Immigration Law

The Vermont attorneys of the Immigration Law Practice Group provide high-quality and responsive legal services in Immigration Law with regard to the following areas:

• Immediate Family Immigration (Parents, Husbands, Wives, and Children);
• Preference Immigration (Older and Married Sons and Daughters, Brothers and Sisters, etc.);
• Naturalization;
• Trade and Investor Visas: E (Investors) and TN (NAFTA Professionals);
• EB-5 Immigrants;
• Religious Worker Immigration (Priests, Rabbis, Buddhist Monks and Nuns, etc.);
U.S. Immigration Waivers for Canadians;
• International Tax Law for Immigrants.

Immigration Law

The professionals in our practice group focus on different areas of the law.  John Newman handles complex matters such as E-Visa investors, TNs, and EB-5.  Matt Getty handles family immigration, TN, and non-immigrant visas.  Our paralegal, Kim Miller, provides technical support services that help us meet our clients’ immigration law needs at an appropriate cost.

Family Immigration
We attempt to work cost-effectively with our clients by allocating responsibility between the client and the professional staff at an appropriate competence level.  In the family immigration area, if our clients can come to us prepared with the answers to our questionnaire we can then turn the questionnaire over to our paralegal after a lawyer has flagged the most significant issues.  We are willing to coach clients in how to prepare their own matters, and Vermont allows limited engagements in which we intervene only with those aspects of the case that require the professional time of a lawyer.  Our staff is prepared to assist clients with a full range of services related to adjustment of status, work authorization, and advance parole, as well as naturalization (citizenship) applications for current green card holders.

EB-5 Regional Center, New Commercial Enterprise, and Immigrant Investor Services
The EB-5 immigrant investor program was created by Congress in 1990 under § 203(b)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by alien investors. Under the EB-5 program, alien investors have the opportunity to obtain a United States Permanent Resident Card (commonly known as a “green card”) that affords lawful permanent residence in the United States for alien investors, their spouses, and their minor unmarried children by making a certain level of capital investments and associated job creation or preservation.  Our immigration law/business organization lawyers provide legal advice to immigrant investors, public or private sector economic development entities, and new commercial enterprises who seek to avail themselves of the benefits of the EB-5 program.

There are essentially two EB-5 programs levels.   The first is the so-called “Basic Program” under which (generally speaking) a qualified EB-5 investor must invest a minimum of $1,000,000 in a “new commercial enterprise,” as defined by USCIS, that must create 10 permanent “direct” full-time jobs, that is, jobs created in the business in which the EB-5 investor invested.  The second is the so-called Immigrant Investor Pilot Program.  Under the Pilot Program, a qualified EB-5 investor may invest a minimum of $500,000 in a new business enterprise in a USCIS-approved Regional Center (or in a Targeted Employment Area, or “TEA”) that creates 10 permanent direct jobs, indirect or induced full-time jobs that are created within the geographic boundaries of the Regional Center as a result of the business activity created by the new commercial enterprise.  Most immigrant investors, economic development entities and EB-5 entrepreneurs view the Regional Center Pilot Program as the more attractive opportunity for both EB-5 companies and EB-5 investors.

The formation of an EB-5 Regional Center or an EB-5 compliant commercial enterprise is a team effort involving, among others, immigration counsel to manage the legal requirement for EB-5 compliance, securities counsel to provide advice and guidance to insure that the offering of the investment interests in the EB-5 company satisfies the safe harbor requirements of federal securities law, and local counsel in the state of organization of the Regional Center or EB-5 company to insure compliance with state law.  Each immigrant investor in an EB-5 company will require legal assistance from a qualified immigration lawyer in preparing, filing and processing their initial petition, known as an I-526 petition, for issuance of a conditional green card, and, once the requirements of the conditional green card have been satisfied, an I-829 petition for removal of conditions from the green card and establishment of permanent residence in the United States.

Our firm is prepared to provide legal services to assist:
• Public or private sector economic development entities in the formation, organization and administration of EB-5 Regional Centers;
• Entrepreneurs and their local counsel in the formation and documentation of business entities that will satisfy the requirements of the EB-5 program;
• Entrepreneurs and their local counsel in developing the required offering materials, subscription documents and offering practices for solicitation of prospective EB-5 investors that will comply with the safe harbor requirements of federal securities law;
• EB-5 investors in pre-screening to determine whether a prospective investor will meet the threshold EB-5 program requirements; in preparing, filing and processing I-526 and I-829 petitions; and in addressing other immigration law issues that arise in connection with efforts to qualify the immigrant investor under the EB-5 program.

Papers and Publications
U.S. Immigration Waivers for Canadians
•  U.S. Imposes Mark-to-Market Exit Tax
•  Are Your Clients Ready for ICE?
• French Tax and Business Law Guide (loose-leaf service, co-edition, Editions Francis Lefebvre, Paris and Sweat & Maxwell, London updated six times a year since 1984)
• États-Unis (French language guide to US business law, Editions Francis Lefebvre, March 2004)
• Dossiers Internationaux France (English language guide to French business law, Editions Francis Lefebvre, March 1995)

Example Cases
• Obtained numerous R-green cards for Buddhist religious organizations.
• Obtained green cards for many couples in Central Vermont.
• Handled complex matters involving foreign bank account (FBAR) reporting and international taxation issues of various types.