Green Card

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 »

USCIS may issue up to 280 thousand Green Cards by September 30, 2022

The American immigration body may issue up to 280,000 new Green Cards based on work petition by the end of the fiscal year. The availability of Green Cards means an increase in the number of available workers in the market to make up for the shortage of manpower observed in the USA. The large number of available Green Cards is directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The closing of American consulates and embassies limited the processing capacity, and visas not issued during the previous fiscal year were added to the Green Cards available for the current fiscal year. In this regard, the USCIS prepares to decide on such cases with the purpose of extinguishing the excess Green Cards and normalize the situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, so as to reduce delays in the issuance of such visas. Written by Matheus Etrusco, Associate at Drummond Advisors

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Leveraging an E-2 Enterprise into an EB-5 Green Card

By: Chris Costa Many E-2 non-immigrant visa holders feel that obtaining permanent residence through their E-2 enterprise is unattainable due to the much higher investment amount required for a direct EB-5 immigrant visa petition. Many E-2 non-immigrant visa holders are surprised to discover (1) that their E-2 enterprise is principally doing business in a TEA and may benefit from the lower EB-5 investment threshold; or (2) that the EB-5 investment period is not limited to a certain time period. Many E-2 non-immigrant visa holders are surprised to discover (1) that their E-2 enterprise is principally doing business in a TEA and may benefit from the lower EB-5 investment threshold; or (2) that the EB-5 investment period is not limited to a certain time period. Under the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act enacted on March 15, 2022, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will now designate TEA’s instead of individual state agencies, as has been the practice to date. Subsequent to TEA designation by DHS, if an E-2 enterprise is deemed to be principally doing business in a TEA, and has been throughout the investment period, then the E-2 investor would be able to avail themselves of the US $800,000 EB-5 investment minimum. To satisfy the EB-5 investment minimum of US $800,000 for enterprises principally doing business in a TEA, an E-2 investor may avail themselves of the original E-2 investment plus any additional funds invested in the enterprise. Pursuant to regulation additional investment funds may include any post-tax reinvestments that could have been allocated to the E-2 investor as dividends or profits. Therefore, funds generated by the E-2 enterprise and reinvested in the business by the E-2 investor for purposes of equipment or inventory purchases, additional hiring, marketing campaigns and business expansion all count towards an EB-5 investment. E-2 investors would be well advised to analyze whether (1) the E-2 enterprise is principally doing business in a TEA; and (2) whether their investments in the E-2 enterprise throughout its lifetime qualify for EB-5 investment qualification from an accounting and legal perspective. E-2 enterprises which employ or may soon employ at least 10 full time workers may qualify as EB-5 enterprises provided investment requirements are met. For a consultation on leveraging an E-2 enterprise into an EB-5 Green Card please reach out to Drummond Advisors.

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Green Card and Visas for investment: invest and live in the US

A Drummond Advisors promoveu o Webinar “Green Card e Vistos por investimento: invista e more nos EUA“ com o objetivo de ajudar quem possui interesse em investir, empreender e morar nos Estados Unidos, mas ainda tem dúvidas sobre o assunto. O evento teve foco no processo e nas estratégias para obter os vistos EB-5, EB-1C e E-2 por meio de investimentos inteligentes e contou com a participação de especialistas da Drummond Advisors e da InvestAmerica. Mila De Olano, Global Development Coordinator – InvestAmerica e Louanni Cesario, Senior Associate – Drummond Advisors Business Immigration Team, foram as painelistas. Pedro Drummond, sócio da Drummond Advisors, foi o moderador do bate-papo. https://youtu.be/Gd6S9cVAnoEConfira o webinar na íntegra em nosso canal do YouTube Veja a seguir os principais pontos que foram abordados durante o painel: Visto E2 O visto E2 é um visto de trabalho temporário, que possibilita que um cidadão de um país com o qual os Estados Unidos mantêm um tratado de comércio e navegação seja admitido nos EUA ao investir uma quantidade substancial de capital em uma empresa americana. Segundo os palestrantes, o fato de o Visto E2 ser consular o torna extremamente vantajoso. Um dos mitos que rondam esse tipo de permissão de entrada é a existência de um valor mínimo de investimento que já está pré-definido, mas não necessariamente é o que acontece na prática. A verdade é que o E2 precisa apenas ter um valor que seja viável e esteja de acordo com o plano de negócio em questão. O E2 pode ser aplicado por um investidor, um executivo, ou até mesmo por um funcionário qualificado que tenha a mesma nacionalidade dos donos da empresa em que irá trabalhar. Embora o Brasil não seja signatário de tratado para visto E-2, brasileiros com dupla cidadania, tais como italiana, alemã, espanhola e outras, podem se valer deste visto. Vale ressaltar que todos os países que possuem consulados americanos costumam processar o E2. Os brasileiros que têm outras nacionalidades que são elegíveis ao E2 devem processar o pedido do visto em seu país de residência. Visto EB-5 Criado pelo governo federal dos Estados Unidos na década de 90, o EB-5 concede ao investidor e aos seus familiares imediatos um “período de residência condicional” inicial de dois anos e, por fim, residência permanente (um Green Card). O objetivo do EB-5 é estimular a economia, sendo assim, quem aplica a esse tipo de Green Card deve, obrigatoriamente, investir em um projeto comercial que tenha como uma das metas gerar, pelo menos, 10 empregos de jornada integral dentro de um período de dois anos. Nesse modelo, o primeiro Green Card é concedido em caráter condicional. Existem duas formas distintas para se candidatar a um EB5: Investimento direto no EB-5 (mínimo de US$ 500.000) ou; Investimento em Centro Regional EB-5 (temporariamente suspenso pelo governo norte-americano). Após o investimento, a aprovação do EB-5 demora, em média, dois anos para brasileiros. EB-1C Para aplicar ao visto EB-1C, a pessoa deve ter mantido um emprego, fora dos Estados Unidos, nos 3 anos anteriores à petição, por pelo menos 1 ano em uma empresa com afiliada no exterior em posição gerencial ou executiva e deve estar procurando ocupar posição gerencial ou executiva em uma empresa afiliada nos EUA. O requerente do visto deve ser uma empresa legalmente estabelecida nos EUA que tenha relação mínima de afiliada com o seu atual empregador. Esse visto é comumente utilizado por empresas multinacionais como continuação do visto L-1A, possibilitando que o gerente ou executivo transferido ocupe posição permanente na empresa americana. Flying Biscuit Criado pela InvestAmerica, o programa Flying Biscuit (www.flyingbiscuit.com) pretende abrir seis novas franquias com a participação de um investidor da modalidade EB-5 em cada uma. A Flying Biscuit foi fundada há 28 anos em Atlanta, Georgia, tendo como especialidade servir café da manhã típico da região sul dos EUA, conhecida como “comfort food”. Saiba mais em: https://investamericap.com/ Ficou com alguma dúvida? Entre em contato conosco pelo e-mail info@drummondadvisors.com. Compartilhar Vamos conversar ?

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Biden rescinds measure that restricted immigrant visas

On the 24th of February, the President of the United States, Joe Biden, rescinded the measure that restricted entry for certain immigrant visas.  Starting on that date, the following visas are allowed to be applied for and to enter in the United States: Applicants for permanent residence who are parents or siblings of US citizens and Candidates for various types of job-based greencards, such as EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3 Applicants who have not yet been interviewed or scheduled for an interview will have their applications processed according to the gradual return of the visa services structure. Immigrant visa applicants whose petitions remain valid and who were previously interviewed, but whose applications were refused due to Proclamation 10014, must await instructions from the US embassy or consulate where they were interviewed. The State Department will reconsider cases that were previously rejected due to Proclamation 10014 and will let candidates know if additional information will be needed. NOTE: It is important to note that the entry restriction for non-american citizens coming from the United Kingdom, Brazil, Ireland, South Africa and a large part of Europe will continue to be enforced.  Consult with the immgration lawyers at Drummond Advisors before planning your trip.

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Emission of visas and greencards: understand the important changes planned for october

On August 25th, the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced it would be shutting down its administrative procedures, as a result of the dismissal, for an indefinite period of time, of about 13,000 of its employees (the “USCIS Administrative Furlough”) , due to the need to cut costs from the American immigration agency’s budget. This unprecedented decision would have taken effect on August 30th. However, due to strong bipartisan pressure from Congress, the measure was canceled, and as one of the possible solutions to remedy the USCS budget deficit, the agency opted to readjust some of the fees related to applying for visas and greencards, as well as canceling some contracts with suppliers which were considered to too expensive. The new fees will take effect on October 2nd, 2020, and will cover both petitions for work visas, as well as greencards, naturalization requests, work permits and requests for change and adjustment of status, as shown in the table below: Form Number/Purpose Old Fee New Fee % I-129 (H-1B) $460 $555 21% I-129 (L-1) $460 $805 75% I-129 (O-1) $460 $705 53% I-131 (Application for Travel Document) $575 $590 3% I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) $700 $555 -21% I-485 (Application to Adjust Status) $1,140 $1,130 -1% I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status) $370 $390 8% I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) $410 $550 34% N-400 (Application for Naturalization) $640 $1,170 83% It is important to note that, despite the significant increase in fees for I-129 petitions, for work visas such as L-1 (intra-company transfer of executives and managers); O-1 (extraordinary skills) and H-1B (specialized professionals), there was also a decrease in fees for I-140 petitions, for greencards such as EB-1 (extraordinary skills) and EB-2 NIW (exceptional skills). At the same time, USCIS is expected to publish updated versions of various forms. With regards to this, changes were made to form I-765, used to request the issuance of an Employment Authorization Document (“EAD”), which guarantees a temporary job permit for professionals who do not have permanent residence in the country yet. The new edition of the form has been in effect since 08/25 and, as of that date, USCIS will officially reject any EAD requests submitted with the previous version of I-765. Louanni Cesário, an immigration lawyer at Drummond Advisors, says “Even though this had been expected since before the pandemic, these new fees will represent an entry barrier to some companies and people, especially in this time of crisis. However, even with these changes, the most important thing is to be well advised in the process in order to minimize risks and unnecessary expenses ”.

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Frequently asked questions about Proclamation no. 10,014, which suspends the issuance of non-immigrant work visas

Drummond Advisors professionals gathered the most frequently asked questions related to Executive Order no. 10,014, from April 22, 2020, extended on June 22, 2020 to December 31, 2020, which suspends the issuance of non-immigrant work visas in categories H-1B, H-2B, L and J and limits the entry to the United States. 1. Which visas are affected with the Presidential Proclamation of June 22, 2020? The Presidential Proclamation announced on June 22, 2020 extends the Proclamation n. 10,014 for certain immigrant visas, including certain H-1B, H-2B, L and J visa applications. 2. I have an approved petition (H-1B, H-2B, J or L) and I am awaiting my interview. What does this mean for me? The suspension of entry applies to “any foreigner who does not hold a valid non-immigrant visa on the effective date of this proclamation”. 3. Can employers continue to file H-1B and L-1 petitions with the USCIS, seeking to change or extend visa status? Yes. The processing of petitions for merit assessment by the USCIS is happening normally. 4. To what extent will the proclamation affect the processing of green cards? The proclamation affects consular processing of green cards for beneficiaries outside the US in cases being processed by the National Visa Center (NVC), that is, consular interviews for the immigrant visa stamp will be suspended until December 31, 2020. It is worth mentioning that there are exceptions to this rule, and the following individuals are not affected by this measure: Applicants for the EB-5 visa; Individuals who are in the US National Interest (such as applicants for EB-2 NIW); Individuals and their spouses and children under the age of 21 who wish to enter the US on an immigrant visa as a doctor, nurse or other health professional to do essential work to combat, recover or alleviate the effects of COVID-19 (as determined by the Secretaries of State and Department of National Security [link] or their respective designees); Spouses of an American citizen; and Other exceptions in the regulation that are subject to the discretion of the officers. 5. Is it possible to apply for a visa stamp within the United States? No. Consular services are performed at American embassies or consulates abroad. 6. How will dependents of people with L-1, H1-B and J-1 visas be affected? Can they enter the US as visitors using a B-2 visa stamp or visa waiver (ESTA)? People who were outside the U.S. on June 24, 2020 (Wednesday) applying specifically for the following visas: H-1B and its dependents; H-2B and its dependents; J-1 and its dependents; L-1A and L-1B and dependents. If dependents have a valid non-immigrant visa issued before June 24, 2020 or an ESTA (except travel restrictions to countries affected by COVID-19), they can use that visa as long as their travel intent corresponds to the type of visa used. 7. Does the decree also affect students who currently hold an F-1 visa and are working in accordance with Optional Practical Training (OPT)? OPT students who are already on American soil will not be affected by this decree. 8. Can H-1B and L-1 workers who already have a valid visa stamp in their passport continue to travel internationally? Foreign workers who are outside the US but have valid visas in the categories mentioned previously can enter the US using the current visa issued on June 24 as an entry document. 9. What else can we expect from this proclamation regarding immigration policies? This decree is intended to protect and create jobs for Americans at a time of economic crisis and high unemployment, so a more detailed level of process review with the USCIS and the Labor Department is expected. 10. What to do if my L, H or J visa expires while I am in the USA? The visa is a necessary document for admission or entry to the USA. Thus, if the beneficiary of the L, H or J is on American soil with his valid I-94 (status), they can remain in the country for that period. 11. Which J visas are subject to the Proclamation? The Proclamation applies to J visa holders “participating in an internship program, trainee, teacher, field counselor, au pair or summer work travel program and any foreigner accompanying or following to join that foreigner.” 12. I am a physician. Am I exempt? Physicians applying for J visas are not subject to proclamation. Physicians looking to enter the US on an H-1B or L visa to provide medical assistance or are involved in research related to COVID-19 may be considered an exception. We reiterate that this content is for information purposes only. Consult your immigration attorney before planning your trip.

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