Category Archives: Family Immigration

United States Temporary Protected Status designation for Venezuelans residing in the United States on March 8, 2021 | LEGAL THOUGHTS

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Transcript of Legal Thoughts Podcast
Published April 26,2021.

United States Temporary Protected Status designation for Venezuelans residing in the United States on March 8, 2021

Legal Thoughts is a podcast presentation by Coleman Jackson, P.C., a law firm based in Dallas, Texas serving individuals, businesses, and agencies from around the world in taxation, litigation and immigration legal matters.

This particular episode of Legal Thoughts is a podcast where the Attorney, Coleman Jackson is being interviewed by Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant of Coleman Jackson, P.C.   The topic of discussion is “Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: United States Temporary Protected Status designation for Venezuelans residing in the United States on March 8, 2021”. You can listen to this podcast by clicking here:

You can also listen to this episode and subscribe to Coleman Jackson, P.C.’s Legal Thoughts podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, Cashbox or wherever you may listen to your podcast.

TRANSCRIPT:

ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson
Legal Thoughts
COLEMAN JACKSON, ATTORNEY & COUNSELOR AT LAW

ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson

Welcome to Immigration Thoughts

  • My name is Coleman Jackson, and I am an attorney at Coleman Jackson, P.C., a taxation, litigation, and immigration law firm based in Dallas, Texas.
  • Our topic for today is: Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: United States Temporary Protected Status designation for Venezuelans residing in the United States on March 8, 2021. Other members of Coleman Jackson, P.C. are Yulissa Molina, Tax Legal Assistant, Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant, Leiliane Godeiro, Litigation Legal Assistant and Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate.
  • On this “Legal Thoughts” podcast our immigration legal assistant, Reyna Munoz, will be asking the questions and I will be providing the answers to the questions on this very important immigration topic: Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: United States Temporary Protected Status designation for Venezuelans residing in the United States on March 8, 2021.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

  • Hi Attorney, thank you for joining me today and for taking the time to answer a few questions that I have in regard to the recent USCIS announcement about designating Venezuela Temporary Protected Status.

Question No. 1

Attorney, can you tell me, what this is about?

Attorney Answers Question 1:

  • Hi Reyna, yes what you heard is correct! On March 8, 2021, Secretary Mayorkas designated Temporary Protected Status or TPS for Venezuela. What this does is it allows Venezuelan nationals that are currently residing in the United States to file an initial application for TPS.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

Question 2:

That is great news attorney, I’m sure that this will help a lot of Venezuelan nationals. How long do Venezuelan nationals get to have this new Temporary Protected Status?

Attorney Answers Question 2:

  • Reyna, the TPS designation for Venezuelans is currently for a period of 18 months. That is it currently ends in September 2022.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

Question 3:

Why was this TPS designation for Venezuelans made at this time?

Attorney Answers Question 3:

  • TPS was designated for Venezuela because of the extraordinary and temporary conditions that prevent Venezuelan nationals from returning safely to their home country. The extreme and harsh conditions that currently confronts Venezuela are:
  • Hunger and malnutrition and lack of basic essentials for safety and security and human dignity
  • A growing influence and presence of non-state armed groups
  • Repression and recrimination by state actors, their enablers, and other bad people
  • A crumbling Venezuelan infrastructure

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

  • That is very interesting information attorney. It sounds like TPS for Venezuelans is a humanitarian response to dangerous times for our neighbors in Venezuela.

Question No. 4:

Who is eligible to apply for Temporary Protective Status under the new Venezuelan TPS designation?

Attorney Answers Question 4:

  • That is a very thoughtful and insightful question, Reyna, those individuals who are nationals of Venezuela who can demonstrate continuous residence in the United States as of March 8, 2021 are eligible to apply for Temporary Protected Status under this TPS designation. That means they must have been physically residing in the United States on March 8, 2021.
  • These TPS applicants will also have to go through security and background checks to determine their eligibility for TPS.
  • It’s extremely important that Venezuelans residing outside of the United States do not fall for scams and other misinformation from smugglers or others claiming that the border is now open. They must have been residing in the U.S. on March 8, 2021.  People should not risk their lives, or their families lives and health with false information that they can come from Venezuela now and claim TPS. This TPS designation is limited to Venezuelan nationals and is not applicable to citizens from other South American countries.
  • Furthermore, due to the coronavirus pandemic, travel and admission restrictions remains in full force and effect on the U.S. border.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

Question 5:

  • Thank you for explaining this in such a comprehensive manner, attorney. It is very important that people understand that:
  • they must be a Venezuelan national to be eligible for TPS under the Venezuelan TPS designation; and
  • they must have been residing in the United States on March 8, 2021;
  • Question No. 5:
  • When and how can eligible individuals apply for TPS?

Attorney Answers Question 5:

  • Those that would like to file an application for TPS will have to submit an application within the 180-day registration period, that is, March 9, 2021 through September 5, 2021. Keep in mind that they have to be able to show continuous residence in the United States since March 8, 2021 and continuous physical presence in the United States since March 9, 2021.
  • Form I-821 Application for Temporary Protected Status will have to be filed with USCIS and if the individual wishes to apply for employment authorization, they will have to file Form I 765. Furthermore, if a ground of inadmissibility applies, then Form I 601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility will also have to be filed with the TPS package.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

  • Thank you for that information, attorney.

Question No. 6:

What sorts of evidence will need to be submitted to USCIS in support the TPS application?

Attorney Answers Question 6:

  • The individual can expect to submit evidence such as identity and evidence to demonstrate that they are a national of the designate country such as:
    • A copy of their passport
    • A copy of their birth certificate
    • Any national identity that includes a photograph and/or fingerprint issued by their country
  • The immigrant can also expect to submit entry evidence such as:
    • A copy of their passport; and
    • I-94 Arrival/Departure record
  • Finally, continuous residence evidence will also have to be submitted. This could be evidenced by such documents and information as the following:
    • Employment records
    • Rent receipts, utility bills, receipts or letters from companies
    • School records
    • Hospital records
    • Attestations by church, union, or other organization officials

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

  • I’m sure a lot of people that are expecting to apply for TPS will find this information very helpful, attorney.

Question No. 7:

Is there a fee to apply for TPS?

Attorney Answers Question 7:

  • As of March 10, 2021, if the immigrant is applying for Venezuelan TPS and is between ages of 14 and 65 years old and they are applying for an employment authorization card, then the filing fee for the I-821 is $50, the biometric fee is $85, and the I-765 fee is $410 bringing the total USCIS filing fee to $545. These fees could be changed by the government with little notice.
  • Under certain facts and circumstances the TPS applicant can file Form I-912, Application for Fee Waiver in these TPS cases.

Reyna Munoz’s Concluding Remarks:

  • Thank you for this detailed explanation of the new TPS designation for Venezuelan nationals, attorney. Hopefully, many of our Legal Thoughts Podcast listeners or their friends from Venezuela will find this update on the new TPS designation for Venezuelans very helpful.
  • Our listeners who want to hear more podcast like this one should subscribe to our Legal Thoughts Podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify or wherever they listen to their podcast for more taxation, litigation, and immigration Legal Thoughts podcasts. Everybody take care!  Read our taxation, government contract litigation and immigration law firm’s blogs at www.cjacksonlaw.com.  Coleman Jackson, P.C., is located right here in Dallas, Texas at 6060 North Central Expressway, Suite 620 Dallas, Texas 75206.
  • English callers: 214-599-0431 | Spanish callers:  214-599-0432 | Portuguese callers:  214-272-3100.

Attorney’s Concluding Remarks:

THIS IS THE END OF “LEGAL THOUGHTS” FOR NOW

  • Thanks for giving us the opportunity to inform you about “Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: United States Temporary Protected Status designation for Venezuelans residing in the United States on March 8, 2021.” If you want to see or hear more taxation, litigation and immigration LEGAL THOUGHTS from Coleman Jackson, P.C. Stay tuned! We are here in Dallas, Texas and want to inform, educate, and encourage our communities on topics dealing with taxation, litigation and immigration.  Until next time, take care.

Overview of the Real ID Act of 2005 and how it impacts all Americans, including undocumented immigrants and other immigrants residing in the United States | LEGAL THOUGHTS

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Transcript of Legal Thoughts Podcast
Published May 10,2021.

Overview of the Real ID Act of 2005 and how it impacts all Americans, including undocumented immigrants and other immigrants residing in the United States

Legal Thoughts is a podcast presentation by Coleman Jackson, P.C., a law firm based in Dallas, Texas serving individuals, businesses, and agencies from around the world in taxation, litigation and immigration legal matters.

This particular episode of Legal Thoughts is a podcast where the Attorney, Coleman Jackson is being interviewed by Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant of Coleman Jackson, P.C.   The topic of discussion is “Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: Overview of the Real ID Act of 2005 and how it impacts all Americans, including undocumented immigrants and other immigrants residing in the United States”. You can listen to this podcast by clicking here:

You can also listen to this episode and subscribe to Coleman Jackson, P.C.’s Legal Thoughts podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, Cashbox or wherever you may listen to your podcast.

TRANSCRIPT:

ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson
Legal Thoughts
COLEMAN JACKSON, ATTORNEY & COUNSELOR AT LAW

ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson

Welcome to Immigration Thoughts

  • My name is Coleman Jackson and I am an attorney at Coleman Jackson, P.C., a taxation, litigation, immigration law firm based in Dallas, Texas.
  • Our topic for today is: Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: Overview of the Real ID Act of 2005 and how it impacts all Americans, including undocumented immigrants and other immigrants residing in the United States. Other members of Coleman Jackson, P.C. are Yulissa Molina, Tax Legal Assistant, Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant, Leiliane Godeiro, Litigation Legal Assistant and Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate.
  • On this “Legal Thoughts” podcast our immigration legal assistant, Reyna Munoz, will be asking the questions and I will be providing the answers to the questions on this very important immigration topic: Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: Overview of the Real ID Act of 2005 and how it impacts all Americans, including undocumented immigrants and other immigrants residing in the United States.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

  • Good morning attorney. Thank you for joining me today to talk about this incredibly important topic that our listeners will be learning about today.

Question 1:

Attorney, what is the Real ID Act of 2005 and why is it so important today?

Attorney Answers Question 1:

  • Good morning, Reyna. The Real ID act was passed by Congress in 2005 after the tragic terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001. The Real ID Act of 2005 “sets minimum security for license issuance and production and it prohibits federal agencies from accepting documents such as driver’s licenses and identification cards that do not meet the act’s minimum standards.” This is why when you go to the airport you will see a lot of signs that state that your driver’s license must be Real ID compliant. Real ID driver’s licenses usually have a star on the top right of the document. These ID’s are built with new technology and require a lot more paperwork from the applicant to prove their residency and their social security number. Why is the Real ID Act of 2005 relevant today? The Act is very important, and it is certainly relevant today because EVERY STATE WITHIN THE UNITED STATES MUST Be Real ID compliant by October 1, 2021. Those using driver’s licenses and identification cards issued by non-compliant States could be hindered from flying on airplanes, riding on trains and buses within the United States.  They could also be hindered or prevented from accessing federal buildings and potentially prevented from exercising other rights that they otherwise would have where a license or identification card is required. Perhaps many people don’t realize this; but, the driver’s license in their pocket or purse right now could already be Real ID compliant because many States have been issuing Real ID compliant driver’s licenses and other ID Cards for years now in compliance with the Real ID Act of 2005.
  • Reyna, the reasons that I have just listed are just some of the reasons why the Real ID Act of 2005 is relevant in 2021 and beyond. People who have licenses that are not compliant on October 1, 2021 could be hindered and possibly prohibited from doing a lot of things that people simply take for granted now.  People need to pull out their driver’s license to see whether it is Real ID compliant.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

  • Attorney, I now clearly understand why the Real ID Act of 2005 is so important. Everyone needs to have a Real ID Act compliant driver’s license or ID card in their possession by October 1, 2021!

Question 2:

Does this mean that if people do not have a Real ID compliant document, they won’t be able to use their identification document anymore?

Attorney Answers Question 2:

  • No, not necessarily. The two words to pay attention to here is “not necessarily”. I mean, who wants the hassle when they simply are engaging in everyday life activities. I mean; they may get unnecessary questions and delays doing such things as traveling to see their extended family within the U.S. on a busy holiday.  They are stuck in some airport confirming their identity before they can get through airport security.  They could miss their flight.  This is merely a hypothetical of some inconvenience that could potentially occur from using non-compliant driver’s licenses after October 1, 2021.   But let me be clear here; for now, people will still be able to use their non-compliant real ID document to drive and vote. Many States are looking at State election laws right now and possibly Real ID compliant identification documents would be required to Vote by some State legislatures.  That is something to watch out for as the dust settles regarding these attempts to restrict voting by change or modification of election laws around the country.
  • Note that a REAL ID driver’s license or ID card cannot be used for international travel. Official Passports lawfully issued to the person by the U.S. Government or other appropriate government is required to travel internationally to anywhere in the world. However, beginning October 1, 2021, when it comes to domestic travel, people will need to provide other documents if they do not have a Real ID driver’s license or ID Card; such as:
    • A valid U.S. passport
    • Permanent Resident card
    • Border crossing card
    • Federally recognized tribal issued photo
    • USCIS Employment Authorization card
  • Again, the basic concern people should have when using a non-compliant driver’s license after October 1, 2021 is the real possibility of hassle and delays while officials or merchants or whoever conducts some form of inquiry or investigation trying to determine their real identity.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

I hear you, attorney; who needs the hassle; life is full of stress and strain as it is. Who need unnecessary disruption and drama created from using a non-compliant driver’s license?  But it’s good to see that people will still have other options to prove their real identity when it comes to domestic travel within the United States.

Question 3:

So tell me attorney, what categories of immigrants in the United States qualify to obtain a REAL ID driver’s license or State issued ID?

Attorney Answers Question 3:

  • Reyna, the following categories of immigrants in the U.S. are eligible to apply for a REAL ID driver’s license or ID card at their local Department of Motor Vehicles, (DMV):
    1. Immigrants who are currently United States Lawful Permanent Residents or Green Card Holders
    2. Immigrants who have a pending application for adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident
    3. Immigrants who are currently hold the status of temporary resident of the United States
    4. Immigrants who have conditional permanent resident status such as valid work permit in the U.S.
    5. Immigrants who have an approved asylum application
    6. Immigrants who have a valid unexpired nonimmigrant visa, such as, an F-1 Student Visa
    7. Immigrants who have a pending asylum application
    8. Immigrants who have a pending Temporary Protective Status Application or approved TPS
    9. Immigrants who have an approved deferred action status, such as Deferred Action of Childhood Arrival or DACA
  • Note that State and Local laws and regulations could be a factor as to who is eligible to apply for a driver’s license or ID Card. These State rules could potentially modify or even exclude immigrants from this eligibility for Real ID card list.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

  • Thank you very much for this thorough presentation of those immigrants who are potentially eligible for Real ID.

Question 4:

So how will REAL ID impact undocumented immigrants who live in states that issue them a state ID, but don’t meet any of the categories you just mentioned?

Attorney Answers Question 4:

  • Well Reyna, the Department of Homeland Security, DHS has stated in several announcements that some States issue noncompliant cards to undocumented people. If that is so; DHS requires that those non-compliant driver’s licenses and ID cards clearly state that the ID card is not acceptable for REAL ID purpose. These non-compliant driver’s licenses have a unique design or color to differentiate them from Real ID compliant driver’s licenses and ID cards.
  • DHS has also made it clear, however, that just because an individual carries a noncompliant identification card or driver’s license does not mean that anyone should that the holder of this unique, stand out type card is undocumented.
  • A critical point that people should be aware is this one: Issuance of licenses to individuals are a matter of State law and not federal law.  States have the right to set their own standards, rules, and regulations eligibility for issuance of driver’s licenses and other licenses within their State.  Eligibility standards and application requirements are different from State to State.  For example, in California, undocumented immigrants are eligible to apply for a REAL ID compliant driver’s license or ID card in that State; however, undocumented people in Texas are not eligible to receive a Real ID compliant driver’s license or any other identification card.  People residing in Texas should check with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicle to learn the requirements for issuance of identification licensure within the State.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

  • Okay, attorney, this has been very informative. You have made it crystal clear that issuance of driver’s licenses and identification documents are determined by State laws and regulations and not federal laws. Licensure rules vary from State to State.  Eligibility requirements are different in each State.  It just depends upon where the immigrant resides within the United States as to whether they can obtain a Real ID complaint driver’s license or other identification.   In Texas, check with the Department of Motor Vehicle for driver’s licensing eligibility requirements and procedures.
  • Some of the listeners of our Legal Thoughts Podcast reside in other States and even overseas. I have noticed.

Question 5:

Attorney, where can immigrants and others find more information on REAL ID in their own specific State since a lot of our listeners are not from Texas?

Attorney Answers Question 5:

  • Individuals who desire to learn more about REAL ID in regard to their own State, should visit: dhs.gov/real-id
  • This is a very user-friendly site with plenty of information readily available to anyone with an internet connection. Furthermore, the site has webpages explaining these REAL ID issues in Spanish, French, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Tagalog.

Reyna Munoz’s Concluding Remarks:

  • Thank you for sharing this website, attorney. Potentially many people could find all of this information incredibly timely and helpful since States must comply with the READ ID Act of 2005 and become compliant by October 1, 2021. Those are all my questions for now in regard to the REAL ID Act of 2005. Thank you for taking the time to discuss this important topic.
  • Attorney, thank you for the detailed information on Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: Overview of the Real ID Act of 2005 and how it impacts everyone in America; including, undocumented immigrants and other immigrants residing in the United States. Our listeners who want to hear more podcast like this one should subscribe to our Legal Thoughts Podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify or wherever they listen to their podcast for more taxation, government contract law, litigation and immigration Legal Thoughts podcasts. Everybody take care!  Read our taxation, government contract litigation and immigration law firm’s blogs at www.cjacksonlaw.com.  Coleman Jackson, P.C., is located right here in Dallas, Texas at 6060 North Central Expressway, Suite 620 Dallas, Texas 75206.
  • English callers: 214-599-0431 | Spanish callers:  214-599-0432. Portuguese callers:  214-272-3100.

Attorney’s Concluding Remarks:

THIS IS THE END OF “LEGAL THOUGHTS” FOR NOW

  • Thanks for giving us the opportunity to inform you about Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: Overview of the Real ID Act of 2005 and how it impacts all Americans, including undocumented immigrants and other immigrants residing in the United States. If you want to see or hear more taxation, government contract litigation and immigration LEGAL THOUGHTS from Coleman Jackson, P.C. Stay tuned! We are here in Dallas, Texas and want to inform, educate, and encourage our communities on topics dealing with taxation, government contract litigation and immigration.  Until next time, take care.

VAWA and the alternatives for immigrants who have been abused | Law Watch

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Video Transcript of Watching Laws
Published May 21, 2021.

VAWA and the alternatives for immigrants who have been abused

Seeing Laws

  • A great welcome to our Law Watch viewers.
  • I’m Reyna Munoz. I’m the immigration legal assistant at Coleman Jackson, PC.; we’re located here in Dallas, Texas. Our law firm represents clients around the world in taxes, litigation, government contracts, and immigration.
  • This presentation is word for word from the Q&A session I had with the lawyer. Our topic today is: VAWA and the alternatives for immigrants who have been abused.
  • Attorney Coleman Jackson is the attorney at Coleman Jackson, P.C Other members are Yulissa Molina, Tax Attorney, Leiliane Godeiro, Legal Litigation Assistant, Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate, and I, Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant.

Lawyer Interview: Reyna Munoz

  • Question 1
  • Are we going to talk about a brief description and history about VAWA?

Lawyer: Coleman Jackson

Domestic abuse and violence is a very serious problem in America, not just immigrants.

Many people suffer emotional snubs, psychological abuse and physical violence at the hands of their loved ones and family members every day! Domestic abuse is absolutely terrible; this violence is simply uncivilized.

To address domestic violence against immigrants, the U.S. Congress first passed the Violence Against Women Act in 1994. This compassionate federal law contains protections and provisions that allow spouses and children abused by their U.S. citizen spouse or (USC) or legal permanent resident (LPR) or parent to file a self petition to obtain a green card without the help of their abuser. In fact, the abuser is not even notified of the self-request.

In addition, VAWA also allows parents abused by their U.S. citizen sons or daughters to make a “self-petition” to obtain a green card, without having to convince the abusive relative to file an immigrant petition on their behalf. VAWA is truly a confidential process; everything is kept secret and absolutely no cooperation from the abuser is needed or required.

VAWA’s immigration provisions are an attempt to correct a widespread situation, many immigrants are forced to remain in abusive relationships because their abusive relative can “hold them as ransom” because of their immigration status. For example, too often an abusive spouse will refuse to file a family visa petition to control an undocumented spouse. Either the abusive spouse will threaten to withdraw a petition or even call Homeland Security Department officials to deport the immigrant spouse if he or she tries to leave, resist abuse, or call the police.

In addition, under President Obama there was a reauthorization of VAWA that includes certain non-discrimination provisions. These non-discrimination provisions mean that applicants should now not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability.

Also, the House recently passed the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act that renews and strengthens this law. This expansion provides protection to native American women and survivors of under-served communities and improves efforts to prevent intimate partner violence.

Lawyer Interview: Reyna Munoz

Why did Congress decide to pass VAWA?

Attorney Coleman Jackson

For the exact reasons mentioned a moment ago. Congress simply did not want U.S. immigration laws to be used as another weapon in an abuser’s arsenal to terrorize his own loved ones. Therefore, the United States Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act, commonly known as “VAWA”, to allow a spouse or child in this uncivilized domestic situation to make a self-petition on their own, without having to rely on the abusive spouse or parent to file the immigrant visa application. Victims of abuse simply do not have to suffer in silence and endure the uncivilized behavior of their U.S. citizen or LPR relative. Again in 2005, Congress expanded these VAWA protections and provisions to allow parents of abusive U.S. citizens to also file their own petitions. VAWA is based on humanity!

Interview by: Reyna Munoz

What are some benefits that come with VAWA?

Lawyer: Coleman Jackson

VAWA offers self-petitioners the following types of benefits:

As long as the self-petition is approved, even if no adjustment request has been filed, VAWA’s petitioner can work legally in the United States and will not be deported during the months or years that may take for the petitioner’s priority date to become current.

VAWA self-petitioners can apply for a status adjustment in the United States, rather than having to leave the United States to process their visas at a consulate in the country of origin.

VAWA’s self-petitioner can receive many public benefits that are not available to other non-citizens.

And finally; The entire VAWA application process is completely confidential. VAWA’s confidential protections cannot be underestimated because many immigrants seeking VAWA have been emotionally, psychologically and physically harmed by their abuser. Many are very fragile at this time when they apply for VAWA protections; and most victims of immigrant abuse are away from their family, away from their friends and away from their natural social networks at home. They often feel alone; in fact, they are often alone. They left home to come here to get married and they’re Americans. VAWA is like an umbrella in the rain.

Interviewer: Reyna Munoz

Question 4:

Can only women apply for VAWA or can men and individuals of different sexual orientation also apply for protection and relief under the Violence against Women Act?

Lawyer interview: Coleman Jackson

The vast majority of victims of domestic violence are women in this country, if not around the world. However, it is important to note that men are sometimes victims of domestic violence. Sometimes women are abusers. Domestic violence is not limited to any particular gender. Therefore, VAWA immigration protections and provisions are available to abused husbands and wives, as well as to abused children and parents of any gender. In addition, as I mentioned earlier, several years ago when President Obama was in charge, Congress enacted additional VAWA provisions extending protections of acts of violence against women to eligible LGBT people and eligible Native Americans.

VAWA also protects children abused by USC or LPR parents. Let me point this out to be clear: even if the child was abused and the parent was not abused, the non-citizen parent may also qualify for VAWA, or if the parent was abused and the child was not abused, the child may also qualify. Simply put: Abused immigrant children can file a self-petition under VAWA.

Interviewer: Reyna Munoz

Question 5:

What are the requirements for self-requesting for VAWA?

Lawyer: Coleman Jackson

The spouse of the self-petition must prove that:

The abuser was (is) a permanent resident (LPR) or U.S. Citizen (USC)

The petitioner’s order is (or was) the spouse of the LPR or USC abuser, or the parent of a child who was abused by the LPR or USC spouse of the petitioner’ self-

The LPR or USC abused the self-petitioner during their marriage.

The marriage that forms the basis of self-petition was a marriage of good faith.

Either the petitioner resides in the United States, or if you live abroad, the LPR or USC abuser subjected the petitioner or your child to abuse in the United States or is an employee of the U.S. government or armed forces.

The self-petitioner has lived with the abuser.

The self-petitioner is a person of good moral character.

The attorney would like to clarify again how VAWA protections work when a child is involved. This is a very important point that I am about to make.  In some circumstances, an immigrant child of the abused spouse qualifies for status, even if the child was not abused, and also, in some circumstances, the parent of an abused child qualifies for status even if the parent themselves was not abused.

Interviewer: Reyna Munoz

Question 6

What behaviors qualify as “extreme or mistreated cruelty” for a victim to qualify for VAWA?

Lawyer: Coleman Jackson

USCIS may consider a wide range of abuser behaviors, such as:

Threatened with beating or terrorizing the victim;

Hitting, punching, slapping, kicking or hurting the person in any way;

Emotionally abuse of immigrants, such as insults at home or in public;

Sexual abuse or exploitation, including abuse or forcing the immigrant to have sex; or, forcing the immigrant into prostitution;

Threatened with taking the victim’s children or hurting children in any way;

Threatening to deport the victim, threatening to withdraw the family immigration petition, or threatening to hand over the immigrant to immigration authorities;

Exercise control over the immigrant, whether physical restrictions, emotional control or psychological control over the immigrant or their children. Actions and threats to control where the immigrant is going, what the immigrant does; how they dress and live and with whom they socialize and similar controlling behavior.

By force detained the immigrant or physically arrested the immigrant or otherwise restricted the immigrant’s free movement;

Participate in a series of acts that, on their own, would not normally constitute abuse; but together it demonstrates private and abusive and destructive behavior for the immigrant, whether emotionally, psychologically or physically;

Threatened or committed acts of violence against a third person in order to frighten the immigrant; such as abuse, neglect or neglect of minors.

The abusive and uncivilized behaviors I have mentioned are not exhaustive because the imagination and cruelty that people can exercise over others can have all kinds of intentions and show all kinds of human depravities. Immigrants seeking VAWA protection should seek advice from professionals working with victims of abuse. Violence in any form is uncivilized; everyone should be treated with dignity and respect.

Interviewer: Reyna Munoz

Question 7

Does the victim making the self-petition have to live in the United States to apply for VAWA?

Lawyer: Coleman Jackson

A petitioner must reside in the United States when they file the petition; unless there are some special conditions that I will talk about in more detail in a few minutes. A petitioner who recently moved to the United States may also be eligible. In other words; the time the immigrant is in the United States is not relevant as to whether he or she is eligible to apply for VAWA in the United States.

Now as for abused immigrants residing abroad at the time they apply for VAWA; The following non-citizens can apply for VAWA outside the country:

  1. The immigrant is married or married to the abusive spouse who is an employee of the U.S. government or member of the U.S. military, or
  2. The immigrant is married or married to the abusive spouse who subjected the petitioner’s or petitioner’s child to extreme aggression or cruelty in the United States.

VAWA’s statute requires that the immigrant have lived with the abuser at some point. But I must point out here that the law does not impose any time period rules on how long the petitioner must have lived with the abuser, nor does VAWA require the victim of  abuse to live with the abuser at the time the self petition is filed. Therefore, a petitioner can qualify even if the victim only lived with the abuser for a short time, or only in another country under the circumstances I just mentioned.

Interviewer: Reyna Munoz

Question 8

Aside from VAWA, are there other relief options for immigrants abused in U.S. immigration law?

Attorney Coleman Jackson

If there are other immigrant relief options, such as:

  1. Conditional Residency: Conditional residency means that the USC or LPR spouse filed a petition, the petition was approved, and the immigrant spouse actually received a conditional “green card” that lasts two years. In cases of conditional residence, the married couple must file a petition to eliminate the condition near the end of this two-year conditional residence period. Instead of enduring an abusive or harmful relationship during this period and waiting for your spouse to help file the joint petition, the conditional resident may have the option to leave the relationship and obtain a special “abused spouse waiver” to eliminate the condition. In the event that this self petition is granted, the abused immigrant would receive his/her permanent residence card. Like VAWA, the elimination of conditional residency status is humanitarian relief in which abused immigrants are not subjected to rampant abuse in a failed marital situation.
  2. Victim of crime/investigation or prosecution witness: The “U” visa: Abused men and women who do not qualify for VAWA (for example, because they are not legally married or their abusive spouse is not a USC or LPR) may be eligible for non-immigrant status or “U” visa which was a federal law enacted by the United States Congress around 2000. The U visa benefits victims of felonies who are willing to assist in a criminal investigation in the U.S. The U visa is not limited to domestic violence offences committed by LPR or USC spouses. The law does not lay down requirements on the status against the immigrant victim: the perpetrator may be a stranger or a family member, a citizen or an undocumented worker; the perpetrator could be a non-citizen visitor to the United States. Types of criminal offenses can range from sexual assault, physical assault, kidnapping, incest to many other types of felonies. The “U” visa provides temporary status and can lead to permanent residency.

However, another possible option for certain immigrants is the “T” visa, which is available to immigrants who were victims of felonies. Generally the person must have endured conditions of forced labour or been a minor immigrant forced into prostitution or other depraved sexual exploitation activity.

  1. Cancellation of domestic violence deportation under VAWA: Some qualifying immigrants may instead wish to apply for VAWA deportation cancellation because they are not eligible for self-petition, or because waiting for legal permanent residency will take too long. This could be the case when abused immigrants were married to an LPR. In that case, they must wait until the visa is available; which could take years in some cases. Non-eligible citizens who have been abused and who are in deportation for any reason may ask the immigration judge to cancel the deportation by VAWA.

Interviewer: Reyna Munoz

Those are all the questions for now. I want to thank the lawyer for educating us about VAWA and the alternatives for immigrants who have been abused. Our audience who wants to watch more videos like this should subscribe to our Youtube channel and our listeners who want to listen to a podcast like this should subscribe to our Legal Thoughts Podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify or wherever they listen to their podcast. We are here in Dallas, Texas at 6060 North Central Expressway, Suite 620 Dallas, Texas 75206.

English calls: 214-599-0431 | Calls in Spanish: 214-599-0432. Portuguese calls: 214-272-3100.

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to inform you about VAWA AND the alternatives for immigrants who have been abused.

Again, I’m Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant with Coleman Jackson, P.C. a tax, litigation, government contract litigation, and immigration firm based here in Dallas, Texas.

This is the end of Law Watch for now; Share our Law Watch video with family and friends.

This has been a  word for word presentation from the Q&A session I had with the lawyer. I’m Reyna Munoz, Assistant Legal Of Coleman Jackson, P.C. Everybody be all right and take care.

Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: Undocumented Immigrants and the I-601 and I-601A Unlawful Presence Waivers | LEGAL THOUGHTS

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Transcript of Legal Thoughts Podcast
Published March 29, 2021.

Undocumented Immigrants and the I-601 and I-601A Unlawful Presence Waivers

Legal Thoughts is a podcast presentation by Coleman Jackson, P.C., a law firm based in Dallas, Texas serving individuals, businesses, and agencies from around the world in taxation, litigation and immigration legal matters.

This particular episode of Legal Thoughts is a podcast where the Attorney, Coleman Jackson is being interviewed by Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant of Coleman Jackson, P.C.   The topic of discussion is “Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: Undocumented Immigrants and the I-601 and I-601A Unlawful Presence Waivers”. You can listen to this podcast by clicking here:

You can also listen to this episode and subscribe to Coleman Jackson, P.C.’s Legal Thoughts podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, Cashbox or wherever you may listen to your podcast.

TRANSCRIPT:

ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson
Legal Thoughts
COLEMAN JACKSON, ATTORNEY & COUNSELOR AT LAW

ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson

Welcome to Immigration Thoughts

  • My name is Coleman Jackson, and I am an attorney at Coleman Jackson, P.C., a taxation, litigation, immigration law firm based in Dallas, Texas.
  • Our topic for today is: Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: Undocumented Immigrants and the I-601 and I-601A Unlawful Presence Waivers. Other members of Coleman Jackson, P.C. are Yulissa Molina, Tax Legal Assistant, Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant, Leiliane Godeiro, Litigation Legal Assistant and Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate.
  • On this “Legal Thoughts” podcast our immigration legal assistant, Reyna Munoz, will be asking the questions and I will be providing the answers to the questions on this very important immigration topic: Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: Undocumented Immigrants and the I-601 and I-601A Unlawful Presence Waivers.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

  • Attorney, thank you for joining me today and for taking the time to discuss the Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility, I 601 and the Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver, I 601A.

Question 1:

Attorney, can you tell me, what is the I 601 and the I 601A waiver?

Attorney Answers Question 1:

  • Sure Reyna. A lot of immigrants in Texas came to the U.S. undocumented; therefore, they need a Waiver of Unlawful Presence. many undocumented immigrant parents waste their money when their U.S. citizen children turn 21. They waste their money because although they can successfully get their I-130, Petition for Alien Relative petition approved, their U.S. citizen children do not qualify for the U.S. person who will suffer extreme and unusual hardship if the undocumented immigrant is not granted an I-601 waiver for unlawful presence in the U.S.  Bottom line, it’s a waste of money to file an I-130 when you do not have a qualifying relative to satisfy Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility based on the unlawful presence ground of inadmissibility.  The undocumented immigrant needs a qualifying relative who will suffer extreme hardship if the undocumented immigrant is not permitted to immigrate to the United States.  The extreme hardship requirement for a waiver of unlawful presence can only be satisfied by a qualifying relative, such as, a U.S. citizen parent or U.S. citizen spouse.  Repeat, U.S. citizen children do not and cannot satisfy the qualifying relative requirement; therefore, unless the undocumented immigrant has a qualifying relative, it is a waste of time, effort, and money for their 21-year-old child to file an I-130, Petition for an Alien Relative on their behalf if the intent is to get a Green Card through the child.  A big log or bolder is blocking the road for the undocumented immigrant seeking a Green Card through their 21-year-old child.  The parents need a qualifying relative! If they had a qualifying relative, the parents probably would have gotten their Green Cards years ago.
  • Form I-601A, Provisional Waiver of Unlawful Presence is a waiver request based on humanitarian concerns of immigrants leaving the U.S. who are barred from returning for 5 to 10 years due to the fact that they have spent more than 180 continuous days unlawfully in the U.S. Before the I-601A provisional waiver process was implemented, these parents and other undocumented immigrants would leave the U.S. without an I-601 Waiver and when they got to the Consulate in their home country, they learned that they needed a waiver of unlawful presence to return to the United States.  The waiver was typically then prepared in the foreign country and submitted for approved by the U.S. Consulate Office.  Often times the Consulate would deny the waiver and therefore the immigrant would get stuck for 5 to 10 years in their home country with their husband, or wife and children remaining up here.  Family separation occurred as an inherent feature of the immigration waiver process.  The Form I-601A was created to hopefully prevent this harsh family separation reality.  Form I-601A can only be used to request waiver for unlawful presence.  It cannot be used to request a waiver or pardon for any other reason of inadmissibility of the undocumented immigrant.  For example, if there are crimes in the immigrants’ background or medical or health issues, DUI issues, Domestic Violence issues or other inadmissibility issues with the immigrant, the I-601A waver cannot be used for these grounds of inadmissibility.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

  • Thank you for this detailed explanation Attorney. You’re correct, a lot of times undocumented people think that once their child turns 21, they will immediately be able to apply for a green card, but it is important for them to understand that this is a process and they need a qualifying relative who suffer extreme and unusual hardship in the event the undocumented immigrant leaves the U.S. and is not permitted to return for 5 to 10 years.

Question 2:

Attorney, what are the differences between the I 601 and the I 601A?

Attorney Answers Question 2:

  • The I 601 waiver is used to request waiver or pardon for a host of areas of inadmissibility, such as, unlawful presence, physical or mental health (such as, DUI, domestic violence could be considered by some Consulate Officers as indications of mental illness); whereas, the I 601A provisional waiver can only be used to request a pardon for unlawful presence in the U.S. Inadmissibility based on mental health, physical health, crimes, or other grounds of inadmissibility are not eligible for consideration in an I 601A waiver case.
  • The I 601 waiver is granted to pardon numerous offending grounds of inadmissibility; whereas the I 601A waiver is a provisional waiver of unlawful presence.
  • The I 601 waiver is typically filed at the U.S. Consulates Office by undocumented immigrants seeking a green card through a qualifying relative; whereas, the I-601A provisional waiver of unlawful presence is filed inside the U.S. before the immigrant leaves the United States. It is provisional in the sense that the Consulate Officer will make the final determination as to whether the immigrant is admitted to return to the United States.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

  • It sounds like the these understanding the use and purpose of these two forms and this whole area of immigration waiver law are incredibly important topics for many immigrants residing in Texas and throughout the Southwest.

Question 3:

Who can file an I 601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility?

Attorney Answers Question 3:

  • Reyna, the following types of immigrants may file Form I 601, Application for Waiver of Inadmissibility:
    1. Those applying for adjustment of status
    2. Those applying for Temporary Protected Status, TPS
    3. Those who are applying for adjustment of status under the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act
    4. Those who are applying for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status under Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA), And finally,
    5. Special Immigrant Juveniles who have an approved I 130, Petition for Alien Relative.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

Question 4:

Thank you for that detailed list, attorney. Now tell me, who is eligible to file the I 601A, Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver??

Attorney Answers Question 4:

  • Reyna, those eligible to file the I 601A Provisional Waiver for Unlawful Presence must meet the following requirements:
    1. They must be physically present in the United States at the time of filing;
    2. They must be least 17 years of age or older;
    3. They must have a case pending with the United States Department of State because they are: (A) the principal beneficiary of an approved I-130 or they are the beneficiary of an approved I 360; or (B) they are the spouse or child of a principal beneficiary of an approved immigrant visa and have paid the immigrant visa processing fee; or (C) they have been selected by the Department of State to participate in the Diversity Visa program; and
    4. They must be able to demonstrate that denying admission to the United States would result in extreme hardship to a relative U.S. citizen spouse or U.S. citizen lawful permanent resident or parent.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

Question 5:

Attorney, in regard to the I 601A you mentioned “extreme hardship,” what exactly does this term mean in U.S. immigration law?

Attorney Answers Question 5:

  • That is correct, Reyna. The applicant must demonstrate that being denied the entrance back into the United States will cause extreme hardship to their qualifying relative. Some of the areas of the qualifying relative’s life that might be relevant in support of an I-601 or I-601A, Application for Waiver to overcome unlawful presence ground of inadmissibility are:
    1. Education: Disruption of current academic programs or loss of opportunity for higher education due to lower quality education in home country;
    2. Personal considerations: Such as separation for close relatives in the United States
    3. Financial considerations: Cost of caring for family members or loss of job
    4. Health of the qualifying relative: Ongoing medical treatments in the United states
    5. Special Considerations: fears of persecution or cultural differences in home country
  • Keep in mind that the U.S. citizen relative must prove that they will suffer extreme financial hardship if their immigrant relative is not allowed back into the country. The hardship must be more than the mere normal and expected financial difficulty derived from lack of the undocumented immigrants earned income, family relations or household support. The hardship that might be experienced by the undocumented immigrant or their children are not factors that the adjudicators typically would consider when evaluating waiver cases.  Even when a qualifying relative meets the extreme hardship requirement, it simply means the adjudicator of the waiver application can exercise discretion and grant the waiver.  It is not mandatory that the waiver be granted even when extreme hardship is clearly shown.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

  • Attorney thank you for summarizing what term “extreme hardship” means in the unlawful presence waiver context. This is such an important fact and potential hurdle for all immigrants who must meet the extreme hardship requirement to overcome the unlawful presence ground of admissibility.

Question 6

Attorney, my final question regarding the unlawful presence waiver is this:   Is there a filing fee for Form 1 601 and Form I 601A?

Attorney Answers Question 6:

  • Yes Reyna, there is a USCIS filing fee for both of these forms.
  • As of March 11, 2021, the filing fee for the I 601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility is $930 and the filing fee for the I 601 A, Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver is $630.
  • USCIS filing fees are subject to change with little notice.

Reyna Munoz’s Concluding Remarks:

  • Attorney, thank you for the detailed information on both the Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility, I 601 and the Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver, I 601A. Unlawful presence in the U.S. is a hurdle facing many immigrant families throughout Texas and the Southwest in general. This information may prevent them from spending their hard-earned money unwisely.  I mean, if they don’t have a qualifying relative in the U.S. for the unlawful presence waiver; that sounds like a big problem.  I mean that is a huge problem, Attorney!  Like you said, its like a big log or bolder stretching across the road blocking the path to a Green Card for people who have been here for a while undocumented.
  • Our listeners who want to hear more podcast like this one should subscribe to our Legal Thoughts Podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify or wherever they listen to their podcast for more taxation, litigation and immigration Legal Thoughts podcasts. Everybody take care!  Read our taxation, government contract litigation and immigration law firm’s blogs at www.cjacksonlaw.com.  Coleman Jackson, P.C., is located right here in Dallas, Texas at 6060 North Central Expressway, Suite 620 Dallas, Texas 75206.
  • English callers: 214-599-0431 | Spanish callers:  214-599-0432. Portuguese callers:  214-272-3100.

 Attorney’s Concluding Remarks:

THIS IS THE END OF “LEGAL THOUGHTS” FOR NOW

  • Thanks for giving us the opportunity to inform you about Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: Undocumented Immigrants and the I-601 and I-601A Unlawful Presence Waivers
  • Immigrants who have resided in the United States for more than 180 days continuously without lawful status has a major problem under current immigration law. They need a waiver or pardon for unlawful presence when they leave the U.S. in order to lawfully reenter the U.S.  That in a nutshell is what the I- 601 and I-601A waivers are designed to accomplish as far as unlawful presence is concerned.  This is the current state of immigration law in the United States as it pertains to undocumented immigrants and current waiver unlawful presence.
  • If you want to see or hear more taxation, government contract litigation and immigration LEGAL THOUGHTS from Coleman Jackson, P.C. Stay tuned! We are here in Dallas, Texas and want to inform, educate and encourage our communities on topics dealing with taxation, government contract litigation and immigration.  Until next time, take care.

Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: USCIS Reverting back to 2008 US Citizenship Test | LEGAL THOUGHTS

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Transcript of Legal Thoughts Podcast
Published March 5, 2021.

USCIS Reverting back to 2008 US Citizenship Test

Legal Thoughts is a podcast presentation by Coleman Jackson, P.C., a law firm based in Dallas, Texas serving individuals, businesses, and agencies from around the world in taxation, litigation and immigration legal matters.

This particular episode of Legal Thoughts is a podcast where the Attorney, Coleman Jackson is being interviewed by Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant of Coleman Jackson, P.C.   The topic of discussion is “Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: USCIS Reverting back to 2008 US Citizenship Test”.  You can listen to this podcast by clicking here:

You can also listen to this episode and subscribe to Coleman Jackson, P.C.’s Legal Thoughts podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, Cashbox or wherever you may listen to your podcast.

TRANSCRIPT:

ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson
Legal Thoughts
COLEMAN JACKSON, ATTORNEY & COUNSELOR AT LAW

ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson

Welcome to Immigration Thoughts

  • My name is Coleman Jackson, and I am an attorney at Coleman Jackson, P.C., a taxation, litigation, and immigration law firm based in Dallas, Texas.
  • Our topic for today is: Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: USCIS Reverting back to 2008 US Citizenship Test. Other members of Coleman Jackson, P.C. are Yulissa Molina, Tax Legal Assistant; Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant; and Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate.
  • On this “Legal Thoughts” podcast our immigration legal assistant, Reyna Munoz, will be asking the questions and I will be providing the answers to the questions on this very important immigration topic: Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: USCIS Reverting back to 2008 US Citizenship Test.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

Question 1:

Good morning Attorney, as you know we will be discussing a very important topic this week to keep our listeners informed on Immigration Matters that they ought to know about. Our topic of interest is the new United States Citizenship Test that has been announced by USCIS. Can you tell me what this is about?

Attorney Answers Question 1:

  • Good morning Reyna.
  • On February 22, 2021, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it will go back to the 2008 version of the naturalization test. This will begin on March 1, 2021.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

Question 2:

Attorney, why did USCIS decide to revert to the 2008 U.S. Citizenship test?

Attorney Answers Question 2:

  • Well Reyna, this is due to an executive order that the Biden Administration released on February 02, 2021 titled “Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems.” USCIS determined that the revised naturalization civics test that was implemented on December 1, 2020 may inadvertently create potential barriers to the naturalization process. Reverting back to the 2008 civics test will eliminate barriers and make the process more accessible to all eligible individuals.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

  • Wow attorney, it’s good to see that these barriers will be eliminated by reverting back to the 2008 naturalization civics test!

Question 3:

Who can take this test, attorney?

Attorney Answers Question 3:

  • Reyna, the civics test is given to applicants that are applying for United States Citizenship, it is also a requirement for naturalizing.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

  • This test is incredibly important then, for those who wish to become naturalized US Citizens!

Question 4:

What sort of topics does the test contain?

Attorney Answers Question 4:

  • That’s a good question, Reyna!
  • The people taking the test must demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history, principles, and form of government of the United States.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

Question 5:

Attorney, does USCIS provide any study guides or any assistance in helping applicants study for the test??

Attorney Answers Question 5:

  • Yes, test items and study guides can be found on the Citizenship Resource Center on WWW.USCIS.GOV/CITIZENSHIP

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

  • Thank you for sharing this helpful website!

Question 6:

Attorney, you’ve answered a lot of important questions! My final question is, what about the people that have been studying for the 2020 test? How will they be affected by this new order?

Attorney Answers Question 6:

  • Good question, Reyna
  • Those that filed their application for naturalization on or after December 1, 2020 and before March 1, 2021 will be given the option by USCIS to take either the 2020 civics test or the 2008 civics test. There will also be a transition period where both tests are being offered. On April 19, 2021, the 2020 test will be phased out for those taking the test for the first time and those applicants that are filing on or after March 1, 2021 will take the 2008 civics test.
  • Reyna, I hope this answered your question. Do you have any more questions?

Reyna Munoz’s Concluding Remarks:

  • That answered my question perfectly! Those are all my questions for now, Attorney, thank you! This information is incredibly helpful for those that are going to take the United States Citizenship test!
  • Our listeners who want to hear more podcast like this one should subscribe to our Legal Thoughts Podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify or wherever they listen to their podcast. Everybody take care!  Follow us for more taxation, litigation and immigration Legal Thoughts from Coleman Jackson, P.C., which is located right here in Dallas, Texas at 6060 North Central Expressway, Suite 620 Dallas, Texas 75206.
  • English callers: 214-599-0431 | Spanish callers:  214-599-0432. Portuguese callers:  214-272-3100.

 Attorney’s Concluding Remarks:

THIS IS THE END OF “LEGAL THOUGHTS” FOR NOW

  • Thanks for giving us the opportunity to inform you about “Immigration Matters You Ought to Know About: USCIS Reverting back to 2008 US Citizenship Test.” If you want to see or hear more taxation, litigation and immigration LEGAL THOUGHTS from Coleman Jackson, P.C. Stay tuned! We are here in Dallas, Texas and want to inform, educate and encourage our communities on topics dealing with taxation, litigation and immigration.  Until next time, take care.

Podcast – The United States Citizenship Act of 2021 | LEGAL THOUGHTS

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Transcript of Legal Thoughts Podcast
Published February 25, 2021.

The United States Citizenship Act of 2021

Legal Thoughts is a podcast presentation by Coleman Jackson, P.C., a law firm based in Dallas, Texas serving individuals, businesses, and agencies from around the world in taxation, litigation and immigration legal matters.

This particular episode of Legal Thoughts is a podcast where the Attorney, Coleman Jackson is being interviewed by Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant of Coleman Jackson, P.C.   The topic of discussion is “The United States Citizenship Act of 2021”.  You can listen to this podcast by clicking here:

You can also listen to this episode and subscribe to Coleman Jackson, P.C.’s Legal Thoughts podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, Cashbox or wherever you may listen to your podcast.

TRANSCRIPT:
ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson
Legal Thoughts
COLEMAN JACKSON, ATTORNEY & COUNSELOR AT LAW

ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson

Welcome to Immigration Thoughts

  • My name is Coleman Jackson, and I am an attorney at Coleman Jackson, P.C., a taxation, litigation, and immigration law firm based in Dallas, Texas.
  • Our topic for today is: The United States Citizenship Act of 2021
  • Other members of Coleman Jackson, P.C. are Yulissa Molina, Tax Legal Assistant; Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant; and Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate.
  • On this “Legal Thoughts” podcast our immigration legal assistant, Reyna Munoz, will be asking the questions and I will be providing the answers to the questions on this very important immigration topic: “The United States Citizenship Act of 2021.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

Question 1:

Attorney, I have been hearing a lot about President Biden’s Immigration Bill proposal. Can you tell me what this is all about?

Attorney Answers Question 1:

  • Yes, Reyna. On January 20, 2021, the Biden Administration released a statement that states his immigration bill named the United States Citizenship Act of 2021 has been sent to Congress. This immigration bill creates a road map to citizenship for undocumented people, it keeps families together, embraces diversity, promotes immigrant and refugee integration and citizenship. Not only that, but it also includes growing the economy, it protects workers from exploitation and improves the employment verifications process.
  • This immigration bill also discusses border protection by supplementing existing border resources with technology and infrastructure, manages the border and protects border communities, cracks down on criminal organizations, addresses the root cause of migration, improves immigration courts, and supports asylum seekers and other vulnerable populations.
  • We are not sure if this bill will get through Congress, but we believe it is important to educate the public on the contents of this immigration bill proposal.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

Question 2:

Attorney, if this bill passes, who benefits from it?

Attorney Answers Question 2:

  • If this bill passes undocumented people will be able to apply for temporary legal status. After five years, if they pass a criminal and National security background check and pay their taxes, they will be able to apply for a green card.
  • Furthermore, dreamers, TPS holders, and immigrant farmworkers who meet specific requirements are eligible for green cards immediately under this legislation.
  • Keep in mind that this is an administration proposal. It must be negotiated and approved by both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate and signed by the President in order to become law.  There could be many modifications and compromises along the way.  And this comprehensive immigration proposal may never become law.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

Question 3:

Attorney, what about US citizenship? Will undocumented people be able to apply for citizenship at any point?

Attorney Answers Question 3:

  • Yes, Reyna. As a matter of fact, all green card holders who pass additional background checks and demonstrate knowledge of English and U.S. civics can apply to become United States citizens.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

That is amazing news!

Question 4:

What about the people that have an approved family-sponsorship petition outside of the United States?

Attorney Answers Question 4:

  • This comprehensive immigration bill proposal provides a section on keeping families together. Those that have an approved family-sponsorship petition will be allowed to join their family in the United States on a temporary basis while they wait for green card to become available.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

Question 5:

Attorney, does the bill state anything on integration for immigrants and refugees?

Attorney Answers Question 5:

  • Yes, the bill provides funding for state and local governments, private organizations, educational institutions,community-based organizations, and not for profit organizations. This funding is to expand programs and promote integrations and inclusion. It will also increase English-language instructions and provide assistance to individuals seeking to become citizens.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

That is great to hear, attorney!

Question 6:

How will this immigration bill help grow the United States economy?

Attorney Answers Question 6:

  • This bill will give the Department of Homeland Security the authority to adjust green cards based on macroeconomic conditions and it will incentivize higher wages for non-immigrant, high-skilled visas to prevent unfair competition with American workers. It will also provide dependents of H-1B visa holders work authorizations and children will be prevented from aging out of the system.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

Question 7:

How will this immigration bill protect undocumented people in the workplace?

Attorney Answers Question 7:

  • This bill will protect migrant and seasonal workers by increasing the penalties for employers who violate labor laws. It also grants greater access for U-Visa for workers who suffer serious labor violations and cooperate with worker protection agencies.
  • Also, DHS and the Department of Labor will be required to establish a commission involving labor, employer, and civil rights organization to make recommendations for improving the employment verification process.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

Question 8:

Attorney, if this bill passes it will be very helpful for the undocumented community that meet certain requirements. However, what does this bill have to say in regards to border security and crime?

Attorney Answers Question 8:

  • Reyna, you are right. If this bill passes it will be a great help for a lot of undocumented people. However, it will also provide more robust border security. This bill will provide funding for training and continuing education to promote agent and officer safety and professionalism. It will also provide budget to deploy technology to expedite screening and enhance the ability to identify narcotics and other contraband at every land, air, and seaport of entry. This bill also gives the ability to prosecute individuals that are involved in smuggling and trafficking networks.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

Question 9:

It’s good to hear that this bill also addresses border security and targets criminal activity. Does the bill say anything about finding the root source of migration?

Attorney Answers Question 9:

  • Yes Reyna. This immigration bill will also dedicate funds to find the underlying cause of migration. It will also increase assistance to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. It will also re-establish the Central American Minors program which will reunite children with U.S. relatives.

Interviewer:  Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant

Question 10:

Thank you, Attorney, for that information. What else does the bill say about protecting vulnerable individuals that are undocumented?

Attorney Answers Question 10:

  • Well Reyna, this bill will reduce immigration court backlogs and will expand training for immigration judges. It will also restore fairness and balance to the immigration system. The bill will also eliminate one year deadline for filing asylum claims and will raise the cap on visas from 10,000 to 30,000.
  • The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 sent to Congress by the President is in the first steps of the legislative process. Again, in order for this bill to become law, it must be passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.  There might be many changes along the way as this bill goes through the legislative process. Its fate in the legislative process is unknown.  People should stay tune for further updates.
  • Reyna, do you have any additional questions regarding the United States Citizenship Act of 2021 proposed by President Biden?

Reyna Munoz’s Concluding Remarks:

  • No, I think those are all my questions for now Attorney. Thank you for explaining this important bill that if passed will change the lives of so many people that are undocumented.
  • Our listeners who want to hear more podcast like this one should subscribe to our Legal Thoughts Podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify or wherever they listen to their podcast. Everybody take care!  Follow us for more taxation, litigation and immigration Legal Thoughts from Coleman Jackson, P.C., which is located right here in Dallas, Texas at 6060 North Central Expressway, Suite 620 Dallas, Texas 75206.
  • English callers: 214-599-0431 | Spanish callers:  214-599-0432. Portuguese callers:  214-272-3100.

 Attorney’s Concluding Remarks:

THIS IS THE END OF “LEGAL THOUGHTS” FOR NOW

  • Thanks for giving us the opportunity to inform you about “The United States Citizenship Act of 2021.”If you want to see or hear more taxation, litigation and immigration LEGAL THOUGHTS from Coleman Jackson, P.C. Stay tuned! We are here in Dallas, Texas and want to inform, educate, and encourage our communities on topics dealing with taxation, litigation, and immigration.  Until next time, take care.

Podcast – Why Foreign Investors Consider the EB-5 Visa? | LEGAL THOUGHTS

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Transcript of Legal Thoughts Podcast
Published October 23, 2020

Podcast - Why Foreign Investors Consider the EB-5 Visa? | LEGAL THOUGHTS

Legal Thoughts is a podcast presentation by Coleman Jackson, P.C., a law firm based in Dallas, Texas serving individuals, businesses, and agencies from around the world in taxation, litigation, and immigration legal matters.

This particular episode of Legal Thoughts is a podcast where the Attorney, Coleman Jackson is being interviewed by Reyna Munoz, Tax Legal Assistant of Coleman Jackson, P.C.   The topic of discussion is “Why Foreign Investors Consider the EB-5 Visa?” You can listen to this podcast by clicking here:

You can also listen to this episode and subscribe to Coleman Jackson, P.C.’s Legal Thoughts podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, Cashbox or wherever you may listen to your podcast.

TRANSCRIPT:

ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson
Legal Thoughts
COLEMAN JACKSON, ATTORNEY & COUNSELOR AT LAW

ATTORNEY:  Coleman Jackson

Welcome to Immigration Thoughts

  • My name is Coleman Jackson, and I am an attorney at Coleman Jackson, P.C., a taxation, litigation, and immigration law firm based in Dallas, Texas.
  • Our topic for today is: “Why Foreign Investors Consider the EB-5 Visa?
  • Other members of Coleman Jackson, P.C. are Yulissa Molina, Tax Legal Assistant, Reyna Munoz, Immigration Legal Assistant, Leiliane Godeiro, Litigation Legal Assistant and Mayra Torres, Public Relations Associate.
  • On this “Legal Thoughts” podcast our law firm’s Public Relations Associate, Mayra Torres will be asking the questions and I will be giving the answers as she and I will be discussing: “Why Foreign Investors Consider the EB-5 Visa?”

Reyna Munoz Introduces Herself to the Audience:

  • Hi everyone, I am Reyna. I the Tax Legal Assistant at the tax, litigation and immigration law firm of Coleman Jackson, P.C.  Right here in Dallas, Texas.
  • Hi Attorney; today we will be discussing the EB-5 Foreign Investor’s Visa:
    • Its history;
    • Its application process, procedure, and processing times; and
    • its advantages to the foreign investor in coming to the U.S. to start a business and bring their families to live and work in the United States permanently.

Question 1:

  • Attorney could you give a brief history and description of the EB-5 Investor’s Visa?

Attorney Answers Question 1:

  • Good morning Reyna. Thanks for your question.
  • EB-5 Investor Visa is the fifth employment-based preference visa enacted into U.S. Immigration Law in 1990 and is codified in 8 U.S.C. That is the Immigration and Nationality Act of the United States.   The fundamental purpose of the EB-5 Investor Visa Program stated by Congress when it became law in the 1990s were to grow or spur economic growth within the United States.  The fifth employment-based preference visa is designed to afford wealthy foreign investors the opportunity to live and raise their families in the U.S. in return for building a new commercial for-profit enterprise or invest in an existing U.S. for-profit enterprise employing up to ten additional full-time employees.   Let me repeat, the EB-5 Investor’s Visa category is aimed at qualified wealthy foreigners seeking to obtain permanent legal residence in the United States, investing in a new for-profit commercial enterprise that will benefit the United States economy and create at least 10 full-time jobs in the United States per investor. The program is currently administered by USCIS. The at-risk capital investment required per EB-5 investor is currently $1.8 million, but the at-risk capital investment amount is reduced to $900,000 if the investment is made in a rural community or high unemployment area, known as a Target Employment Area (TEA). These minimum EB-5 Visa investment amounts came into force in 2019. This in a nutshell is the stated Congressional purpose the fifth employment-based preference visa which is commonly known as the EB-5 foreign investors visa and anecdotally known in some circles as the “Gold Visa”.

Interviewer: Reyna Munoz, Tax Legal Assistant

Question 2:

  • What are the qualifications for obtaining the EB-5 Visa and have there been any significant changes these qualification since Congress enacted the Statute?

Attorney: Coleman Jackson

ANSWER 2:

  • Yes, absolutely there are very strident criteria that the foreign investor must meet. The immigration statute sets forth strict guidelines as to:
    1. What constitutes an at-risk investment,
    2. What constitutes a commercial for-profit enterprise,
    3. What constitutes employment of full-time employees,
    4. What constitutes a capital investment to begin with; and
    5. What constitutes a minimum required capital investment.
  • The Immigration Nationality Act (INA) defines all of these terms in excruciating detail. And yes, there have been changes in the implementation of the Statute since it became law in 1990.

Interviewer: Reyna Munoz, Tax Legal Assistant

  • Attorney, that sounds a little complex. I hope you can explain some of those technical terms more fully.
  • Question 3:

But for now, this is my next question:

You mentioned that changes have occurred in the law since 1990.  It might be best to describe those changes first; I mean, when did these changes occur, what were the changes to the EB-5 Visa,  and what impact did these changes have on the EB-5 Visa program?

Attorney Answers Question 3:

  • That is very good. Yes, I can talk about the changes to the EB-5 Program before drilling down on some of these technical terms.
  • On November 21, 2019, the EB-5 Program underwent its first major change since the program began in 1990. In July 2019, the Department of Homeland Security published changes to the EB-5 Investor Visa Program in the Federal Register. The modifications or changes were dubbed the, “EB-5 Modernization Regulations for the Immigrant Investor Program (or the regulations)”. The new regulations increased the minimum investment amount from $1,5 million to $1.8 million and to $900,000 from $500,000 in a TEA designated area.  Moreover, the regulations switched the TEA designation authority or designation decision making process from the individual states and gave it exclusively to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, (USCIS).  The policy aim given for making these regulation changes to the EB-5 implementation regulations was to get back to the true Congressional intent for enacting the immigration statute in the first place; that is, the goal was to grow the U.S. economy and create American jobs through foreign investors investing substantial at-risk capital in return for a clear path to U.S. citizenship. Some thought the program had gotten away from its original Congressional goal.

 Interviewer: Reyna Munoz, Tax Legal Assistant

  • QUESTION Attorney can you now circle back and explain these terms that you mentioned earlier:
    1. What constitutes an at-risk investment,
    2. What constitutes a commercial for-profit enterprise,
    3. What constitutes employment of full-time employees,
    4. What constitutes a capital investment to begin with; and
    5. What constitutes a minimum required capital investment.
  • Question 4:

What does these terms mean as they relate to the EB-5 Foreign Investor Visa Program?

Attorney Answers Question 4:

  • Okay, very well! I will briefly describe each of these terms:
  • The term commercial for-profit enterprise under the Statute is understood to mean any lawful for-profit business enterprise. The business cannot be a hobby or non-profit enterprise of any kind.  The goal of the enterprise must be to make money!  The legality of the business enterprise will be determined under federal law and not merely state or local law.  For example, some types of business activities could be lawful in a state and unlawful under federal law.  For example, a commercial for-profit marijuana enterprise; which is a lawful business enterprise in some States, is currently unlawful under federal law.
  • The commercial for-profit enterprise is structured under the applicable state law where it organizes in the form of a partnership, or limited liability company, corporation, joint venture; and even, a sole proprietorship. Let me point out here that for tax purposes a corporation owned by none-United States citizens cannot make a Chapter S Corporation election because it’s not permitted under U.S. tax law. But otherwise, the commercial enterprise may be structured under State law in whatever for-profit business structure that suits the foreign investors requirements or goals.
  • Full-time employments as defined in the EB-5 Visa Statute means is the employment by the enterprise of U.S. workers who are U.S. citizens, Green Card Holders, or workers otherwise authorized to work in the United States. The workers cannot be members of the foreign investors family or otherwise related to the foreign investor. The workers must work at least 35 hours per week to be considered full-time employees.  There are certain particulars, such as, temporary, and seasonal workers, and such transient workers that I won’t go into right now.
  • Basically, what I have briefly described is how the term full-time employment has been interpreted by USCIS adjudicators
  • I am going to combine my answer to the terms “at risk investment” and  “capital investment” together since they are both dealing with the foreign investor’s investment and what it means to make an investment  under the EB-5 Visa Statute.
  • The foreign investor must make a capital investment in the minimum amount required by USCIS. USCIS has implemented rules defining a capital investment as the contribution of-
    • cash;
    • plant, property and equipment;
    • inventory;
    • stocks, bonds, and other securities owned by the foreign investor;
    • tangible personal property; and
    • At risk debt to the foreign investor
  • This is what is meant by at-risk capital investment. Intangible property, such as, patents, trademarks,  knowledge and know-how are not considered capital assets for EB-5 investment purposes.
  • Let me turn to the last technical term that I originally mentioned; which is ‘required minimum capital investment’ under the EB-5 Statute. What does it mean?
  • The new regulations that I mentioned before that were implemented by DHS in 2019, increased the minimum investment amount from $1.5 million to $1.8 million and to $900,000 from $500,000 in a TEA designated area. That means each foreign investor must make a minimum at-risk capital investment in these minimum amounts in a new enterprise within the United States which either creates or saves 10 U.S. jobs to qualify for the EB-5 visa.
  • The required minimum investment must be converted into United States Dollars and valuated at fair market value. It must meet the statutory minimum capital investment thresholds in U.S. dollars after any currency valuations and conversions.

Interviewer: Reyna Munoz, Tax Legal Assistant

  • Question 5:

Attorney can the foreign investor execute a letter of intent to contribute the required minimum capital investment contingent upon approval of the EB-5 application?  After all, USCIS might not approve the application.

Attorney: Coleman Jackson

ANSWER 5:

  • I mentioned before the statute requires that the foreign investor invest at-risk capital into the new enterprise. The investor must go beyond a mere expression of intent to invest the required capital.  Actual commitment of the capital is required; for example, indicial needs to be sent to the USCIS that the foreign investor has deposited the monies into a bank account exclusively controlled by the business (this could also be accomplished by putting the money in a trust account on behalf of the business); the foreign investor could also show the USCIS actual commitment of capital to the new business by title transfers of assets into the business for the exclusive use of the business.  The idea is that commitment of the capital to the new enterprise must be legally enforceable and either in the ownership and control of the business or a trustee with instructions to turn the money over to the business.  The at-risk requirement simply means that the investor must be exposed to a possible lost of the committed capital; there can be any guarantees made by the business to return the capital investment in the event the business stumbles and fails.

Interviewer: Reyna Munoz, Tax Legal Assistant

Question 6:

  • What if the USCIS denies the petition? Can the foreign investor insist return of invested capital if the EB-5 petition is denied?

Attorney: Coleman Jackson

ANSWER 6:

  • I mentioned that the capital could be placed in the hands of a trustee. If this approach is used the trustee must be a bank or some form of financial institution that is unrelated to either party to the transaction.  The terms and conditions of that relationship would be governed by the escrow agreement that the parties entered into. The parties to the escrow agreement could agree to return some or all of the committed capital in the event the EB-5 petition is denied by USCIS.  The escrow agreements or other agreements that the investor might execute with other parties in the transaction must all be arms-length and compliant with the EB-5 Statute.  Let me just leave it here for now; the investor must strictly comply with the Statute and be aware of how USCIS field adjudicators are instructed in the USCIS Field Manual when evaluating EB-5 visa applications.

Interviewer: Reyna Munoz, Tax Legal Assistant

Question 7:

  • Well okay Attorney; sounds like it’s very technical and requires a lot of due diligence on the part of the foreign investor and all parties involved in the process.
  • Question 7:

My last question is this!  How does a foreign investor actually request an EB-5 visa?

Attorney: Coleman Jackson

ANSWER 7:

  • The foreign investor files USCIS Form I-526 to request classification under the fifth employment-based preference category. Currently the Form I-526 is filed at the Dallas, Texas USCIS lock box regardless of the actual location of the new commercial enterprise.  The USCIS from time to time changes the actual filing location depending upon workload and other factors.
  • Reyna, thanks for these questions this morning with respect to why foreign investors might want to consider the EB-5 visa. There are many other relevant factors at play with respect to operating a business in the United States that we have not addressed here. In addition to the immigration laws discussed, there are also federal taxation and foreign assets and account laws that might be implicated as well in foreigners immigrating to the United States.
  • I have written numerous blogs on the EB-5 foreign investor’s visa, International Taxation Issues and Foreign Assets and Accounts over the past several years. Anyone interested in knowing more about these topics should visit our blog site

Attorney’s Concluding Remarks:

THIS IS END OF “LEGAL THOUGHTS” FOR NOW

  • Thank you for giving us the opportunity to inform you about “Why Foreign Investors Consider the EB-5 Visa?”
  • We might discuss other aspects of the EB-5 foreign investor’s visa, its requirements, and international tax issues affecting foreign investors in follow up podcasts or blogs in the near future.  If you want to see or hear more taxation, litigation and immigration LEGAL THOUGHTS from Coleman Jackson, P.C.  Subscribe to our podcast and stay tune!  We are here in Dallas, Texas and want to inform, educate, and encourage our communities on topics dealing with taxation, litigation, and immigration.  Until next time, take care.

EB-5 FOREIGN INVESTOR’S VISA OVERVIEW, PROCESS, HISTORY AND ADVANTAGES

By:  Coleman Jackson, Attorney & Certified Public Accountant
October 20, 2020

EB-5 FOREIGN INVESTOR’S VISA

General Overview of the EB-5 Investor Visa: The fifth employment-based preference for immigrant investors is codified in 8 U.S. Code.  The fundamental purpose of the EB-5 Investor Visa Program was enacted by Congress to grow or spur economic growth within the United States.  The fifth employment-based preference visa is designed to afford foreign investors the opportunity to live and raise their families in the U.S. in return for building a new commercial for-profit enterprise or invest in an existing U.S. for-profit enterprise employing up to ten additional full-time employees.  The statute sets forth strict guidelines as to what constitutes an at-risk investment, what constitutes a commercial enterprise and what constitutes employment of full-time employees. Again, in return for the investment the principal foreign investor, their spouse and children (under 21 years of age) could reside in the United States, attend school in the United States, work in the United States, and apply for citizenship and retire in the United States.

 

EB-5 Investor’s Visa category is aimed at qualified wealthy foreigners

In a nutshell: The EB-5 Investor’s Visa category is aimed at qualified wealthy foreigners seeking to obtain permanent legal residence in the United States, investing in a new for-profit commercial enterprise that will benefit the United States economy and create at least 10 full-time jobs in the United States per investor. The program is currently administered by USCIS. The investment required per EB-5 investor is currently $1.8 million, although this limit is reduced to $900,000 if the investment is made in a rural community or high unemployment area, known as a Target Employment Area (TEA). These minimum EB-5 Visa investment amounts came into force in 2019.  On November 21, 2019, the EB-5 Program underwent its first major change since the program began in 1990. In July 2019, the Department of Homeland Security published changes to the EB-5 Investor Visa Program in the Federal Register.  The modifications or changes were named, “EB-5 Modernization Regulations for the Immigrant Investor Program (regulations)”. The new regulations increased the minimum investment amount from $1,5 million to $1.8 million and to $900,000 from $500,000 in a TEA designated area.  Moreover, the regulations switched the TEA designation authority or designation decision making process from the individual states and gave it exclusively to the USCIS.  The policy aim given for making these regulation changes to the EB-5 implementation regulations was to get back to the true Congressional intent for enacting the immigration statute in the first place; that is, the goal was to grow the U.S. economy and create American jobs through foreign investors investing substantial at-risk capital in return for a clear path to U.S. citizenship.

EB-5 Method and Processing:

EB-5 Method and Processing

 Foreign investors can take one or two Paths to make the required at-risk capital investment.  One Path is for the foreigner to establish a new commercial enterprise or invest into an existing for-profit enterprise by creating or joining a sole proprietorship, limited liability company, partnership, corporation or some other form of for-profit enterprise already organized and operating within the United States.  If the foreign investor takes this first prong of the stand-alone enterprise path by creating a business that complies with the statute; they must have or employ the skills and expertise to run an entrepreneur type business or startup company.  The second prong of the stand-alone path is for the foreign investor to invest a going concern that is already organized and established in the United States.  The Regional Center path is another way that the foreign investor can participate in the EB-5 visa program.  This is alternative path is the investment path that many foreign investors take in making an EB-5 investment.  Regardless of whether the investor create an enterprise or invest capital in a Regional Center, the enterprise must be a for-profit business; it must be in business to make a profit.  The enterprise cannot be non-profit enterprise.  There is a sequence of steps in the EB-5 immigration process for an EB-5 investor to earn a permanent green card. In the event the EB-5 investor selects to invest the required capital in a Regional Center approved by the USCIS, the EB-5 participant files an I-526 petition requesting conditional residency. USCIS and the State Department will determine whether the EB-5 participant qualifies for the conditional EB-5 visa. Due diligence during this part of the process includes a detailed review of the EB-5 investor’s sources of funds, family history and other representations concerning the EB-5 investor, his spouse and qualified unmarried children under the age of 21. The petition also includes a complete description of the EB-5 investment and any economic models, proforma financials, and personnel budgeting used to determine job creation. If approved, the EB-5 investor requests a conditional green card through an interview at the consulate or a status adjustment (if he or she is already in the US on another visa). If approved, the EB-5 investor receives a conditional green card valid for two years. In the final 90 days of the two-year conditional residency period, investor EB-5 files petition I-829 to remove conditions from the green card. This petition demonstrates that the EB-5 investor’s capital was fully invested and at risk during the two-year period and that the 10 necessary skilled jobs were created. Upon approval of petition I-829, the EB-5 investor and his qualified family members become legal permanent residents and may, ultimately, choose to become US citizens after five years.

Steps on the EB-5 Regional Center Path: Steps on the EB-5 Regional Center Path

  1. First Due Diligence: The potential EB-5 investor requests information about the CMB Regional Centers and the current EB-5 offerings. As soon as a confidentiality agreement is signed, the prospective EB-5 investor receives the Private Placement Memorandum, Subscription Agreement, Limited Partnership Agreement and Warranty Agreement. The foreign investor must do its due diligence in selecting a qualified, proven, and USCIS authorized Regional Center.  Due diligence requires careful examination of the structure of the Regional Center and its management, financials, projects, success stories and overall reputation.
  1. EB-5 investor chooses CMB: The EB-5 investor executes the signature documents and returns them to the CMB. The EB-5 investor then transfers his registration fee to a custody account established by the partnership on behalf of the investor where the funds are held by the custodian bank. The release of funds from the deposit may only occur in accordance with the terms of the Guarantee Agreement. The CMB Administrative Placement Agent reviews the EB-5 investor’s subscription for suitability and compliance with securities laws. Once processed, the EB-5 investor is formally accepted as a limited partner in the partnership.
  1. Petition I-526: Once the EB-5 investor is accepted as a limited partner in a CMB EB-5 partnership, the investor’s immigration attorney files petition I-526 with USCIS.
  1. Consulate Interview: If petition I-526 is approved, the EB-5 investor requests a conditional green card through an interview at the consulate or a status adjustment (Form I-485), if he or she is already in the US on another visa. If petition I-526 is denied, the investor’s capital contribution would be returned to the partner in accordance with the terms of the articles of association.
  1. Conditional Permanent Residence: Once the EB-5 investor is approved for a visa and a visa is available, the investor and qualified family members receive conditional green cards that are valid for two years. The EB-5 investor must enter the United States within 180 days, if not already in the United States. This entry into the United States begins the period of 24 months of conditional permanent residence.
  1. Petition I-829: Between the months 22-24 of the EB-5 investor’s conditional permanent residency period, the investor’s immigration attorney files petition I-829 to remove the conditions from the green card and be able to receive his ten-year green card.
  1. Return on Capital: Once all investments in the partnership have been repaid, the limited partners can vote to settle the partnership and distribute the balance of each capital account in accordance with the Partnership Agreement. The foreign investor must be sure to understand the terms and conditions of the Regional Center with regards to return of capital and all other financial terms and practices of the Regional Center.

Processing time: On average 24 months for you to get the temporary green card that is valid for 2 years, where you must apply for a new permanent visa. After that, the government will evaluate two things: if the capital was really invested in the project and at least ten jobs were generated in that time. If the investor meets the requirements, the investor receives the permanent visa in a few months.

Steps on the EB-5 Stand-Alone Business Path: EB-5 Stand-Alone Business Path  

  1. First Decide How To Structure the Enterprise:As I said before, when the foreign investor chooses to build a stand-alone business, the immigrant can choose between investing in a business that already exists in the USA, an option chosen by the vast majority of foreign investors, or by creating the business itself from the ground-up, which requires a larger number of documents and takes more time and entrepreneur skills on the part of the foreign investor; its management team and outside attorneys, accountants, bankers, risk management professionals, realtors and other expertise. The amount of the minimum investments does not change, whether the investor buy into an existing enterprise or structure an enterprise from scratch. The foreign EB-5 Visa investor will need to invest$1.8 million in at-risk capital into the business. This amount is reduced to $ 900,000 if the EB-5 project is located in a Target Employment Area (TEA). To be designated as a TEA, the EB-5 project must be located in a rural area or in a location that has high unemployment. The designation of a Target Employment Area is requested through petition I-526 from investor EB-5’s.  And remember the TEA designation is now being made exclusively by USCIS.  The states no longer are authorized under the 2019 Regulations to make TEA determinations.
  1. What does the term TEA mean: A high TEA unemployment rate is defined in the statute as a location or area with an unemployment rate of at least 150% of the U.S. national average. A TEA area could be located in the middle of a major metropolitan area if the unemployment rate meets or exceeds this threshold. However, the area with high unemployment should be located in a municipality or metropolitan area that has a population of 20,000 or more. An EB-5 project may be designated TEA if the main location of the project is located in an area of ​​high unemployment at the time the EB-5 investment is made. The following resources might be helpful in acquiring sufficient evidence for the TEA designation:
  • The US National Bureau of Statistics (US Bureau of Labor Statistic) Office of Local Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) in recent published technical bulletins;
  • Letters from federal, state and local public agencies presenting evidence of a rural or high unemployment area;
  • Other statistical documentation, such as Census data
  1. Stand-Alone Enterprise Path Processing:The processing steps 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 that applies to the Regional Center Path that I discussed above also applies to the Stand-Alone Business Path if the foreign investor chooses to take the stand-alone business Path rather than investing in a USCIS approved Regional Center. These particular steps are primarily the same; except, for the involvement of an USCIS approved Regional Center and the particulars related to that.

Substantive Requirements of all EB-5 Foreign Investors Regardless of the Investment Path: Requirements of all EB-5 Foreign Investors  

  1. The interested investor must first of all prove the legality of the funds. This is a critical requirement and the investor must be able prove the chain-of-ownership and chain-of-possession of all of the at-risk-capital.
  • According to USCIS, the EB-5 investment must preserve or create a minimum of 10 full-time positions for workers in the United States who qualify. Such job creation or preservation must occur within two years of the investor’s conditional permanent residency and entry into the United States. Jobs created in EB-5 projects are defined as direct, indirect or induced. In the context of direct investment, the EB-5 visa applicant must prove that the EB-5 capital resulted in updating direct jobs for employees who work directly in the business in which the investment was made. In the context of the regional center, the candidate can count on direct, indirect and induced jobs in relation to the job creation requirement.
  1. Investing in a company: Foreign investors must engage in due diligence as to who is involved when investing, what they are investing in, where they are investing and why they are investing their capital. Due diligence is a must do exercise in EB-5 investing.  Proving the legality of the investor’s income is just the beginning of the due diligence process.  In the event, the interested foreign investor chooses to invest in an existing company, the investor should look for those that are licensed to receive funds under the EB-5 visa program. Some American developments that provide EB-5 investor opportunities are enterprises in engaged in such activities as resorts, luxury condominiums, restaurants, shopping centers, among others types of enterprises. The foreign investor could also decide to open and operate a startup from scratch.  Where to invest depend upon the investor’s goals and objectives.
  1. Investing in a Regional Center Project: Here, the required investment in the approved Regional Center may be less and the number of jobs required to be generated or created are affected by the pooling of the investment of several foreign investors. Perhaps there is strength in numbers.  But investment decisions must be made by individual investors taking all due diligence measures when counseling with professionals that are properly registered, licensed and controlled by the securities regulators and debt regulators in the United States.

Regulation Changes Implemented in 2019 and Some Impacts:

EB-5 Regulation Changes

The new rules of the EB-5 visa program were implemented by DHS on November 21, 2019 and the highlights of the changes were as follows:

  1. Increase of the investment value from $1,000,000 to $1,800,000 in any area within the American territory, and from $500,000 to$900,000 in less privileged areas – those known as Targeted Employment Areas – TEA. It also established that the values ​​will be revised every 05 years based on inflation: The change was established by the US Congress, with the objective of making a monetary correction and equalization with the same type of visa in other countries, since the previous value was the same since the visa was conceived in 1990. In addition, the objective was to match the other visas of investors in other countries such as Portugal, which is 1 million euros, in the United Kingdom it is 2 million of pounds.
  1. The designation of Targeted Employment Areas – TEA has come to be through the combination of continuous and adjacent registered areas in which the new commercial company is conducting and developing its business. These areas are expected to have high levels of unemployment – 150% above the national average, and should be cities and municipalities with populations over 20,000 inhabitants, and which are outside the areas of large metropolises. The United States Department of Homeland Security-DHS will decide who determines whether a certain area is classified as a TEA, eliminating the participation of state agencies. Therefore, the administration of the process and tasks such as receiving investment requests and determining areas of economic stress passed from the state to the federal level, through the Department of Homeland Security, which makes the process a little longer. This is because the local authority has a great interest in making this financial contribution to their area, where acceptance of the investment took about a month. Moving to the federal level, it may take a little longer.
  1. The beneficiaries of the main applicant may individually submit the last form I-829 of the EB5 visa process that transforms the permanent resident card from provisional to permanent. If there are problems with the visa transformation of the main applicant, the dependents can individually submit the last form.
  1. The fourth change is regarding direct EB-5. Until then, the investor of the program through direct investment had to open his own business and actively manage it to comply with the rules of generating the 10 jobs required for a minimum period of 2 years. With this change, the investor will not need to directly manage the business. The mere fact of being a rights holder through a limited partnership contract model or a participation in a new company incorporated through a limited company will meet the requirements of the active participation program in the new commercial company.

According to the United States Department of Homeland Security – DHS, the recent changes in the regulation of the EB-5 foreign investor visa program were implemented in order to combat harmful practices that were being manipulated by some operators of the program due to loopholes and flaws in its regulations.

One of the harmful practices to which they refer to is the inclusion of areas of large cities as being less privileged within the American territory, the well-known Targeted Employment Areas – TEA.

The U.S. government immigration agency announced on January 29, 2020 a change to the EB-5 visa, which gives foreigners who invest in the country the right to permanent residence. The change will be in the queue for analysis of visa investment processes, which will give priority to requests from Brazilians as of March 31, 2020. Today, the processes of all nationalities are analyzed in a general queue in the order of entry, with the response time for Brazilians between 35 to 40 months. With the measure, a single queue for each country will be created, and the deadline should fall significantly.

The processes will begin to analyze the requests from countries that do not have their quotas already occupied, such as Brazil. This change in the criteria will potentially favor, a lot, Brazilians who intend to come as investors in the EB-5 visa for the United States. The case being analyzed and answered faster will most likely lead to faster green card processing, that is, a life with less stress in the United States without the traditional anxiety about waiting and waiting for the process to work.

In 2018, Brazil was the American country that accounted for the most emissions from the EB-5 visa, also known as “Golden Visa”. There were 388 green cards awarded to Brazilians who want to invest and live in the USA. The increase was 37.5% compared to 2017 and 1,041.2% compared to 2015. In 2019, worldwide, Brazil ranked 6th among countries with the largest number of participants in the EB-5 program, becoming the country with the highest number of emissions on the American continent.

The intention of this program is to benefit local workers, boost the economy and help communities in need, attracting foreign capital investment in the United States. The EB-5 is still the most considerable path for those who want to get a green card. It is highly sought after by those who want to not only live in the USA, but invest and have a thriving business.

Historical Profile of those applying for the EB-5 foreign investor’s visa:

Historical Profile of those applying for the EB-5 foreign investor’s visaInternationally, the application for this type of visa historically has been led by Chinese, but the number of Brazilians has grown steadily in recent years. The applications appear to be from Brazilians; generally speaking, who are entrepreneurs and people of considerable wealth who no longer want to live in Brazil. From 2012 to 2018, there was an increase of more than 15 times in demand. In 2012, 24 Brazilians applied for the EB-5 foreign investor’s visa. Until 2015, it was stable, with 34 applications. Then, with the crisis in Brazil, it increased: 150 in 2016, 282 in 2017 and finally 388 in 2018.
 

Potential Advantages of Becoming an EB-5 Foreign Investor: Advantages of Becoming an EB-5 Foreign Investor

  1. Path to Green Card;
  2. Path to U.S. Citizenship;
  3. Path to Financial and Physical Security;
  4. Path to Reuniting with Family, Colleague and Friends who Have Already Moved to the United States;
  5. Path to Great Education and Schooling for the Entire Family;
  6. Path to building strong international businesses;
  7. Path to dream and give to the community

 

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