When Immigration Matters

Potential Changes to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Wed, May 16, 2018 @ 2:38 PM

In 1990, Congress created the EB-5 Program to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign entrepreneurs.  In 1992, Congress created the Immigrant Investor Program, also known as the Regional Center Program.  The USCIS determines whether a business is eligible for treatment as a Regional Center based on the business’proposal for the promotion of economic growth. Under these programs (“EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program”), foreign entrepreneurs (and their spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21) are eligible to apply for green cards if they: (1) make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States ($1,000,000 for a basic business or $500,000 for a business located in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), i.e., a rural area or area with high unemployment); and (2) plan to create or preserve at least ten full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers. 

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What is the EB5 Visa?

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Mon, Jul 03, 2017 @ 11:00 AM

The EB5 visa was launched by Congress in 1990 and is administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The fundamental purpose of the program is to stimulate economic activity, capital investment and job creation through investments by foreign investors who want to live in the U.S.  

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FATCA Tax Reporting for US. Residents with Foreign Bank Accounts

Posted by Karen-Lee Pollak on Thu, Apr 23, 2015 @ 5:48 PM

Today I asked my colleague and friend International Tax Attorney Richard Rubin to explain in an article the new FATCA tax reporting rules that goes into effect on June 30, 2015.  FATCA impact US citizens, Green Card holders and other US tax resident individuals who have accounts with non-US banks or financial institutions.

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USCIS: Backlog in Processing of EB5-I526 Immigrant Investor Petitions

Posted by Michael Pollak on Wed, Sep 18, 2013 @ 2:51 PM

USCIS has released an update on the processing times for I 526 Investor Petitions also known as the Immigration Petition for Alien Entrepeneurs.  Petitioners have grown accustomed to adjudication of these Petitions taking 6-9 months.  The latest update provided by USCIS is that Petitioners can expect these Petitions to take 16 months to approve.  As of July 31, 2013, USCIS is working on I526 petitions filed in March 2012.  

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Purchasing a US Green Card | EB-5 Visa

Posted by Karen Pollak on Mon, Jun 20, 2011 @ 11:44 AM

This is the last part of a four part series on immigrating to the United States that will be appearing in BusinessBrief Magazine. BusinessBrief is a South African business management Magazine that provides the decision makers in business with the information they need to make better business decisions.

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EB-5 Investor Visa Program May Undergo Significant Changes

Posted by Karen Pollak on Thu, May 19, 2011 @ 8:41 PM
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today proposed significant enhancements to the administration of the USCIS Immigrant Investor Program, commonly referred to as the EB-5 Program—transforming the intake and review process for immigrant investors as part of the Obama administration’s continued commitment to improve the legal immigration system and meet our economic and national security needs for the 21st century.

The EB-5 Program makes 10,000 visas available annually to immigrant investors who invest in commercial enterprises that create at least 10 U.S. jobs. EB-5 investors may petition independently or as part of a USCIS-designated Regional Center.

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Visa Bulletin for February 2011 | Immigration

Posted by Karen Pollak on Fri, Jan 21, 2011 @ 9:00 AM

A. STATUTORY NUMBERS

1.  This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during February. Consular officers are required to report to the Department of State documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas; the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security reports applicants for adjustment of status.  Allocations were made, to the extent possible under the numerical limitations, for the demand received by January 11th in the chronological order of the reported priority dates. If the demand could not be satisfied within the statutory or regulatory limits, the category or foreign state in which demand was excessive was deemed oversubscribed.  The cut-off date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who could not be reached within the numerical limits.

Only applicants who have a priority date earlier than the cut-off date may be allotted a number. Immediately that it becomes necessary during the monthly allocation process to retrogress a cut-off date, supplemental requests for numbers will be honored only if the priority date falls within the new cut-off date which has been announced in this bulletin.

2. Section 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) sets an annual minimum family-sponsored preference limit of 226,000.  The worldwide level for annual employment-based preference immigrants is at least 140,000. Section 202 prescribes that the per-country limit for preference immigrants is set at 7% of the total annual family-sponsored and employment-based preference limits, i.e., 25,620.  The dependent area limit is set at 2%, or 7,320.

3.  Section 203 of the INA prescribes preference classes for allotment of immigrant visas as follows:

FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCES

First:  Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Citizens:  23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.

Second:  Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents:  114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, and any unused first preference numbers:

A.  Spouses and Children:  77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;

B.  Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older):  23% of the overall second preference limitation.

Third:  Married Sons and Daughters of Citizens:  23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.

Fourth:  Brothers and Sisters of Adult Citizens:  65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.

EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCES

First:    Priority Workers:  28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth and fifth preferences.

Second:  Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability:  28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required by first preference.

Third:  Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers:  28.6% of the worldwide level, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences, not more than 10,000 of which to "Other Workers".  

Fourth:  Certain Special Immigrants:  7.1% of the worldwide level.

Fifth:  Employment Creation:  7.1% of the worldwide level, not less than 3,000 of which reserved for investors in a targeted rural or high-unemployment area, and 3,000 set aside for investors in regional centers by Sec. 610 of P.L. 102-395.

4.  INA Section 203(e) provides that family-sponsored and employment-based preference visas be issued to eligible immigrants in the order in which a petition in behalf of each has been filed.  Section 203(d) provides that spouses and children of preference immigrants are entitled to the same status, and the same order of consideration, if accompanying or following to join the principal.  The visa prorating provisions of Section 202(e) apply to allocations for a foreign state or dependent area when visa demand exceeds the per-country limit.  These provisions apply at present to the following oversubscribed chargeability areas:  CHINA-mainland born, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, INDIA, MEXICO, and PHILIPPINES.

5.  On the chart below, the listing of a date for any class indicates that the class is oversubscribed (see paragraph 1); "C" means current, i.e., numbers are available for all qualified applicants; and "U" means unavailable, i.e., no numbers are available.  (NOTE:  Numbers are available only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the cut-off date listed below.)

Family All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA-mainland born DOMINICAN REPUBLIC INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st 01JAN05 01JAN05 01JAN05 01JAN05 22JAN93 01AUG94
2A 01JAN08 01JAN08 01JAN08 01JAN08 01APR05 01JAN08
2B 15APR03 15APR03 01JAN97 15APR03 01JUL92 01JUN99
3rd 01JAN01 01JAN01 01JAN01 01JAN01 22NOV92 22OCT91
4th 01JAN00 01JAN00 01JAN00 01JAN00 01JAN96 15JAN88

*NOTE:  For February, 2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are available to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 01APR05.  2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are available to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO with priority dates beginning 01APR05 and earlier than 01JAN08.  (All 2A numbers provided for MEXICO are exempt from the per-country limit; there are no 2A numbers for MEXICO subject to per-country limit.)

Employment- Based

All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed

CHINA- mainland born DOMINICAN REPUBLIC INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st C C C C C C
2nd C 01JUL06 C 08MAY06 C C
3rd 01APR05 01JAN04 01APR05 22FEB02 08JUL03 01APR05
Other Workers 01MAY03 22APR03 01MAY03 22FEB02 01MAY03 01MAY03
4th C C C C C C
Certain Religious Workers C C C C C C
5th C C C C C C
Targeted Employment Areas/ Regional Centers C C C C C C
5th Pilot Programs C C C C C C

The Department of State has available a recorded message with visa availability information which can be heard at:  (area code 202) 663-1541.  This recording will be updated in the middle of each month with information on cut-off dates for the following month.

Employment Third Preference Other Workers Category:  Section 203(e) of the NACARA, as amended by Section 1(e) of Pub. L. 105-139, provides that once the Employment Third Preference Other Worker (EW) cut-off date has reached the priority date of the latest EW petition approved prior to November 19, 1997, the 10,000 EW numbers available for a fiscal year are to be reduced by up to 5,000 annually beginning in the following fiscal year.  This reduction is to be made for as long as necessary to offset adjustments under the NACARA program.  Since the EW cut-off date reached November 19, 1997 during Fiscal Year 2001, the reduction in the EW annual limit to 5,000 began in Fiscal Year 2002.

B. DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT (DV) CATEGORY

Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act provides a maximum of up to 55,000 immigrant visas each fiscal year to permit immigration opportunities for persons from countries other than the principal sources of current immigration to the United States.  The Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) passed by Congress in November 1997 stipulates that beginning with DV-99, and for as long as necessary, up to 5,000 of the 55,000 annually-allocated diversity visas will be made available for use under the NACARA program.  This reduction has resulted in the DV-2011 annual limit being reduced to 50,000.  DV visas are divided among six geographic regions.  No one country can receive more than seven percent of the available diversity visas in any one year.

For February, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2011 applicants chargeable to all regions/eligible countries as follows. When an allocation cut-off number is shown, visas are available only for applicants with DV regional lottery rank numbers BELOW the specified allocation cut-off number:

Region All DV Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed Separately  
AFRICA 26,100 Except: Egypt 20,200
Ethiopia 15,000
Nigeria 12,100
ASIA 14,850  
EUROPE 17,600  
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) 7  
OCEANIA 810  
SOUTH AMERICA, and the CARIBBEAN 900  

Entitlement to immigrant status in the DV category lasts only through the end of the fiscal (visa) year for which the applicant is selected in the lottery.  The year of entitlement for all applicants registered for the DV-2011 program ends as of September 30, 2011.  DV visas may not be issued to DV-2011 applicants after that date.  Similarly, spouses and children accompanying or following to join DV-2011 principals are only entitled to derivative DV status until September 30, 2011.  DV visa availability through the very end of FY-2011 cannot be taken for granted.  Numbers could be exhausted prior to September 30.

C. ADVANCE NOTIFICATION OF THE DIVERSITY (DV) IMMIGRANT CATEGORY RANK CUT-OFFS WHICH WILL APPLY IN MARCH

For March, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2011 applicants chargeable to all regions/eligible countries as follows. When an allocation cut-off number is shown, visas are available only for applicants with DV regional lottery rank numbers BELOW the specified allocation cut-off number:

Region All DV Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed Separately  
AFRICA 31,950 Except: Egypt 24,275
Ethiopia 18,650
Nigeria 13,100
ASIA 17,200  
EUROPE 20,450  
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) 7  
OCEANIA 900  
SOUTH AMERICA, and the CARIBBEAN 1,025  

D. RETROGRESSION OF FAMILY CUT-OFF DATES

Continued heavy applicant demand for numbers in the Family Fourth preference category has required the retrogression of the Worldwide, China-mainland born, Dominican Republic, and India cut-off date for the month of February.

It has also been necessary to retrogress the Dominican Republic F2B category for the month of February.

Further retrogressions cannot be ruled out should demand continue at the current levels for some categories and countries. 

Please Note:   Applicants entitled to immigrant status become documentarily qualified at their own initiative and convenience. By no means has every applicant with a priority date earlier than a prevailing cut-off date been processed for final visa action.  On the contrary, visa allotments are made only on the basis of the total applicants reported documentarily qualified each month, compared with the amount of available numbers.  For example, during the past month, over 17,300 of the applicants who have become documentarily qualified in the Family preference categories have priority dates earlier than the cut-off dates established for January.  Demand for visa numbers can fluctuate from one month to another, with the inevitable impact on cut-off dates.  

Following are examples of possible cut-off date actions based on demand:

Numbers
Available 
Demand with Priority Dates
Prior to the Current Cut-off
Next Month’s
Cut-off Date Will

3,000
3,000
3,000

1,000
3,000
5,000
Advance
Remain the same
Retrogress

 

Immigration questions?  We have answers.  Free consultation available | 800-969-5529

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Visa Bulletin for January 2011 | Immigration

Posted by Karen Pollak on Fri, Dec 10, 2010 @ 8:23 AM

A. STATUTORY NUMBERS

1.  This bulletin summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during January. Consular officers are required to report to the Department of State documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas; the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security reports applicants for adjustment of status.  Allocations were made, to the extent possible under the numerical limitations, for the demand received by December 8th in the chronological order of the reported priority dates. If the demand could not be satisfied within the statutory or regulatory limits, the category or foreign state in which demand was excessive was deemed oversubscribed.  The cut-off date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who could not be reached within the numerical limits.

Only applicants who have a priority date earlier than the cut-off date may be allotted a number. Immediately that it becomes necessary during the monthly allocation process to retrogress a cut-off date, supplemental requests for numbers will be honored only if the priority date falls within the new cut-off date which has been announced in this bulletin.

2. Section 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) sets an annual minimum family-sponsored preference limit of 226,000.  The worldwide level for annual employment-based preference immigrants is at least 140,000. Section 202 prescribes that the per-country limit for preference immigrants is set at 7% of the total annual family-sponsored and employment-based preference limits, i.e., 25,620.  The dependent area limit is set at 2%, or 7,320.

3.  Section 203 of the INA prescribes preference classes for allotment of immigrant visas as follows:

FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCES

First:  Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Citizens:  23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.

Second:  Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent
Residents:  114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, and any unused first preference numbers:

A.  Spouses and Children:  77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;

B.  Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older):  23% of the overall second preference limitation.

Third:  Married Sons and Daughters of Citizens:  23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.

Fourth:  Brothers and Sisters of Adult Citizens:  65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.

EMPLOYMENT-BASED PREFERENCES

First:    Priority Workers:  28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth and fifth preferences.

Second:  Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability:  28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required by first preference.

Third:  Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers:  28.6% of the worldwide level, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences, not more than 10,000 of which to "Other Workers".  

Fourth:  Certain Special Immigrants:  7.1% of the worldwide level.

Fifth:  Employment Creation:  7.1% of the worldwide level, not less than 3,000 of which reserved for investors in a targeted rural or high-unemployment area, and 3,000 set aside for investors in regional centers by Sec. 610 of P.L. 102-395.

4.  INA Section 203(e) provides that family-sponsored and employment-based preference visas be issued to eligible immigrants in the order in which a petition in behalf of each has been filed.  Section 203(d) provides that spouses and children of preference immigrants are entitled to the same status, and the same order of consideration, if accompanying or following to join the principal.  The visa prorating provisions of Section 202(e) apply to allocations for a foreign state or dependent area when visa demand exceeds the per-country limit.  These provisions apply at present to the following oversubscribed chargeability areas:  CHINA-mainland born, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, INDIA, MEXICO, and PHILIPPINES.

5.  On the chart below, the listing of a date for any class indicates that the class is oversubscribed (see paragraph 1); "C" means current, i.e., numbers are available for all qualified applicants; and "U" means unavailable, i.e., no numbers are available.  (NOTE:  Numbers are available only for applicants whose priority date is earlier than the cut-off date listed below.)

Family All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed CHINA-mainland born DOMINICAN REPUBLIC INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st 01JAN05 01JAN05 01JAN05 01JAN05 08JAN93 01JUN94
2A 01JAN08 01JAN08 01JAN08 01JAN08 01APR05 01JAN08
2B 15APR03 15APR03 01MAR02 15APR03 22JUN92 15MAY99
3rd 01JAN01 01JAN01 01JAN01 01JAN01 22OCT92 22OCT91
4th 01JAN02 01JAN02 01JAN02 01JAN02 22DEC95 01JAN88

*NOTE:  For January, 2A numbers EXEMPT from per-country limit are available to applicants from all countries with priority dates earlier than 01APR05.  2A numbers SUBJECT to per-country limit are available to applicants chargeable to all countries EXCEPT MEXICO with priority dates beginning 01APR05 and earlier than 01JAN08.  (All 2A numbers provided for MEXICO are exempt from the per-country limit; there are no 2A numbers for MEXICO subject to per-country limit.)

Employment- Based

All Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed

CHINA- mainland born DOMINICAN REPUBLIC INDIA MEXICO PHILIPPINES
1st C C C C C C
2nd C 22JUN06 C 08MAY06 C C
3rd 22MAR05 15DEC03 22MAR05 01FEB02 15APR03 22MAR05
Other Workers 22APR03 22APR03 22APR03 01FEB02 15APR03 22APR03
4th C C C C C C
Certain Religious Workers C C C C C C
5th C C C C C C
Targeted Employment Areas/ Regional Centers C C C C C C
5th Pilot Programs C C C C C C

The Department of State has available a recorded message with visa availability information which can be heard at:  (area code 202) 663-1541.  This recording will be updated in the middle of each month with information on cut-off dates for the following month.

Employment Third Preference Other Workers Category:  Section 203(e) of the NACARA, as amended by Section 1(e) of Pub. L. 105-139, provides that once the Employment Third Preference Other Worker (EW) cut-off date has reached the priority date of the latest EW petition approved prior to November 19, 1997, the 10,000 EW numbers available for a fiscal year are to be reduced by up to 5,000 annually beginning in the following fiscal year.  This reduction is to be made for as long as necessary to offset adjustments under the NACARA program.  Since the EW cut-off date reached November 19, 1997 during Fiscal Year 2001, the reduction in the EW annual limit to 5,000 began in Fiscal Year 2002.

B. DIVERSITY IMMIGRANT (DV) CATEGORY

Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act provides a maximum of up to 55,000 immigrant visas each fiscal year to permit immigration opportunities for persons from countries other than the principal sources of current immigration to the United States.  The Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) passed by Congress in November 1997 stipulates that beginning with DV-99, and for as long as necessary, up to 5,000 of the 55,000 annually-allocated diversity visas will be made available for use under the NACARA program.  This reduction has resulted in the DV-2011 annual limit being reduced to 50,000.  DV visas are divided among six geographic regions.  No one country can receive more than seven percent of the available diversity visas in any one year.

For January, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2011 applicants chargeable to all regions/eligible countries as follows. When an allocation cut-off number is shown, visas are available only for applicants with DV regional lottery rank numbers BELOW the specified allocation cut-off number:

Region All DV Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed Separately  
AFRICA 20,900 Except: Egypt 16,000
Ethiopia 13,200
Nigeria 12,100
ASIA 13,300  
EUROPE 15,400  
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) 6  
OCEANIA 775  
SOUTH AMERICA, and the CARIBBEAN 900  

Entitlement to immigrant status in the DV category lasts only through the end of the fiscal (visa) year for which the applicant is selected in the lottery.  The year of entitlement for all applicants registered for the DV-2011 program ends as of September 30, 2011.  DV visas may not be issued to DV-2011 applicants after that date.  Similarly, spouses and children accompanying or following to join DV-2011 principals are only entitled to derivative DV status until September 30, 2011.  DV visa availability through the very end of FY-2011 cannot be taken for granted.  Numbers could be exhausted prior to September 30.

C. ADVANCE NOTIFICATION OF THE DIVERSITY (DV) IMMIGRANT CATEGORY RANK CUT-OFFS WHICH WILL APPLY IN FEBRUARY

For February, immigrant numbers in the DV category are available to qualified DV-2011 applicants chargeable to all regions/eligible countries as follows. When an allocation cut-off number is shown, visas are available only for applicants with DV regional lottery rank numbers BELOW the specified allocation cut-off number:

Region All DV Chargeability Areas Except Those Listed Separately  
AFRICA 26,100 Except: Egypt 20,200
Ethiopia 15,000
Nigeria 12,100
ASIA 14,850  
EUROPE 17,600  
NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS) 7  
OCEANIA 810  
SOUTH AMERICA, and the CARIBBEAN 900  

D. RETROGRESSION OF FAMILY CUT-OFF DATES

As reported in the December Visa Bulletin (number 27), the cut-off dates for most Family preference categories advanced at a very rapid pace during the past two years.  Those movements have resulted in a dramatic increase in the level of applicant demand received in recent months.   This has required the retrogression of many Family preference cut-off dates for January in an effort to hold number use within the various numerical limits.  Further retrogressions cannot be ruled out should demand continue at the current levels.

Immigration questions?  We have answers.  Free consultation available | 800-969-5529

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Non Immigrant Visas | USCIS Revises Form I-129

Posted by Karen Pollak on Thu, Nov 11, 2010 @ 3:39 PM

USCIS has revised the Form I-129, which employers use to petition for temporary workers in a variety of nonimmigrant visa classifications including H-1B professionals, L-1 inter-company transfeees and E-2 investors. The revised version of the form will be published on the same day that the final fee rule becomes effective: November 23, 2010. Once the revised version of the Form I-129 is published, USCIS will accept previous editions of the form for 30 days or until December 21, 2010.

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Visa Bulletin for November 2010 | Immigration

Posted by Michael Pollak on Sat, Oct 16, 2010 @ 8:15 AM

A. STATUTORY NUMBERS

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