Can I get an Investor E2 Visa for a Small Business or Investment?

Many people assume that only individuals with large investments can get an Investor E2 Visa. This is simply wrong. In fact, I would say about 90 percent of our office’s Investor E2 Visas are for small business. So, the simple answer is that you can get an E2 Investor Visa for a Small Business. As such, the actual investment also does not have to be a large investment.

What type of business do I have to open to get an Investor E2 Visa?

Answer: To apply for an Investor E2 Visa, the types of business are tremendously broad. Just to give you an example, just in the past two months, we have filed and received approvals for business that provide various goods and services. A pool construction, renovation and maintenance business. What is interesting about this business is that it is a seasonal business that likely operates only a third of the year. Another business was a limousine business, with only one vehicle. Yet another business was a small hair salon. The fact is that you do not have to invest a lot of money to obtain an Investor E2 Visa. In fact, the investments by the above examples ranged from $28,000 to about $60,000.

What evidence or documents do I need to obtain an Investor E2 Visa?

Answer: Immigration is very flexible and understands that a business that is first starting out will need some time to get on its feet. However, some evidence of formation, existence and steps toward becoming a “real” business is required. For example, entity formation documents, tax documents, a commercial lease agreement, utilities, etc.

Can my family also benefit from my Investor E2 Visa?

Answer: Yes. Your spouse and children can get derivative status.

Immigration Court located in New York City at 26 Federal Plaza, New York NY

Many individuals contact my office in some major distress because they received a “Notice to Appear” at the Executive Office for Immigration Review (also known as the Immigration Court). Most are unaware of the Immigration Court process and the various agencies involved when an individual receives this type of notice. For example, it is quite common that various agencies within the Department of Homeland Security will be involved during this process. Some of these agencies generally include, the Office of the Immigration Judge, Office of the Chief Counsel (which can be viewed as the Immigration prosecutor) and the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (which is often the benefit/application branch). These are just some of the agencies involved in these types of matters.

What should I expect or do if I receive a “Notice to Appear” instructing me to appear at the Immigration Court located at 26 Federal Plaza, New York, NY?

One thing you must do is to make sure to appear at the date and time scheduled. If you do not, you may be ordered deported/removed without you being there. This is often called an “in absentia order”. You certainly want to avoid that. All too often clients tell me that they didn’t show up in Court because they were afraid. That is a very bad choice. Being afraid of the unknown is normal. However, there is no reason to take the advice of anyone other than an experienced immigration lawyer that often appears at the Immigration Court at 26 Federal Plaza, New York NY. Once you do appear, your case will be presented before/in front of an Immigration Judge that presides over cases at 26 Federal Plaza, New York City.

Should I or Do I need to hire a lawyer for my case at the Immigration Court located at 26 Federal Plaza?

Unlike the criminal justice system, the government will not appoint a free lawyer on your behalf. In addition, the immigration laws are probably the most complex and ever changing laws within the United States. So, the short answer is yes. I repeat . . . yes!!!! This is not the type of system where mistakes are frequently forgiven. However, I caution anyone against hiring just any attorney that claims to practice immigration law. Be smart, do your own research and make sure to hires someone that often appears at the Immigration Court at 26 Federal Plaza, New York, NY.

Who is the best immigration lawyer at the Immigration Court at 26 Federal Plaza, New York, NY?

There are times when potential clients will ask this question. I think that asking this question is synonymous with asking someone what the best car is? This is often very subjective and many factors will play into the answer. Some important factors include years of practice, type of practice, responsiveness by the lawyer’s office, treatment of clients in a compassionate manner, reasonable lawyers fees, etc. The list can go on and on. However, be smart and make your decision based on your needs and not just simply because someone said “This lawyer is the best.” In my opinion, a lawyer that can and does balance all these important factors and understands that although a law firm is a business, there is a human element that goes beyond dollars and cents is likely the lawyer that will likely be the right choice.

Immigration (ICE) Detainer or Hold Due to Arrest in New York City

Our office is contacted quite often by family members whose loved ones were arrested by police for a criminal offense. The issue of a detainer usually arises when a non-U.S. citizen is the defendant in the criminal case. Although the criminal court may decide to grant bail, often times Immigration through the Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) will issue a “detainer”, which is a request to the jail not to release the person without notification to ICE because of the immigration issue. The key word was “request”. Yes, it is technically only a request and not an order to the officials at the jail. In addition, the request is for a period not to exceed 48 hours, not including federal holidays or weekends. Keep in mind that the issuance of the detainer does not mean that there is an Immigration Warrant. ICE can issue a detainer for simply an Immigration investigation.

What can someone do if there is a detainer by Immigration (ICE) due to an arrest in New York City? The first thing that needs to be done is to make sure the loved one is represented by competent criminal defense counsel and immigration counsel. Sometimes, the issue of the detainer can be worked out with an official from ICE. ICE through the Department of Homeland Security may issue a DHS Bond.

What if Immigration (ICE / DHS) refuses to issue a DHS Bond? If there is a refusal by ICE or DHS to issue bond, one can apply to the Immigration Court for a Bond reconsideration. At that stage, an Immigration Judge will decide whether the person is subject to release through bond or whether the person is subject to mandatory detention. Even if eligible for release on bond, the loved one will need a strong advocate to increase the chances of release on bond and to make a valiant effort to assure the bond is as low as possible.

What should be done when a loved one is arrested by local law enforcement such as NYPD? First try to ascertain the immigration status of the loved one. If the person is a US citizen, there should not be an immigration detainer. If the person is a green card holder (permanent resident), the person can still be placed in removal proceedings depending on the criminal issues involved. In addition, anyone who has violated their immigration status (such as a person with a student visa who has stopped attending school), may also be placed in removal proceedings.

Once you ascertain, the persons immigration status, one must carefully consider any past criminal history to determine the next strategy. Any criminal history may further impact what happens to him as a result of the detainer.

The bottom line is you will need to make sure that an immigration lawyer deals with the immigration issue. My experience has been that when there is both a criminal issue and an immigration issue, the immigration issue usually is the bigger issue to deal with. For example, here in New York City a person without any immigration status and charged with petit larceny (“petty” larceny) for stealing a pair of $30 sunglasses, may have a criminal case against them and an ICE detainer. In that particular case, most likely the criminal case will be dealt with rather quickly by criminal defense counsel. However, although petit larceny is usually not considered a serious offense in the criminal court system in NYC, Immigration officials consider this offense a “crime involving moral turpitude” and may consider such a person deportable for a conviction for that offense, as well as for being illegal in the country. So, the bigger problem to deal with will usually be the immigration issue. All too often, individuals do not recognize this and end up in immigration custody for an unreasonable period of time.

Immigration Arrest and Detention at Hudson County Jail in Kearny, New Jersey

This week I had a person’s loved one contact me to tell me that she was very frustrated and upset. She began to tell me in the middle of the night immigration officers (Immigration Customs Enforcement – ICE) made their way into his home and arrested the boyfriend and took him to the Hudson County Jail. She could not understand why.

She began to tell me the following: Her boyfriend was previously (over 10 years ago) convicted of a gun charge and sentenced to time in prison. He was a permanent resident (green card holder) and had been living here since childhood. In fact, he entered the U.S. almost 30 years ago. His parents and siblings were all in the U.S. and either U.S. Citizens or Permanent Resident. She could not understand why her boyfriend was again arrested for a crime he committed over 10 years ago and for which he paid his dues to society (afterall he spent over a year in prison for that offense). She continued to say that he had been out of prison for almost 10 years and had completed parole. Why would they come after him now? She was very upset and couldn’t figure out what was happening and why the *?&%#!! now???!!!!?!!. (I’ll leave out some of the language used although it was a worthy reaction)

These fact patterns are actually very common in my practice. As such, I decided that perhaps I should write about this topic and address some of the frequently asked questions. So, here it is . . . . .

Who can be deported or removed from the United States?

Essentially, anyone that is not U.S. citizen can be deported or removed. This can include someone that may entered the country illegally (through the Mexico border perhaps) overstayed their authorized stay (a tourist), violated terms of their authorized stay (a foreign student who stopped attending school) or even a permanent resident (green card holder).

How can Immigration (ICE / DHS) deport or remove a permanent resident (green card holder)?

Having the status of permanent resident does not guarantee that you can stay in the U.S. Convictions of certain crimes could cause someone to be placed in removal or deportation proceedings. These crimes can include (but are not limited to) crimes involving moral turpitude, aggravated felonies and controlled substance offenses (drugs). If Immigration decides that an individual has been convicted of a deportable/removeable offense, they can start removal proceedings.

What happens when Immigration (ICE /DHS) decides to start removal proceedings?

ICE / DHS will issue a Notice to Appear requiring the person to appear in front of an Immigration Judge. This can precede or follow the arrest of the person or simply require the person to appear on his own in front of an Immigration Judge.

Why would Immigration (ICE / DHS) arrest someone?

Although this is a loaded question, I’ll try to provide a general answer. Immigration arrests someone if they feels the person is a flight risk, security risk and/or danger to the community.

Why did Immigration (ICE / DHS) wait so long to arrest the loved one?

Good question . . . Although we likely will never know the one answer to the question, I can tell you that the increase in technological advances and databases certainly contribute. In addition, the fact that there has been less enforcement against illegals without criminal history has unfortunately caused a giant increase of enforcement against individuals with criminal backgrounds.

Where does Immigration (ICE / DHS) take someone from New York City after an arrest? Most individuals from New York City are held in New Jersey in places such as the Hudson County Jail or Essex County Jail. Immigration can however theoretically move these individuals anywhere. That is why it’s important to act fast!!!!!!!! I cannot emphasize this enough. Hire a lawyer and do it fast. We have had family members tell us their loved one was sent to Texas before they had a chance to even hire a lawyer.

What is the next step after Immigration arrests someone?

The very first step is to try to have the person released on bond and have them rejoin their loved one. Thereafter, you can fight tooth and nail to try to put the immigration problem behind you.

Applying for Asylum in New York City

Applying and Filing for Asylum in New York City from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan or Kazakhstan

My office has had the pleasure of representing countless numbers of individuals from the so called “Stan” countries of the former Soviet Union. Many of these individuals have decided to file for asylum due to the persecution they faces and/or will face back home.

What I have learned is that these individuals whether from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan or Kazakhstan have some similar issues although certainly they are quite different, both in culture and practice. Certainly, if you are looking for an ethnic group made up of people from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan or Kazakhstan, Brooklyn is probably where you would find these cultures living together.

Some of the questions that they have raised regarding asylum are quite common. So, I thought it best if I just discuss some of the Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I file for Asylum if I’m from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan or Kazakhstan?

This questions is a general question and my answer is usually that they can file and nothing stops them from doing so. However, the individuals would still need to qualify for asylum based on certain grounds, which in general include: race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.

What happens when I file for asylum?

In general there are two methods of filing. The first is often referred to as an affirmative filing, which refers to someone filing for asylum affirmatively, meaning on their own directly with USCIS (Immigration). The second method is referred to as a defensive filing, which usually refers to someone filing for asylum defensively during removal or deportation proceedings. So, if someone files for asylum affirmatively, the person is ordinarily scheduled for an asylum hearing in front of an asylum officer. At that time, the application is either approved or referred to the Immigration Court. If the application is filed defensively, the Immigration Judge will make decision.

Where will my asylum hearing be if I live in Brooklyn?

The asylum office that services individuals that live in any of the five boroughs or Long Island, will usually be scheduled for an asylum hearing at the Asylum Office in Rosedale, Queens, New York.

Will I receive work (employment) authorization?

Generally, a person who files for asylum will usually obtain work authorization after 150 days. However, the calculation of time is sometimes complicated.

What are my chances of winning or approval of the asylum application?

This is a difficult question to answer. A lot of information is needed in order to provide an evaluation of the asylum claim. However, keep in mind that the laws were designed to protect asylum seekers, and the United States has vowed to protect individuals who fear returning to a country where they can establish that they would be persecuted. As long as you work with an experienced lawyer and you can document and evidence your past persecution and/or future persecution, you will have USCIS (Immigration) and/or an Immigration Judge give you the opportunity to present your case.

What do I need for an Investor E2 Visa in New York City or New Jersey

Our office has successfully filed countless numbers of Investor E2 visas for our clients throughout New York and New Jersey, as well as elsewhere throughout the country. In general , clients usually have similar questions, which I thought I would talk about in this blog.

Usually the Frequently Asked Questions related to an Investor Visa (E2) Visa have been the following:

  1. Is there a minimum investment required? Do you have to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars?
    No. There is no minimum investment requirement. We have filed E2 Visas for individuals who have invested as little as $25,000. Yes . . . Twenty Five Thousand Dollars. Although a “substantial amount of capital” is generally required, this term is not defined. In my experience, a case-by- case analysis usually determines what is a substantial amount of capital.
  2. What type of business must I invest in order to be eligible for an Investor E2 Visa?
    In short, there is no specific type of business that is required. Our office has filed for investor E2 Visas for a wide range of businesses, including hair salons, grocery stores, thrift stores, gasoline stations, pool construction, restaurants and many more.
  3. How long does the process take?
    Individuals that choose to take advantage of premium processing (expedited processing) can do so by paying an additional fee. In that case, the application is processed within 15 days.
  4. Can my family members also benefit from this status?
    Yes, your spouse will also be accorded such classification also, as well as any children. In fact, the spouse can obtain work authorization and work anywhere such spouse pleases.
  5. Will I get a social security number from the Social Security Administration?
    Yes. Both the applicant and the spouse can apply for a social security number and receive a social security card.
  6. Can I get a New York or New Jersey driver’s license if I have an E2 Investor Visa?

These are generally some of the more popular questions that are asked. Our government needs to remember that we need to welcome foreign investment. Our nation was built on foreigners who have had full faith in our economy and as such have invested their hard earned money herein.

The Immigration Court and the Board of Immigration Appeals Denied My Case . . . . Now what can I do?

If you are unfortunate enough that the Immigration Court (Immigration Judge) denied your case and your appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) was also denied, all may not be lost.  In most cases, you will have a right to appeal the case further to the federal courts.  In fact, the federal courts  are generally more of an independent tribunal than the Board of Immigration Appeals.  So, if you were in Immigration Court in New York, a Petition for Review is filed with the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  If you were in Immigration Court in New Jersey, the Petition for Review is filed with the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.  However, there is a strict filing deadline of 30 days.  Now, some individuals may decide that they have become tired and will not appeal.  However, unless you plan to leave the country, this will be a decision that you will likely regret.
If your decision is based on financial factors and you feel you cannot afford the legal expenses, I have news for you.  It will likely cost you ten times the amount if you fail to file the appeal and thereafter wish to hire an attorney to “fix” the wrong.  Even worse, the odds of being successful, if you fail to file the appeal within the time limit is diminished significantly.  So, invest in your future.  If your case was denied by the Immigration Court or Judge and the appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals was also denied, exercise your right to file an appeal with the federal court.  If you don’t, you will regret it.  The federal courts are still the place to go when you feel that your case was unfairly denied.

Delaney Hall Detention

How did my family member end up at ICE’s Immigration detention facility (Delaney Hall Detention Facility) located at 451 Doremus Avenue, Newark, NJ?

Some of my firm’s clients are being detained by ICE (Immigration) at their facility known as the Delaney Hall Detention Facility. These not only include individuals that reside in New Jersey, but also residents of New York City and elsewhere. The types of immigration issues vary from individuals that overstayed their authorized period of stay, or entered the U.S. illegally (without inspection), and/or may have failed to leave the U.S. after being ordered removed by an Immigration Judge, as well as many other types. Depending on the type of issue involved, your loved one may or may not be scheduled to appear in front of an Immigration Judge. If this sounds strange to you, you may need to educate yourself about the immigration detention process. If your loved one was previously instructed to appear in Immigration Court and failed to do so, it is likely that your loved one was ordered removed (deported) without him being present in Court (usually referred to as an “in absentia” order). If this is the case, the clock is ticking. When dealing with these types of cases, DHS or ICE (Immigration) usually simply works on getting the person physically removed from the U.S. In many cases, the alien himself may or may not know about the deportation order. So, it is best to act quick and obtain the entire court record to see what, if anything, can be done to try to give your loved one another shot at presenting his case to an Immigration Judge.

Is one of the stars of the Real Housewives of New Jersey Theresa Guidice’s Husband Giuseppe “Joe” Guidice at risk for Immigration Deportation?

Anyone that is a fan of the Bravo hit show Real Housewives of New Jersey has likely heard that the federal government has indicted two of the major stars of the hit show. One the stars, Joe Guidice has been indicted for various charges including bankruptcy fraud and tax fraud. So, why am I writing this blog? . . . Well, the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey representing the federal government also announced that Joe Guidice is not a U.S. citizen and that if convicted, he may face deportation to Italy. For many viewers and fans this likely came as shock. For, immigration deportation lawyers like me, this was not surprising. Although Joe Guidice appears to be just like any other U.S. Citizen, in fact he is not, according to the federal government. As such, it is likely he will be treated just like any other person not a U.S. citizen. Although he is a permanent resident (“Green Card” holder), he might be facing deportation if he is convicted of the fraud charges that Immigration law views as a removable/deportable offense.

If he is in fact convicted, the federal government though the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) may decide to issue a Notice to Appear commanding Joe Guidice to appear before the Immigration Court in Newark, New Jersey. What??????? Yes, although he is married to a U.S. Citizen and has many beautiful U.S. citizen daughters and owns a home, this gentleman may be deported out of the country. If he makes the right decision, his criminal defense attorney should immediately hire and retain an immigration lawyer to work with the criminal defense attorney to minimize deportation issues, if possible. Unfortunately, the immigration laws currently in place are written against the interest of the non-U.S. citizen, especially when it comes to certain crimes which Immigration feels are aggravated felonies. In such, cases Immigration may even hold such person in detention and refuse to release such person on bond claiming that he is subject to mandatory detention. Sounds awful, doesn’t it???? We need some serious changes in the Immigration Law regarding criminal convictions. The message here to anyone not a U.S. citizen and has criminal issues is to make a smart decision and hire an immigration lawyer to work hand in hand with the criminal defense lawyer.

Getting an Immigration Detainer as a Result of Arrest in New York City or New Jersey

When an individual that is not a U.S. Citizen is arrested either in New York City or New Jersey for certain criminal accusations, it is not uncommon for Immigration Officials to issue an Immigration Detainer. If this happens, the individual or his friends or family members should immediately spring to action.

In the past, our office has dealt with these detainers in various ways. One way would be to contact Immigration and see if they would lift the detainer under the facts of the individual’s case. Perhaps the criminal charges should not warrant a detainer and discretion could be used by Immigration to decline on Immigration action. Another possibility is that an appropriate agreement could be reached with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to allow the person released on his or her recognizance or low immigration bond for future appearance in Immigration Court after issuance of a Notice to Appear. Less favorable but sometimes inevitable, would be to make an application or motion for reconsideration of the person’s release on bond before an Immigration Judge either in New York City usually to be scheduled at 201 Varick Street, New York, NY or at 970 Broad Street in Newark, New Jersey. Despite what method is available, one thing that is sure is that quick action can make a tremendous difference.

Keep in mind, unlike criminal proceedings in criminal court, individuals in removal or deportation proceedings do not have a right to be represented free of charge. So, make a sound investment in hiring an immigration lawyer with experience in these issues. Otherwise, it may result in some irreparable damage.