We previously reported on the disturbing Request for Evidence (RFE) trend where investors and their attorneys were not receiving RFEs in the mail even though the case status showed that one was issued. We are now reporting on another trend, this time in the substance of the RFEs and the results from submitting responses, specifically to the RFEs that request additional evidence from third-party money exchangers.
On Nov. 7, 2017, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO) held an EB-5 stakeholder program at their New York City field office. GT attorneys Kate Kalmykov and Kristen Ng attended the in-person session. During the engagement, key members of the IPO addressed: 1) updates from the IPO; 2) priorities for FY 2018; and 3) stakeholder questions from both the phone and the live audience. Below is a summary of the engagement:
The U.S. Mission in Turkey has resumed limited processing of nonimmigrant visas following the earlier suspension of nonimmigrant visa services in all U.S. diplomatic posts in Turkey back on Oct. 8, 2017. The U.S. Mission in Turkey will process nonimmigrant visas on a limited basis with a reduced number of appointments in both Ankara and Istanbul. Applicants with previously canceled visa appointments may access the internet-based appointment system to select any open date to schedule a new visa appointment. Please contact your GT attorney for more information on options for visa appointments in Turkey. Meanwhile, we will continue to monitor this matter.
For more information on visa services in Turkey, please click here.
Greenberg Traurig Attorneys Kate Kalmykov and Jennifer Hermansky will participate as presenters at the 2017 American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) EB-5 Investors Summit, Dec. 8-9, 2017, in Las Vegas. Kalmykov’s panel “Regional Center Investments: Understanding The Deal And The Capital Stack,” will address the Regional Center and NCE roles, differences between loan and equity project models, and capital stack and escrow structures. Hermansky’s panel “Navigating The Requirements And Challenges In The I-829 Removal Of Conditions Process,” will discuss I-829s including the legal framework and components, challenges, and concerns, I-829 investor interviews and site visits, denials, and proposed legislative and regulatory changes to I-829 requirements. The summit will provide vital insights on the state of proposed policy shifts and the EB-5 regional center program.
To join the AILA Summit in Las Vegas, Dec. 8–9, register here. This year’s multidisciplinary faculty features a cross-section of EB-5 experts: government officials; economists; immigration, business, and corporate attorneys; and more.
Investors and their attorneys alike have taken note of a disturbing trend recently: when USCIS issues a Request for Evidence (RFE), it is oftentimes not received by either party. Typically, RFEs are mailed in hard copy, and a copy is mailed to the Investor, and a second copy is mailed to the attorney of record. In almost all cases with I-526 RFEs, the Investor is given 87 days to respond if he or she resides in the United States, and 98 days to respond if he or she resides outside of the United States. Recently, upon checking the status of a case using the USCIS online portal, the Investor and/or attorney will find that “A Request for Additional Evidence Has Been Mailed,” on a specific date; however, frequently the RFE is never received by either party, including the attorney of record that should receive a copy of all communications from USCIS. Common protocol is to follow up with USCIS via email, but some have experienced 1) unresponsiveness from USCIS, sometimes taking a several weeks to respond; and 2) the officer responding is unwilling to attach the RFE to the email correspondence without proof the RFE was not delivered, a standard which is impossible to prove given that USCIS mails the RFEs via U.S. Postal Service with no delivery tracking.
Out of thousands of blogs, GT’s very own EB-5 Insights immigration blog has been nominated for inclusion in the Expert Institute’s Third Annual Best Legal Blog Contest in the AmLaw category. Now, it’s up to the readers to vote. To cast your vote please click the link below!
For over a decade, filing an extension of nonimmigrant status in visa categories such as the H-1B was a fairly routine process for cases involving the same employer and same underlying facts. This changed yesterday. As part of the Trump Administration’s Buy American, Hire American: Putting American Workers First initiative, USCIS rescinded a long-standing policy from 2004, The Significance of a Prior CIS Approval of a Nonimmigrant Petition in the Context of a Subsequent Determination Regarding Eligibility for Extension of Petition Validity; and Part VII (Readjudication of L-1B Status) of L-1B Adjudications Policy from 2015, and issued new policy guidance entitled Recission of Guidance Regarding Deference to Prior Determinations of Eligibility in the Adjudication of Petitions for Extension of Nonimmigrant Status. This new guidance instructs USCIS officers to no longer give deference to prior determinations of eligibility for extensions of nonimmigrant status that include the same parties and underlying facts and shifts the burden of proof back to the Petitioner/Employer. This new guidance will impact extensions of nonimmigrant status that use the I-129 Form and will likely result in the issuance of more Request for Evidence (RFE) notifications. Employers who were already experiencing heightened scrutiny and hurdles in the H-1B program over recent months, including the systematic issuance of Wage Level 1 RFEs, will now see an even higher percentage of RFE notifications. We will continue to monitor and report on review trends that result from this guidance.
For more information on H-1B visas, please click here.
*Not admitted to the practice of law.
Greenberg Traurig’s Kate Kalmykov and Jennifer Hermansky recently presented “The Basics for New EB-5 Practitioners” to AILA members. Kalmykov and Hermansky provided an overview of the EB-5 program and discussed the requirements to obtain permanent residence status. To purchase a copy of the webinar, click here.
The U.S. Embassy announced it was suspending all nonimmigrant visa services in all U.S. diplomatic posts in Turkey. Turkey responded within a few hours of the U.S. Embassy’s announcement by saying it would no longer issue visas to U.S. citizens, including the physical “sticker” visas at border posts as well as the online Turkish electronic visa (e-visa).
On Oct. 8, 2017, the White House released the promised Immigration Principles & Policies (Principles & Policies) which outline the Trump Administration’s position on immigration. This document is broken into three parts: 1) Border Security, 2) Interior Enforcement, and 3) Merit-Based Immigration. A summary of each part is broken down below.