IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION

IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION

Led by Abraham David Benhayoun, Esq., our immigration practice serves individuals seeking to emigrate, and foreign companies seeking to do business in the United States. Our immigration services include applications for work and investment visas, family based petitions, marriage/fiancé visas, applications for permanent residency and citizenship applications. We provide comprehensive legal representation to foreign investors and intending immigrants by combining immigration, corporate, and international taxation services.

Investment Based Visas

Starting a business in the United States, or relocating to the United States, requires many aspects including a solid immigration strategy, pre-immigration tax planning, choosing the most tax-efficient corporate structure for the business, and conducting proper due diligence before entering into important business transactions. Our attorneys have the experience necessary to guide foreign investors and companies through every step of the process.

– E-1 and E-2 Treaty Trader/Investor Visa
These visa classifications allow a national of a treaty country (a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation) to come to the United States solely to engage in international trade on his or her own behalf or to invest a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business.

– L-1 Intracompany Transferee Visa
The L-1 visa enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive, manager, or an employee with specialized knowledge relating to the organization’s interests, from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States.

– EB-5 Immigrant Investor
This immigrant visa category allows foreign investors the chance to obtain lawful permanent residency in the United States by making a capital investment of $500,000 or $1,000,000 in new commercial enterprises in the United States which will provide a minimum of 10 full-time U.S jobs.

Employment Based Visas (Temporary)

There are many different employment-based visa classifications which are all temporary in nature. This means that they will allow U.S. employers to hire and petition for foreign nationals for specific jobs for a limited time. Most temporary workers must work for the employer that petitioned for them and have limited ability to change jobs. Generally speaking, they must leave the United States if their status expires or if their employment is terminated. We work with employers to prepare and submit visa applications for temporary employment in non-immigrant visa categories including, but not limited to:

– H-1B Specialty Occupations
The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa that allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations.

– O-1 Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement
These visas are designed for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, athletics, or in the motion picture/television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.

– TN NAFTA Professionals
The TN visa is unique to citizens of Canada and Mexico by allowing qualified Canadian and Mexican citizens to work in their professional occupations for U.S. companies.

– L-1 Intracompany Transferee Visa
The L-1 visa enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive, manager, or an employee with specialized knowledge relating to the organization’s interests from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States.

– R-1 Religious Worker Visa
The R-1 visa is designed for foreign nationals who are coming to the United States temporarily to be employed at a legitimate religious organization either as a minister or in another religious vocation or occupation.

– P-1 Athlete/Performer Visa
The P-1 visa enables internationally recognized athletes, as well as members of an internationally recognized entertainment group, to come to the United States to perform.

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Employment Based Visas (Permanent)

Employment based immigrant visas are divided into five preference categories. The first preference category (EB-1) is subdivided into 3 categories:

– Persons with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. Applicants in this category must have extensive documentation showing sustained national or international acclaim and recognition in their fields of expertise. The most attractive feature about this immigrant visa classification is that it does not require a job offer. Applicants can self-petition as long as they intend to continue to work in the field in which they have an extraordinary ability.
– Outstanding professors and researchers with at least three years experience in teaching or research who are recognized internationally. Applicants in this category must be coming to the U.S. with a job offer from a university or another institution of higher education.
– Multinational managers or executives who have been employed for at least one of the three preceding years by the overseas affiliate, parent, subsidiary, or branch of the U.S. employer. Generally, applicants for this immigrant visa classification first obtain an L-1A visa.

The second preference category (EB-2) is for professionals holding an advanced degree (beyond a baccalaureate degree) and persons of exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. Exceptional ability means having a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.

The third preference category (EB-3) is for skilled workers, professionals, and unskilled workers. Skilled workers are individuals whose jobs require a minimum of 2 years training or work experience that are not temporary or seasonal. A professional includes members of a profession whose jobs require at least a baccalaureate degree. Unskilled workers are persons capable of filling positions that require less than two years training or experience that are not temporary or seasonal.

The first steps toward an employment-based permanent visa is a process that is referred to as the Labor Certification. Applicants for an EB-2 or EB-3 must have their employer obtain a labor certification approval from the Department of Labor. We assist our clients in the critical selection of the most feasible type of employment petitions according to their professional background. Applicants may apply for an exception, known as a National Interest Waiver, from the job offer and labor certification if the exception would be in the national interest. In this case, the applicant may self-petition with evidence of the national interest.

The fourth preference category (EB-4) is for certain special immigrants including religious workers. Ministers and non-ministers in religious vocations and occupations may obtain permanent residency in the United States for the purpose of performing religious work in a full-time compensated position for a legitimate religious organization.

The fifth and final preference category (EB-5) is for immigrant investors. These immigrant investors will have to make a capital investment of $500,000 or $1,000,000 in new commercial enterprises in the United States which provide job creation.

Family and Marriage Based Petitions

U.S. immigration law allows certain foreign nationals who have a familial relationship with U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to become lawful permanent residents (Green Card) based on the type of familial relationship they have. If you are an immediate relative (spouse, minor child, or parent) of a U.S. citizen, you may be able to obtain a Green Card substantially faster than other family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.

Other family members that are eligible to apply for a Green Card are:
– Unmarried sons and daughters, 21 years of age and older, of U.S. citizens;
– Spouses and children (unmarried and under 21 years of age) of lawful permanent residents;
– Unmarried sons and daughters, 21 years of age and older, of lawful permanent residents;
– Married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens; and
– Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens (if the U.S. citizen is 21 years of age and older).

The K-1 is a non-immigrant visa that permits a foreign national fiancé of a U.S. citizen to travel to the United States to marry the petitioning U.S. citizen sponsor within 90 days of admission to the country.

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Applying for U.S. Citizenship
We help our clients secure U.S. citizenship, working diligently to make sure the process is as straightforward as possible.
U.S. Taxation System

Foreigners emigrating to the United States are often subject to very strict and sometimes unduly burdensome tax rules. Often immigration attorneys are not familiar with these tax rules. If you are a high-net-worth individual, plan on moving your foreign business to the U.S., or plan on moving to the U.S. while operating a business in a foreign country, it is vital that you are properly advised regarding the potential U.S. tax obligations.

At The Benhayoun Law Firm we guide you in obtaining a Visa, resident status, or U.S. citizenship, and advise you in the complex tax rules that apply to foreigners. We assist our foreign clients by helping to prepare to move to the United States in the most tax efficient manner by utilizing foreign trusts and pre-immigration gifting techniques.

The sooner you are aware of what will be required of you from a U.S. tax perspective, the more opportunity you will have to avoid those consequences and the more comfortable you will feel with your decision.

If you would like to speak with an immigration attorney about any of these processes, please call us at (786) 636-8250.