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Marriage Green Card

We receive calls from U.S. citizens all the time sharing with us a very exciting news that they have married or are considering marrying a person who is not a U.S. citizen.   They want us to represent them in the process of sponsoring their new spouse for a green card (U.S. permanent residence) based on marriage.  Since there is lots of fraud in the area of applying for a green card based on marriage, there is a presumption of fraud.  We help them rebut that presumption and make sure that the new spouse will not face negative consequences based on misrepresentation. There are two groups of spouses.   First, the spouses that are already in the United States.  Second, spouses still living in their home country. The spouses already in the Unites States may have another type of visa.  Depending on the case, we help them establish that the marriage is bona fide through documentation and representation at the interview.  They may be able to get their marriage green card without leaving the United States.  Spouses seeking green cards based on marriage that have entered the U.S. without auhorization may need to get a waiver of illegal presence.  We help them establish an extreme hardship to the U.S. citizen spouse if they are not allowed to stay in the United States.   Once the waiver is approved, the final step is to schedule an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The second group of spouses are spouses who are still living in their home country and want to apply for a green card based on marriage to a U.S. citizen.  They are going through a two-step process.   First step is to establish that their marriage is bona fide and second is to attend an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their home country. If you are considering applying for a green card based on marrige and want to make sure to minimize the time apart and avoid any negative consequences associate with the process, call us today at 480-425-2009 or contact us visa our website and schedule a FREE CONSULTATION.

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Attorney Irena Juras obtained a green card for a tennis coach in just 11 days

I love to play tennis, so I was very happy when a foreign born successful tennis coach and a former Davis Cup reserve team member contacted me and retained me.   He had an O-1 visa and wanted to apply for his legal permanent residence (green card).   We applied under the first preference category (EB-1) and had to submit documentation evidencing that he, a nationally and internationally acclaimed tennis coach, meets at least three of the ten criteria required to establish his extraordinary ability in athletics, specifically tennis coaching.

1) We provided evidence of his original athletic contribution of major significance:

My client has extraordinary skills and abilities as both a tennis champion and a coach.  As a word-class tennis player from young age, he has deep insight into the on and off court skills to physically and mentally challenge his students and improve their game.  He understands and is able to coach his students through the pressures of the court that come from winning and losing matches, keeping focused, traveling, interviewing, and team dynamics.  Consequently, he has been very successful at training and overseeing several national champions and highly ranked tennis players in various age groups and of both genders.  He developed numerous elite players and help them achieve top national rankings and win tournaments.

2) We provided evidence that my client performs in a leading role for an organization that have a distinguished reputation. The organization is a tennis academy with one of the most successful junior tennis development programs in the United States that been developing world-class athletes for a very long time.  As a world-level athletic development program, this tennis academy required extraordinary coaches who have expertise to train high-performance players to achieve top national and international rankings.  As the academy high- performance head coach, my client has already contributed greatly to the academy’s program’s success by developing and managing elite players and leading them to impressive results.   My client is an integral part the academy’s success as evidenced by numerous support letters and academy and his students’ accomplishments.

3) We provided evidence that my client received nationally and internationally recognized prizes and awards, specifically, his ATP and ITA ranking, tournament placements and awards.

4) We provided evidence of his membership in associations which require outstanding achievement of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts, specifically that he was a member of National Junior Tennis Team and Davis Cup reserve team member.

5) We also provided evidence of my client’s participation as a judge of the work of others, specifically as a chair empire.

6) In addition, we provided evidence of published material about my client in professional or major sport publications.

7) Further, we provide evidence of his high salary in relation to others in his field

We had to also show that my client will continue his achievements in the area of tennis coaching and that the approval of the EB-1 petition will substantially benefit the U.S.  The U.S. will certainly benefit from my client’s coaching of U.S. tennis players to improve in their tennis careers, achieve highest rankings, win more Olympic medals for the U.S. and wins for the U.S. Davis Cup team.

Since the evidence clearly showed my client’s extraordinary ability in tennis coaching and that he has risen to the very top of his field and has sustained national and international acclaim, his petition was approved in just 11 days.

If you would like to discuss if you meet the criteria for an extraordinary ability green card, call the immigration attorney Irena Juras at 480-425-2009 or contact her via website TODAY!  We look forward to talking with you and helping you obtain your green card!

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Green Card for Shaolin Kung Fu Master in 3 months

Shaolin Kung Fu Master contacted my office to help him obtain his legal permanent resident status (green card) in the U.S.   He was in the U.S. on P-3 visa, which is visa for artists and entertainers coming to the United States to participate in culturally unique events.  After a consultation, I determined that the best way to get his legal permanent resident status was to apply under EB-1 category as an individual with extraordinary ability in martial arts, specifically Kung Fu.  INA 203(b)(1)(A). The advantage of this category is that he can self-petition for his green card and does not need a job offer and a time-consuming labor certification from the Department of Labor (certifying that there are no U.S. workers able, willing, available, and qualified for the job).

This type of petition must be filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) accompanied by evidence that the applicant has sustained national or international acclaim and that his achievements have been recognized in the field of his expertise.  Such evidence has to include evidence of a one-time achievement (that is, a major, internationally recognized award, e.g., Nobel Prize), or at least three of the following:

(1) receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prices or awards of excellence,

(2) membership in an association in the field of extraordinary ability, which requires outstanding achievement of their members, as judged by recognized national or international experts,

(3) published materials in professional or major trade publications or other major media,

(4) participation as a judge of the work of others,

(5) evidence of original scientific, scholastic, artistic, athletic or business-related contribution of major significance,

(6) authorship of scholarly articles in the field;

(7) artistic exhibitions or showcases,

(8) performance in a leading or cultural role for organizations or establishments that have a distinguished reputation,

(9) high salary or remuneration in relation to others in the field, and

(10) commercial success in the performing arts (with focus on volume of sales and box office receipts).

8 CFR § 204.5(h)(3).  If the above standards do not readily apply to the occupation, comparable evidence may be submitted.   In this case, we submitted evidence that my client satisfied categories 1 through 3.

First, we submitted evidence that my client received numerous nationally and internationally recognized prizes and awards, including those received at Chinese and International Wushu Championships.   Second, we submitted evidence of my client’s membership in the Shaolin Temple, an association which require outstanding achievement of its members.  The Shaolin Temple in China is recognized as the world cultural heritage and the history of the Shaolin Temple with its fighting monks has been a very long honored tradition.  My client is one of the small numbers of Kung Fu Masters who was selected by the Shaolin Temple.  There are about 30,000 Kung Fu students surrounding the Temple, only about 100 were chosen by the Temple.   Third, we submitted numerous published materials about my client in professional and other major media.

Once the USCIS reviews the threshold evidence in three categories, it must conduct a final merits determination that considers all the evidence to determine whether the individual is at a level of expertise indicating he is one of that small percentage who have risen to the very top of his field and has sustained national or international acclaim.   It our case, the USCIS took only four months to approve the petition even though the average processing time is substantially longer.

The Immigration and Nationality Act requires that the petition is accompanied by clear evidence that the petitioner is coming to the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability and that his entry into the U.S. will substantially benefit prospectively the United States.   INA 203(b)(1)(A).   In this case, we submitted evidence that my client is managing a Kung Fu organization in the United States and plans to expand it.  His mission is to share the Shaolin culture with the American people.  He has personally taught many people Shaolin Kung Fu, meditation and Buddhism in the United States and plans to continue.   He plans to expand existing free Kung Fu training to include more people who love Kung Fu, but are not able to afford it.  He plans to continue teaching meditation so that more people will have the chance to benefit from meditation (such as improvement of physical strength, fitness, flexibility, stress reduction, productivity increase,  health benefits resulting from breathing training, improving confidence).   It was a great pleasure to represent this extraordinary man and help him achieve his dream.

If you would like more information or if you want to make sure you qualify for the “extraordinary” ability green card, please call 480-425-2009 or contact me at www.juraslaw.com/contact-us today!

 

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H-1B filing season approaches

It is now time for employers to start planning the H-1B petition filings for foreign national employees.  The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the FY 2017 cap on April 1, 2016.  Beneficiaries of approved H-1B petitions will be eligible to start working on October 1, 2016, the beginning of the FY 2017.  While April 1 may appear to be away, it will be here sooner than you expect.

The H-1B visa category provides for the temporary employment of foreign nationals in “specialty occupations” for which at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent is required (for example, accountants, pharmacists, computer programmers, engineers, lawyers, teachers, and many other professions).

There is cap of 65,000 visas per year plus 20,000 visas for workers who possess U.S.-earned master’s or higher degrees.  It is expected, as in the previous years, that petitions received from April 1 to April 7 (the first five business days of April) will be considered in the H-1B “lottery” (computer-generated random selection process).  The lottery will select H-1B petitions, which will be accepted for adjudication.

As the economy improved and a large number of H-1B candidates is expected to apply this year, we advise employers to be proactive and move quickly to ensure their H-1B petitions are prepared and ready to be filed prior to April 1, 2016.  Keep in mind that prior to filing of the H-1B petition, a labor condition application has to be certified by the Department of Labor and must be submitted with the H-1B petition.  For more information and help with your H-1B petitions, call us today at 480-425-2009 or contact us through our website!

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President Obama Executive Order

President Barack Obama has announced the most sweeping overhaul of the immigration system in decades to shield five million undocumented immigrants and prioritizing the deportation of “felons, not families.”   The undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents who have lived in the U.S. for five years or longer will receive work authorization for three years, as long as they pass background checks and pay back taxes.  Deferred action is not a pathway to citizenship. It is not legal status.  The undocumented parents will just not be a law enforcement priority.

Obama will also remove the upper age limit of 30 years old from a program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or Dreamers that allows those brought illegally to the country as children to stay, offering relief to thousands more people.

If you have any questions regarding Obama’s Executive Order or think you may be eligible, please complete the contact form or call the Juras Law Firm, PLC at 480-425-2009 to speak with an experienced immigration attorney. An experienced Arizona immigration attorney is here to answer your questions and guide you through the process.

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What is “substantial” amount of capital for E-2 investor visa?

The E-2 investor visa provides an excellent opportunity for foreign nationals from countries that have treaties of commerce and navigation with the U.S. to come to the U.S. to develop and manage operations of a business.  A frequent question of foreign investors considering applying for an E-2 investor visa is: ‘What is considered a “substantial” investment’?  Unlike the minimum investment requirement for EB-5 investor visa (“green card”), which is $1 million or $500,000 in targeted employment areas, there is no set dollar amount that has to be invested in order to be considered “substantial” investment for E-2 visa purposes.  A substantial amount of capital for E-2 purposes constitutes an amount that is substantial in proportionality sense.

The proportionality test compares the total amount invested in the enterprise with the cost of either purchasing an established enterprise or creating a viable new enterprise.  The lower the cost of the business, the higher a percentage of investment is required.  On the other hand, a highly expensive business would require a lower percentage of qualifying investment. Thus, investments of 100 percent or a higher percentage would normally automatically qualify for a small business of $100,000 or less. On the other hand, an investment of $10 million in a $100 million business would likely qualify, based on the sheer magnitude of the investment itself.

The “substantial” investment has to be large enough to lead to the successful operation of the E-2 enterprise and must be more than marginal (must have capacity to generate more than enough income to provide a minimal living for the investor and his family).  What constitutes a substantial investment is different for different industries. If an investor wants to start a manufacturing business, or any other capital-intense business, $100,000 will not constitute a substantial investment.   However, $100,000 or lower amount may be sufficient for service businesses.  We have helped numerous foreign investors to get E-2 investor visas for a $100,000 investment in service businesses.  We recently obtained an E-2 visa for a Canadian investor who purchased an existing service business in Arizona for $70,000.  The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service has approved E-2 visa even for smaller investments.  Our most recent case was an E-2 visa for a Canadian investor who purchased an Arizona retail business for $250,000.

If you are looking to invest in a business or enterprise in Arizona or anywhere throughout the United States, call the Juras Law Firm, PLC to speak with an experienced E-2 visa attorney. Call our office at (480) 425-2009 or complete the contact form on this page for a consultation. We understand that the visa application process is complex; an experienced Arizona E-2 visa attorney is here to answer your questions.

 

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EB-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa for Athletes

More and more gifted athletes are being recruited from all over the world to play professionally sports like basketball, football, soccer and baseball in the U.S. In addition, thanks to state-of-the-art training facilities like the one in Colorado Springs, Colorado, more and more athletes are coming to the U.S. to train for events like the Olympics, the World Cup and international bicycle racing. Many of these athletes, professional and amateur alike, often want to establish permanent residency in the United States.
An EB-1 Visa is for foreign nationals with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics seeking to establish permanent residency in the United States. To obtain an EB-1 visa, the foreign athlete must be able to demonstrate extraordinary ability in athletics, seek to enter the U.S. to continue in the same field and show that his or her entry will substantially benefit the U.S. The athlete must demonstrate “sustained or international acclaim” and that his or her achievements have been recognized in his or her field.
An example of a foreign professional athlete who has been awarded EB-1 visa and green card is professional golfer Nick Price, a native of Zimbabwe. He has 18 PGA tour wins (3 majors), a former #1 world ranking to his credit and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Another example of a foreign athlete who received EB-1 visa and green card is Robert Cheseret, a Kenyan-born long-distance runner who won the men’s title for the U.S. at the 2011 NACAC Cross Country Championships. Cheseret had a total of eight Pac-10 titles during his career – the most ever by a Pac-10 track and field athlete. Cheseret went on to capture the NCAA West Regional individual crown and was the Pac-10′s top finisher at the NCAA Championships with a tenth-place finish.
The athlete must either show a one-time achievement such as a major internationally recognized award or evidence of three of the ten categories. There are several major advantages for foreign athletes applying for the EB-1 visa. Athletes do not need to obtain labor certification or provide proof of a job offer. Consequently, this method is usually faster way to obtain a green card than applying for EB-2 or EB-3 immigration visa. The foreign athlete must show that (s)he meets all requirements of EB-1 extraordinary ability visa. While some athletes may be able to obtain EB-1 extraordinary ability visa without a lawyer, in order to obtain an approval, it’s advisable to hire an experienced EB-1 extraordinary ability visa attorney. Please call 480-425-2009 today or send us an email and we will help you obtain your EB-1 extraordinary ability visa (green card).

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Arizona Immigration Attorney Announces Recent Legal Immigration Cases via K-1 and E-2 Investor Visas

Irena Juras, Phoenix, AZ based immigration lawyer assisted another two clients in finalizing their U.S. immigration cases.

Phoenix, AZ (September 9, 2014) – Citizens of countries outside the United States seek to immigrate to the U.S. for many reasons, often times financial, but others a matter of the heart. Recently, Irena Juras of the Juras Law Firm assisted two clients who fell into those categories: a Canadian citizen who wanted to legally invest in a U.S. based company and a U.S. citizen who wanted to immigrate his Philippine born fianceé.

The first case involved a Canadian investor who wished to take advantage of the E-2 Treaty Visa, commonly an alternative to the EB-5 Investor Visa.  This type of visa allows a national of a treaty country to enter the United States to develop and direct a business in which (s)he invested, or in which (s)he is actively in the process of investing, a “substantial” amount of capital.  In this case, the gentleman sought to invest in an Arizona based retail business, his E-2 Investor Visa was approved by the U.S. Embassy in Toronto in late August.

Irena second case involved a young couple who sought to get married in the United States.  Irena’s client, a U.S. born citizen, engaged Juras Law Firm to help his fiancée in the Philippines acquire a fiancée (K-1) visa to the United States.  What’s notable about this case is the fact that the fiancée was able to get the visa in only two months, whereas the average processing time is normally five months.  The fiancée legally entered the U.S. and was married within 90 days.  Irena then filed the application to adjust status to a conditional resident status which was approved in three months.

“While most people see the negative headlines associated with immigration, I’m happy to highlight the many benefits of legal immigration to our country, whether it is for investment purposes or assisting two people who love each other in getting married,” commented Irena Juras.
About Juras Law Firm

Named a Top Immigration Lawyer by North Valley Magazine and Avvo, Irena Juras  is a highly respected attorney throughout the U.S. and overseas. As head of Juras Law Firm, an Immigration and Bankruptcy Law Firm in Phoenix, AZ, Irena is an immigrant herself from the Czech Republic, studying and practicing law in the Czech Republic before moving to the United States. Irena is currently licensed to practice law in both Arizona and New York. The firm has represented clients in international transactions, immigration matters and international bankruptcies from over 60 countries and 6 continents. Irena has 19 years experience in immigration law and bankruptcy.

 

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USCIS Processing Times for EB-5 Investor Visas (Green Cards) Released

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services released an updated processing report for EB-5 investor visa applications.  EB-5 investor visas are permanent visas (green cards) for investors who invest $1 million (or $500,000 in targeted employment areas) and create 10 jobs.  The average processing time for an EB-5 investor visa application is now 13.2 months.  Once the application is approved, the investor receives a conditional permanent resident status for two years.  Then, within 90 days before the second anniversary of obtaining the conditional permanent resident status, the investor has to file a petition to remove conditions on his or her residence.  The average processing time to remove conditions on residence is 7.9 months.  The investors who do not want to be actively involved in directing their investment, can invest through one of the approved regional centers.  The processing time for an application to designate a regional center is 5.4 months.  If you would like to discuss the best way to obtain EB-5 investor visa (green card), CALL us TODAY at 480-425-2009 or contact us via our website, and experienced EB-5 investor visa attorney will help you!

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Bankruptcy Filing Fee Increases Effective June 1, 2014:

Administrative fees increase as follows:

  • For the filling of a new petition under Chapters 7, 12 or 13, $75.00
  • For the filing of a new petition under Chapters 9, 11 or 15, $550.00

Fees for filing a new bankruptcy petition will increase as follows:
• Chapter 7 filing fee increases to $335.00
• Chapter 9 filing fee increases to $1,717.00
• Chapter 11 filing fee increases to $1,717.00
• Chapter 12 filing fee increases to $275.00
• Chapter 13 filing fee increases to $310.00
• Chapter 15 filing fee increases to $1,717.00