Category: tips

TRAVELING INSIDE THE USA DURING THE HOLIDAYS WITH A VALID VISA

TRAVELING INSIDE THE USA DURING THE HOLIDAYS WITH A VALID VISA

Traveling inside the USA during the holidays with a valid visa generally follows a straightforward process. Here are some considerations:

Valid Visa: Ensure that your visa is still valid for the duration of your stay. Check the expiration date on your visa to confirm that it covers your planned travel period.

Authorized Stay: Verify your authorized period of stay in the U.S., typically indicated on your I-94 Arrival/Departure Record. Ensure you do not overstay your authorized time, as it could lead to complications.

Travel Within Visa Category: Confirm that your travel plans align with the purpose of your visa. For example, if you hold a tourist visa (B-2), your travel activities should be consistent with tourism.

Address Updates: If you’re staying in the U.S. for an extended period, ensure your address information is updated with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Carry Important Documents: Carry essential documents, including your passport, visa, and any supporting documentation that might be requested by immigration officials.

Always stay informed about the specific requirements associated with your visa type, and if you have any uncertainties, consult with an immigration attorney or appropriate U.S. authorities for guidance tailored to your situation.

DOMESTIC VISA RENEWAL PILOT FOR H-1B WORKERS TO START IN JANUARY

 DOMESTIC VISA RENEWAL PILOT FOR H-1B WORKERS TO START IN JANUARY

A limited number of H-1B specialty occupation workers will be able to renew their visas in the US as soon as January, State Department officials announced.

The rollout of the H-1B domestic visa renewal pilot will be limited to just 20,000 participants at first. That option would allow those H-1B holders to renew their visas by mailing them to the State Department rather than travel outside the US and face uncertain wait times to secure an appointment at a US consular office before returning.

A Federal Register notice with full details is expected to be published next month.

Also good coverage on the Interview Waiver letter that AILA and a few other organizations led to DHS and DOS:

With the current waiver authority set to expire at the end of December, the travel industry <https://aboutblaw.com/bbDf> and a coalition of business and immigration advocates have pressed the government to renew the waiver option again, calling the waivers “an indispensable discretionary tool” to improve efficiency of consular offices.

TRAVELING DURING THE HOLIDAYS OUTSIDE THE USA WITH A VISA

TRAVELING DURING THE HOLIDAYS OUTSIDE THE USA WITH A VISA

If you plan to travel outside the USA during the holidays with a visa, it’s essential to consider a few key factors:

Visa Validity: Ensure that your visa is still valid for re-entry into the United States. Check the expiration date on your visa to confirm that it covers your intended period of travel.

Multiple Entry Visa: If your visa allows for multiple entries, you can generally travel abroad and return to the U.S. as long as the visa is valid.

I-94 Arrival/Departure Record: Check your I-94 record to confirm your authorized period of stay in the U.S. Make sure you don’t overstay, as it could lead to complications during your return.

Consular Processing: If your visa has expired or if you encounter any issues, you may need to undergo consular processing at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad to obtain a new visa.

Visa Category Restrictions: Be aware of any specific restrictions or requirements associated with your visa category, as some visas may have limitations on travel.

Always consult with an immigration attorney or the appropriate U.S. government agencies to ensure you have the latest and most accurate information based on your specific visa type and situation.

WHAT IS THE MINIMUM INVESTMENT TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR AN E-1/E-2 VISA?

WHAT IS THE MINIMUM INVESTMENT TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR AN E-1/E-2 VISA?

Unlike some other visa categories, the E-1/E-2 Treaty Trader visa does not have a strict minimum investment requirement. Instead of a specific monetary threshold, the E-1 visa focuses on the concept of “substantial trade.” This means that the trade conducted between the applicant’s home country and the United States should be sizable and continuous. The applicant’s investment should demonstrate a commitment to the success of the enterprise. In short, your investment needs to make business sense in relation to the business that you are setting up. 

There is also no fixed minimum investment amount for the E-2 visa. The amount of investment will vary based on factors such as the type of business, its size, location, and overall cost. The law requires the investment to be substantial, which means sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the business and to demonstrate the investor’s commitment to the business’s growth and viability. The investment should not be marginal, meaning it should have the potential to generate more than just enough income to support the investor and their family.

The investment should be significant enough to cover the costs associated with starting or purchasing the business, such as purchasing assets, leasing space, hiring employees, and covering operational expenses. Generally, E-2 visa applications that show a larger investment have a better chance of being approved, especially if the investment aligns with the business’s needs and potential for growth.

The investment must be at risk, that is, not just sitting in your bank account. You must have already spent sizable amounts of your investment in physical space, employees, equipment, marketing, and other costs necessary to buy or open a business.

CAN MY FAMILY OR EMPLOYEES GET E-1/E-2 VISAS WITH ME?

CAN MY FAMILY GET E-1/E-2 VISAS WITH ME? 

Yes! If you are eligible for an E-1/E-2 visa, your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 can get E-1/E-2 with you or after you. Your spouse and children do not have to have the same nationality as you or a nationality of E-1/E-2 countries. Your spouse will be able to work for any employer as the spouse of an E-1/E-2 principal visa holder!

 

CAN MY EMPLOYEES GET E-1/E-2 VISAS WITH ME? 

Sometimes. For employees to be eligible under your E-1 visa, the employee must: 

  • Be the same nationality of the principal E-1 
  • Meet the definition of “employee” under relevant law
  • Either be engaging in duties of an executive or supervisory character, or if employed in a lesser capacity, have special qualifications that make the employee’s services essential to the efficient operation of the treaty enterprise.

WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR APPLYING FOR AN E-1/E-2 VISA IF I AM OUTSIDE THE US?

WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR APPLYING FOR AN E-1/E-2 VISA IF I AM OUTSIDE THE US? 

  • Application Preparation: Before submission, you need to prepare a strong application to meet all of the legal requirements for E-1/E-2 eligibility. Your application must show proof of trade, business ownership, employment qualifications, and intent to depart the US. This process can take several weeks or months, depending on your individual circumstances.
  • Application Submission: Once you’ve compiled all the necessary documents, you’ll need to submit your application on online Form DS-160 and pay the DS-160 fee. Then, follow your embassy-specific instructions about processing the E-1/E-2 visa–all embassies and consulates have different instructions and processes.  
  • Visa Interview: You will have a visa interview at the US embassy or consulate. The availability of interview slots vary widely (from a few days to many months). During the interview, the consular officer will review your application; ask you questions about your trade, business, and qualifications; and make a determination about your eligibility for the E-1/E-2 visa. Sometimes you will get a decision on the spot, and you’ll be given instructions about how to pick up your passport once the visa is put into it. Or, you may not get a decision and you will get paperwork letting you know that you need to provide something more to the embassy. Or, your case may go into administrative processing. Or, you may get paperwork showing that the visa was denied and for what reason. 
  • Administrative Processing: In some cases, the US embassy/consulate will tell you that your case is under “administrative processing.” Generally, you will not be told why your case is under administrative processing, nor will you be told how long this step will take. It could take months, even years. 
  • Visa Issuance: If your visa application is approved, the U.S. embassy or consulate will affix the visa to your passport. You’ll need to wait for the processing of your passport with the visa sticker, which can take a few days to a couple of weeks.

Processing Time: Overall, the entire process from application submission to visa issuance could take several weeks to a few months. However, processing times change, and the processing time at the time you submit your application may not continue to be the processing time as the case is being processed. 

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE USCIS OR THE EMBASSY TO APPROVE MY E-1/E-2 VISA?

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE USCIS OR THE EMBASSY TO APPROVE MY E-1/E-2 VISA? 

The processing times for an E-1/E-2 visa vary depending on a range of factors, including the volume of visa applications, the specific US embassy or consulate where you’re applying, the strength of your application, whether you apply for premium processing (only available in the US), the availability of embassy interviews and whether the embassy requirements “administrative processing.”

HOW LONG WILL MY E-1/E-2 VISA BE VALID? 

HOW LONG WILL MY E-1/E-2 VISA BE VALID? 

The validity period for E-1 and E-2 visas can vary based on the terms of the reciprocity agreements between the United States and the applicant’s home country. Typically:

E-1 Visa: The initial validity can range from a few months to several years, and extensions can be granted in increments of up to five years. However, the exact duration may depend on the nature of the trade and commerce activities.

E-2 Visa: The initial validity often varies, but it can also be extended in increments of up to five years. The length of validity may be influenced by the nature of the investment and the success of the business.

It’s important to note that visa validity is determined on a case-by-case basis, and applicants should check with the U.S. embassy or consulate and review the specific terms of the visa for accurate information. Additionally, individuals can often remain in the U.S. for as long as their E status is valid, even if the visa in their passport has expired.

 

WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR APPLYING FOR AN E-1/E-2 VISA IF I AM INSIDE THE US?

WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR APPLYING FOR AN E-1/E-2 VISA IF I AM INSIDE THE US? 

If you are already in the US and meet the eligibility criteria for the E-1/E-2 visa, you can follow these steps to change your status from your current visa status to E-1/E-2 status:

  • Change of Status Application: If you are currently in the US under a different nonimmigrant status, you can apply for a change of status with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You will file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, along with all required supporting documentation. You can also file Form I-907, for an additional fee, so that USCIS guarantees communication with you within 15 days of filing your application. Note: “communication” does not mean approval. It could mean approval, but it could also mean a request for more information or a denial.

Extension of Stay: If you are already in the US under E-1/E-2 status and your authorized stay is about to expire, you can apply for an extension of stay using Form I-129 as well. This will allow you to continue your E-1/E-2 activities in the US for 240 days or until the I-129 is approved, whichever comes first.

 

The fee structure for E-1 and E-2 visas can vary, and it’s essential to check the latest fee information on the official website of the U.S. Department of State or consult with an immigration attorney. Generally, the fees may include:

  1. Application Fee (Form DS-160): This is a non-refundable fee paid when submitting the online visa application.
  2. Visa Issuance Fee: Also known as the reciprocity fee, it depends on the applicant’s nationality and the treaty country’s treatment of U.S. visa applicants.
  3. Filing Fees (if applicable): Some cases may require filing fees, such as the I-129 petition filing fee for E visa applicants.

WHAT KIND OF BUSINESSES CAN I OPEN ON AN E-1 VISA?

What kind of businesses can I open on an E-1 visa?

An E-1 Treaty Trader visa is intended for individuals involved in substantial trade between the United States and their home country. The focus of this visa category is on trade, which includes the exchange of goods, services, technology, international banking, insurance, tourism, and more. Here are some examples of the types of businesses that qualify for an

E-1 visa:
Import/Export Companies: Businesses involved in importing goods from the treaty country and exporting goods to the US, or vice versa, qualify. This could include distributors, wholesalers, and import/export companies.

Service Providers: Companies such as consulting firms, technology services, and international event planning qualify.
Tourism and Hospitality: Businesses that facilitate tourism and hospitality activities between the treaty country and the US, such as travel agencies or hotels.

International Franchises: A franchise with a substantial trade relationship between the treaty country and the US is eligible.

Manufacturing Companies: Manufacturers engaging in substantial trade between the US and the treaty country qualify. This includes companies that import raw materials for manufacturing in the US or export finished products.

Transportation and Shipping: Companies involved in shipping and transportation of goods between the treaty country and the US are eligible.

Cultural Exchange Programs: Some educational and cultural exchange programs that involve significant international activities qualify.