Dear friends, Dear clients:
We hope that each of you had a wonderful and relaxing summer! With the changes that are coming out of Washington DC, it has been nonetheless a busy summer for us. We wish to bring you up-to-date on some of the most important issues affecting our immigrant and non-immigrant clients.
Please note that the US citizenship and immigration services has published a revised final policy memorandum relating to unlawful presence in the US. The review period ended on June 11, 2018 and basically restates the policy of strict adherence to the timeline for all non-immigrant visas including those for students. Please ensure that either you have filed an application for an extension or that your I-94 entry card at port of entry covers the period for which you will be in the US. Many of our clients use the student visa structure while they are awaiting approval of their EB-5 applications. Please ensure that you speak to us to make sure that you never overstay your visa.
Many approvals or prospective approvals for lawful permanent residency are accompanied by an I-485 adjustment of status application. That said, the applications for employment authorization document and travel permit are now taking six months to process. This same process used to take three months to obtain last year! As such, if you plan to travel at any time while your I-485 application is pending it is essential that you file early. The government will not issue temporary stamps to travel. We also do not recommend any travel while an application for employment authorization document or travel permit is pending. This applies to L-1 and H-1 visa holders as well. You risk having a serious problem at the port of entry if your travel documents are not in order.In the event of an emergency, the local office may issue an emergency advance parole document. No info pass is required but we recommend to appear early in the morning. Only applicants who have been granted residency will be issued a red emergency I-551 stamps including those who have an I-485 approval but not received their cards in the mail as well as pending applications.Please note that the new receipt notices for the I-751 and I- 829 actually extend the status for 18 months on the form. You will be able to travel with this document and a valid passport. Please check with us first.
We are now for seeing some potential EB-5 visa backlogs for nationals of India, Brazil, South Korea and Taiwan. You are already certainly well aware of the heavy backlog for China and Vietnam. This is not expected to change in the upcoming fiscal year which starts on October 1, 2018. Note that all other countries are not affected by this retrogression.
EB-5 PROGRAM TO BE EXTENDED BRIEFLY:
We are pleased to advise you that the house of representatives has passed an extension of the EB-5 statute through December 7, 2018. This means that applications can be filed through December 4, 2018 under the same terms and conditions and investment levels as they currently stand. This is a rare and great opportunity for last-minute applicants as it will provide us two months to be able to structure your application. Only clear source of funds applications needs apply as this process is time consuming and will require full cooperation from our firm as well as the applicants. Further, translation of documents into the English language may be time consuming and therefore will need to be reviewed prior to commencing the application. Note that the USCIS policy manual regarding a regional center geographic area for target employment area is being reviewed by the government. We do not know what direction the negotiations will be taking in Washington with regard to the specifics of the investment level as well as the target employment areas however you can certainly expect changes in this regard in 2019. Our lobbying organization, IIUSA and its partners are supporting an opportunity for long-term re-authorization of this critical immigration and economic development program after the elections in November. The Senate will review its consideration and the president will sign this authorization to extend it through December 7, 2018. Should you have any questions, please call our office immediately.
We have also had a very successful summer with regard to E-2 applications. While these five year visas are not a substitute for a green card, they do provide a gateway to making an investment in the United States and potentially create a platform for future residency considerations. We are pleased to advise you that a new website strictly on the E-2 is being formulated at this time and will be ready within the next month. Please note our new web address will be: www.e2lawyers.com. This is in addition to our existing website: www.eb-5lawyers.com.
Mr. Behar has traveled throughout Scandinavia this summer to assess global markets both in terms of local reactions to the United States and potential activity in the Immigration world. It does seem however that the Europeans are not pleased with the policies taken by our government at this time. The attitude of isolation has created a barrier to greater friendships and development of trade agreements. Only time will tell if this will be a permanent or temporary condition. We encourage everybody to stay the course at this time as America remains a beacon of hope, of freedom and opportunity. We hope to be able to keep you posted on new developments before the end of the year and welcome your comments and visits to our office. Thank you all for your continued support and commitment to the well-being of your families.
BEHAR LAW GROUP