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Visa Options for International Entrepreneurs Dan Berger, Curran & Berger LLP Matthew Roy, New Atlantic Management Group, LLC Anish Sahni, T’09 Entrepreneur.

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Presentation on theme: "Visa Options for International Entrepreneurs Dan Berger, Curran & Berger LLP Matthew Roy, New Atlantic Management Group, LLC Anish Sahni, T’09 Entrepreneur."— Presentation transcript:

1 Visa Options for International Entrepreneurs Dan Berger, Curran & Berger LLP Matthew Roy, New Atlantic Management Group, LLC Anish Sahni, T’09 Entrepreneur Tiago Calheiros, T’09 Entrepreneur Susan Ellison, Office of Visa and Immigration Services February 20, 2013

2 2013 will be an interesting year

3 USCIS is at least paying lip service

4 To follow developments in Congress

5 - Google - LinkedIn - Facebook - Online articles The Internet A tool for you, and for USCIS unauthorized employment Make sure your web presence only has authorized work!

6 Step 1: List all visa options available to you Step 2: What are your long-term goals? Step 3: Weigh the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of visas Narrow down the list

7 The Big Questions A. Can I start a US business? B. Can I stay in the US? C. Can I pay myself? D. Can I hire a foreign employee?

8 Can I Start a US Business? Yes, visa status is not required to be a passive owner, as in buying stock or owning real estate. Consult with corporate attorney or accountant regarding legal entity

9 Can I Stay In The US For My Business? Need legal status to remain in the US. During F-1 status, must have work authorization to be employed at the business OPT is most flexible time of F-1 status After OPT, need to find another status to remain in US for the business

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11 Can I Pay Myself? Only if authorized by USCIS! Keep up a series of temporary visas until an opportunity for permanent residence arises

12 Key Visa Types

13 Treaty Investor (E-2) visa program The investment and the business enterprise must satisfy several criteria, BUT Consular Officers should be flexible, and consider the spirit of the program We believe the E-2 visa can be used broadly to enable entrepreneurs of many types

14 Treaty Countries For more information on treaty counties, please visit: fees/fees_3726.html  If the principal employer is not an individual, it must be an enterprise or organization at least 50% owned by persons who have the nationality of a treaty country

15 Basic E-2 Visa Requirements Nationality Investment must be substantial Real, operating enterprise Investor must have control of the funds, and investment must be “at-risk” Investor must have controlling interest, and intend to develop and direct the enterprise Enterprise must be more than marginal

16 E-2 requirements are NOT formulaic – No minimum investment – No minimum number of employees – No limits on the size or type of business – Great deal of flexibility on HOW the investment funds are deployed At the same time, some of the requirements can be very restrictive: – No flexibility on the nationality of the business, investors, and employees – No flexibility on the ownership % and the role of the investor applicant in the business

17 Building a Strong E-2 Case A client with these three things can potentially build a strong E-2 case: 1.An idea and the entrepreneurial drive to execute 2.Access to a modest amount of capital 3.Nationality of an E-2 Treaty country If you understand how the rules can be applied, you can advise your client on how to develop a strong E-2 case. You can also consider cases that you might have otherwise discouraged or avoided.

18 Conclusions Tell a compelling story – It is as much a sales pitch, as it is a legal case; convey the entrepreneurial spirit of the investor and the positive economic impact (local, regional or national) Presentation is important - The business plan and analytical cover letter must be concise, clear, organized, and easy to read (it is a LOT of information for the adjudicator to process…don’t make it any harder for them) Encourage your client to do things right, in spite of the extra effort required

19 E-1 visa – Treaty Trader Much less used than E-2 For company that has substantial trade with the owner’s home country – goods or services

20 Other Temporary Visas H-1B – salaried position related to degree, heavily regulated L-1 - transfer from employment by affiliated company abroad O-1 – based on “extraordinary ability” in business or the subject of the business Free Trade Agreement – Canada, Mexico, Chile, Singapore, Australia – more to come

21 Spouses E-1, E-2,E-3, L-1, and J-1 status allow spouses to work in any field Spouse can also pursue permanent residence

22 Green Card Categories Self-petitions National Interest Waiver Extraordinary Ability Immigrant Investor (EB5)

23 Green Card Categories, continued Employer sponsored Labor Certification – for more established business not owned by employee Multinational Manager – transfer from abroad Outstanding Researcher

24 Green Card Categories, continued Non-Employment Based Categories Family sponsored Asylum Diversity Lottery – October

25 Questions and Discussion


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