EB-5 Investor Visa

I have seen an increase in requests regarding EB-5’s and there is some real confusion out there. Lets start with the most frequently asked questions.

1) Can I buy 500,000 of stock in a company and qualify… No
2) My uncle is going to loan me the money to invest, will that work?.. No
3) I want to buy rental houses.. No

One thing to keep in mind is that the USCIS want to see that the investment is not “static”. This means that it is an active invest with no less than 10 staff and growing. A good example of this is a hotel, assisted living center or a restaurant.

The EB-5’s are much more difficult than they look and take plenty of planning, and involve risking a lot of money on an investment. But a great option for those with substantial funds that want to set up a business in the USA!!

The O-1 Visa

The O-1 Visa is a great option for people who work in the Arts (Music, Acting, Painting, Motivational Speakers etc) or University Professors/researchers.

In essence, when filing an O-1, we need to prove that you are at the top of your field. But its not always as hard as you may think. If you read through the categories of the O-1 Petition, in a lot of cases, if you are a somewhat accomplished musician, model etc, you should be able to prove some of those categories with just a little work. For example, look at the first category of the O-1B category (• Performed and will perform services as a lead or starring participant in productions or events which have a distinguished reputation as evidenced by critical reviews, advertisements, publicity releases, publications, contracts or endorsements). This may look a little daunting, but its not too hard if you have played shows, or acted in a stage show. For example, for Christian Australian bands, most have played at either EasterFest or one of the other festivals. A letter from the festival and a copy of some festival literature helps you get a long way to filling this category.

The O-1 is a complicated process, but it certainly is possible for a lot of people with just a little work preparing documents. I hope this helps.  Check out this link at the USCIS for some more technical information:  https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/temporary-workers/o-1-visa-individuals-extraordinary-ability-or-achievement

Marriage to US Citizen

So, you fall in love, but uh oh, your new love is “not from here”. Whatever can you do. Try to not think of the movies “The Proposal” or “Greencard”, as in many cases it is not that complicated, and of all the green card options out there, this is typically the easiest and fastest provided that you are actually married and living together etc. There are certainly some hoops to jump through and LOTS of paperwork, but quite straight forward for an experience immigration attorney.

You have several options once you are married. If your foreign spouse is already in the USA you can file an Adjustment of Status. If your fiance’ is outside of the USA and you wish to marry in the USA, a K-1 fiance’ visa would likely be the way to go. If you wish to marry abroad, you will need to file for permanent residency through consular processing. Note: Adjustment of Status is in my opinion the most straight forward, cheapest and least stressful way to go if you have it as an option.

A couple of misconceptions I often hear.

1) “When we get married, he automatically becomes a citizen” – FALSE Once you get married, in most cases your spouse will be entitled to Permanent Residency (Green Card).

2) “It doesn’t matter how I came to America, if I marry a US citizen, I can get a Greencard” – FALSE If you didn’t enter the country lawfully (undocumented), you are going to have some difficulty adjusting status.

3) If you enter on a Visa Waiver, you can get married and get a green card no problem. DEPENDS. This is a complicated question, as it brings in a concept of “Dual Intent”. In essence, you can’t enter the USA as a “Non-Immigrant” with the intent to become an “Immigrant”. As it is an intent issue, it can often be overcome quite easily, but you need to be ready to prove that when you entered the country on a Visa Waiver or tourist visa that you did not intend to stay. As you may imagine, this could be tricky to prove if you got married one week after you entered the country on a visitors visa.

You can read more about this at www.uscis.gov