E-2 Visa Innovators & Investors Needed ~Partnering to Solve Pandemic Problems

While lockdowns and quarantines have placed the world on ‘pause’— we have witnessed businesses and investors respond to the pandemic as an opportunity to unite internationally in solving unprecedented problems. Finding solutions fast to grapple with the ‘new normal’ has become essential for society due to the crisis created by the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The ‘race seems to be on’ by organizations and communities alike to find ways to safely have children return to school; to find social distancing solutions, and ways to prevent the spread of the virus all together. The E-2 investor visa has allowed the average U.S. Citizen and international investors worldwide collaborate their resources to face one of the greatest challenges of the century.

In a famous quote by one of my favorite writers; he says ‘in times of trouble, whatever things are positive, whatever things are of a good report’ think on these things’.  So, despite the dire situation we face, it’s great to report that the E-2 Investor visa, a bi-lateral treaty between the U.S. and other countries, is leading to partnered international solutions between U.S. citizens and foreign nationals to protect our children, and high risk populations as it pertains to this horrible virus. 

Our lawyers at ScottVassell & Lee Law Firm are excited to take part by representing business and investor clients around the world, and in the United States to bring their business plans and investments to life in the United States.

Despite popular belief, there are no minimum money investment required.  Rather, we work with our clients to ensure the U.S. Federal regulations are met by ensuring SUFFICIENT capitalization to meet the necessary monetary outlay for product or service development in the United States. Well, I hope that wherever you are in the world, you find this information positive and enlightening in these difficult COVID times. We invite you to contact our Immigration lawyers by emailing info@vasselllaw.com or call us at (703) 261.6881. We offer an initial free 20 min video and in-office consultation.

The Sensitive Matter of ESTA VISA Waivers & The Impact of COVID-19

With the arrival of  an unprecedented world pandemic, due to COVID-19, wreaking havoc on everything and everyone; individuals holding ESTA visa waiver status have been left in a unique sensitive ‘bind’. Specifically, their U.S. non-immigrant U.S. status has been placed at risk with  lockdowns, and flight cancellations just prior to his or her VWP expiration date.  It’s important to pause and remember the big difference between foreign national citizens who enter the country on the ‘sensitive’ VWP, versus foreign nationals that enter the U.S. on a traditional non-immigrant visa issued by a U.S. Consulate Post abroad.

The Visa Waiver Program allows Citizens of certain countries to apply for admission into the United States through a pre-clearance U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Centers. The VWP waives the need for eligible nationalities to go through the traditional U.S. Consulate application process. An ESTA recipient also waives their rights to the following: Extension or change of status in the United States, or to avail themselves of appeals and relief through the Department of Justice immigraiton court system in the event of immigration status complications.

Without much recourse, individuals in VWP status have hastily departed to border countries such as the U.S. and Canada to renew their ESTA status, and risked not being admitted to either country or readmitted after departing the United States. Our lawyers here at ScottVassell Law Firm, strongly disagree with ESTA VWP holders taking these risks. It’s important to work instead with a  U.S. Immigration lawyer who has a good working relationship with the U.S. ports of entry, and can represent you in front of U.S. Customs Border and Patrol (“CBP”).

Our lawyers have successfully helped countless individuals extend their ESTA without leaving the country by entering our representation with U.S. CBP, and resolving extension issues at land borders or airports while our clients ‘stay put’ in the United States. These extension requests must be made well in advance of the VWP’s expiration date. However, we also file ‘nun pro tunc’ requests for eligible applicants even in the event of overstay.

The above legal option should only be exercised with experienced legal counsel who are members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (‘AILA’).

Visas & Viruses

How to Navigate Your Visa or “Non-Visa” ESTA Status During a Pandemic

“All flights are cancelled; I am here on a 90 day visa waiver; and it expires next week what should I do”? These are questions our lawyers at ScottVassell & LeeCC answer daily. We hope this short article post will reduce anxiety and allow you to safeguard your current U.S. ESTA visa waiver or temporary visa status set to expire amidst the pandemic.

It is very important to keep an eye on ‘future reentry’ to the United States versus the short-term crises. While overstaying a visa or visa waiver without acting seems plausible due to COVID-19, it should not be an option.  Temporary visas are issued by the Department of State (“DOS”) at U.S. Consulates abroad. The decision by DOS to extend a visa in the future is solely discretionary with no right of appeal. It is therefore incumbent upon any individual in the United States holding temporary visa status or registered in the ESTA visa waiver program to take aggressive steps to protect your status.

ESTA Visa Waiver Program

The ESTA visa waiver program is largely administered by U.S. Customs Border and Patrol (“CBP”), a division of the Department of Homeland Security. You should seek immigration counsel’s legal advice on how to manage your ESTA visa waiver, since this is not an actual visa. Our office connects directly with a land border or with U.S. CBP at the airports to document our clients’ visa waiver dilemma. We request government approval to remain in the United States.

The ESTA program requires a foreign national to sign a “contract” to waive all rights to courts and appeals if one overstays his or her visa. In circumstances beyond a client’s control, however, we have connected with the U.S. Ports of Entry through CBP to ensure our clients do not forfeit legal rights and their ability to use the ESTA program in the future.

Temporary Visa Status

While U.S. Immigration laws allow for an individual in temporary visitor visa status (B-1/B-2, F-1, H-1B, J-1 Au Pair, etc.) to later argue why he or she overstayed their visa, the U.S. Consulate abroad may still deny reentry. It can get complicated for a temporary visitor to reenter the United States in the future.  Rather, visa extensions may be obtained by hiring a U.S. immigration attorney to renew one’s visa in advance of expiration with U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services.

We invite you to contact our Immigration lawyers by emailing info@vasselllaw.com or visit us www.vasselllaw.com for our contact information conveniently listed. We offer an initial free 20 min video and in-office consultation.

Saying Goodbye to Your Beloved Au Pair

When Saying Goodbye to Your Beloved Au Pair Causes You to Weep-Can You Help Them Stay? We have had the privilege of working with many families over the years who have hired Au Pairs to care for their young children. But then, the working relationship becomes more than that of an employee-employer. In fact, the Au Pair becomes just like part of the family. At the end of the authorized J-1 Visa Work Period as an au pair, it’s time to say good bye and everyone starts to weep.  I mean everyone… the children, the parents and the Au Pair.  Believing there is no way for the Au Pair to remain in the United States, and desperate for options, the lawyers here at ScottVassell Law Group have successfully navigated the complex J-1 Visa Department of State Rules to help.

Specifically, we have helped au pair’s remain in the U.S. with their “new found” family through a change of status. If you want to learn how we do this, stay tuned as we go into our  Immigration Classroom and explain!

From Thrilling to Chilling I-140 Employment Based Sponsorship

 

 

Your U.S. employer has agreed to foot all the legal fees to sponsor you in Employment Based (“EB”) Permanent Status in the United States. What could possibly go wrong? Your position is approved as an EB-2 or EB-3 category I-140 for adjustment of status purposes; and now all you have to do is sit back and wait as your employer and their lawyer handle ‘everything’. Well… not so fast. If you want to know the risks associated with having your U.S. employer’s lawyer handle your delicate status in the United States…keep listening!

E-2 Investor Visa Joy

 

 

With the rising popularity of Shark Tank, Creatives, Entrepreneurs & IPOs being lauded as lucrative career goals for young people; the ability to forge international business relationships has become invaluable. The reality is that young people connect with each other internationally everyday, and they are starting to realize they’re not bound within his or her own country when leveraging resources and strategic partnerships to launch a start-up company. Keep listening to learn more!

When a Non-US Citizen Needs to Hire Both an Immigration & Criminal Attorney…Is it Possible to Hire Two for the Price of One?

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In short, the answer is yes! But it’s not a ‘simple’ yes as explained below. A non-U.S. citizen residing in the United States is always subject to severe immigration consequences whenever facing criminal charges such as larceny, drug use (including marijuana), or driving under the influence.

As an illustration, a student who is in F-1 status for his or her graduate program makes the mistake of getting in their car for a short drive home after having a couple drinks.  The blue lights flash, and next thing…he or she is detained and charged with a DUI. To complicate things, the student’s I-20 just expired and the new I-20 was set to issue in the next few days. As standard, ICE Enforcement & Removal Office (‘ERO’) scans the State criminal charges for the day, and discovers graduate student. A Federal detainer is then placed on student by ICE-ERO.

First and foremost, the student should promptly accept the offer by the State Judge for a Public Defender ‘free’ of charge as a matter of law.  In contrast, immigration lawyers are not free and seasoned immigration lawyers who can actually navigate the cross section of immigration and criminal law are rare and costly.

As soon as a Public Defender is assigned for free, the student would hire an experienced Immigration attorney to defend against removal/deportation and the possibility of a permanent bar to reentry to the United States.  Once the student hires immigration counsel committed to working closely with the Public Defender for every step of the criminal case, the result is ‘two lawyers hired for the price of on!!  The graduate student would pay for one lawyer, but have both immigration and criminal counsel retained for his or her complex legal defense.

ScottVassell Lawyers have years of experience in Crimmigration law (the combination of immigration and criminal law matters). All attorneys are members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association-AILA.  For detained clients, same day appointments are scheduled with our lawyers whenever possible for an initial no fee consultation.

We serve immigration clients across the United States & globally from our offices located in Washington D.C, Virginia and Maryland. As a full-service immigration practice, we not only represent cases in Immigration courts, but also have over 22 years of experience in representing businesses, entrepreneurs, investors, individuals and families U.S. visa case matters. You may schedule an appointment by emailing info@vasselllaw.com; or visit  us at www.vasselllaw.com.

(Initial 20 minute Free Video or In Office Consultations Available upon Request).

Does Your Immigration Lawyer Have The Deer In The Headlight Look?

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Does your immigration lawyer look at you like a ‘deer who has been caught in headlights’ when asked about the following immigration solutions discussed below? If so, you may need to get a second opinion in one of the most complex areas of law in the United States… Immigration law matters.

If you want to learn more about these solutions…Keep Reading!!

Our Immigration legal team believes finding legal solutions for our clients is highly complex and seriously impacts lives when a solution is overlooked. As a result, our law firm has limited our law practice to U.S. Immigration matters for almost two decades.

Here we share a checklist from our law firm that lists some of the legal options you should review if you or someone you know is out of status, or has come into the country uninspected without a visa. Our purpose here is to  make you aware and spot issues with your immigration attorney.  Based on this list, I will go ahead and point out only a few of the legal options on this list for timesake. Okay, let’s get started!!

 

 

  1. Nicaraguan Act ( NACARA).  Also called the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act it was a relief available in the 1990s to certain Central and South Americans.  If an individual missed the application window, the good news is that the benefit is retroactive and you may still apply today for  NACARA based Permanent Resident Status if you lived here during the required time period.

 

  1. Child of a successful NACARA applicant. Even the child of a successful NACARA applicant who was a minor back in the 1990s, may be eligible for Permanent Resident Status based on his or her  parents successful application. This is a very powerful form of relief and should not be missed.

 

  1. Employment Sponsorship. This option allows a U.S. Employer who wants to sponsor an undocumented individual to do so in special circumstances.  However, a special waiver is required in order to except the years of unlawful presence in the United States. Employment is one of the most popular ways, next to family sponsorship, when an undocumented individual is looking for a path to Permanent Resident Status.

 

  1. Derivative Citizenship.

 

  1. U Visa where a crime was committed against non-resident in USA. If at anytime a crime is committed against an undocumented person residing in the United States, it is important to report the crime and cooperate with police authorities. Failure to do so will cause a victim of crime who is undocumented to miss out an avenue to receive permanent resident status with the help of a seasoned immigration lawyer. Don’t forget that sexual harassment and abuse is a crime and being undocumented does not mean you have to endure a crime being committed against you.

 

  1. Non pro tunc Motion to forgive falling out of status

 

  1. Family Sponsorship

 

  1. Asylum even if after one year requirement

 

  1. T Visa (Trafficking Visa).  Trafficking occurs in a variety of ways. If you have been hired as an au pair, diplomatic Visa helper, or any Visa where you are being forced to work way beyond the scope of specified job without additional pay, or you have been used to perform illegal activity against your will and under threat or duress..a T visa based ‘Green Card’ is a strong possibility not to be overlooked.

 

  1. Marriage to existing U.S. Fiance

 

  1. S Visa if you are a key witness and will cooperate with the legal authorities

 

  1. Self petitioning VAWA if you have been abused, abandoned & mistreated by U.S. spouse.

 

  1. Ineffective counsel. If an attorney has caused you to be out of status a remedy is possible.

 

  1. A National Interest Waiver is available if you have high level education or a cause you have pursued where you have impacted the United States public interest; and you have been recognized nationally or internationally for your contribution.

 

There are also the below Waivers to forgive criminal, unlawful presence, misrepresentation and so much more:

 

  1. I-601/I-601A Waiver

 

  1. Criminal Waivers

 

I hope this list can empower anyone who does not know where to begin in resolving his or her out of status issues. Schedule an appointment and meet with experienced legal counsel today. Even if your lawyer gives you the “deer in headlights” look, don’t give up; and seek another legal opinion elsewhere.

 

All of our lawyers are Members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. We serve clients throughout the United States & Internationally from our offices based in Washington D.C., Maryland & Virginia. Thank you for (listening). This has been ScottVassell Law U.S. Immigration Minutes.

The Six Month Travel Game

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Becoming a U.S. Permanent Resident of the United States is a very exciting accomplishment until you can’t find work, qualified affordable child care, or a close family member falls ill unexpectedly. These are a few of the reasons Permanent Residents often leave the United States for extensive periods of time despite the risk of abandoning their U.S. Permanent Resident Status.

Unfortunately, it is a myth that once a U.S. permanent resident you come back every six months there is no risk to being stripped of U.S. status by U.S. Customs Border & Patrol (“CBP”).

It’s important to note that the requirements to not lose one’s permanent resident status and the rules to apply eventually for Naturalization are very different. First, Permanent Residency requires a reentry permit, proof of continuous residence. Working with experienced immigration legal counsel is an essential step before relocating abroad for even  for a short period of time.

Naturalization, on the other hand, requires consideration of an N-470 to preserve time counting towards citizenship and the guidelines are very strict to be eligible for Citizenship after extended travel abroad. It is encouraged to always apply for I-131 reentry permit. However, to apply for citizenship one must demonstrate the following:

1) Resided continuously in the United States for at least 5 as a lawful permanent Resident;

2) Have resided for at least 3 months in the State or USCIS District where residency is claimed before filing for Citizenship (N-400);

3)Have resided continuously in the United States from the date of filing N-400 up to the time of administration of the Oath of Allegiance and Be physically present in the United States for at least 21/2 years at the time of filing Form N-400.

To balance and ensure that U.S. Immigration laws are satisfied when traveling abroad, always consult with an experienced immigration lawyer who will explain the overlapping and independent issues between ‘not abandoning’ U.S. Permanent Status and becoming ‘disqualified from’ applying for Naturalization Citizenship.