The Grady Firm Attends World Trade Week Breakfast With Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair as Keynote Speaker

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Former UK Prime Minster Tony Blair Addresses the Audience on his international efforts to combat religious extremism, and Trump’s First 100 days

On May 4, 2017, Jennifer Grady attended the 92nd Annual World Trade Week Kickoff Breakfast, hosted by the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, at the Westin Bonaventure in downtown Los Angeles, California.  The event was attended by over 900 people connected to international business and trade in Los Angeles.

The keynote speakers were Mayor Eric Garcetti; Jack Dangermond, the billionaire founder of the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI); and Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2007.   Mayor Garcetti discussed what makes Los Angeles one of the premier places to do business in the world, and his hopes to make Los Angeles the site of the 2024 Olympics.  Mr. Dangermond explained how the use of interactive maps are changing the world as we know it, even in response to the international refugee crisis.

Mr. Blair explained his efforts to combat religious extremism, and commented on President Trump’s First 100 Days in Office: he wants President Trump to succeed, as his success is the US and Britain’s success.  Since leaving office, Mr. Blair has spent most of his time on work in the Middle East, Africa, and on the fight against religiously-based extremism. Continue reading

The Grady Firm Speaks USC Gould Law School LLM Students

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Jennifer Grady and Andrea Graef

On April 11, 2017, business and immigration attorneys, Jennifer A. Grady, Esq. and Andrea Graef, JD, LLM, spoke to a group of foreign lawyers who are earning a Masters in Law (LLM degree) from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law in downtown Los Angeles, California.

As a licensed attorney from Mexico and a alumna of the program, Ms. Graef spoke to the students about her experience transitioning from student to attorney, and how proper planning is essential to obtaining a job and work visa upon graduation.  one of the more popular strategies for recent LLM graduates is to use the one year available of Optional Practical Training (OPT), and apply for an H-1B visa during that time to take advantage of the cap-gap extension.

Ms. Grady explained the various visa options in detail, including the Specialty Occupation H-1B visa, J-1 Trainee visa, and TN visa for professionals from Mexico and Canada, and the E-2 Investor Visa for new and existing US businesses and L-1A option for executives, managers, and entrepreneurs opening an office of an existing foreign business in the United States. Continue reading

USCIS Reaches FY 2018 H-1B Cap In Only 5 Days

Release Date: April 7, 2017

Lottery BallsWASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has reached the congressionally-mandated 65,000 visa H-1B cap for fiscal year 2018. USCIS has also received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to meet the 20,000 visa U.S. advanced degree exemption, also known as the “Master’s cap.”

USCIS began accepting applications on Monday, April 3.  It will reject and return filing fees for all unselected cap-subject petitions that are not duplicate filings.

USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap.  However, USCIS suspended premium processing on April 3 for up to six months for all H-1B petitions, including cap-exempt petitions. Petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap, and who still retain their cap number, will also not be counted toward the congressionally-mandated FY 2018 H-1B cap. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:

  • Extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the United States;
  • Change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;
  • Allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
  • Allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.

Continue reading

DHS Announces New International Entrepreneur Parole Option for Startup Founders

international-flagsOn January 17, 2017, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a new immigration avenue for foreign entrepreneurs who benefit the U.S economy. The “International Entrepreneur Rule” will serve as a pathway for qualified investors and foreign entrepreneurs to develop business enterprises which have significant public benefit in the United States.

This exciting news for start-ups and foreign entrepreneurs comes as a much welcomed development for those frustrated by the lack of immigration options available through the existing U.S. visas, which generally are not oriented to companies that are still in start-up mode.

Requirements

uscisThis new rule will be effective on July 17, 2017 and it will allow certain international entrepreneurs, on a case-by-case basis, to remain in the United States for up to five years in order to start or expand their businesses.  To secure the parole, three prerequisites are required: (1) applicant must submit the required application; (2) the application must be approved; and (3) a physical entry into the United States with the parole status is required. Continue reading

The EB-5 Program Buys More Time Until December

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The EB-5 Program, as it presently stands, grants permanent residence to foreign investors if they invest $500,000 (in high unemployment areas) or $1 million (in low unemployment areas) in a new business that employs at least 10 U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents on a full-time basis.

Since its inception in 1990, many believe the program minimum amounts of investment is due for an increase, and there has been speculation that the minimum amounts will increase, from $500,000 to $800,000 and from $1 million to $1.2 million, respectively.

Congress extended the EB-5 visa program on September 30, 2016, allowing the program to run until December 2016.  Continue reading

Why is it So Important to Establish Credit In the United States?

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Many people who intend to relocate to the United States do not realize that their positive credit history won’t travel with them because in general, credit history does not transfer from one country to another. It is important to build credit in the United States in order to qualify for loans, credit cards, and other business activities that require creditworthiness.

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What is Credit?

“Credit” is when one party, usually a bank or similar lending institution, provides money or resources to another party without immediate reimbursement. Credit is generally provided with interest fees and/or other arrangement expenses. A lender will look to the creditworthiness of prospective borrowers before extending a line of credit. Continue reading

All Canadian Residents Applying for K-1 Visas Must Now Interview in Montreal

city-skyline-montreal-canada-pexelsAs of April 1, 2016,  the Vancouver offices of the U.S. Consulate General will cease processing of K-1 visas. Now, the K-1 visas, commonly known as”Fiancé(e) visas,” will only be processed by the U.S. Consulate General in Montreal.

While the Bureau of Consular Affairs acknowledged that this change may inconvenience some applicants who will now need to travel for their interviews, it promises that the adjustment will help the consulate schedule and adjudicate K-1 applications more efficiently. Continue reading

How to Overcome the 3-Year and 10-Year Time Bar with the I-601 “Extreme Hardship” Waiver

by Jennifer A. Grady, Esq.

Contrary to popular belief, undocumented immigrants who entered the US without inspection, or overstayed their visas, do not automatically gain US Citizenship when they marry or become engaged to an American citizen.  One reason for this is the unlawful presence “Time Bar”.  In the late 1990s, Congress decided to punish foreign-born people who spend time in the U.S. unlawfully without a visa, Green Card, or other official permission from the U.S. immigration authorities.

calendarIn doing so, Congress created a penalty that prevents undocumented aliens from returning to the U.S. for three (3) years or ten (10) years, depending on how long they stayed unlawfully in the country.  In addition, if the immigrant spouse has a criminal record, overcoming the bars to admission may be even more difficult, if not impossible. Continue reading