Tag Archives: USCIS

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.

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 – 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.

Warning: Two things that all Immigrants and Their Sponsors Ought to Know

Potential USCIS Fee Increases are likely on the Horizons

USCIS Affidavit of Support Policy & Practice Changes may be coming

October 12, 2020
By:  Coleman Jackson, Attorney

Potential USCIS Fee Increases are likely on the Horizons

Potential USCIS Fee Increases are likely on the Horizons:

USCIS FILING FEES WERE SET TO INCREASE ON OCTOBER 2, 2020.  Judge Jeffrey White of the United States District Court in the Northern District of California temporarily blocked the USCIS scheduled fee increases from taking place nationwide on September 30, 2020. The fees were set to increase by up to 60% on some immigration petitions. All who think they might want to file immigration petitions and applications for family members or employees should consider acting at once because temporary injunctions by courts do not necessarily mean that the USCIS will not prevail in the end; and if so, the analysis of the fee increases below(for a select group of type of petitions) could be the potential USCIS fee increases scheduled below could be  required to file the following immigration petitions and applications:

Form Number Form Title

Current Fee

Potential New Fee
I-130 Petition for Alien Relative

$535

$560
I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence

$1,140

$1,130*
I-864 Affidavit of Support

$0

$0
I-765 Application for Employment Authorization

 

$410

$550
I-131/I-131A Application for Travel Document

$575

$590
Biometrics Biometrics fee

$85

$85
I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (Paper Filing)

$455

$415
I-102 Application for Replacement/ Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure

$445

$485
I-129/129CW Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker

$460

$695
I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé

$535

$510
I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker

$700

$555
I-212 Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the U.S. after Deportation or Removal  

$930

 

$1,050

I-360 Petition for Amerasian Widow(er) or Special Immigrant

$435

$1,130
I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur

$3,675

$4,010
I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status

$370

$390
I-600/600a Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative/Application for Advance Petition Processing of Orphan Petition

$775

$805
I-800/800A Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative/ Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from Convention Country  

$775

 

$805

I-601 Application for Waiver of Ground of Excludability

$930

$1,010
I-601A Application for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waiver

$630

$960
I-690 Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility

$715

$765
I-694 Notice of Appeal of Decision

$890

$715
I-698 Application to Adjust Status from Temporary to Permanent Resident (Under Section 254A of the INA)  

$1,670

 

$1,615

I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence

$595

$760
I-824 Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition

$465

$495
I-829

 

Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions

$3,750

$3,900
I-924 Application for Regional Center Designation Under the Immigrant Investor Program

$17,795

$17,795
I-924A Annual Certification of Regional Center

$3,035

$4,465
I-929 Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Non-immigrant

$230

$1,485
N-336 Request for Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings

$700

$1,735
N-400 Application for Naturalization

$640

 

$1,160

 

N-470 Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalizing Purposes

$355

$1,585
N-565 Application for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Documents

$555

$535
N-600 Application for Certification of Citizenship/Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate under INA Section 322

$1,170

$1,00

* Biometric Fee is included in the I-485 application

 

USCIS Affidavit of Support Policy & Practice Changes may be Coming:

USCIS Affidavit of Support Policy & Practice Changes may be coming

DHS has also proposed a new rule regarding the Affidavit of Support Process. This update requires U.S. Citizen sponsors, nationals, or lawful permanent residents who sponsor an immigrant to provide credit reports and credit scores, certified copies of income tax returns for the last three years, and bank account information to effectively demonstrate they can maintain the required income.

Petitioning sponsors that have received public benefits within the last 26 months of submitting a Form I-864 must be backed by a joint sponsor who has received no such public benefits during that time.

Follow our law firm’s blogs and listen to our Legal Thoughts Podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify or where ever you listen to your podcast for updates concerning these topics and other taxation, litigation and immigration information you can use!

This law blog is written by the Taxation | Litigation | Immigration Law Firmof Coleman Jackson, P.C. for educational purposes; it does not create an attorney-client relationship between this law firm and its reader.  You should consult with legal counsel in your geographical area with respect to any legal issues impacting you, your family or business.

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Taxation, Litigation, Immigration Law Firm | English (214) 599-0431 | Spanish (214) 599-0432 | Portuguese (214) 272-3100

WORKPLACE ENFORCEMENT OF EMPLOYMENT ELIGIBILITY RULES IS A POTENTIAL TIME BOMB

By:  Coleman Jackson, Attorney
March 5, 2018

WORKPLACE ENFORCEMENT OF EMPLOYMENT ELIGIBILITY RULES

Any individual who is not a citizen or national or lawful permanent resident or specifically authorized to work in the United States cannot be lawfully hired as an employee by any individual, company or agency.  Any employer who intentionally hires anyone not authorized to work in the United States violates Public Law 99-603 (Act of 11/6/1986).  This law was passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Ronald Reagan in order to control and deter unlawful entries into the United States.  This law, commonly referred to as amnesty provided for legalization of undocumented immigrants who had been continuously unlawfully residing and working in the United States since 1982, legalization of certain agricultural workers, sanctions for employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers, and increased borders enforcement.

This blog’s focus is on the provision of Public Law 99-603 that prohibits and penalizes any U.S. individual, organization or agency that intentionally hires or recruits to hire workers who are not authorized to work in the United States.  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Form I-9 is required to be used by all employers regardless of whether they are classified as large, medium, small employers to document their continuous compliance with their obligations under Public Law 99-603. Form I-9 is a three page document.  Employers and Employees are required to complete their respective sections of Form I-9.  Form I-9 comes with a 15 page detailed set of instructions to employers and employees that must be complied with from the very initial stage of hiring any worker by an American person or business.  Since November 27, 2011, American employers must complete Form I-9 to document verification of the identity and employment authorization of each and every new employee.  The rule applies to all employees regardless whether the employee is a United States Citizen, National, and Lawful Permanent Resident or otherwise lawfully authorized to work in the United States.  The employee must complete their section of Form I-9 within one day of starting to work, and the employer must complete their section of Form I-9 within three days of the employees hire date. The employer cannot simply take the employees word for it.  The employee must provide unexpired documentation from the categories listed on page three of Form I-9.  Again, the employer cannot tell the employee what documentation to present.  The employer or their agent must personally examine the actual document (original) presented by the employee.  The employer must make a copy of the documents presented and maintain them in their files.  Moreover, the employer has a continuing obligation under Public Law 99-603 to update their I-9 files when there is expiration date on an employees work authorization card.  The requirements we have discussed in this paragraph can be thought of as the I-9 documentation requirements.  Form I-9 is not filed with the U.S. government.  Every employer must maintain an I-9 file on each employee and make it available for inspection and examination in the event of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement visit.  Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) performs I-9 audits without advance notice.  ICE workplace audits have been on the rise in recent years.  ICE raids affecting some of the larger employers have been widely reported on by the U.S. press.  But just because an employer is not a large company does not mean that they are exempt from ICE I-9 Immigration and Nationalization Act (INA) enforcement actions.  All U.S. employers are subject to an ICE raid regardless of whether they hire immigrants or not since Public Law 99-603 requires all employers to document the identity and authorization to work of all workers, including U.S. citizens, Nationals, Permanent Residents, and others.  All employees mean all employees and all employers mean all employers regardless whether the employer is hiring a new hire, a rehire, temporary or permanent worker.  All U.S. employers potentially face workplace enforcement of employment eligibility ICE raids at anytime.  Workplace enforcement raids are like a time bomb.

Form I-9 Filing

Repeat, federal immigration law applies to all U.S. employers.  Who is an employer for purposes of workplace enforcement of employment eligibility rules?  I will address it from the perspective as to who is an employee under the Act.  An employee for Form I-9 purposes means any person who performs labor or services in the United States for an employer in return for wages or other compensation or payment.  It could be remuneration in the form of payment-in-kind.  Employee for Form I-9 purposes does not include independent contractors, subcontractors, volunteers or certain casual domestic workers.  By looking at it from the vantage point of who is an employee, employers should be able to determine whether they are likely to be considered an employer for Form I-9 purposes.

The Form I-9 must be maintained in a File by the employer

Are there any penalties for U.S. employers who violate the law?  Yes, absolutely since all U.S. employers are subject to the workplace enforcement of employment eligibility rules!  Besides the potential for public shame associated with cheating by hiring undocumented workers to gain an unfair advantage over competitors, the U.S. government can impose civil fines and even criminal prosecution in  more heinous cases.  The Form I-9 must be completed accurately.    The Form I-9 must be maintained in a File by the employer.  The Form I-9 must be made available for inspection anytime ICE asks to review them.  When ICE finds that an employer has knowingly hired or knowingly continued to hire an unauthorized worker, or failed to comply with Form I-9 employee identification and work eligibility requirements, ICE or a Department of Homeland Security Administrative Law Judge will issue the employer a Notice of Intent to Fine (NIF).  The employer has 30 days from receipt of the NIF to request a hearing on the merits.  If the employer fails to respond to the NIF, it becomes final in 30 days.  At the I-9 hearing, employers are able to raise good faith defenses (that is the employer made reasonable efforts to comply with the paperwork requirements of section 274A (b) of the INA.)  If the employer looses at the hearing or fail to request a hearing or failed to attend the hearing, civil penalties will likely be imposed considering the size of the employer, lawful status of the employees involved, the seriousness of the infractions including prior I-9 violations, and the good faith efforts of the employer to comply with its obligations under the INA.  Furthermore, employers who knowingly employ unauthorized workers or fail to comply with section 274A (b) of the INA could also face criminal prosecution.  Employers convicted in federal court of having engaged in a pattern or practice of knowingly hiring unauthorized workers, or continuing to hire them after November 6, 1986 are likely to face fines and up to a maximum of six months in federal prison.  Moreover, employees who use fraudulent documentation to gain U.S. employment can be subjected to civil fines and criminal prosecution resulting in up to 5 years in federal prison.  The penalties that we have been discussing are under the Immigration and Nationalization Act (INA).  But employees and employers who knowingly violate the INA could be subjected to other federal statutes that impose much harsher civil fines and criminal punishment.  The Internal Revenue Code, U.S. Code 26; for example, imposes very severe civil fines and criminal penalties for taxpayers who violate U.S. federal tax statutes associated with misclassification of workers as independent contractors when in fact they are employees.  Worker misclassification errors can place employers in serious legal jeopardy.

employment eligibility verification

The burden of proving compliance with employment eligibility verification requirements is on U.S. employers.  Suggested steps to get ready for an I-9 raid:

  1. Make a current list of all of your employees (current, new hires, rehires, terminated);
  2. Review Form I-9 files on everyone on the list (don’t forget that all employers must have an I-9 file for all employees, including U.S. citizens, Nationals, Lawful Permanent Residents and anyone else working as an employee);
  3. Check the I-9 files for the validity of the documentation (make sure nothing has expired because identity and work eligibility documentation must be current; these documents cannot be expired);
  4. Check off each employee as they are successfully vetted on the employer employee list as they are cleared;
  5. Follow-up on any discrepancies. Contact the worker for updated or corrected information and timely resolve the issue;
  6. Document the company’s Form I-9 procedures and periodical compliance with those procedures. Don’t’ forget to check for government changes in the requirements as part of the company’s due diligence process.  Document due diligence and good faith efforts to comply with I-9 requirements—this all should be maintained in your I-9 Due Diligence Files;
  7. Follow-up and follow up some more on I-9  discrepancies and release any worker that cannot be vetted to work lawfully in the United States;
  8. Assign I-9 duties to competent individuals within the company or advisors competent in the law, taxes and immigration workplace matters. Exercise due diligence:  gather pertinent information; understand the company’s I-9 obligations and cooperate with authorities in workplace enforcement of employment eligibility issues.

These are merely some suggestions designed to cut down on the fear and confusion that is often associated with ICE workplace enforcement.  Due diligence can be a stress buster; while failing to prepare for a workplace enforcement of employment eligibility rules  can be as serious blow to wealth as a heart attack can be to health.

This law blog is written by the Taxation | Litigation | Immigration Law Firm of Coleman Jackson, P.C. for educational purposes; it does not create an attorney-client relationship between this law firm and its reader.  You should consult with legal counsel in your geographical area with respect to any legal issues impacting you, your family or business.

Coleman Jackson, P.C. | Taxation, Litigation, Immigration Law Firm | English (214) 599-0431 | Spanish (214) 599-0432