Visas

Digital Nomads: Italy launches Visa for Remote Workers

Italy has just joined Portugal, Spain, Croatia and several other European countries that have launched a specific visa for remote workers, the so-called digital nomads. In the case of Belpaese, the new migratory modality has just come into force, after being published by the government last week. This visa is dedicated to foreigners who do not have citizenship of a European Union (EU) country or Switzerland, and who have professional qualifications and/or specialization. In order to meet the visa requirements, immigrants must work 100% remotely for employers who are not based in Italy, whether they are employees of a company or self-employed. It is important to note that the digital nomad visa lasts for one year, with the possibility of renewal, and allows the immigrant to take family members as dependents. Among the various requirements for the visa are: minimum earnings of €28,000 or $30,400 per year; health insurance for the duration of the visa; proof of accommodation in Italy (rental contract, invitation letter, etc.) and also evidence that the applicant has been working remotely for at least six months. Do you work remotely and want advice on obtaining your digital nomad visa in Italy? Get in touch with our Global Mobility team at Drummond Advisors.Reference: https://www.gazzettaufficiale.it/eli/id/2024/04/04/24A01716/SG Written by Eduardo Giugliano, Immigration Attorney at Drummond Advisors

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Brazilians who intend to travel through Mexico’s international airports must have a Mexican visa

From October 22, 2023, Brazilian citizens and other nationalities who intend to travel in transit through Mexico’s international airports must have a Mexican visa to be allowed to board any flight to Mexico. Foreigners traveling to Mexican territory carrying one of the following documents will not need a Mexican visa: a) People holding a passport or a document proving their permanent residence in Canada, the United States of America, Japan, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, any of the countries that make up the Schengen Area, as well as the member countries of the Pacific Alliance (Colombia, Chile and Peru). b) People holding a valid and current visa for Canada, the United States of America, Japan, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland or any of the countries that make up the Schengen Area. Source: https://embamex.sre.gob.mx/brasil/index.php/servicios-consulares/visas

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How to immigrate to the United States without needing a job offer

Louanni RibeiroVictor Braga The vast majority of applications for permanent residence in the United States, the famous Green Cards, are conditioned on the existence of a person or a company that offers employment to the permanent residence applicant. This means that professionals who intend to reside in the United States generally need a family or employment connection to meet the minimum criteria for application with the USCIS. Exceptions to this rule exist in two types of applications commonly referred to as “skill-based applications,” in which Green Card applicants must demonstrate extraordinary abilities or exceptional skills within their fields of expertise. This demonstration is carried out according to specific criteria established by U.S. immigration law and is subject to discretionary review by immigration officers. Application for Extraordinary Ability (EB1-A): For this type of application, the applicant must prove that they are among the top 10% of the most qualified and renowned professionals in their field. This means that EB1-A eligible individuals need to demonstrate that, in addition to consistent performance in their professional field, they are influential figures in the market, acting as trendsetters and driving advancements. EB1-A applicants must provide solid documentation to prove at least three out of the ten criteria established by U.S. immigration law, which include: If you would like to learn more about applying for permanent residence in the United States through the EB1-A category, click here. Application for National Interest Waiver (EB2 NIW): This type of application focuses on professionals with a high level of education or who have been working in their expertise area for a considerable amount of time (10 years or more). These professionals must also demonstrate that their presence in the United States would benefit the country by addressing a shortage in the American market or adding value to the U.S. For this type of petition, the applicant must prove that they either (i) hold a Master’s degree or higher (Ph.D. or postdoctoral), or (ii) satisfy three out of the six objective criteria stipulated by U.S. immigration law. Additionally, the applicant must fully meet the three subjective criteria established by the December 2016 DHANASAR case. If you would like to learn more about applying for permanent residence in the United States through the EB2 NIW category, click here. Given all that has been presented, it is evident that both Green Card categories are excellent solutions for professionals with well-established careers. Here at Drummond, we always affirm that there is an immigration solution for everyone, tailored to their unique circumstances. Therefore, even if the “skill-based applications” might not be the most suitable for your profile, we are confident that we can present you with various other immigration options. To learn more about the mentioned immigration categories or to explore the extensive range of immigration options, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. It would be our pleasure to assist you on this journey.

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Dependent spouses of individuals transferred with L1 work visas receive automatic work authorization granted by the CBP upon their entry to the United States

Victor BragaLouanni Ribeiro After the pandemic, the American immigration system found itself in a scenario of significant delays in the adjudication and issuance of work authorizations for spouses holding L2 status (dependents of beneficiaries of the L1 work visa). In this regard, in March 2022, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) took a significant step towards reducing the administrative burden faced by spouses of individuals with L1 status in the United States. Now, these spouses automatically receive work authorization upon entering the American territory with the L2 visa. Thus, the USCIS eliminated the requirement for L2 visa spouses to go through the complicated process of applying for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), enabling them to later apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) as well as engage in work, with or without compensation, within the open-market model in the United States. It is worth noting that this procedural change occurred in a simplified manner through the electronic Form I-94, a document from the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) used for status control issued to all foreigners with temporary visas upon their entry to the United States. Therefore, since the issuance of this groundbreaking policy, the I-94 for L2 spouses bears the designation “L2S”. This new code allows the spouse to legally work in the American territory simply by presenting their valid I-94. This transformative change is intended to significantly enhance the accessibility of work authorization for L2 visa holders, effectively eliminating a complex layer of bureaucracy that previously hindered their entry into the U.S. job market. The modification also has implications for employers of L1 individuals navigating the complexities of transferring key personnel to the United States. The newfound simplicity and cost-effectiveness associated with spousal work authorization under this policy change are positively impacting corporate operations and mobility strategies. Additionally, it is important to highlight that there has also been a nomenclature update for dependent children of L1 individuals in the I-94 forms. The new code used for children of L1 individuals is “L2Y”, but even with the code change, L2 children are not covered by the scope of this employment authorization policy. The focus remains entirely on improving employment prospects for L2S visa holders, while individuals with the L2Y designation remain ineligible for work authorization. In conclusion, the USCIS’s decisive policy revision represents a commendable effort to mitigate administrative complexities and pave the way for easier access to work authorization for L2 visa holders. This change symbolizes a crucial step towards aligning immigration policies with contemporary needs, streamlining processes, and offering a more agile and less burdensome experience for those seeking to contribute to the U.S. workforce. References: https://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/alerts/uscis-updates-guidance-on-employment-authorization-for-e-and-l-nonimmigrant-spouses https://www.uscis.gov/policy-manual/volume-2-part-i

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Explaining Visa Retrogression and How it is Currently Affecting EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) Processing

Employment-based visa processing is comprised of two general phases: (1) the merit-based phase where the petitioning employer (if applicable), foreign national, and proposed employment endeavor is analyzed for qualification based on the statutory criteria for applicable employment-based visa criteria; and (2) the consular processing (outside U.S.)/adjustment of status (inside U.S.) phase where beneficiaries apply for the immigration benefit, i.e. immigrant visa or permanent resident card (“Green Card”). The U.S. Congress has set limits on the number of immigrant visas (permanent visas) that can be issued each year within each available category. Although employers and foreign nationals are not precluded from initiating “Phase 1”, submission of a merit-based immigrant petition, immigrant visa quotas may affect their ability to proceed to “Phase 2”, which is what ultimately leads to a Green Card. Following approval of a merit-based immigrant petition, in order for a foreign national to receive a Green Card, an immigrant visa must be available to the applicant both at the time of filing and at the time of adjudication.  The U.S. Department of State publishes a monthly Visa Bulletin which lists the cut-off dates that govern visa availability. Therefore, the monthly Visa Bulletin determines which applicants are eligible to file for consular processing (outside U.S.)/adjustment of status (inside U.S.), as well as which applicants are eligible for a grant of permanent resident status. An applicant’s ability to proceed to “Phase 2”, consular processing (outside U.S.)/adjustment of status (inside U.S.), is determined by their “priority date”, established based on the date of receipt of the merit-based immigrant petition. If an applicant’s priority date is earlier than the “cut-off date” published in the most current Visa Bulletin the applicant is eligible to apply for permanent residence. Currently, as of August 2023, the EB-2 category is facing “retrogression”, meaning there as more approved merit-based immigrant petitions at the moment then there are available immigrant visas. As such, the EB-2 “cut-off date” as published in the U.S. Department of State’s August 2023 monthly Visa Bulletin is April 01, 2022, for all countries except for China, India, Mexico, and the Philippines, which face longer waits. This means that foreign nationals with approved EB-2 petitions with priority dates prior to April 01, 2022, may proceed to “Phase 2”, consular processing (outside U.S.)/adjustment of status (inside U.S.), resulting in issuance of their much-awaited Green Card. Nonetheless, foreign nationals interested in EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) petitions, particularly those well positioned to advance Critical and Emerging Technology Areas, are well advised to submit EB-2 National Interest Waiver (NIW) petitions to establish their priority date. Circumstances permitting, individuals outside the United States may pursue employment authorization in the United States through temporary employment-based visas while awaiting availability of an immigrant visa (permanent visa) based on their EB-2 priority date. If you believe you fit the description above and seek to immigrate to the United States to continue working in your field, please contact Drummond Advisors for case-specific inquiries. To learn more about the EB-2 NIW visa please click here. Written by Christopher Costa and Victor Braga

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B visas for athletes

The United States is one of the main destinations for athletes from all sports due to the excellence of American sports institutions. Whether it’s for competitions, training, or general events, many foreign athletes seek to obtain a U.S. visa to temporarily enter the country and participate in activities related to their sport. However, when athletes start the visa application process, they often get confused with the different available categories (B-1, B-2, H-1B, H-2B, O-1, P-1, etc.). It is important to clarify certain factors for an athlete to determine the non-immigrant visa category to be requested: (i) The nature of the sporting event, considering whether the event will provide compensation to the athlete or not; (ii) The duration of the event, and; (iii) The athlete’s skills, whether the individual is a professional or amateur athlete. Considering that many individuals already have a B1/B2 visa stamped in their passports, in this article, we will specifically address the application of this B category (B-1 and B-2), explaining how athletes fit into these categories based on the three factors listed above. B-1 Visa Requirements According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the B-1 non-immigrant visa is eligible for people who intend to go to the United States to participate in commercial or professional activities incidentally and temporarily. For athletes, specifically, the primary requirement for entering the U.S. on a B-1 visa is that the activity or event they will participate in: (i) Is of a temporary and incidental nature, and; (ii) Does not offer payment to the athlete. An exception to the remuneration rule is possible cash prizes offered by the sports event. Once the above requirements are met, the athlete can enter the U.S. territory with a B-1 (or B-1/B-2) visa since the immigration law prohibits receiving a salary from any U.S. company or entity or any remuneration in exchange for private lessons or training. Therefore, an athlete entering the U.S. on a B-1 visa cannot perform activities in exchange for monetary compensation from any U.S. source. Advantages and differences of B Visas for athletes The main advantage of the B-1 visa over other visa categories for athletes is that it does not require prior approval through a petition to USCIS. This means that athletes can directly apply for a B-1 visa at U.S. Consulates, reducing costs and processing time. It is worth noting the differences between the B-1 and B-2 visas for athletes. While both B-1 and B-2 visas are applied for directly at U.S. Consulates and are eligible for athletes going to the United States for specific and temporary events and activities, the B-2 visa is only applicable to amateur athletes. Therefore, amateur athletes intending to participate in sports competitions or events with a social or charitable nature can enter the United States on a B-2 visa. For professional athletes, on the other hand, entry through the B-1 visa is compulsory. In summary, it is evident that the B-1 visa is the ideal visa category for professional athletes wishing to participate in occasional sports competitions or events in the United States without receiving payment from U.S. sources. Meanwhile, the B-2 visa is the ideal visa category for amateur athletes who wish to participate in occasional sports competitions or events in the United States without receiving payment from U.S. sources. Therefore, athletes can apply for a B-1/B-2 visa at the nearest U.S. Consulate, which is valid for 10 years and allows a maximum stay of 180 days. If the athlete already has a valid B-1/B-2 visa stamped in their passport, there is no need to apply for a new B-1 or B-2 visa. They simply need to inform the purpose of their trip upon entry to the U.S., stating that they are participating in short-term competitions or training that meet the above requirements. If the activities the athlete will perform in the United States do not meet the criteria described above, whether for the B-1 or B-2 visa, or if there is a need to stay in the U.S. for a longer period, there are other visa categories that may be more suitable, as mentioned at the beginning of this article (H-1B, H-2B, O-1, P-1, etc.). In such cases, it is recommended to seek advice from an immigration lawyer for guidance specific to the individual’s circumstances. Written by Fernanda Lana, Victor Braga and Fabiana Guerra Bibliographic References: https://www.uscis.gov/working-in-the-united-states/temporary-visitors-for-business/b-1-temporary-business-visitor https://uk.usembassy.gov/visas/non-immigrant-visa-faqs/members-of-the-entertainment-profession-and-athletes/ https://br.usembassy.gov/pt/visas-pt/vistos-de-nao-imigrantes/ Read more: https://drummondadvisors.com/en/2023/03/13/brazilians-now-have-automatic-residence-authorization-in-portugal/

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Important aspects about the E2 visa for Portuguese citizens

Brazilians with Portuguese citizenship have gained a new visa modality for the USA. In December 2022, the USA allowed the inclusion of Portugal in the E2 Visa (Investor Visa). The E2 visa is a type of investor visa available to citizens who wish to invest in a business in the United States. If you are considering applying for this visa, it is important to understand the requirements, who applies and how to apply. Can Brazilians with dual citizenship already apply for the visa? “We need to wait a few months to really see this take shape. Our source is the American government’s own agencies. We have been in contact with the American embassy in Lisbon, we have been in contact with the American consulate in São Paulo and they are still working internally to develop the processes and procedures to make the application of the E1 and E2 visas for Portuguese people a reality”, commented Louanni Ribeiro, senior immigration lawyer from Drummond Advisors. What steps can be taken? Louanni mentioned two important tips to prepare for the process: First tip: “Verify that your Portuguese passport is valid, since the . visa, when approved, will be stamped in that passport.” Second tip: “Always consult with an immigration attorney licensed in the United States who can present you with the E2 visa requirements and help you assess the viability of your application. Part of the investment process involves understanding the source of the investment, that is, where the funds to be invested came from. Another relevant point is to understand how much you, as an individual, want or have available to put at risk in this business. If you are in the process of raising the resources to be invested and you already have the Portuguese passport it is worthwhile to already talk to a licensed lawyer and have those months to shape your dream.” E2 visa requirements for Portuguese citizens To be eligible for the E2 visa, you must be a Portuguese citizen, carry a Portuguese passport and have invested or be in the process of actively investing in a business in the United States, which must have the ability to generate profits and create jobs for American workers. There is no minimum amount of investment, but the investment must be substantial and be able to face the type of business you are starting. To whom does this visa apply? The E2 visa is available for Portuguese citizens who wish to invest in a business in the United States. If you are an active investor, an entrepreneur or a prospective entrepreneur, the E2 visa may be the ideal option for you. It is important to note that this visa is temporary, so if you wish to reside permanently in the U.S., you may need to consider other visa options. Key features One of the main advantages of the E2 visa is that it allows you to live and work in the United States while running your business. In addition, the E2 allows your spouse and children under the age of 21 (unmarried) to accompany you to the U.S. as dependents. Watch the video recorded by Global Mobility partner Fabiana Guerra and senior immigration lawyer Louanni Ribeiro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Itnz_tjGpBk Do you intend to apply for the E2 or another visa category? Get in touch with our team through the chat available or email info@drummondadvisors.com Written by Marcos Ferreira, Content Assistant at Drummond Advisors

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Getting a visa to the US will become more expensive starting June 1, 2023!

The US State Department will increase some non-immigrant visa application (NIV) processing fees as early as May 30, 2023. Background The U.S. Department of State (DOS) is the agency responsible for services provided to U.S. citizens and foreign nationals outside U.S. territory through Embassies and Consulates, such as visa stamping applications in applicants’ passports. The DOS sets the consular fees based on the concept of full cost recovery for the service or Cost of Service Model – CoSM, which is updated annually considering the direct and indirect costs associated with the consular service. Every two years the DOS proposes updating the Schedule of Fee to reflect these costs. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the DOS has exceptionally used the average costs of the last 10 years, in order to reduce the short-term volatility that consular costs could suffer and stabilize the fees for a longer period. The increase in consular fees for issuing non-immigrant visas has been under discussion since the formal proposal was submitted on December 29, 2021 (to access the original text of the formal proposal click here – https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/12/29/2021-28010/schedule-of-fees-for-consular-services-nonimmigrant-and-special-visa-fees) and was approved and published on March 28, 2023. Which visas will have the consular fee adjusted? Only non-immigrant visas, i.e. those that are granted for a fixed term, will suffer the consular fee adjustment. These are: a. Business or tourism visitor visas (B1/B2s and Border Crossing Card), student visas (F or M) and exchange visitor (J) and other non-immigrant visas not based on petition, will increase from US$ 160 to US$ 185.b. Petition-based visas for temporary workers (H, L, O, P, Q and R) will increase from $190 to $205.c. Visas for treaty trader, treaty investor and treaty applicant in a specialized occupation (E), will increase from $205 to $315.Applicants who have already paid a currently valid and unexpired visa application fee, but who have not yet appeared for their visa interview or are waiting for their case to be processed, will not be charged additional fees. Please note that the fee paid is valid for 12 months. For whom is it worth anticipating consular application to take advantage of consular fees before adjustment? For non-immigrant visa holders with an upcoming expiration date and who are interested and have the possibility of renewing their visa, it may be interesting to anticipate the payment of the consular fee to take advantage of the rate before the adjustment. It is important to talk to an immigration attorney to evaluate if in your specific case it makes sense and is feasible to anticipate the application to take advantage of the rate before the adjustment. It is important to note that only the consular fees for non-immigrant visas will be adjusted (requested through the DS-160 form), and there is no formalization yet regarding the adjustment of immigrant visa fees (requested through the DS-260 form). There is also no impact of this adjustment on the application fees for the petition for temporary workers (Form I-129, before the USCIS). To access the official DOS announcement click here (https://www.state.gov/publication-of-final-rule-on-nonimmigrant-visa-fee-increases/). Written by Fabiana Guerra, Partner at Drummond Advisors

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Portugal must join the repression of the ‘golden visa’

Portugal should become the second European Union (EU) country to scrap the “golden visa” for wealthy non-Europeans, joining Ireland in the controversial scheme that helped attract foreign investment. With this, foreigners seeking immigration for investment will seek other options. Portugal’s Prime Minister, Antonio Costa, pointed out that the government will stop issuing new “golden visas” to ” fight price speculation in the real estate sector. Portugal’s decision to end the program was prompted by concerns over rising property prices, especially in the large cities of Lisbon and Porto, where many locals were struggling to find adequate housing. This is part of a series of measures to address the Costa government’s most pressing problem, which at the moment is the housing crisis. Property prices have soared in recent years as foreigners buy second homes and apartments to rent to tourists through online platforms like Airbnb. Golden visas offer the wealthy a residence permit and access to the EU’s border-free tourist areas in exchange for investment. The programs in Portugal and Ireland, launched a decade ago to help with the recovery from the financial crisis, have proven particularly popular with Chinese citizens who want to invest. Written by Marcos Ferreira, Content Assistant to Drummond Advisors Read also New law in Portugal makes citizenship easier for Brazilians The Portuguese government has made changes to the process of applying for Portuguese citizenship that will benefit grandchildren and Lusitanian spouses. According to the Correio Braziliense portal, the change was expected since 2020, when the Portuguese Nationality Law was changed. Now, grandchildren will be able to request nationality directly, without the need for parents to have the right in advance or proof of linkage in the country. Read more: https://drummondadvisors.com/en/2022/05/25/new-law-in-portugal-makes-citizenship-easier-for-brazilians/

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Obtaining a Green Card for individuals with Exceptional Abilities (EB-2 NIW) and Multinational Managers/Executives will be much faster starting on January 30, 2023

With the goal of reducing the high volume of green card cases pending adjudication, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (an agency of the Department of Homeland Security responsible for analyzing and approving visa applications within the U.S.) published on January 12, 2023 the expansion of the Premium Processing Services to two categories that previously did not have access to it: Green Card application for Executives/Managers of Multinational Companies (EB-1 Multinational Manager/Executive) and Green Card petition for Professionals with Exceptional Ability through the National Interest Waiver (EB-2 NIW Exceptional Ability with National Interest). This regulation will become effective on January 30, 2023 and will apply to new applications filed as of that date, as well as to applications previously filed. The Premium Processing Service is a service made available by USCIS for some years now for certain visas that allows the case to be reviewed by a dedicated team with the aim of enabling accelerated processing. It works like a “Fast-pass at Disney”: the applicant pays an additional fee in the amount of US$ 2,500 and has his/her case reviewed in a much shorter period of time. Although the fee is expensive (approximately 3.5 times the regular fee for normal processing time), the average processing time for an EB-2 NIW (I-140 Petition) which is now about 16 to 19 months (depending on the reviewing center) will become 45 days. Thus, it is important to talk to your immigration lawyer to assess the cost-effectiveness of applying for Premium Processing, as in some cases it may not be the best strategy. If you need support for your case or want to apply for a green card or other visa, contact our attorneys. To learn more about the Green Card for Executives/Managers of Multinationals (EB-1 Multinational Manager/Executive) and the Green Card for Professionals with Exceptional Abilities through National Interest Waiver (EB-2 NIW Exceptional Ability with National Interest), among others visas, download our Visa Guide here. To access the official USCIS page with more information about this measure, click here (https://www.uscis.gov/newsroom/news-releases/uscis-announces-new-actions-to-reduce-backlogs-expand-premium-processing-and-provide-relief-to-work) Written by Louanni Ribeiro, Associate at Drummond Advisors

Obtaining a Green Card for individuals with Exceptional Abilities (EB-2 NIW) and Multinational Managers/Executives will be much faster starting on January 30, 2023 Read More »

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