Family Preference Categories for US immigration

Family preference categoriesIn order for a foreign national to obtain US permanent residence, they need to have a legitimate reason to come to the US, such as for employment, to start and invest in a business, or if they have family in the country.

You cannot simply purchase a piece of residential real estate and apply for a permanent visa or green card solely on that basis.

Family petitions allow a US citizen or permanent resident to apply for permanent residence (green cards) for certain family members. The length of time it will take for the application to be processed and granted is dependent on which “family preference category” the application falls under.

Immigration family preference categories are based on two criteria: the legal status of the petitioner (US citizens or permanent resident) and the relationship between the petitioner and the applicant.

The United States Customs and Immigration Service states the following policy when it comes to green cards for family members of US citizens and permanent residents:

Some relatives of US citizens, known as immediate relatives, do not have to wait for a visa to become available. There is no limit to the number of visas that can be utilized in this category in a particular year. Immediate relatives include:

  • Parents of a US citizen
  • Spouses of a US citizen
  • Unmarried children under the age of 21 of a US citizen

Note: US citizens must be at least 21 years old to apply for their parents.

The qualified relatives of a US citizen or permanent resident in the remaining family-based categories may have to wait for a visa to become available before they can apply for permanent residency. These categories include:

  • First Preference: Unmarried, adult (21 years of age or older) sons and daughters of US citizens
  • Second Preference A: Spouses of permanent residents and the unmarried children (under the age of 21)) of permanent residents
  • Second Preference B: Unmarried sons and daughters (21 years or age or older) of permanent residents
  • Third Preference: Married sons and daughters of US citizens, their spouses and their minor children
  • Fourth Preference: Brothers and sisters of adult US citizens, their spouses and their minor children

If you are a US citizen or permanent resident who wants to apply for a green card for a family member, then contact Boyer Law Firm, P.L.’s immigration attorneys today.

Source: USCIS

Investment Required to Obtain an E2 Visa for a Business in Florida

Expenses Budget Puzzle Showing Company Bookkeeping And BalanceAn E2 visa is an investor’s visa that allows citizens of certain countries to obtain a visa to live and work in the United States for up to five years at a time, with the ability to renew the visa in five year increments for the entire duration of the business.

In order to qualify for an E2 visa, the applicant must invest a “substantial” amount of money into the business. The term “substantial” is subjective, but it is understood that the more money you invest in your business, the better your chances are of obtaining an E2 visa. The investment required to obtain an E2 visa for your business should at least cover:

1. The building: security deposit and first three months’ rent –or- The amount you paid for the building/land if you purchased the building/land

2. Computers and office equipment

3. Initial stock or merchandise or supplies

4. Initial marketing costs (website design, flyers, ads, etc.)

5. Attorneys’ fees

6. CPA/Accountant fees

7. And much more depending on the nature of your business.

The purpose of your business (what your business does) is essential to determining the amount of investment required to obtain an E2 visa for a business in Florida. For example, a hair salon or pet grooming shop will require less of an investment than a restaurant, which will both require less of an investment than a service business.

In order to qualify for an E2 visa for a business in Florida, your business must not be “marginal.” You should be able to hire full-time employees other than your family members and that you have a plan to grow the business in the future. One purpose of the E2 visa treaties is to grow the economy for the country, so this stipulation is to ensure that the business will contribute to the economy and not just benefit the E2 visa applicant(s) and their family.

If you are interested in seeing if your qualify for an E2 visa for a business in Florida or anywhere else in the United States, then contact Boyer Law Firm’s immigration attorneys today to see how we can help you.

Florida One of Top States for Low Tax Burden

According to a recent study by WalletHub, Florida is in the top 10 states for the lowest tax burden on “High Income” and “Middle Income” taxpayers.

It is also the only southeastern state in the top 10 states with a low tax burden, other than Alabama, which ranks lower on the results.

Miami Beach panorama

State “Low Income” Rank
(Tax Burden as a % of Income)
“Middle Income” Rank
(Tax Burden as a % of Income)
“High Income” Rank
(Tax Burden as a % of Income)
Alaska 1
Wyoming 6
Nevada 4
Tennessee 16
South Dakota 28
New Hampshire 8
Florida 17
North Dakota 10
Alabama 25
Delaware 2


In addition to the beach and sun, the tax benefits and low tax burden of living in Florida add to the list of reasons to live and do business in the Florida. If you are thinking about moving to Florida or if you are interested in starting a Florida business, then contact Boyer Law Firm, P.L. today.

If you are a foreign individual who already lives or does business in Florida, or if you are thinking about moving to or starting a business in Florida, then you should contact an attorney to assist you with tax planning for yourself, your business, and your estate.

Tax planning may include restructuring your company, creating estate planning documents such as trusts and power of attorneys, and much more.


Chart provided by:

U.S. Employment Authorization Will Be Available for H-4 Visa Holders

employment authorizationSelect H-4 visa holders, for spouses of H1-B visa holders and other less common visas, will be able to apply for employment authorization this year.

This action was part of President Obama’s executive action on immigration, and it is the first reform to be implemented that is geared toward high-skilled immigrants, as the H1-B visa is only available to high skilled workers.

USCIS will begin to accept these applications on May 26, 2015, but it is important that the preparation process be completed as soon as possible, as the USCIS office is anticipating that as many as 179,600 people might apply this year.

If you are already an H-4 visa holder and your spouse has a pending Permanent Residency application, you should be eligible for employment authorization, and now is the time to apply. Waiting and processing times are almost guaranteed to drastically increase once the influx of H-4 visa holders begin to submit their applications.

If you are interested in applying for employment authorization or any other type of immigration visa or status, contact Boyer Law Firm, P.L.
today to see how we can assist you.

Avoid the Rent Monster with a Florida Investment Property

Florida Residential or Commercial Investment Property | Rent MonsterA Florida residential or commercial investment property is a great way to make money while living in or using a property instead of feeding the rent monster. The rent monster eats your rent money every month because instead of turning that money into equity on your condo, house, or store, the money simply disappears as if it was eaten by the “rent monster.”

The truth of the matter is that in this real estate market it is not much more expensive to buy a commercial or residential property than it is to rent one. In some cases the cost of a mortgage is actually less than the cost of rent. Additionally, if you invest in a shopping center, strip mall, or apartment complex, then you can also earn supplemental income from the other tenants in the building.

If you are interested in purchasing a Florida residential or commercial investment property to avoid the rent monster, or if you want to purchase one of these properties for another use, then contact Boyer Law Firm’s real estate attorneys today.

It is important to contact Boyer Law Firm, P.L. BEFORE you make an offer on the property, as there may be steps we can take beforehand to expedite the Florida real estate closing process once the offer has been made and accepted.