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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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What are the income requirements for marriage green card?

In order to obtain a green card (legal permanent resident status), the green card applicant must submit an affidavit of support by a sponsor.   The sponsor must be a US citizen or legal permanent resident, 18 years of age, domiciled in the and have an income 125% above the federal poverty line. In 2020, an income 125% above the federal poverty line for a household of 2 people is $21,550, for a household of 3 people $27,150 and for the household of 4 people is $32,750.   The income of certain household members may be included.  If the sponsor cannot meet the minimum-income requirements, (s)he may provide evidence of assets that are readily available or seek a joint sponsor.  The affidavit may not be necessary if the green card applicant already has 40 quarters of earnings in the US.     

Please note that this article does not constitute a legal advice.  We simplified the law to outline one aspect of the marriage green card process.  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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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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Can you get a permanent marriage green card if you get divorced?

?I am seeing this question often.   Sometime after the marriage green interview, the conditional green card holder contacts my office and tells me that the marriage is not working out for numerous reasons.  It may be a physical or emotion abuse, infidelity, etc.   The conditional green card holder is worried what will happen with his or her permanent green card.

One example is a client of mine who was planning to relocate to live with her new husband in his city of residence.   Having three children, this move required a lot of coordination – finding a job, schools for her kids, saving money, etc.  When she was finally ready to move, she found out that her husband found someone else.  At the end, I was still able to get her the permanent green card because she entered into a marriage in good faith.

As long as the marriage was entered in good faith, the conditional resident may have her or his conditions removed and get her or his permanent green card. 

Please note that this article does not constitute a legal advice.  We simplified the law to outline one aspect of the marriage green card process and removal of conditions on residence.  If you would like us to obtain a marriage green card or need help with the removal of conditions on residence, 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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New areas (TEA) allowing lower EB-5 investments

On November 21, 2019, new EB-5 regulations became effective. They brought some changes to the EB-5 program.

One of the likely consequence of the new EB-5 regulations is that the Targeted Employment Area (TEA) designation (enabling a lower investment threshold) will be harder to get and urban TEAs will be driven to lesser-developed locations.

In order to be designated as a TEA, the EB-5 project must be located in either a rural area or in a location that has high unemployment. 

Prior to the effective date of new EB-5 regulations, the TEA designation was made at state level and most states had very liberal TEA’s designation policies, even in economically robust urban zones. Consequently, more than 95% of EB-5 investments were made in TEA-located projects. Under the new EB-5 regulations, USCIS is no longer deferring
to TEA designations made by state and local governments and is
directly reviewing and determining the designation of high-unemployment TEAs.

Under the previous regulations, it was quite common to aggregate census tracts to create Regional Center EB-5 offerings even in some of the nation’s most high-priced neighborhoods. Census tract combination for high-unemployment TEAs is now much more restrictive: census tract aggregation is limited to the project tract(s) plus some or all of the tracts that are “directly adjacent” to the project tract. Utilizing census block groups (a census tract is made up of several block groups) is no longer allowed. 

Some EB-5 industry experts (analysts and economists) estimate that approximately two thirds of the projects that had qualified before will not qualify for TEA status under the revised standard.

Please note that this articles does not constitute a legal advice.  We outlined only one aspect of new EB-5 regulations and its consequences.  If you would like to get a green card through an investment (EB-5), call an experienced EB-5 immigration attorney at 480-425-2009 or schedule your consultation online.

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USCIS Clarified Guidance on Deployment of EB-5 Investment Capital

USCIS has updated its Policy Manual with clarifying guidance on the deployment of investment capital under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. It addresses the deployment of capital by a new commercial enterprise before and after jobs have been created.

Before the job creation requirement is met, a new commercial enterprise may deploy capital directly or through any financial instrument so long as applicable requirements are satisfied. The purchase of financial instruments traded on secondary markets generally does not satisfy these requirements.

USCIS further clarifies that once the job creation requirement has been met and the investment capital is returned, the new commercial enterprise may further deploy such capital within a reasonable amount of time (12 months or longer) into any commercial activity that is consistent with the purpose of the new commercial enterprise. Further deployment must continue to meet all applicable eligibility requirements within the framework of the initial bases of eligibility and must occur within the regional center’s geographic area, including any amendments to its geographic area approved before the further deployment. The further deployment, however, does not need to remain with the same (or any) job creating entity or in a targeted employment area.

For more information about EB-5 program, click here. If you would like to discuss if you qualify for an investor green card based on EB-5 category, call an experienced immigration attorney at 480-425-2009 or schedule your consultation online.

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Why hire an Immigration Attorney?

Because so much information is available online, you may feel that you can figure out what you need to do using Google and other online resources. Also, there is a misperception that immigration is about filling forms and submitting simple paperwork. While you can certainly gain knowledge of different visa and green card categories and forms to fill, keep in mind that there is lots of misinformation on the Internet, some information may be outdated or would not apply in your case. Immigration law is constantly changing. Even a minor regulatory or policy adjustment affects thousands of people. You may not be aware how the latest policy change, order or decision affects your case.

An experienced immigration attorney is up-to-date with all the government rules, policies, regulations, and various other local laws that may affect your case. His or her extensive experience and holistic view of even complex situations make him or her the best asset for you and can make a profound difference for you and your life.

We regularly advise clients who have already filed applications on their own with inadvertent mistakes that caused serious consequences. They may have filed a wrong form, missed a deadline, received a denial following a Request for Evidence that could have been easily addressed, or filed for visa, green card or naturalization when they were ineligible and face the threat of removal. One simple mistake on the form may be interpreted by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services as misrepresentation or fraud with serious consequences. Your one mistake can make the process more complex and can even prevent your from ever achieving what you were trying to apply on your own (e.g., children may reach certain age, deadline is missed, etc.).

An experienced immigration attorney can get you the result that sometimes you would not be able to get on your own. An experienced immigration attorney can save you money, time, frustration, and anguish in dealing with a much harder case on your own. You have someone on your side ready to answer your questions, guide you and help you in every step of sometimes long and complex immigration process.

An experienced immigration attorney evaluates your situation, determines your eligibility and the best process to take to achieve your immigration goal, knows what forms you will need, how to fill the forms accurately, what documents to submit and how to best present your case . Therefore, when you hire an experienced immigration attorney, you will have peace of mind that this life-changing immigration process will be achieved successfully without unnecessary delays. In addition, unlike document preparers and various online immigration service providers, immigration lawyers have a professional and ethical obligations to ensure that they
competently provide legal services to you.

If you would like to discuss how we can help you achieve your dream of legally living and working in the U.S., call an experienced immigration attorney at (480) 425-2009 or contact us through our website to schedule a consultation.