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Posts Tagged ‘immigrant

EB-5 or EB-6 — Which Investor Visa is for You?

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The EB-5 visa for Immigrant Investors is a United States visa that allows foreign nationals who invest money in the United States to obtain permanent residency (green card ).  The usual investment threshold is $1 million (or $500,000 in a high unemployment or rural area), creating or preserving at least 10 jobs for U.S. workers excluding the investor and their immediate family.  Investments can be made directly in a commercial enterprise (new, or existing  “Troubled Business”), or into a US government approved 3rd party-managed investment which invests the money and  takes over the responsibility of creating the requisite jobs.   There usually is a management or administration fee for managing the investor’s investment.

If the investor’s EB-5 visa petition is approved, the investor and any dependents will be granted conditional permanent residence valid for two years.  Upon fulfilling appropriate requirements, the conditional permanent residency may then be petitioned to be converted to a permanent residency.

Under the new Immigration Reform bill currently passing through the US Congress, the current EB-5 program is going to be expanded to include a new investor visa — EB-6 — that would bring down the investment threshold for those looking to invest and gain residency in the United States. Since over the past many years, barely half of the available EB-5 visas are issues every year, the new visa is designed to make use of the same pool of available visas as the existing EB-5 visa.

The fulfillment requirements attached to EB-6 differ from those for EB-5, and also distinguishes between a non-immigrant or an immigrant visa.  To gain permanent residency, the EB-6 visa calls for an investment as well as creation of 5 jobs.  Just like EB-5, an application then many be made after 2 years for a permanent residency permit.

For those looking for a non-permanent stay in the United States a three-year non-immigrant visa can be granted upon an investment of $100,000 in a U.S. company or upon creation of at least 3 jobs and annual revenues exceeding $250,000 for two years in a row.

While not utilized fully, EB-5 applications are on an upward trend over recent years, according to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). More and more new investors are able to get assistance with their applications from law firms, who can both represent the investor and advise in the matters of picking the right investment vehicles and/or 3rd party “managed investment” options for both EB-5 and EB-6 visas.

Hanishi  T. Ali is an immigration and international business attorney at Mithras Law Group, a greater Boston based immigration and international business law firm, which focuses on US, Canada and UK based Immigration law. Hanishi can be reached at 617-500-3233 or at

Written by MithrasLaw

July 2, 2013 at 7:13 pm

“Startup Visa” Immigration Programs in USA & Canada

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There has been a lot of recent focus on the new proposed Startup Visa amendment to the U.S. immigration law.  This amendment would create a new immigrant visa category for entrepreneurs who have raised capital from qualified American investors.  This is a new employment based visa category — EB-6, and grants conditional permanent residency to the entrepreneur, who would be otherwise unable to avail of other existing immigrant visa categories such as EB-1 (Priority Worker) or EB-5 (the so-called investment visa).  The conditional residency can then convert to a permanent residency (green card) after two years if certain conditions are fulfilled.  Last week the Senate passed a bill containing this amendment by a vote of 68-32.  Before it becomes the law, the bill still has to pass the next hurdle in the House of Representatives.

Canadian government, in the meanwhile, has already launch a near identical Startup Visa program, starting in April 2013.  The aim is to encourage “innovative immigrant entrepreneurs who will create new jobs and spur economic growth.”  This is a pilot program, initially to run for five years and with a limited number of applications.  If the program is deemed successful after the initial five years, it may be formally made permanent.

The Canadian Startup Visa Program will enable immigrant entrepreneurs to launch companies that will create jobs in Canada with investment made by approved Canadian investors.  The Program will provide entrepreneurs with valuable assistance in navigating the Canadian business environment which can sometimes prove challenging for newcomers.

Hanishi  T. Ali is an immigration and international business attorney at Mithras Law Group, a greater Boston based immigration and international business law firm, which focuses on US, Canada and UK based Immigration law. Hanishi can be reached at 617-500-3233 or at

FY 2011 H-1B Update Count (10/1)

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As of  October 1, 2010, approximately 40,600 H-1B cap subject petitions were receipted. Additionally, USCIS has receipted 14,900 H-1B petitions for aliens with advanced degrees.

Written by MithrasLaw

October 8, 2010 at 5:41 am

President Obama’s Aunt Granted Asylum

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President Obama’s aunt, who is the half-sister of the President’s late father, Zeituni Onyango, came to the United States in 2000 seeking a better life and applied for political asylum in 2002, but was rejected in 2004 and ordered to leave the United States. Onyango remained undetected until the presidential election when she was found living illegally in Boston. Onyango filed a petition to reopen her asylum case and she was granted asylum last week in Boston by Judge Leonard I. Shapiro, on the grounds that she feared tribal violence and health risk if she were forced to return to her home country Kenya. (Click here for the earlier article where our attorney, Hanishi T. Ali, was interviewed by AP).

Asylum seekers must show that they will face persecution if forced to return to their home country on the basis of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a social group – which is a difficult standard to meet.

Onyango lawyers successfully argued that Onyango, 57, was a member of a minority tribe, the Luo Tribe, in Kenya and that she would face persecution if forced to return to Kenya. In addition, Onyango’s lawyers asked to for her to remain in the United States for health reasons as Onyango suffers from an autoimmune disorder called Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Onyango is now entitled to work and to apply for legal permanent residency in a year and US citizenship after five years.

Written by MithrasLaw

May 25, 2010 at 11:17 am

Temporary Protected Status Granted to Haitian Nationals Present in the US

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Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, has announced the designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Hatian nationals who were in the United States as of January 12, 2010.  The DHs has issued a statment that this is a historic disaster and TPS will allow eligible Hatian nationals who are currently in the United States to continue living and working in our country for the next 18 months. 

TPS designation will protect Hatians who would otherwise be endangered by returning home. It should be noted that TPS will apply only to those individuals who were in the United States as of January 12, 2010. Those who attempt to travel to the United States after January 12, 2010 will not be eligible for TPS and will be repatriated.

Haitians in the U.S. who are eligible to apply for TPS can go to or call USCIS toll-free at (800) 375-5283 to claim TPS status.

Vaccination Requirements for Immigrants

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Under the immigration laws of the United States, a foreign national who applies for an immigrant visa abroad, or who seeks to adjust status as a permanent resident while in the United States, is required to receive vaccinations to prevent the following diseases:

Tetanus and Diphtheria Toxoids
Influenza Type B
Hepatitis B
Any other vaccine-preventable diseases recommended by the Advisory Committee for
Immunization Practices

On January 5, 2010, The United States Citizen and Immigration Services issued a list of questions and answers to provide basic information about the general vaccination requirements for immigrants (including those individulas seeking adjustment of status) and specifically about the assessment made by the civil surgeon to determine whether an applicant meets the vaccination requirements.

The questions and answers are reproduced below for our readers:

Q. Why do immigrants and adjustment of status applicants have to show proof they have
received certain vaccinations?

A. In 1996, Congress provided in legislation that every immigrant entering the United States, or every individual seeking adjustment of status to that of a legal permanent resident, show proof that he or she was vaccinated against vaccine-preventable diseases. The text for this requirement
is in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), section 212(a)(1)(A)(ii).

Q. How does the CDC decide which vaccines are required for immigration purposes?
A. Some of the vaccines that are required are specifically listed in the INA. In addition to these, the statute also requires that an individual receive any other vaccinations recommended by the ACIP. CDC uses the following criteria in determining which of these recommended vaccines should be required for immigration purposes:
The vaccine must be an age-appropriate vaccine as recommended by the ACIP for the
general U.S. population, and at least one of the following:
-The vaccine must protect against a disease that has the potential to cause an outbreak;
-The vaccine must protect against a disease eliminated in the United States, or is in the process of being eliminated in the United States.

Q. I am seeking immigrant status in the United States but had a medical examination abroad by a panel physician; I also received some vaccines. Do I have to repeat the medical examination and get the vaccines again?
A. Please read the instructions to Form I-693 ( to determine if you must repeat the medical examination, including the vaccination assessment, based on your current status in the United States.

Q. How do I know which vaccines are required for immigration purposes?
A. A civil surgeon is required to follow the Technical Instructions for the Examination of Aliens in the United States, including the 2009 Technical Instructions to Civil Surgeons for Vaccinations,and any updates published online at CDC publishes the vaccination requirements and medical examination instructions (including a detailed table listing all required vaccines) online at

Q. Do I have to receive all the required vaccines, even though I have been vaccinated before?
A. No. The civil surgeon will review your vaccination records at the time of your medical examination to see whether you have proof of earlier vaccinations against vaccine-preventable diseases that are appropriate for your age category. It is important that you take any written vaccination documentation you may have to the civil surgeon when you have your immigration medical examination. If you lack any vaccinations required for your age category, the civil surgeon will administer the vaccines as needed. In the alternative, you can also choose to obtain the required vaccines from your private healthcare provider. However, because only a civil surgeon is authorized to complete the vaccination assessment on the Form I-693, you must return to the civil surgeon with the proof that you have received the missing vaccines. In addition, some individuals are immune to vaccine-preventable diseases, and they know of the immunity because their private healthcare provider has tested them. If you have any written evidence of immunity, you should take this documentation to your civil surgeon. This will enable the civil surgeon to determine which vaccines you need to receive.

Q. Do I have to receive all the vaccines on CDC’s vaccination list for the immigrant population, or only the ones that are age appropriate?
A. You are required to document receipt of vaccines that are age appropriate for you. The civil surgeon will annotate Form I-693 to indicate that you were not required to receive a particular vaccine because it was not age appropriate at the time of the medical examination.

Q. Do I have to receive all the vaccines that are on CDC’s list and that are age appropriate, although I may have a medical condition that prevents me from receiving the required vaccines?
A. If you have a medical condition that prevents you from receiving a vaccine that is appropriate for your age, the civil surgeon will annotate the Form I-693 accordingly and mark the vaccine as contraindicated. A contraindication is a condition that prevents you from receiving a particular vaccine. CDC lists in its Technical Instructions what is considered a contraindication. It is up to the civil surgeon to determine whether you have such a condition that prevents you from receiving a particular vaccine at the time of the immigration medical examination.

Q. Certain vaccine series can only be completed with multiple visits to the civil surgeon. Am I required to complete the entire series before the civil surgeon can sign the Form I-693?
A. You are only required to receive a single dose of each vaccine when you visit the civil surgeon. You are encouraged to follow up with your private health care provider to complete the series. Once you have received the single dose appropriate at the time, the civil surgeon can sign and certify the Form I-693.

Q. I am pregnant and do not wish to receive any vaccinations. Do I still have to get them to be able to obtain permanent resident status in the United States?
A. If you are pregnant, the CDC’s Technical Instructions direct the civil surgeon how to evaluate the vaccines you are able to receive during pregnancy. If the civil surgeon cannot safely administer a required vaccine, he/she will annotate the Form I-693 by marking the vaccine as contraindicated. Information on pregnancy and vaccinations, in general, is available at:

Q. Can the civil surgeon safely administer all vaccines that are required all at once?
A. The civil surgeon will let you know if you can receive all the vaccines at once, or if there is a concern based on your particular medical condition that will not allow you to receive all required vaccines at once.

Q. When does the flu season start for purposes of the seasonal flu vaccine requirement? Since the seasonal flu vaccine is required, do I have to get the seasonal flu vaccine if it is not the flu season?
A. For purposes of the immigration medical examination, the flu season starts on October 1 and
ends on March 31 each year. If your immigration medical examination is during this period, you
are required to have the seasonal flu vaccine. If you have an immigration medical examination
completed between April 1 and September 31, when it is not the flu season for immigration purposes, you are not required to document that you have received the seasonal flu vaccine.

Q. I heard that the vaccine against herpes zoster (zoster) and the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) are required vaccines. Is this true?
A. From Aug. 1, 2008, until Dec. 13, 2009, the zoster and the HPV were required vaccines for immigration purposes. However, the zoster vaccine was not available from Aug. 1, 2008, through Dec. 13, 2009, and USCIS posted a message on the Web to inform civil surgeons they could annotate the vaccination record with “not available” if they were not able to obtain the vaccine. In 2009, CDC changed the vaccination requirements based on ACIP’s recommendations. As of Dec. 14, 2009, the zoster and the HPV vaccine were no longer required.

Q. I had my immigration medical examination before Dec. 14, 2009, before the zoster and HPV vaccines were eliminated. I was required to have one of them, but did not receive it. My Form I-693 says that I refused to have the HPV or zoster vaccine. Will my I-693 be returned or my
application denied?
A. On Dec. 14, 2009, vaccines against herpes zoster (zoster) and HPV are no longer required. It is irrelevant that you did not receive either the zoster or the HPV because beginning on Dec. 14, 2009; you are no longer inadmissible solely because you did not have the vaccine. USCIS will not return your Form I-693, nor will it deny your application because you did not receive the vaccine.

Q. Who pays for the vaccinations?
A. The applicant is responsible for paying the appropriate fee for all vaccinations directly to the civil surgeon, as agreed upon with the civil surgeon. You should ask about the price of the vaccinations before the medical examination or the administration of the vaccinations.

Q. Can I be forced to be vaccinated for immigration purposes?
A. If you refuse to receive the vaccines required for immigration purposes, as mandated by the immigration laws of the United States, your application for legal permanent resident status may be denied.

Q. What will happen if I refuse to receive one or all of the required vaccines?
A. Tell the civil surgeon if you do not wish to receive the required vaccines or a particular vaccine. You should also tell the civil surgeon the reason you do not wish to receive the vaccine(s). In this case, a waiver may be available to you, but only under the following circumstances:
You are opposed to vaccinations in any form– that is, you cannot obtain a waiver based on an objection only as to one vaccination
Your objection must be based on religious beliefs or moral convictions; and The religious or moral beliefs must be sincere. The form used to apply for a waiver depends on the adjustment category under which you are seeking legal permanent residence status. For example, refugees and asylees seeking adjustment of status should file Form I-602, Application by Refugee for Waiver of Grounds of Excludability. Individuals seeking adjustment of status as a result of an approved Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, or Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, would file Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility.

Q. My civil surgeon says that a vaccine is currently not available. What should I do?
A. Ask the civil surgeon whether another health care provider may have the vaccine. If another physician or department or pharmacy carries the vaccine and can administer the vaccine, you should get the vaccine and request documentation that you have received the vaccine. Bring the written record back to the civil surgeon so that s/he can complete the Form I-693. HHS/CDC monitors which vaccines are not available in the United States, or which vaccines may experience a shortage. If CDC determines there is a nation-wide shortage of a vaccine, it will
recommend to USCIS to post a message on to explain to applicants and civil surgeons whether the vaccine is required and under what circumstances. The information is available on USCIS’ Form I-693 page, the Immigration Medical Examination page, or the
Designated Civil Surgeon page.

Q. Will USCIS accept a Form I-693 if the vaccination chart is incomplete?
A. No. The vaccination chart should have at least one entry in each row for each vaccine. If the vaccination chart is not properly completed at the time of the medical examination, USCIS may return the Form I-693 to you with instructions on how to correct it.
If you refuse a vaccine because of religious or moral reasons, the civil surgeon will mark this on the Form I-693. In this case, you will have to apply for a waiver.

Q: Where can I find more information about the vaccination requirements for immigration purposes and how these requirements affect the completion of Form I-693?
A. CDC publishes the Technical Instructions including the vaccination component at

Written by MithrasLaw

January 9, 2010 at 9:44 pm

Posted in Immigration

Tagged with , ,

AAO Processing Times as of December 2, 2009

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Written by MithrasLaw

January 5, 2010 at 8:16 pm

H-1B Update (Nov. 2009)

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As of November 27, 2009, approximately 58,900 H-1B cap-subject petitions had been filed. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has approved sufficient H-1B petitions for aliens with advanced degrees to meet the exemption of 20,000 from the fiscal year 2010 cap. Any H-1B petitions filed on behalf of an alien with an advanced degree will now count toward the general H-1B cap of 65,000.

USCIS will continue to accept both cap-subject petitions and advanced degree petitions until a sufficient number of H-1B petitions have been received to reach the statutory limits, taking into account the fact that some of these petitions may be denied, revoked, or withdrawn.

Written by MithrasLaw

December 1, 2009 at 4:17 pm

AAO Processing Times as of November 1, 2009

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Case Type Time
I – 129F Petition for Fiancée 2 Months*
I – 129 H1B Nonimmigrant Specialty Occupation Worker 13 Months
I – 129 H2 Temporary Nonimmigrant Worker 6 Months*
I – 129 H3 Temporary Nonimmigrant Worker 6 Months*
I – 129 L Nonimmigrant Intracompany Transferee 8 Months
I – 129 O Nonimmigrant Extraordinary Ability Worker 2 Months*
I – 129 P1, P2, P3 Athletes, Artists and Entertainers 6 Months*
I – 129 Q Cultural Exchange Visitor 6 Months*
I – 129 R N/I Religious Worker 5 Months*
I – 131 Application for Travel Document 3 Months*
I – 140 EB1 (A) ‐ Alien with Extraordinary Ability 5 Months
I – 140 EB1 (B) ‐ Outstanding Professor or Researcher 5 Months*
I – 140 EB1 (C) ‐ Multinational Manager or Executive 10 Months
I – 140 EB2 (D) – Advanced Degree Professional 27 Months
I – 140 EB2 (I) – National Interest Waiver 6 Months*
I – 140 EB3 (E) – Skilled or Professional Worker 23 Months
I – 140 EB3 (G) – Other Worker 22 Months
I – 212 Application to Reapply for Admission 2 Months*
I – 360 EB4 Petition for Religious Worker 5 Months*
I – 360 C Special Immigrant Juvenile 2 Months*
I – 360 VAWA Violence Against Women Act Petition 4 Months*
I – 485 Cuban Adjustment Act Application 5 Months*
I – 485 LIFE Act Adjustment Application 6 Months*
I – 485 Section 13 Adjustment Application 4 Months*
I – 526 EB5 Alien Entrepreneur 5 Months*
I – 600 Petition for Orphan 2 Months*
I – 601 Application for Waiver of Inadmissibility 26 Months
I – 612 Application for 212(e) Waiver 2 Months*
I – 687 Legalization Application for Temporary Residence 18 Months
I – 690 Legalization/SAW – Waive Grounds of Excludability 2 Months*
I – 698 Legalization Adjustment Application 2 Months*
I – 700 Special Agricultural Worker 2 Months*
I – 821 Temporary Protected Status 4 Months*
I – 905 Application to Issue Cert for Health Care Workers 2 Months*
I – 914 Application for T Nonimmigrant Status 2 Months*
I – 918 Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status 2 Months*
N – 470 Application to Preserve Residence 4 Months*
N – 565 Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Doc 4 Months*
N – 600 Certificate of Citizenship 4 Months*
N – 643 Certificate of Citizenship for Adopted Child 2 Months*

* Within current USCIS processing time goal of six months or less

Written by MithrasLaw

November 6, 2009 at 4:12 pm

Having a Criminal Record Can Affect Your Immigration Status

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If you are not a US Citizen and have a criminal record of any sort, it has become increasingly important to know and understand the immigration consequences on your immigration status.

This article explores how having any contact with the criminal justice system can affect a non-US citizen’s immigration status. A non-US citizen includes non-immigrant visa holders as well as green-card holders.

Firstly, it must be understood that being convicted is defined differently for immigration purposes than under state criminal law.

A person is considered to have been convicted if a court has adjudicated him or her guilty or entered a formal judgment of guilt against him or her. Also, a person is considered convicted for immigration purposes even if the court has withheld adjudication on the basis that (1) the person was found guilty or entered a guilty plea or nolo contendere and (2) the judge ordered some form of restraint or punishment on the person’s liberty.

Secondly, convictions for minor offenses or misdemeanors, or a sentence to only probation, or court supervision, or for that matter very old convictions, can have an impact on your immigration status. The different outcomes vary from:
1. Having your application for lawful permanent residence or naturalization denied;
2. Being placed in deportation proceedings;
3. Being put in detention while removing proceedings are ongoing;
4. Deportation to your home country;
5. Being barred from returning to the United States for certain number of years, or permanently.

Under federal immigration law, crimes of moral turpitude are crimes that shock the public conscious or involve fraud as an element. If a non U.S. citizen is convicted of a crime of moral turpitude s/he may be deported. Crimes of moral turpitude include theft, transporting or receiving stolen goods, embezzlement, fraud, adultery, assault, bigamy, kidnapping, rape, murder, etc, and even charges that may appear seemingly minor such as shop lifting, can trigger deportation proceedings.

Reproduced from e-Sandesh where the article written by our attorney , Hanishi T. Ali, was orignally published:

Written by MithrasLaw

November 2, 2009 at 3:40 pm

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