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US Permanent Residency Through Business Expansion

26th February 2011
By Al Kola in Immigration Law
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International business owners and officers are the privileged, as far as the US immigration law is concerned. This is why they are categorized as having the main concern when it comes to US Permanent Residency. This piece explores how owners and executives of foreign businesses may gain from this preference to ensure permanent citizenship ("green card") status in the United States for themselves and their families in less than 2 years.

International business owners and managers are the cream of the crop, as far as the United States of America immigration law is concerned. This is why they are classified as having the top concern when it comes to United States Permanent Residency. Their cases are excused from Labor Certification, and slide through the Green Card procedure fairly easily, as long as they meet the minimum requirements: At least 1 years employment as an officer (or professional manager) for a company that has an affiliate, supplementary or parent in either the US, or any foreign country.

Although the above releaved procedure is fairly clear and simple in the case of an established possession understanding between companies on both sides of the ocean (or, on either side of the border, in the case of Canadian and Mexican entities), it is much less obvious when there is just a foreign company (or companies) and no connected United States of America body. In such a case, the significant United States immigration laws and systems provide for the subsequent special path to United States of America permanent citizenship through business extension:

1.) Establishment of a new, qualifying US association;
2.) Move of a Leader from the foreign company to the new United States of America group, via an L1 visa, to build-up and direct the start-up operations, including the recruitment of the group; and
3.) Appeal for Permanent Residency for the Director and his or her dependents.

The entire process from first move to United States of America permanent residency status, if properly and expeditiously handled, may take as little as 1.5 years to complete. In the interim, both the foreign company and the United States of America company must keep on to buy and sell in earnest.

Despite the fact that the volume or the turnover of the foreign company is not directly related to the giving of the preliminary L1 transfer visa, only those businesses or organizations that lend themselves to a commercial arrangement are likely to be found to be qualifying organizations. This typically rules out retail business and restaurants, unless the parent organization owns and operates many units from its corporate offices.

Likewise, while the US subsidiary or partner need not mirror the foreign company in its business behaviors, it must also lend itself to a corporate formation to be considered a qualifying organization. Thus, if a foreign company's goal is to move a director to the US - either temporarily or permanently - we are of the opinion that it should steer clear of retails shops and restaurants.

The ease of the above-specified procedure has recently led some US Immigration Service Centers to raise concerns regarding the bona fides of some of these business growths, especially those originating outside of Western Europe. These concerns are expressed in the issuance of lengthy Requests for Evidence (RFEs), which ask for copies of corporate minutes and resolutions, as well as feasibility studies evidencing that the business growth plan rationally preceded the initial move appeal. Thus, it is recommended that one allow no less than 90 days to properly law the groundwork prior to the filing of an expansion appeal with USCIS.
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