card, good for two years. If the investment meets program guidelines, the temporary green card is replaced by a permanent one.

The program’s beneficiaries not only include the Immigrant Investor but also economically depressed areas of the United States where there is desperate need of job creation.  The Law Firm of Vaughn, Weber & Prakope, PLLC can assist with the EB-5 visa as well as all other immigration needs.

Immigration Options for Battered Spouses

On August 2, 2011, in Family Law, Immigration, by John A. Weber IV, ESQ.

Immigration Options for Battered Spouses

Generally, U.S. citizens (USC) and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) file an immigrant visa petition with the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of a spouse or child, so that these family members may emigrate to or remain in the United States. The Petition for Alien Relative is filed by the USC/LPR, the petitioner, on behalf of the family member who is the beneficiary. The petitioner controls when or if the petition is filed. Unfortunately, some U.S. citizens and LPRs misuse their control of this process to abuse their family members, or by threatening to report them to USCIS . As a result, most battered immigrants are afraid to report the abuse to the police or other authorities. Immigration history protects persons whom are being beaten by their spouses.

Under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) passed by Congress in 1994, the spouses and children of United States citizens or lawful permanent residents (LPR) may self-petition to obtain lawful permanent residency. The immigration provisions of VAWA allow certain battered immigrants to file for immigration relief without the abuser’s assistance or knowledge, in order to seek safety and independence from the abuser. Victims of domestic violence should know that help is available to them through the National Domestic Violence Hotline on 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 [TDD] for information about shelters, mental health care, legal advice and other types of assistance, including information about self-petitioning for immigration status.

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) is the law that governs immigration in the United States. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) provisions relating to immigration are codified in section 204(a) of the INA. Rules published in the Federal Register explain the eligibility requirements and procedures for filing a self-petition under the VAWA provisions. These rules can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations at 8 CFR § 204. The Battered Immigrant Women Protection Act of 2000 (BIWPA) made significant amendments to section 204(a) of the INA.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to call us at (516) 858-2620 to speak to an immigration attorney! The Law Firm of Vaughn, Weber & Prakope, PLLC will be glad to be of assistance in any Immigration matters you may have.

I-485 Adjustment of Status

On July 5, 2011, in Immigration, by John A. Weber IV, ESQ.

I-485 Adjustment of Status

Recently, we have been receiving questions concerning the adjustment of status requirement for obtaining a Green Card.  When applying for a Green Card, you must first adjust your status from that of non-immigrant to permanent resident of the United States by filing an I-485 Application.  Where one files is determined by their category of eligibility.  Depending on their situation, one may have to file in Chicago, Vermont, Phoenix, Dallas or Nebraska.  The usual filing fee is over $1000 unless you fall under an exception such as age, refugee status, etc.  It is difficult to determine how long it will take to receive approval for an I-485 Application.  The process depends on many factors including petition category and security background checks.  You can check the status of your I-485 Application online, by phone/email or in person.  Not everyone is eligible to apply for Adjustment of Status including but not limited to persons not admitted or paroled following inspection by an immigration officer or someone whose authorized stay expired before filing their I-485 or cases of unauthorized employment.  Although not essential, it may often be beneficial for applicants to attain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) or Advance Parole (AP) travel document.  In addition, drug or alcohol related offenses as well as arrests must be reported on the I-485 application.  If all of the paperwork is in order and satisfactory, it shouldn’t be long before one may receive their Green Card.   As always, if you have any questions regarding the immigration process, please feel free to call us at (516) 858-2620!

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