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How to qualify for treaty trader (E-1) visa?

Two Mexican citizens established a US company to import fresh produce from Mexico and sell it in the U.S. and Canada. Each member held 50% interest in the US company. Each member invested “substantial” amount of capital and put it “at risk”. The company rented office space and and warehouse, obtained a license for the US Department of Agriculture, a Blue book rating, registered trademark, hired customs broker and incurred marketing and warehouse expenses. The company created job opportunities for US workers – hired a full time sales representative and started interviewing for other positions. During its first season, the company generated very healthy profit and took steps to increase its marketing efforts to increase sales and visibility.

We established that the trade is already in existence, it is “substantial” and principally (more than 50% of total volume of international trade) between the US and Mexico.

Please note that this article does not constitute a legal advice.  We simplified the law to outline one treaty trader (E-1) visa case study. If you would like to obtain a treaty trader (E-1) visa, call our experienced E-1 visa attorney at 480-425-2009 or schedule your consultation online.

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Is US-Canada border still closed for non-essential travel?

The land border between the US and Canada remains closed until October 21, 2020 for “non-essential” travel. The travel restrictions do not apply to travel by air, sea and to freight rail. The “essential travel” includes but is not limited to: (i) U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, (ii) international students, (iii) people traveling to receive medical treatment, (iv) emergency responders and public health officials, (v) truck drivers moving cargo or other individuals engaged in international trade, (vi) official government and diplomatic travel, and (vii) members of the U.S. armed forces and their spouses and children.

Most U.S. ports of entry interpret the restrictions that only B1/B2 travel is prohibited, while other ports of entry interpret the restrictions more narrowly and require proof of “essentiality”. The Customs and Border Protection is still performing routine adjudications of TN and L-1 petitions at the land ports of entry, although some land ports are requiring proof that the proposed employment is “essential”.

Canada’s Quarantine Act requires anyone who is permitted to enter Canada to self-isolate for 14 days following entry to Canada (unless they are flag-poling).

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Does a position shared by several employees count as one full-time job for EB-5 job creation?

In order to get an EB-5 green card through investment, the investor has to create at least 10 full-time jobs. A client wanted to invest in a restaurant where several employees would share some positions. Does that qualify?

To be considered a full-time job, it requires 35 hours a week. Where two or more employees share a full-time position it counts as one-full time job if they combine at least 35 hours per week. To demonstrate a full-time position is shared by more than one employees, the investor may should a written job-sharing agreement, we weekly schedule or evidence of the sharing of the responsibilities or benefits of a permanent full time position. However, two part-time jobs do not count.

Please note that this article does not constitute a legal advice.  We simplified the law to outline only one aspect of the EB-5 green card process. If you would like to obtain an investment (EB-5) green card, call our experienced EB-5 green card attorney at 480-425-2009 or schedule your consultation online.

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Can E-2 investment “count” toward EB-5 investment?

E-2 visa is for investors from treaty countries who invest “substantial” amount of capital into a US business. E-2 visa allows them to manage that business. E-2 visa has to be renewed every few years, depending on the treaty. A major downside of E-2 visa and a significant motivator for converting to the EB-5 green card is the problem of children of E-2 investors who are not eligible for E-2 dependent visas once they turn 21.

While there is no dollar amount for E-2 visa, in order to get EB-5 green card, the investor has to invest at least $900,000 in certain targeted employment areas or $1,800,000 anywhere else. While the E-2 capital investment may be counted towards the EB-5 investment, retained earnings or revenue generated by the E-2 investment may not be counted toward EB-5 investment. The investor must draw funds from the E-2 business and invest personal funds in order to “count” towards EB-5 investment.

In addition, the business must already have created the requisite ten jobs, or demonstrate that it will create the remaining jobs needed to meet the ten-job threshold within two years of the grant of conditional permanent resident status.

Planning and navigating the transition from E-2 to EB-5 can be a complicated process. If you would like to transition from E-2 investment to EB-5 investment and obtain an investment (EB-5) green card, call our experienced EB-5 green card attorney at 480-425-2009 or schedule your consultation online.

Please note that this article does not constitute a legal advice.  We simplified the law to outline only one aspect of the transition from E-2 visa to EB-5 green card.

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Does “trade” include only international exchange of goods for purposes of E-1 visa?

E-1 visa requires (a) a treaty, (b) the individual or business possess the nationality of the treaty country, (c) the activities the applicant will engage in constitute “trade”, (d) the trade is substantial and (e) principally between the US and the treaty country, (f) if an employee is the applicant, (s)he is destined to an executive or supervisory position or possesses essential skills to the US operation and (g) intends to depart the US when the E-1 status terminates.

The items of “trade” include but are not limited to goods, services, international banking, insurance monies, transportation, communications, data processing, advertising, accounting, design and engineering, management consulting, tourism, technology and its transfer, and some news-gathering activities.   As you can see, it does not have to be only physical goods.  Here is an example.

My client owns a Canadian franchised custom home building and renovation company that offers its clients the home building and renovation services through the company’s network of franchisees. My client formed a US company to engage in the business of offering and granting franchises in the United States.  The Canadian company provides accounting, legal, broker, marketing and training services to the US company.  There is an actual exchange of services and moneys that create transactions considered “trade”.   E-1 visa was approved quickly.

Please note that this article does not constitute a legal advice.  We simplified the law to outline one aspect of E-1 visa.   If you would like us to discuss if you qualify for E-1 visa and help us get you an E-1 visa, call our experienced E-1 visa attorney at 480-425-2009 or schedule your consultation online

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How long does the adjustment of status takes in Phoenix?

My clients met online and at the end of the foreign national US visit, they decided they don’t want to be separated any longer and got married.  We filed the petition with the USCIS and an adjustment application last July and the adjustment interview was scheduled for March.   In this case, it took7 months to have the adjustment application approved.  

The USCIS average processing time of the adjustment applications in Phoenix is now 9.5 – 29.5 and it’s been updated regularly.

Please note that this article does not constitute a legal advice.  We simplified the law to outline one marriage green card processing time.  If you would like us to obtain a marriage green card, call our experienced marriage green card attorney at 480-425-2009 or schedule your consultation online

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Self-petition of abused spouse of US citizen (VAWA) approved


This case originally started as a regular marriage green card case.  US citizen husband filed for his foreign spouse and their child was born.  Soon after the birth, the US citizen started to abuse his wife verbally and physically.  She tried everything, but at the end had no choice but to leave the household.   We documented the abuse, filed a self-petition for her and have her petition approved.   She can now safely raise her child without worries about her abusive ex-husband. 

Please note that this article does not constitute a legal advice.  We simplified the law to outline one case of an abused wife of a US citizen who we helped to get her green card.  If you are subject to a physical or psychological abuse by your US spouse and need help with your green card process pursuant to the Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”), call our experienced marriage green card attorney at 480-425-2009 or schedule your consultation online

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Fiancé visa during COVID-19 pandemic

We started this process when a US citizen came to my office a year ago to petition for her fiancé in the Middle East.  They met online and have been communicating remotely for several years.  Last year, her fiancé traveled to the US and they met in person, which allowed us to file the petition for her fiancé.  It took only 3 months to have the petition approved by the USCIS.  Then, the case was sent to the National Visa Center and in four weeks the National Visa Center sent the case to the US Embassy in Jerusalem.  The interview was scheduled in 10 weeks and the visa was approved.  Then, the US Embassy put the case in administrative processing. At the end, the fiancé visa was issued, the fiancé entered the US and just married his fiancée and we are getting ready to file the adjustment application. 

Please note that this article does not constitute a legal advice.  We simplified the law to outline the marriage green card process and discuss the processing time of the marriage green card. If you would like to discuss if you may qualify for a marriage green card, call our experienced marriage green card attorney at 480-425-2009 or schedule your consultation online

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How long does it take to get a marriage green card?

The marriage green card process is usually a very happy process. The newlyweds are excited and full of expectations for their happy lives together. The process is different if the foreign national is already in the US or if the foreign national is still in a foreign country.

If the foreign national spouse is still living in a foreign country, the process
starts with filing of a petition for the foreign national spouse. The average processing time to have the petition approved is now 6 – 7.5 months. Once the petition is approved, it’s sent to the National Visa Center, which takes approximately 30 days. The National Visa Center will need some documents to be submitted and the immigrant visa application needs to be filed. Once the National Visa Center receives all documents, it sends the case to the US Embassy or Consulate for an interview. The time it takes to schedule the interview depends on the US Embassy or Consulate. The interview is usually scheduled within a few months. Some US Consulates take longer to schedule an interview, for example in Ciudad Juarez in Mexico it is taking 6-8 months to have the interview.

If the foreign national is already in the US and is eligible for an adjustment of status, the processing time depends where (s)he lives. For example, in Phoenix, the average processing time to adjudicate the adjustment application is now 9.5 -29. months.

Please note that this article does not constitute a legal advice.  We simplified the law to outline the marriage green card process and discuss the processing time of the marriage green card. If you would like to discuss if you may qualify for a marriage green card, call our experienced marriage green card attorney at 480-425-2009 or schedule your consultation online

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How long does it take to get a fiancé(e) visa?

I’ve done a lot of fiancé(e) visas over the years, helping reunite happy couples. A fiancé(e) visa is for a fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen who is planning to get married within 90 days of entering the U.S. With some exceptions, the couple needs to meet in person within 2 years prior to filing the petition.

So, how long does the process take? The first step is for a U.S. citizen to file a petition with the USCIS. The average processing time is now between 5 and 7 months. I had petitions approved as fast as in 6 weeks. Then, once the USCIS approves the petition, it sends the case to the National Visa Center and from the National Visa Center it is sent to the Embassy or Consulate for an interview. The time to schedule an interview depends on the Embassy or Consulate, usually within a few months. Of course, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some US Embassies and Consulates are still closed and many are facing a backlog of cases from the time the US Embassies and Consulates were closed due to COVID-19.

Please note that this article does not constitute a legal advice.  We simplified the law in order to outline the fiancé(e) (K-1) visa process.  If you would like to discuss if you may qualify for fiancé(e) (K-1) visa, call our experienced
fiancé(e) (K-1) visa attorney at 480-425-2009 or schedule your consultation online. We look forward to discussing how we can help you obtain K-1 visa for your fiancé(e).