Monthly Archives: July 2013

K-1 Fiancé Visas

 

The K-1 visa is for the unmarried, foreign national fiancé of a U.S. citizen living abroad. This visa allows the foreign national fiancé to enter the United States in order to marry the U.S. citizen sponsor within ninety (90) days of arrival. The foreign national may also bring his/her children under K-2 visas.

Qualifications

To qualify for the K visa, both the U.S. citizen and the foreign national must have been legally free to marry at the time the petition was filed and must have remained so thereafter. In other words, both parties must have been of legal and were not otherwise married to other spouses. In addition, the marriage must be legal pursuant to the laws of the U.S. state in which the marriage will take place. Additionally, both parties must have met in person within the past two years. For example, if a U.S. citizen met a foreign national through an online dating site, and have been communicating via email without ever having met in person, they would not qualify for a K visa. An exception to this requirement may be made based on extreme hardship for the U.S. citizen sponsor to personally meet the foreign-citizen fiancé or if it is contrary in the U.S. citizen sponsor’s or foreign-citizen fiancé’s culture for a man and woman to meet before marriage. However, it is very unlikely that this type of exception will be made by the USCIS in instances involving most foreign national fiancés.

Procedure

The first step requires the U.S. citizen to file a petition with the USCIS. Once approved, the petition will be sent to the consulate in the foreign national’s home country where he/she will apply for the K visa. This process will usually require an interview, fingerprinting, providing certain documents, including results of a medical examination, proof of vaccinations and proof of financial support. Upon approval, the foreign national fiancé may enter the United States, at which time he/she will have to marry the U.S. citizen within ninety days.

Please click here for more information on the K-1 visa.

Questions you should ask when investing in an EB-5 Regional Center Project

The United States EB-5 investor green card allows a foreign investor to place $500,000.00 in a Regional Center, which is an approved investment enterprise that has met the criteria set out by the USCIS to accept foreign investments in order to apply for U.S. permanent residency. Regional Centers have seen a surge in popularity in recent years – not only in investor applicants, but in the number of Regional Centers themselves. However, not all Regional Centers are created equal. Below are the top 5 questions an investor should ask when considering what Regional Center to invest in:

When was this regional center certified by the USCIS?

The EB-5 program was created by Congress in 1990 and to date, there are almost 300 Regional Centers throughout the United States. Some Regional Centers have been around longer than others. Those that have been around longer will have a more extensive track record for the investor to evaluate (i.e, successful projects, approvals, rejections, etc.). On the contrary, recently certified Regional Centers will be less likely to demonstrate a successful track record, simply because the process of initial investment to the removal of conditional residency will take at least 2-3 years. Therefore, a prudent investor should look for a Regional Center who has been around longer.

How long do I have to keep my investment in the project?

While the regulations require you to keep your money invested in the Regional Center for at least two years after you are approved for conditional residency, Regional Centers usually require you to keep the money invested for anywhere from three to seven years. This means that you may not be entitled to get your $500,000 back until long after you have received permanent residency. A lot of newer Regional Centers will provide a shorter lock-in time of your investment in order to entice you to invest in their projects, while older, more established Regional Centers will require you to keep the investment in the project for a longer period of time.

Please click here for more information on the EB-5 green card.