USA Visa options for foreign businesses

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US Visa options for foreign businesses. Presentation prepared by Stefano Abbasciano, associate counsel of US legal firm Valla & Associates with offices in the San Francisco Bay Area and New York.

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USA Visa options for foreign businesses

  1. 1. Stefano Abbasciano © 2013 Valla & Associates, Inc., P.C. www.vallalaw.com 1
  2. 2. Visa Options for Foreign Businesses November 13, 2013 © 2013 Valla & Associates, Inc., P.C. www.vallalaw.com 2
  3. 3. Introduction     Caveat: obtaining a visa to the US is not just a matter of filling out a form and paying the corresponding fee Administrative process which requires submission of accurate and complete information to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or to the consular post Applications are scrutinized by immigration officers and/or consular personnel No guarantee that a visa will be approved © 2013 Valla & Associates, Inc., P.C. www.vallalaw.com 3
  4. 4. Applying From Abroad    Most visas require advance petition approval by USCIS in the US Visa application is then made at U.S. consular post abroad Admission at Port of Entry by Customs and Border Protection: Visa does not guarantee admission © 2013 Valla & Associates, Inc., P.C 4
  5. 5. Visa Waiver Program     Up to 90 days Electronic System Travel Authorization (ESTA), generally valid for two years Must have return ticket When travels become frequent and close together in time: travel letter © 2013 Valla & Associates, Inc., P.C. www.vallalaw.com 5
  6. 6. B-1 Visa     Temporary stay and intent to depart the US Strong ties with country of origin Adequate financial arrangements Admission: Up to 6 months © 2013 Valla & Associates, Inc., P.C. www.vallalaw.com 6
  7. 7. B-1 Visa Continued     Commercial transactions not involving productive labor E.g.: contract negotiations; meetings with clients/customers; attending conventions, trade shows, etc. No income from US sources Benefit of activity in US is accrued abroad © 2013 Valla & Associates, Inc., P.C. www.vallalaw.com 7
  8. 8. L-1 (Intracompany Transferee) Visa     Foreign employer and US company in a qualifying relationship Beneficiary employed abroad for at least one year out of past 3 years Managerial or executive capacity: L-1A Specialized knowledge: L-1B © 2013 Valla & Associates, Inc., P.C. www.vallalaw.com 8
  9. 9. L-1 Continued   Initial entry period: generally 3 years (1 year for new offices) Renewals up to:    7 years for L-1A 5 years L-1B Dual Intent: Green Card © 2013 Valla & Associates, Inc., P.C. www.vallalaw.com 9
  10. 10. E-1 or E-2     Based on treaties of friendship, commerce and navigation. Only certain countries (Italy is one of them) Application at US Consular Post Admitted for two years per entry; no limit on stay © 2013 Valla & Associates, Inc., P.C. www.vallalaw.com 10
  11. 11. E-1 or E-2 Continued  Entering for purpose of:    Carrying out substantial trade principally between U.S. and treaty country (E-1) Develop and direct operations of an enterprise in which the alien from the treaty country has invested a substantial amount of capital (E-2) A key employee of an E-1 or E-2 enterprise who is also a citizen of the treaty country (executive, manager or essential skills) © 2013 Valla & Associates, Inc., P.C. www.vallalaw.com 11
  12. 12. E-1 Treaty Trader   International exchange of items of trade between the U.S. and the treaty country Principally between the U.S. and the treaty country   At least 50% of total volume of company’s trade Substantial    Continuous flow of international trade between the two countries Cannot be based on a single transaction Volume of exchanges more important than value © 2013 Valla & Associates, Inc., P.C. www.vallalaw.com 12
  13. 13. E-2 Treaty Investor     Invested or actively in the process of investing Funds must be at risk and in the Investor’s Possession/Control Investment must be substantial Investment must not be marginal  Current or future capacity to generate more than minimal living expenses for investor © 2013 Valla & Associates, Inc., P.C. www.vallalaw.com 13
  14. 14. H-1B Specialty Occupation   Position requires at least a Bachelor’s Degree in a specialty field Beneficiary has that degree or its equivalent  Equivalent degree allowed    Foreign degree equivalent If no degree, three years of experience can be substituted for one year of college Labor Condition Application (LCA) required  Must be filed with DOL before filing H-1B with USCIS © 2013 Valla & Associates, Inc., P.C. www.vallalaw.com 14
  15. 15. H-1B Specialty Occupation Continued  LCA Attestations    Company is paying H-1B worker the higher of:  Prevailing wage in area or “actual wage” at worksite Notice was posted at worksite LCA documents are kept by company © 2013 Valla & Associates, Inc., P.C. www.vallalaw.com 15
  16. 16. H-1B Specialty Occupation Continued  H-1B “Cap”    Visa limited annually to 65,000 plus an additional 20,000 for US graduate degree holders Extensions and “change of employer” petitions do not count against the cap Certain employers exempt from cap   Universities & related organizations Non-profit research institutions © 2013 Valla & Associates, Inc., P.C. www.vallalaw.com 16
  17. 17. H-1B Specialty Occupation Continued  Admitted for 3 years initially; 6 years maximum stay     One or three year extensions available under certain circumstances when green card process has been started Dual intent applies I-129 petition required Status is employer-specific © 2013 Valla & Associates, Inc., P.C. www.vallalaw.com 17
  18. 18. O-1A Visa      Extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business or athletics Demonstrated by sustained acclaim and recognition Purpose of travel to the United States: to start a business in this field Extraordinary ability = level of expertise indicating membership to the small percentage of people who have risen to the very top in a particular field Initial period of stay in the United States: Up to 3 years (may be extended in 1-year increments) © 2013 Valla & Associates, Inc., P.C 18
  19. 19. Thank You! Valla & Associates, Inc., P.C. 1990 N. California Blvd., Suite 1060 Walnut Creek, CA 94596 USA E-mail: stefano.abbasciano@vallalaw.com Phone: +1 925 705 7623 Fax: +1 925 705 7629 www.vallalaw.com © 2013 Valla & Associates, Inc., P.C. www.vallalaw.com 19

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