People who are not United States citizens who left their countries because they fear persecution or torture may be eligible for political asylum, withholding of removal, or Convention Against Torture relief. There are two types of applications: Affirmative (an initial asylum application may be made before the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)), and Defensive (an application for asylum made in Immigration Court).
Typically, an applicant for asylum must submit his or her application within one year of arriving to the United States. (See INA 208(a)(2) [8 U.S.C.A. 1158(a)(2)]; 8 C.F.R. 1208.4(a)(2)). If you do not submit your asylum application within one year after arriving to the United States, you may still be eligible to apply if any of the following situations apply to you (See 8 C.F.R. 1208.4(a) for complete details): (1) Changed Circumstances - Some examples of changed circumstances include changes in conditions in the country you are from; activities that you have become involved in outside of your original country that put you at risk of returning; (2) Extraordinary Circumstances - Some examples of extraordinary circumstances include any effects of persecution (including serious illness) suffered in the past, during the one year period after coming to the United States.
It is the applicant for asylum who has the burden of proof and persuasion in asylum and withholding of deportation cases and must establish the facts by a preponderance of the evidence. The testimony of the asylum applicant may be sufficient to sustain his or her burden of proof without corroboration, but only if he or she satisfies the judge that his or her testimony is credible, is persuasive, and refers to specific facts sufficient to establish that he or she is a refugee. (See INA 208(b)(1)(B)(ii) [8 U.S.C.A. 1158(b)(1)(B)(ii). In order to be granted asylum, 4 elements must be established: (1) The asylum applicant must have a "fear" of "persecution"; (2) this fear must be "well founded"; (3) the persecution feared must be "on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion"; and (4) the asylum applicant must be unable or unwilling to return to his or her country of nationality or to the country in which he or she last habitually resided because of persecution or the well-founded fear of persecution. See Matter of Acosta, 19 I. & N. Dec. 211, 1985 WL 56042 (B.I.A. 1985).
We provide assistance with preparation and submission of employment-based non-immigrant and employment-based immigrant visa petitions, labor certification applications, immigrant visa petitions and permanent resident applications. We analyze all immigration options for corporate clients, obtaining U.S. work authorization for foreign nationals, and maintaining valid visa status of clients' foreign national populations.
Here are just a few examples of the type of visas that we help clients obtain:
L-1A & L-1B
These visas are very useful tools for allowing international companies to bring foreign employees to the United States. Employees under L-1A visa, who are either managers or executives, also have an advantageous and preferential route to permanent residency (i.e. "green card").
The application filed for these types of visas (I-129 Petition) can also be filed seeking to allow a foreign company, which does not yet have an affiliated office in the United States to send a manager or an executive to the United States for the purpose of establishing an affiliate office.
In connection with these visas, we help clients with the formation of a subsidiary corporation and preparation of the articles of incorporation; corporate resolutions, by-laws, issuance of stock, coordination of corporate meetings, election of corporate directors and officers, etc.
We also help clients with arranging office space in the United States for the operation of the subsidiary corporation, preparing and executing a lease.
EB-5 (Immigrant Investors)
The procedures involved in obtaining a "green card" through investing in a United States business enterprise are similar to the procedures involved in other employment-based visas that allow for permanent residence. The initial step is filing the I-526 Petition. This is only the first step, where if the applicant is successfully classified as a qualified immigrant, the applicant can then apply for permanent residence at either a U.S. consulate abroad, or if the applicant is inside the United States, an "adjustment of status" applicant can be filed.
The requirements are generally as follows. (1) Applicant investor must either invest or be in the process of actively investing $1,000,000 in a United States business enterprise. This amount can be lowered to $500,000 by investing in a "targeted employment area," which is usually a rural area or an area of high unemployment; (2) The money invested must be at risk for purposes of generating a return. For example, the invested amount cannot be simply a loan where the return is guaranteed; (3) The money invested must have been obtained by lawful means; (4) The investment must create at least 10 full-time jobs; (5) The investment must be in a "new commercial enterprise" or a "troubled business"; and (6) Applicant investor must be engaged in the management of the enterprise in which he or she is investing.
Another option is participating in the Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program. Please remember that all of the above are for informational purposes only and is not a legal advice. You must come to our offices for a detailed consultation as there are highly complex nuances that must carefully be navigated and analyzed based on the specific circumstances of your case.