How Syria Could Affect Your U.S. Immigration Visa Application

U.S. immigration visaIf you are interested in applying for a U.S. immigration visa, then NOW is the time to do so. Potential upcoming changes to immigration law could delay the application and decision making process, forcing you to wait longer and potentially have to meet greater requirements to obtain a visa in the future.

The current civil war in Syria and the participation of Europeans may result in a direct cause of this U.S. immigration reform. President Obama warned that Europeans who embrace jihad in Syria and Iraq threaten the United States because “their passports mean they can enter the country,” according to Yahoo! News.

The article stated that nearly 800 French citizens have spent time fighting in Syria’s civil war, Belgium says that 200 of its citizens have participated, and Britain states that 400 of its citizens have participated.

At the current time, citizens of France, Belgium, and Britain can enter the United States without a visa through an ESTA visa waiver program. These statement by President Obama indicate that this visa waiver program may not be available in the future.

Citizens from countries from such as France, Belgium, and Britain have the option of applying for a “B-visa,” or visitors’ visa, to enter the U.S. A person who holds a B-visa may stay visit the United States for up to six (6) months out of the year for the duration of their B-visa.

B-visas may be granted for a period of one year, five years, or ten years at the discretion of the issuing authority, which is usually the U.S. Consulate in the applicant’s home country.

If you are interested in visiting the United States in the next few years, then it is a good idea to preemptively apply for a B-visa before there is an influx of applicants, which will most likely happen if the ESTA visa waiver program is cancelled or faded out.

The result of a rise in visa applications will delay not only the processing of B-visas, but of other U.S. immigration visas as well. If you want to come to the United States to visit, live, or do business, then you should contact a U.S. Immigration Attorney today to discuss your options.

Owning a Restaurant in Florida: Customer Pet Peeves Part 1

Restaurant in FloridaThe restaurant industry is a very competitive business. The littlest thing can make or break your business. One of the most important aspects of owning and running a restaurant in Florida is customer service.

Urban Spoon has compiled the following list of customer pet peeves at a restaurant. If you currently run a restaurant in Florida or are thinking about opening one, then you should take some time to seriously consider these aspects of customer service:

15. Missing/ Having to ask for simple items, such as napkins, a fork or a knife.

14. Weak drinks. This does not, however, mean that you should over-pour. Each drink has a specific volume of liquor in the recipe, and this should be adhered to by both owners and bartenders.

13. Indiscernible menus. Although it may add to the atmosphere to list menu items in the language of the restaurant (such as Italian, Spanish, or French), it is important to at least include an English translation so your customers are better able to choose their meal.

12. Rowdy Patrons. People come out to restaurants to have fun, but when they start to bother other people in the restaurant, then you have a problem. It is important that managers are prepared to handle rowdy customers in a professional manner that resolves the situation.

11. Nosy Neighbors. If your tables are too close together, then people who are having business meetings or a date night may feel that their privacy is being invaded. It is important to have many tables in your restaurant to be able to accommodate customers, but do not overload your dining room with tables.

10. Partial Group Seating. DO NOT EVER DO THIS! Your restaurant should anticipate that you will be “on a wait” at some points in your business, especially on the weekends. Incorporate a waiting area into the design of your restaurant and encourage guests to have a drink at the bar while they wait on their table.

9. Dirty Silverware or glasses. This is not only gross, but it is also a health hazard. One of the common reasons for dirty silverware or glasses is that your dishwasher itself is not clean. Additionally, glasses and silverware should be polished so that there are no visible watermarks.

8. Taking calls at the table. As an owner or manager, there is really not a lot that you can do about this. However, servers should not be rude to guests on the phone and should be aware that they may have to wait or come back to the table to take that individual’s order.

Check back on Tuesday to see the top 7 restaurant customer pet peeves and how you as a restaurant owner or manager can address them.

If you are interested in opening a restaurant in Florida or currently run a restaurant in Florida and need a business attorney, then contact Boyer Law Firm today!

Am I Eligible for an E2 Investors Visa?

E2 Investor's VisaAn E2 Investor’s Visa is also referred to as a Treaty Investors Visa because the visa is the result of a treaty between the applicant’s home country and the United States.

The purpose of the E2 Investors Visa is to promote economic and business growth in the United States. Therefore, if you are applying for an E2 Visa, you must prove certain aspects in order to prove that your entry to the United States and your business will promote the growth of the U.S. Economy.

In order to prove that you and your business will benefit the U.S. Economy, you must submit evidence of several requirements, including but not limited to:

  1. Citizen of an E2 Treaty Country: In order to be eligible for an E2 visa, you must be a Citizen of a Country who has an E2 Treaty with the United States. Click here for a list of Treaty Countries.
  2. A Bona Fide Enterprise: In order to prove that your business will promote the U.S. Economy, you must first prove that you have an actual business.
  3. Proof that the investment in the business is substantial: The amount required will vary depending on the type of business you have, but it is generally understood that the more you invest, the better. Deciding to take on creating a business is nothing to take lightly. Although Boyer Law Firm has obtained visas for clients in the past with relatively low investments, we have also noticed a trend of stricter requirements and the benefits of a greater investment.
  4. Proof that the investment in the business in non-marginal: According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), “a marginal enterprise is one that does not have the present or future capacity to generate more than enough income to provide a minimal living for the treaty investor and his or her family. Depending on the facts, a new enterprise might not be considered marginal even if it lacks the current capacity to generate such income.  In such cases, however, the enterprise should have the capacity to generate such income within five years from the date that the treaty investor’s E-2 classification begins.”

If you meet these requirement and are interested in applying for an E2 Investors Visa, then contact Boyer Law Firm’s Immigration Attorneys today.

H1B Visas are no longer available for 2015!

H1B visaThis is just an example of the overload of applications that are being sent to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

USCIS received 172,500 H1B petitions from the when it began taking applications on April 1, 2014 until this Monday, April 7, 2014, when they stopped taking applications, according to a press release on their website. That’s right! The ability to even apply for a H1-B visa disappeared in less than a week.

The H1-B visa is for specialized workers in areas such as science, engineering, and computer programming. USCIS will not begin to accept applications for Fiscal Year 2016 until next year, April 1, 2015.

The USCIS said it will be conducting a computer-generated lottery to determine which petitions it will select for processing

If you were thinking about applying for a H1B visa, then you may want to consider other visa options.

These visa options may include investment visas (if you are willing to start and invest in a business), family petitions (if you have an immediate relative who is a Legal Permanent Resident or U.S. Citizen), and more. Please not that purchasing a piece of property in the United States does not in and of itself qualify a foreign individual for an immigration visa.

As previously stated, USCIS is currently experiencing an overwhelming number of applications for multiple different kinds of visas. As a result, it has been our experience that the requirements for each visa are much stricter than they used to be and the visa application process takes longer than it used to.

If you think that you may qualify for a visa or if you would like to schedule an appointment to discuss your immigration options, then contact Boyer Law Firm’s immigration and international law attorneys today.

USCIS Revises N-400 Application for U.S. Citizenship

U.S. Citizenship AttorneyU.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has revised Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, also known as the application to become a naturalized U.S. Citizen.

According to USCIS, “Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is granted to a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).”

In order to qualify for U.S. Citizenship, candidates must meet the following criteria:

1. Be a Legal Permanent Resident of the United States for five (5) years
–or-
2. Have been a Legal Permanent Resident of the United States for at least three (3) years. Additionally, you must have been married to and living with the same spouse, who is a U.S. Citizen, and your spouse has been a U.S. Citizen for the last 3 years at the time of filing your Form N-400
-or-
3. Other specific reasons, which must be discussed with a U.S. Immigration Attorney

One of the reasons USCIS revised this form is to “present customers with clearer instructions.” This is a clear indicator that USCIS runs across errors on multiple applications. If you do not fill out the form correctly and provide the correct supporting documents, then your petition could be delayed or denied.

Hiring a U.S. immigration attorney to assist you with this application, or other visa applications, will ensure that these documents are completed fully and accurately. If you are interested in applying for U.S. Citizenship or other immigration visas, then contact Boyer Law Firm, P.L. today!

Can I get an Investor’s Visa if I Buy a House in Florida?

Can I get an Investor’s Visa if I Buy a House in Florida?Many people, especially Canadian residents, are under the impression that if they simply buy a house in Florida, they will qualify for a U.S. Investor’s visa, but this is generally not the case.

Although purchasing a house can be considered an investment in the common use of the word, U.S. Investor’s visas require the funds to be invested in a “bona-fide enterprise.” This investment should contribute to the American economy, meaning the enterprise must be an ongoing business.

One way to satisfy the investment requirements of an Investor’s visa could be by purchasing an apartment complex or office complex and renting out the units. If you choose to proceed in this direction, you will be required to form a company, invest in that company, and rent the units through that company. However, the business cannot be “marginal”, meaning it must provide more than just enough income on which the investor’s family can live. The business must also create jobs, which is often the most challenging aspect.

If you do not want to start a business in Florida, but you do want to purchase a house, then you do have other visa options.

If you would like to buy a house in Florida or a commercial property in Florida, believe that you qualify for an Investor’s visa, or need to discuss your visa options with an experienced immigration attorney, contact Boyer Law Firm, P.L. today.

No E2 Visas for Brazilians but You Do Have Options

According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), Treaty Investor (E-2) visas, also called ”E2 Investor’s visas,” are for citizens of countries with which the United States maintains treaties of commerce and navigation.

It is very surprising for many of our potential clients to learn that Brazil does not have a treaty with the United States for E2 visas. Due to the lack of this treaty, the United States will not grant E2 visas for Brazilians.

No E2 Visas for Brazilians but You Do Have OptionsHowever, there is hope!

If you are determined to enter the United States through creating and investing in a business, than an EB5 Investor’s visa allows you to literally buy your way into permanent residence in the United States, and eventually apply for U.S. Citizenship. (Please Note: Legal Permanent Residence is NOT the same as U.S. Citizenship).

Alternatively, you may apply for a B visa (temporary visa) for work or pleasure that will allow you to visit the United States for 6 months out of the year. This visa is often valid for 10 years.

If you have family in the United States or a significant other who you plan on marrying, then your family member may be able to petition for your admission to the U.S. There are different options for family petitions.

No matter what type of visa you are considering, it is important to consult with a U.S. Immigration Attorney to discuss your best course of action.

For a list of participating E-2 Visa Treaty countries, click here.

How Much Money Do I Need for an E2 Visa Investment?

E2 Visa InvestmentAn E-2 investor’s visa allows a national of a treaty country to be admitted to the United States by creating a bona fide enterprise, investing a substantial amount of capital in that enterprise, and create jobs for legal workers in the United States through the enterprise.

In order to qualify for an E2 visa, you must be the owner of at least 50% of a bona fide business. According to the United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS), “a bona fide enterprise refers to a real, active and operating commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking which produces services or goods for profit.  It must meet applicable legal requirements for doing business within its jurisdiction.”

The business owner must invest a substantial amount of capital into that bona fide enterprise. Although there is no exact dollar amount for a “substantial investment,” the E2 visa investment must be able to establish the enterprise, ensure the investor’s commitment to the enterprise, and be sufficient to fund the enterprises operations and allow the enterprise to grow and become profitable.

A major part in the E2 visa investment and application process is the business plan. The business plan should show the Consulate that your business will be able to support itself, that you will be able to derive an income from the business, and that you will be able to hire people.

It is very important that your business be profitable and sustainable, as your E2 visa will be reviewed for renewal 5 years after it is issued. If your business is not profitable, then your visa will not be renewed.

If you think that you qualify for an E2 visa, contact Boyer Law Firm’s immigration attorneys today.

Jacksonville Hotel Market Improving

Jacksonville HotelThe Embassy Suites Hotel on Baymeadows Road in Jacksonville, Florida, located right by our Jacksonville office, sold to a group of hotel investors from San Diego for $8.8 million, or $41,900 per room, on October 10.

The Jacksonville hotel market has been steadily improving, and this trend is expected to continue; Revenue per room is up 9 percent from the beginning of the year. This buy is expected to be profitable for the buyers for the following reasons:

-          The Baymeadows/Southside area of Jacksonville is home to about 45% of all office space within the Jacksonville market.

-          Jacksonville is consistently rated one of the “Hottest Cities in America” for business expansions and relocations according to Expansion Management Magazine

-          Jacksonville has been in the “Top 10” of that magazine for eight straight years and is the only city to claim the number one spot three times.

Because of the large investment and number of staff required to run a hotel, many foreign investors who purchase a hotel will also qualify for an EB5 visa. If you are interested in purchasing a Jacksonville hotel or starting another type of business, contact Boyer Law Firm’s business, immigration, and commercial real estate attorneys today.

Obtain a B Visa to Help You Apply for Your E2 Visa

Obtain a B Visa | E2 VisaPart of obtaining an E2 Investors Visa is creating an existing business that will thrive. Creating a business can be hard to do while you are overseas, so it is a good idea to obtain a temporary B visa while you are setting up the company. If you obtain a B visa, that will benefit you because you will be able to visit office locations to rent, find staff to hire, speak to suppliers and distributors, and more.

When applying for an E2 visa, it is important to visit office locations in order to find the best fit because that will be the heart of your business. For E2 visas processed in Paris, the Consulate asks that the petitioner to provide them will a signed lease agreement as part of the application. Additionally, you may find a business that you would like to buy instead of starting a business from scratch.

Another reason it is a good idea to obtain a B-visa is to find good employees. One of the requirements of the E2 visa is that the business creates jobs. Finally, a B visa will allow you to meet and develop relationships with local suppliers, distributors, and vendors in order to setup a supply system for your business.

If you are interested in obtaining an E2 visa (Investor’s visa) or B visa (Temporary visa), then contact Boyer Law Firm’s Immigration Attorneys today.

Florida Quick Service Restaurants

Florida Quick Service RestaurantThere has been a major increase in the popularity of Fast Casual restaurants, also known as Quick Service restaurants, in Florida. This segment led the restaurant industry growth in the second financial quarter of 2013, with overall traffic increasing by 8 percent.

The only other segment of the restaurant industry that sustained growth was the fine dining segment, with an overall traffic increase of 6 percent.

A quick service restaurant (QSR) is a type of restaurant characterized by its fast food cuisine and minimal table service. QSRs can be fast food restaurants, cafes, walk-up counters, and more.

Whether you are a U.S. resident who has always wanted to open a restaurant or a foreign investor who is interested in starting a business for a visa, a quick service restaurant can be an excellent investment.

Boyer Law Firm, PL, can help you with the start-up of a quick service restaurant, including incorporation services and business planning, or we can assist you in purchasing an existing QSR, so contact us today.

Source: South Florida Business Journal

Investment Visas: E2 Visas

E2 VisaIf you want to come live and work in the US, a great way to do so is through an investors’ visa, such as an E2 visa. In order to qualify for an E2 visa, the country you are a citizen of must have a treaty with the US.

An E2 visa requires the applicant to invest a substantial amount of money in a new business or purchasing a current business and invest in its improvement or restoration. Simply investing in real estate or other passive investments will not qualify you for an E2 visa; the investment must be made into a business.

In addition to your initial investment, you must demonstrate that the business is a real, active and operating enterprise that will be able to be maintained and generate a profit of more than a marginal degree.

There is no definition for the terms “substantial amount” or “marginal degree;” those amounts vary depending on the type of business in which you want to invest. Here at Boyer Law Firm, we have assisted clients in obtaining an E2 visa for restaurants, gas stations, wholesale distribution, hotels, software companies, and more.

If you think you may qualify for an E2 visa or other investment visa, contact Boyer Law Firm today.

Miami to Become EB5 Regional Center

Miami to Become EB5 Regional CenterMiami plans to submit its application to become a designated EB5 regional center in July. If approved, the city would be considered an area designated for foreign investors in specific industry sectors in an effort to promote foreign investment.

The EB5 visa, a pilot program that was started 1992, allows you to literally buy your way into a US green card by investing $1,000,000.00 into a new business enterprise. The business must also create or maintain 10 full-time jobs. The investment does not have to be in an EB5 regional center.

Miami originally planned to submit its application in December 2012, but it had several hold ups including the $700 million Panorama Tower project and expanding the city are to include all of Miami-Dade County. Once approved, Miami would be the owner and manager of the City of Miami Regional Center.

For more information about the EB5 visa and other investment visas, contact Boyer Law Firm’s immigration attorneys today.

Source: South Florida Business Journal

E2 Visa Success

E2 visa successBoyer Law Firm has successfully obtained over ten E2 visas for over three different families in the last few weeks. Our experienced immigration attorneys know what is required in order to obtain this and other US visas.

We have also recently succeeded in obtaining Fiancé petitions, temporary “B” visas, and Citizenship for our clients.

An E2 visa allows for foreign nationals to obtain a US visa if they invest a substantial amount of capital in a new enterprise in the United States. Although we cannot guarantee that your will get an E2 visa, we can offer your our expertise, which will reduce errors that could cause your visa application to be delayed or denied.

Our immigration attorneys can not only help you through every step of the visa process, but can also help you run and maintain your business after you obtain a visa through our registered agent services, business planning sessions, and more.

How can I get Permanent Residence in the US?

Permanent Residence in the US | Florida Immigration Attorney Jacksonville, Orlando, MiamiAlthough there are many changes being debated about immigration reform, there are currently only a few ways to get a visa that could lead to permanent residence in the US: investing in a business, having a family member who is a U.S. citizen petition for you, or obtain a work visa, such as an L1.

An L1 visa is an for executives and managers who have been transferred from the office of a company located in a different country to an existing office of that same company in the United States. If you receive an L1 visa, you will be offered an initial stay of either one or three years. After that period, you will get a reassessment done on your visa status and potentially be offered permanent residence.

If you choose the investment path, an EB5 visa is the quickest path to a green card. An EB5 investment visa requires an investment of $1,000,000 into a new commercial enterprise, or $500,000 if the area you are investing in has a high unemployment rate or is in a rural area. The business must also create or maintain 10 full-time jobs. After two years, a reassessment will be done, and, if your business is doing well, you may be offered permanent residence. An EB5 visa allows you to literally “buy your way” into the United States.

The third option is a family petition. If you have an immediate relative who is a US citizen or permanent resident, they can petition for you to become a permanent resident.

At this time, owning, buying, or investing in real estate is not a path to permanent residence.

For more information on permanent residence in the US, citizenship, or US Visas, contact Boyer Law Firm’s immigration attorneys today.

*Image courtesy of Stockfreeimages.com

How Long Does it Take to Get a US Visa?

That depends on the following factors:US Visa Attorney | Florida Immigration Lawyer Jacksonville, Orlando, Miami | Boyer Law Firm, PL

-          What type of US Visa you want. Different visas have different standards and require different documentation. A temporary visa, such as a B-Visa, will not take as long as an investor visa, such as an E-2.

-          How quickly you provide your attorney with primary documents. You are the only person with access to these important documents, such as birth certificates, identification cards, and marriage licenses.

-          How quickly you provide your attorney with supplementary documents. Here at Boyer Law Firm, we strive to complete matters as quickly and efficiently as possible, but there are certain aspects we cannot complete until we have certain documents from the clients.

-          How quickly the USCIS or Consulate processes your application.  We check up on your application on a regular basis, but these are still government agencies infamous for taking their time.

The most important thing while going through the immigration process is constant communication. Visa and green card applications can be extremely complicated and require meticulous attention to detail. If you are interested in applying for a visa, contact Boyer Law Firm, PL, today.

Invest in a Restaurant Chain for a Visa

Foreign InvestmentFlorida restaurant chains, such as Sonic’s, Miami Subs, and Voodoo BBQ are encouraging foreign investors to invest at least $500,000 into their business in exchange for an EB-5 visa from the U.S. Government.

A group expanding their high-end restaurants, including Scarpetta and the Fontainebleu in Miami Beach resort are also encouraging foreign investors through this program.

An EB-5 visa allows for foreign investors, along with their spouse and children under the age of 21, to live in the United States if they invest at least $500,000 into an economically disadvantaged area or $1 million to a non-disadvantaged area. The investor must also create at least 10 jobs, which is why investing in a franchise is so convenient.

Franchises are also attractive for investors because they tend to succeed at higher rates than stand-alone businesses, according to the Sun Sentinel.

Restaurant groups are jumping on the “EB-5” bandwagon because they find it hard to get funding from U.S. banks after the recession and easier to go through the immigration process. With the new immigration bill on the horizon, we will see how long this holds true.

From January to September, 2012, the government approved 3, 677 EB-5 visas for foreign investors. This number does not include those investors’ spouses and children.

Source: Sun Sentinel

*Image courtesy of Stockfreeimages.com

Family Petition for Citizenship

Family PetitionOne of the paths to U.S. Citizenship can be in the form of a family petition. U.S. Citizens and Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) may petition for relatives to immigrate to the United States. U.S. Citizens may petition for parents, spouses, siblings, and children. LPRs may petition only for spouses and children.

Grandparents, aunts, uncles, in-laws, and cousins cannot sponsor a relative for immigration, and you must be at least 21 years old to petition for a parent.

There are two different categories when filing a family petition: immediate relatives and family preference categories. There is an unlimited amount of visas available for “immediate relatives” of U.S. Citizens. These include unmarried children under 21, spouses, parents, and widows/widowers under certain circumstances.

Family preference categories are subject to a limited number of visas. If the total number of qualified applicants exceeds the number of available visas, then applications are put on a wait and processed in the order they were received.

The length of time to process the petitions varies from case to case. Mistakes on the application, failing to follow instructions, and missing documentation can delay the process. An immigration attorney can help you through this process by ensuring that you apply for the right visa category and that all of your paperwork is filled out correctly.

If you choose to petition without an attorney, mistakes may be made and your petition could potentially be delayed or denied.

*Image courtesy of Stockfreeimages.com

What is a B-1 visa?

A B-1 visa is a temporary business visa allowing foreign nationals and their families to be admitted to the United States for up to six months. In order to qualify for a B-1 visa, the principle applicant must be able to demonstrate that his purpose for visiting the United States is in regards to a legitimate business matter, he plans to stay in the U.S. for a specific, limited amount of time, he has the funds to cover the cost of the trip, he has a residence outside of the U.S., and certain other guidelines applicable to anyone entering the United States.

People who come to the United States on a B-1 visa usually come for one of the following reasons:

-          To consult with a business associateb-visa -          To travel for a scientific or educational purpose, for a professional or business convention, or for a conference.
-          To settle an estate (probate)
-          To negotiate a contract
-          To participate in short-term work training
-          To transit through the U.S.

Certain air crewman may also enter the U.S. as “deadhead” crew with a B-1 visa.

In order for B-1 applicants to have their families accompany them, the family members must each petition for a B-2 visa.

*Image courtesy of Stockfreeimages.com

STEM Business Owners Needed

STEM workersDespite the slump of the U.S. economy, “STEM” careers and companies (science, technology, engineering, and math) are always in demand because the US economy is in need of more of these workers than the US education system can produce.

Eighteen percent of all Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants, according to a 2011 report by the Partnership for a New American Economy. These companies generate $1.7 trillion and employ 3.6 million workers.

One quarter of all engineering and technology-related companies founded in the United States from 1995-2005 had at least one founder who was an immigrant, according to a study by researchers at Duke and Harvard Universities.

Many of these workers depend on the extremely limited H1-B visas, which is a main concern in the immigration reform debate. However, there is a different approach a STEM worker can take: open their own business and obtain an E-2 investors visa.

Source: Immigration Policy

*Image courtesy of Stockfreeimages.com

Florida Tourism’s New Ad Campaign

Visit Florida, the state’s tourism agency, began its new ad campaign, “Must be the Sunshine,” with a commercial spot during Sunday night’s Grammy Awards.

Florida Tourism

The ad follows in the footsteps of Florida’s recently released business brand, introduced by Enterprise Florida and Rick Scott. The agency is attempting to make Florida the number one tourism spot in the world, and Disney World, Universal Studios, and other major theme parks in Florida are banding together to support the ad.

Tourism is Florida’s No. 1 industry. There are approximately 80 million tourists spending $70 billion annually in Florida, and Visit Florida wants to make this number even bigger. Tourism funds many Florida businesses, including restaurants, hotels, and much more. This new ad campaign creates a unique opportunity to open a business in Florida in one of these industries.

If you are interested in starting a business in the tourism industry, or even in just getting a tourism visa to visit Disney World, contact us today.

Source: Herald Tribune

Photo:© Photographer Mc Moisei | Agency: Dreamstime.com

 

Immigration Reform and the Visa Process

Immigration ReformImmigration reform has been a hot topic for a while now. Everyone wants to know what the United States should do about illegal immigrants residing in this country, but far fewer people are concerned about how the reform will affect those trying to come to the U.S. through the proper channels.

Every person who wants to come to the United States legally must apply for a visa or legal permanent residence. A foreign national may be eligible for a visa if they:
-          Have family in the United States
-          Have been offered a job in a specialized field
-          Are willing to invest a substantial amount of money into a business
-          Are coming to visit temporarily for business, pleasure, or medical purposes
-          And more.

However, if the immigration reform passes, USCIS employees will be overwhelmed with applications from hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants. This will cause a “clog” in the system, meaning visa processes that already take months to complete will take much longer.

If you are thinking about applying for a visa or permanent residence, you should contact Boyer Law Firm immediately to begin the process.

An Overview of the E-2 Visa Process

An E-2 Visa (investor’s visa) allows citizens from certain treaty countries to come to the United States when they invest a certain amount of capital in a business in the United States.

In order to qualify for an E-2 visa, the applicant must invest a “substantial” amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States. The “substantial” amount is not specified. Certain employees of the applicant or the company may also qualify for E-2 visa status.

Boyer Law Firm has helped clients obtain E-2 visas through investments in:

-          Gas Stations
-          Restaurants
-          Hotels
-          Grocery/ Convenience StoresE-2 Visa
-          Software Companies
-          And more

The process to obtain an E-2 visa can be long (around four months if everything goes smoothly), and a lot of the responsibility will fall on the client to provide documents. The “application” consists of a binder that can be over an inch wide when everything is compiled. Because of this complexity, it is important for both the applicant and their immigration attorney to work together and stick to set deadlines.

Here at Boyer Law Firm, we are very familiar with every aspect of this process. We have customized our own list to comply with USCIS regulation, we can help clients create a corporation or LLC, one of the requirements for the visa, and we can also help them draft a five-year business plan, another requirement.

There are many paths to getting a visa in the United States and they all depend on the applicant’s needs and assets. If you think you may qualify for an E-2 Investor’s visa or any other kind of visa, contact Boyer Law Firm today. We can help you navigate the seemingly complex path of coming to the U.S.

Visas for RNs and other Healthcare Professionals

Visas for Healthcare ProfessionalsRegistered nurses are in short supply in Florida and across the United States. As an example, Broward Health Medical Center, in Broward County, FL, is giving RNs a $5,000 signing bonus if they commit to work for the company for at least two years.

The U.S. economy added 45,000 healthcare jobs in December. In Broward County and Palm Beach County alone, there were 7.000 postings for healthcare jobs, and that number is expected to grow, especially with the new Healthcare reforms coming into play in 2014.

Foreign-born Registered Nurses can qualify for a specific visa, called a HB-1 visa, to be able to come to the United States and work in a healthcare profession. This visa applies not only to RNs, but also to Physicians, Dentists, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Pathologists, Chiropractors, and other allied healthcare workers. Physicians can also qualify for E-2 essential visas, J visa waivers, O-1 visas, and even green cards.

With the new healthcare reforms and the abundance of job openings, now is the perfect time for these professionals to consider immigrating to the United States. If you are interested in obtaining a healthcare professional’s visa, contact Boyer Law Firm, PL, today to help you through the complex administrative process.

Tourism Boosts South Florida’s Economy

South Florida TourismSouth Florida experienced a record amount of tourism in 2012, mostly from international visitors, and this amount is predicted to be even higher in 2013.

This increase is expected to boost economic growth in South Florida, especially in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties. Florida’s economy should grow by 1.7% in the next six months, according to the Miami-Herald.

Business travel is one of the main reasons for the tourism increase, and the “cheapness” of the American dollar is benefiting South Florida businesses because tourists are not just coming to visit; they’re coming to buy and spend money.

New hotels are popping up, and several airlines have increased the number of flights between south Florida and Latin American Countries. Brazilians remain the No. 1 source of overseas travelers, and Broward County’s tourism bureau plans to hire its first representative country in Brazil this budget year.

Whether you are looking to visit or open a business in south Florida, 2013 looks like a great year to do so.\

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90 Year-Old’s Birthday Wish: U.S. Citizenship

Marion Steward wanted one thing for her 90th birthday: to become a U.S. citizen. She started the process to citizenship back in 2010 while living in Florida, but the process was recently sped up after she was diagnosed with cancer.U.S. Citizenship

She took her oath to become a U.S. Citizen Thursday, December 17, 2012 from her Michigan hospital bed. She was surrounded by family, and one of her sons-in-law and granddaughters sung her a patriotic song over the phone from Florida.

Ms. Steward thought she was a U.S. Citizen until she tried to apply for a passport to visit family in Canada, where she was born. She quickly found out that she was a Legal Permanent Resident, not a U.S. Citizen, and that her green card had been lost.

With the help of her daughter, she decided to forego the process of applying for a green card because it would be too time-consuming and involve too much paperwork, so she decided to apply for U.S. Citizenship instead.

This case involves special circumstances that made the process easier. Most immigration cases, whether they be for a temporary visa, permanent residence, or citizenship take more time and can potentially become complex if the correct paperwork is not filed. It is important to hire a Florida Immigration Attorney to be sure your request is not denied.

If you are interested in becoming a U.S. Citizen, legal permanent resident, or obtaining a visa, contact Boyer Law Firm.

Source: The News-Herald

New Immigration Fee Effective Feb. 1, 2013

Immigration FeeOn February 1, 2013, the United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) will implement a new fee applicable to foreign nationals who seek permanent residence (green cards) in the United States.

The fee will be $165, and immigrants seeking permanent residence will have to pay the new fee, the current processing and filing fees that must be paid to the Department of State (DOS), and other applicable government filing fees.

The new fee will cover the cost of USCIS staff time as well as the cost of production and delivering of green cards for the legal permanent residents. The fee must be paid after the person receives their package from the DOS but before departing from the United States. The fee must be paid online at the USCIS website.

Adoptive parents whose child will enter the U.S. through the Orphan or Hague processes are exempt from the new fee.

If you have questions about legal permanent residence (green cards), citizenship, or other visas, contact an immigration attorney today.

Sources: Migration Expert ; USCIS

Immigration: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program is a program that will delay the deportation of an individual who entered the U.S. illegally as a child if they meet certain conditions. The action will be deferred for two years, subject to renewal, and they may qualify for work authorization.

In order to be eligible for this program, you must meet the following requirements:Immigration for childhood arrivals

- You must be under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012.

- You must have come to the U.S. before your 16th birthday.

- You must have resided in the U.S. from  June 15, 2007 to the present time.

- You must be physically present in the U.S. at the time you make your request for the program.

- You must have entered the U.S. without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012.

- You must be currently be enrolled in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained your GED, or be an honorably discharged member of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces

- You must not have been convicted of a felony, serious misdemeanor, three or more of any other kind of misdemeanor, or pose a threat to national security.

- You must be 15 or older, unless you are currently in the removal process.

This program is enacted on a case-by-case basis. You must be able to prove you meet all of the requirements, complete the required forms, and submit the forms along with a fees (Currently, the fees total to $465). You will then receive a notice with an appointment to visit the  Application Support Center (ACS) for biometric services.

If you think you qualify for this program, you should contact an immigration attorney to make the process smoother. Immigration laws are complicated, and failure to execute this process correctly could result in your request being denied and/or deportation.

Source: USCIS

Loss of Residency Status From an Overseas Trip

If you have a green card and stay out of the U.S. for an extended period of time, you could risk losing you residency status.

Legal Permanent Residents (green card holders) can be considered to have abandoned their permanent resident status if they move to another country intending to stay their permanently or remain out of the country for over a year without obtaining a reentry permit or a returning resident visa.

Photo Courtesy of Stockfreeeimages.comAlthough LPRs are allowed to stay outside of the U.S. for up to a year, if they remain out of the country for any length of time it could raise suspicion with immigration officers; The LPR could be found to have abandoned his permanent resident status.

LPRs should apply for a reentry visa before they leave the country if they plan to be gone for an extended period of time. This visa is valid for two years, but any length of absence from the U.S., even less than a year, may be considered abandoning permanent resident status. Reentry permits should make it easier to prove that the LPR is returning from a temporary visit abroad, which will greatly increase the chances of reentry.

LPRs may also lose their status if they fail to file their income taxes, declare themselves as a “nonimmigrant” on their tax return, or move and fail to inform the Department of Homeland Security. Male LPRs between the ages of 18 and 26 are also required to register with the Selective Service.

Sources: USCIS , VisaPro , ImmigrationUnitedStates.org

EB-5 Program Allows Residency for Foreign Investors

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor program, enacted in 1990, is a way for foreign investors to help boost the American economy and, in the process, gain residency in Florida or in other states across the U.S.

Foreign investors can obtain an EB-5 visa if they invest $1,000,000, or $500,000 in high unemployment areas, that leads to the creation or preservation of at least 10 jobs. These investors and their families receive a two year visa that allows them to live and work in the U.S., and if the investment is successful, they can eventually receive permanent U.S. residency.

Jupiter, FL, has used this program to construct an outdoor amphitheater, marina slips, and an entertainment hub,  San Bernardino, CA, has used it to redevelop its downtown theatre district, Jay, Vermont used it to help finance luxury condos, an ice hockey rink, and a waterpark at its popular Jay Peak Resort, and Philadelphia has used the program to expand a hospital complex and improve a school for disabled children.

Along with the benefits of the program, there are also risks. Some investors have failed to maintain or create theImage courtesy of StockFreeImages.com required jobs, or failed to otherwise comply with the program, and faced deportation. Others have lost their investment, but have still secured their green cards.

Despite the risks, many foreign investors are still taking the chance. The EB-5 program is one of the fastest ways for wealthy foreign investors who lack the family ties or special skill required for a traditional U.S. visa to establish a permanent U.S. residency.

Sources: LA Times, WCAX.com