- Criminal Law
- A. Burglary
- B. Drug Crimes
- C. Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
- D. Sex Offenses/Prostitution
- E. Massage License Revocation
- F. Unlicensed Massage
- G. Theft
- H. Violent Crime
- Civil Litigation
- A. Non-immigration application
- B. Immigration Application
- C. Other
- Business Registration
- Trusts & Estates
- Tax Controversy
- Legal Consultation and Community Services
Our society tends to perceive a criminal in a negative light, regardless whether the accused is fairly convicted or not. At ML and Chen, P.C., we are here to help our clients fight the accusations against them and assert their legal rights. Our attorneys have legal and trial experiences in Federal, New York State, and other states. Although the tactics we employ to defend our clients will vary based on clients’ situation, the defense our attorneys offer will be professional, strong, and strategic. Our attorneys have extensive experience in criminal defense, especially when clients have immigration issues. Thus, we know the intricacies of how to properly deal with government attorneys, how to secure best evidence to prove clients’ innocence, how to make sure the client’s immigration issue would not be impacted by the criminal charges, and we will work diligently to defend clients charged with all criminal matters ranging from misdemeanors to felony charges.
The criminal cases that we have defended against include: massage without a legal license, prostitution, promoting prostitution, bribe, cyber gram, infringement of copyright, internet fraud, illegal trafficking of military materials, murder, illegal possession of firearms, money laundering, theft in small and large amounts of money, assault, domestic violence, child abuse, violation of the import and export rules and regulations, drug production and trafficking, fraud, breach of justice, and conspiracy.
We are uniquely equipped to and routinely represent clients charged with the following crimes:
• Drug Crimes
• DWI or DUI
• Sex Offenses/ Prostitution
• Massage License Revocation
• Unlicensed Massage
• Violent Crimes
A burglary occurs where a person enters a building or dwelling with the intent to steal or commit a crime, unless the premises are open to the public at the time of entry. Sometimes, a burglary can be charged even though the crime never takes place.
Burglary is a felony and a conviction often entails incarceration. A person convicted of a burglary will be responsible for damage caused during the course of the burglary or restitution for property taken. It is vitally important that the attorney representing a defendant convicted of a burglary carefully scrutinizes any claim for property damage or restitution. Often times, the defense attorney and prosecutor will agree on a restitution sum. The defense attorney can petition the court for a restitution hearing if an agreement cannot be reached on restitution. Otherwise, the court can order the defendant to pay the amount requested by the victim.
Whether the defendant is armed or not, and whether the building was a residence, business, or an abandoned premises, can impact and may ultimately determine the degrees of seriousness of burglary.
One legitimate burglary defense is that the defendant who entered the building was authorized to enter inside the building. A person can’t be guilty of burglary if the person was permitted to be in the building in the first place. Another defense is that the person who entered the building never intended to commit a crime while inside the building. Sometimes, a burglary charge can be reduced to the charge of criminal trespass, a lesser charge with no incarceration. Finally, burglary can sometimes be reduced to theft or receiving stolen property. It is critical that the convicted reaches out to an experienced criminal attorney to best protect his or her rights and interests in matters pertaining to burglary cases.
B. Drug Crimes
Being charged with distribution or possession of illegal drugs can lead to harsh penalties. In some jurisdictions, even a very minor charge of simple possession may be punishable by a jail sentence. If you’ve been charged with a drug crime, you should seek legal counsel immediately. Our attorneys will take the time to understand your case inside and out to devise a best defense strategy for you.
Our attorneys will thoroughly review the procedures by which the evidence was obtained by the government for all your charges. Drugs are often found by law enforcement during an illegal search. Under these instances, the evidence obtained may not be used against you in a court of law, and the prosecution would be required to drop the charges. Even if the evidence against you was obtained lawfully, our drug defense lawyers can often negotiate with the prosecution to try to dismiss the case, or find alternatives to jail time, which may include community services or probation.
C. Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
Regardless of different terminologies used by different states - Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI), such an act of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or other intoxicants is not only dangerous but against the law.
Every state including the District of Columbia applies a driver’s blood alcohol content or concentration (BAC) to determine if a driver is drunk or intoxicated according to state limit. If an officer pulls you over and has reason to believe you are driving while intoxicated, the officer is permitted to issue a test to determine your BAC. While commonly these are breath tests with a Breathalyzer, some states permit blood and urine tests too.
If you get caught with a BAC beyond the statutory limit, you may receive hefty penalties. Drunk-driving penalties depend on each state’s DUI/DWI law, but often you can expect to face some combination of the following:
• License suspension or revocation;
• Jail time, and/or community service;
• Alcohol and substance abuse evaluation and treatment;
• Increased car insurance rates;
• Limited driving privileges, including an ignition interlock device;
• Some version of a traffic or DUI school;
• If the DUI results in a crash, then you may be fined thousands of dollars, and face court costs and attorney fees;
• If you injure and/or kill other parties while driving and intoxicated, then you may receive penalties much more severe than the ones listed above.
Fortunately, there are DUI/DWI attorneys who can help you navigate the legal system, defend you if you have been falsely charged, and minimize your penalty if you are guilty.
DUI/DWI attorneys are experts on drunk driving laws, and they understand intricacies of your charges and penalties. Choosing a right DUI/DWI attorney can have a huge impact on the result of your case. Thus, you should do your homework carefully before deciding on a DUI/DWI attorney to zealously represent yourself.
The following tips can come handy when you need to seek out DUI/DWI attorneys for legal advice or representation:
• Choose lawyers with DUI/DWI experience - you want an attorney who had represented clients in criminal DUI/DWI hearings in the past;
• Choose DWI attorneys practicing in your state - these attorneys are the most familiar with your state’s DWI laws and, chances are, have working relationships with the court and law enforcement;
• Obtain references - speak with people you are acquainted with who have worked with DUI/DWI lawyers previously, or who know someone who has;
• Avoid surprises – Inquire about total attorney fees up front. You may have to pay an initial fee and then face additional costs throughout the hearing process. Get all of this information before hiring an attorney to avoid surprises.
D. Sex Offenses/Prostitution
Sex crimes are among the most serious crimes and can often result in severe penalties. Besides prison time, sex crime convictions carry a social stigma, which is often difficult to remove even after you have served your time. If you have been arrested for a sex-related offense, it is critical that you immediately contact a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense lawyer. ML and CHEN, P.C. is capable of defending clients charged with a diverse set of sex-offenses including, but not limited to prostitution, rape, and sexual battery. Our experienced sex crime attorneys will zealously represent their clients while diligently protect clients’ privacy.
E. Massage License Revocation
Massage therapists often need to sacrifice a year or more of their time and invest a significant amount of financial resources to attend classes to satisfy the basic licensing criteria. To many, acquiring a massage license can potentially pave a way to practices in other healthcare specialties, including acupuncture, chiropractic medicine, or physical therapy.
Socrates stated: “Regard your good names as the richest jewel you can possibly be possessed of – for credit is like fire; when once you have kindled it you may easily preserve it, but if you once extinguish it, you will find it an arduous task to rekindle it again…” Similarly, Publilius Syrus said: “A good reputation is more valuable than money.” Unfortunately, many massage therapists, when encountered with charges against their license, do not fight these accusations; and many massage therapists are willing to sacrifice their personal reputation instead of hiring experienced attorneys to fight unjust charges against them. Likely, these massage therapists do not realize the permanent tainted marks that will be placed on their record and the devastating consequences that may follow.
Whether you are a massage therapist or massage parlor owner, potentially you may face accusations, allegations, and complaints against you that put your massage license and/or livelihood in jeopardy. In such an event, it is recommended that you seek assistance of an experienced and savvy massage license defense attorney immediately. Even if you are in the process of losing your license, attorneys at ML and CHEN, P.C., are able to assist you with your case. Attorneys at ML and CHEN, P.C. have extensive experience handling all types of massage license defense cases across the United States, and would be able to provide a peace of mind to you during these difficult times.
F. Unlicensed Massage
Pursuant to New York State Education Law §§ 6512(1) and (2), it is a class “E” class felony for an unlicensed individual to practice or offer to practice a profession in which a license is required, and carries a punishment of up to four years of jail sentence in state prison. Also, it is a class “E” felony to knowingly aid or abet three or more unlicensed person to practice without a license where it is required.
If you operate a massage related business that requires a license and you lack a license to run the business, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney before continuing your practice. Although one may be operating a legitimate practice, the individual should keep in mind that law enforcement is not ignorant of the fact that there are individuals who camouflage escort agencies as massage services.
If you find yourself facing an unlicensed massage practice charge, a class “E” felony with potential jail sentences, you should immediately seek assistance of a criminal defense attorney. Attorneys at ML and CHEN, P.C. have extensive experience handling all types of massages license defense cases across thirty (30) different states in the United States, and we are ready to zealously protect your liberty, reputation, and rights in the event that you are charged with crimes related to unlicensed massage.
Theft is used widely to refer to crimes involving the taking of a person’s property without his or her consent. However, theft has a broad legal meaning, which may encompass more than one category, and multiple degrees, of crimes. Theft is often defined as the unauthorized taking of someone else’s property with the requisite intent to deprive the victim of the property permanently. Typically, the element of intent is where most of the legal challenges arise in theft-related cases.
Many jurisdictions create degrees of theft crimes. Factors including the type and the value of stolen property will determine the category and/or degree of theft charges that an accused could face. A third degree theft might be a misdemeanor involving property with a relatively low market value, and a first degree theft could be classified as a felony with stolen property valued above a statutory limit. Other jurisdictions categorize thefts as “petty” or “grand”.
Petty thefts typically occur when someone steals property below a certain value specified by law, and they are usually categorized as misdemeanors. Grand thefts, on the other hand, occur when property stolen is worth more than the limit for petty theft. Grand thefts are usually classified as felonies, and can have severe consequences for individuals convicted of such crimes.
Theft crimes carry punishments that range from the relatively minor to the extremely serious. Having professional legal assistance can make the difference between a disaster and a mere inconvenience. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our law firm to schedule a consultation, and learn how our attorneys can help you develop the strongest defense for your case.
H. Violent Crime
Anytime you are arrested for a violent crime, you should contact an attorney immediately. Violent crimes include, but are not limited to, assault, battery, domestic violence, homicide, illegal possession of weapon, and kidnapping. Our experienced criminal defense counsels will meet with you upon your request. We will explore options available pertaining to clients’ cases, and often are able to reduce the severity of the charges against our clients. To minimize chance that clients make self-incriminating statements, our attorneys will communicate directly with law enforcement on your behalf and will guide you on the best course of action.
Our attorneys will take the time to understand the circumstances that trigger the criminal charges you face during the first stages of our representation. They will assess the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence pertaining to your case and inform you of all the available options. Our firm will aggressively represent you to reach the best resolution, whether through litigation or a plea bargain. You will be treated with our utmost respect, and our firm expects the same from our clients.
Our attorneys understand your needs towards immigration and other legal matters. They will not easily let you plead guilty as other attorneys usually do, resulting a criminal offense on your record. This may negatively affect your immigration application and status, and/or present and future job prospects.
Success Stories: Link to our Success Stories page
Senior managing attorneys at ML and Chen, P.C. had extensive experiences in providing legal services in largest cities in China, including Shanghai and Beijing. During their time working in China, they represented a plethora of Fortune Global 500 companies, actively participated in cases involving business negotiation, commercial litigation, and commercial arbitrations. Similarly, in the United States, our attorneys have dealt with numerous instances of civil litigations.
ML and Chen, P.C. is recognized within the Flushing community in Queens of New York as having a formidable strength and depth of expertise in civil litigation. Our attorneys are adept at addressing whatever litigation matters confronting or may confront our clients.
Our civil litigation attorneys advise and represent our clients in a wide range of matters before different levels of courts and various administrative agencies. Our law office provides general counsel to help resolve our clients’ affairs where litigation may be avoided. Even where litigation is unavoidable, we help our clients assess the practicality and viability of alternative dispute mechanisms, including arbitration and mediation, in order to determine the appropriate strategy according to clients’ situation.
Common civil litigation practices offered by ML and Chen, P.C., include the followings:
• Corporate and shareholder disputes – disputes ranging from the enforcement of shareholder agreements, to the conflicts over directors’ and officers’ duties and liabilities;
• Employment disputes – disputes in compliance with workplace statutes, including the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA), the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), and state and local employment statutes;
• Torts actions – actions including intentional torts, negligence torts, and strict liability claims and defenses;
• Contract disputes – disputes ranging from the enforcement of contracts to the litigations, remedies, and injunctions of contracts;
• Landlord and Tenant disputes- disputes arising from the Landlord and Tenant relationship, with or without a lease;
• Mediation and arbitration – legal measures to minimize the cost and time associated with dispute resolution.
ML and Chen, P.C is a law firm that provided immediate, high-efficiency, and professional immigration services. Our law firm provides all sorts of non-immigration visa application services and immigration (green card) application services, and other immigration applications. We excel at combining our clients’ criminal cases, civil cases, and other immigration cases. Based on our rich knowledge of immigration law, years of experience, excellent performance at court, positive attitudes towards our cases and effective communications with our clients, we are popular among our clients who rely on us.
We provide the following immigration services:
A. Non-immigration application
a. B-1 Temporary Business Visitor
b. B-2 Visitor Visa
c. F-1 Student Visa
d. H-1B Temporary Worker Visa
e. J-1 Students and Exchange Visitor Visa
f. K-1 Fiancé (e) Visas
g. L-1 Visa for Intercompany Transfer Exclusive or Manager
h. M-1 Visa for Vocational Students
i. O-1 Visa: Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement
j. U Visa for Victims of Criminal Activity
B. Immigration application
a. Immediate Relative Immigration Visa
b. Apply for your Fiancé (e)
c. Family Preference Immigrant Visa
d. Apply for Adopted Orphan
e. First Preference Employment Based Immigration (EB-1)
f. Second Preference Employment Based Immigration (EB-2)
g. Employment-Based Immigration: Third Preference EB-3
h. Employment-Based Immigration: Fourth Preference EB-4
i. EB-5 Visa
a. Citizenship through Naturalization
b. Travel Documents
c. Employment Authorization Document
A. Non-immigration application
Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Nonimmigrant visas are for persons who want to enter the United States temporarily for business (B-1 visa), tourism (B-2 visa), or a combination of both purposes (B-1/B-2), studying (F1 visa), temporary working (H1B visa), crew members (Crewmember (D) visas), or journalists (Media visas) and other categories of nonimmigration visas.
a.B-1 Temporary Business Visitor
You may be eligible for a B-1 visa if you will be participating in business activities of a commercial or professional nature in the United States including, but not limited to:
• Consulting with business associates
• Traveling for a scientific, educational, professional, or business conventions or conferences on specific dates
• Settling a real estate
• Negotiating a contract
• Participating in a short-term training
• Transiting through the United States; certain persons may transit the United States with a B-1 visa
• Deadheading; certain air crewmen may enter the United States as a deadhead crew with a B-1 visa
You must demonstrate the following in order to be eligible to obtain a B-1 visa:
• The purpose of your trip is to enter the United States for business of a legitimate nature
• You plan to remain for a specific but limited period of time
• You have the funds to cover the expenses of the trip and your stay in the United States
• You have a residence outside the United States in which you have no intention of abandoning, as well as other binding ties which will ensure your return abroad at the end of the visit
• You are otherwise admissible to the United States
b.B-2 Visitor Visas：Pleasure, Tourism, Medical Treatment
If you plan to travel to US for the purposes of recreational in nature, including tourism, visiting friends or relatives, rest, or is related to medical treatment, activities of a fraternal, social, or service nature, or participation by amateurs who will receive no remuneration in musical, sports and similar events or contests, then the appropriate type of visa for your travel is a visitor visa (B-2). For example:
• Vacation (holiday)
• Visit with friends or relatives
• Medical treatment
• Participation in social events hosted by fraternal, social, or service organizations
• Unpaid participation by amateurs in musicals, sports, or similar events or contests
• Enrollment in a short recreational course of study which is not for credits toward a degree (for example, a two-day cooking class while on vacation)
c. F-1 Student Visa
You must have a student visa to study in the United States. Your course of study and the type of school you plan to attend determine whether you need an F-1 visa. If you enter the United States to attend any:
• University or college
• High school
• Private elementary school
• And other academic institution, including a language training program
The applicant should meet the following criteria:
• Travel to the U.S only for academics;
• Has already been accepted by the schools that are registered under education department of the U.S, and can only go to the schools that can sign I-20 forms;
• Has to be a full-time student;
• Has the ability to study in the U.S.,
• Has enough money to support his/her study and expenses in the U.S without any working permit;
• Be a resident of the home country and will not give up nationality of his/her home country
When you apply for an F-1 visa, you should prepare the following:
• Online application form: non-immigration application form DS-160 and print out the confirmation letter;
• Schedule an interview date: in general, for the students who apply for the F-1 visa, they can schedule the interview date 120 days before their orientation; and they can enter the U.S 30 days before their orientation;
• Preparing documents for interview: pay for the application fee, and prepare for the relevant documents;
• Participate in the interview: during the interview, the applicant should provide every document which meets the requirement of the immigration law of the U.S.; after the interview, if the application is processed , the councilor will contact the applicant
Documents you should prepare:
1. Valid Passport: If your passport will expire less than 6 months from your planned arrival in the United States, or is damaged, or you do not have a page for a visa, please get a new passport before your interview.
2. The DS-160 application form confirmation page, with the telecodes for your name, your name, home address, company name and company address written in Hanzi handwritten on your form. When printing out your confirmation page, please set “page layout” to “portrait”. Please bring the printed, not the faxed confirmation page to your interview.
3. One photograph: Two inches square (51mm x 51mm) color photograph, less than 6 months old, against a white background, full frontal view. Please use scotch tape to stick your photo on the front cover of your passport.
4. Original Bank Receipt for Application Fee:
5. Passports containing all previous U.S. visas, even if expired.
6. Completed SEVIS Form: I-20 Form properly completed and signed by both the Designated School Official (DSO) and the applicant. Name on form must exactly match the name in your passport and has been entered into the SEVIS system by the U.S. academic institution.
7. SEVIS Fee Receipt:
8. Proof of Ties to China: Proof of economic, social, family, or other commitments that will help demonstrate your intent to return to China after a temporary stay in the U.S.
9. Proof of Finances: Proof that you can support yourself during your entire stay in the U.S. without working.
10. Research/Study Plan: Detailed information about your planned studies or research in the U.S. including the name and e-mail address of your advising professor and/or the head of your department in the U.S.
11. Resume/CV: Detailed information about your past academic and professional experience, including a complete list of all publications to which you have contributed.
12. Official Transcripts of Returning Students: Student visa applicants returning to schools in the U.S. should submit their official transcripts of their coursework with their applications.
13. Advisor Biography: Graduate students who have already been assigned an advising professor at their U.S. University should bring a copy of the advisor's biography, CV or webpage.
d.H-1B Temporary Worker Visa
This visa category applies to people who wish to perform services in a specialty occupation, services of exceptional merit, any abilities relating to the Department of Defense (DOD) cooperative research and development project, or services as a fashion model of distinguished merit or ability.
Labor Condition Application Required?
H-1B Specialty Occupations
The job must meet one of the following criteria to qualify as a specialty occupation:
For you to qualify to accept a job offer in a specialty occupation you must meet one of the following criteria:
Yes. The prospective employer must file an approved Form ETA-9035, Labor Condition Application (LCA), with the Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker.
DOD Researcher and Development Project Worker
The job must meet both of the following criteria to qualify as a DOD cooperative research and development project:
To be eligible for this visa category you must meet one of the following criteria:
The position/services must require a fashion model of prominence.
To be eligible for this visa category you must be a fashion model of distinguished merit and ability.
Yes. The prospective employer must file an approved LCA with the Form I-129.
e.J-1 Students and Exchange Visitor Visa
The J-1 classification (exchange visitors) is authorized for those who intend to participate in an approved program for the purpose of teaching, instructing, lecturing, studying, observing, conducting research, consulting, demonstrating special skills, receiving training, or receiving medical education or training.
In order to carry out the responsibilities of the Exchange Visitor Program, the Department of State designates public and private entities to act as exchange sponsors. J-1 nonimmigrants are therefore sponsored by an exchange program that is designated as such by the U.S. Department of State. These programs are designed to promote the interchange of persons, knowledge, and skills, in the fields of education, arts, and science.
Examples of exchange visitors include, but are not limited to:
• Professor and Research Scholar
• Au pair and EduCare and Nanny
• Camp counselors
• Government Visitors
• The U.S. Department of State plays the primary role in administering the J-1 exchange visitor program, so the first step in obtaining a J-1 visa is to submit a Form DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status. This form will be provided by your sponsoring agency. You should work closely with the officials at your sponsoring agency whom will be assisting you through this process. An official who is authorized to issue Form DS-2019 is known as a Responsible Officer (RO) or Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO). Your RO or ARO will explain to you what documents are needed in order to be issued a DS-2019.
• After you have obtained a Form DS-2019, you may then apply for a J-1 visa through the U.S. Department of State at a U.S. embassy or consulate. The waiting time for an interview appointment for applicants can vary, so submitting your visa application as early as possible is strongly encouraged (though you may not enter the United States in J-1 status more than 30 days before your program begins).
Documents you should prepare:
• Passport valid for travel to the United States - Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the United States
• Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160 confirmation page
• Application fee payment receipt, if you are required to pay before your interview
• Photo – You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. If the photo upload fails, you must bring one printed photo.
• Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status, Form DS-2019 – A SEVIS-generated Form DS-2019 is provided to you by your program sponsor after the sponsor enters your information in the SEVIS system. All exchange visitors, including their spouses and minor children, must be registered in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). Each person receives a separate Form DS-2019.
• Training/Internship Placement Plan, Form DS-7002 – In addition to the Form DS 2019, participants in the J-1 Trainee and Intern categories require Form DS-7002.
• Some J-1 non-immigrants enter the United States specifically to work (as a researcher, nanny, etc.) while others do not. Employment is authorized for J-1 non-immigrants only under the terms of the exchange program. Please check with your sponsoring agency for more information on any restrictions that may apply to you working in the United States.
Family of J-1 Visa Holders
Your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age, regardless of nationality, are entitled to J-2 classification. Your spouse and children are entitled to work authorization; however, their income may not be used to support you. To apply for work authorization as a J-2 nonimmigrant, your spouse or child would need to file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. For more information on the application procedures, see the “Work Authorization” section.
L-1 Visa for Intercompany Transferees
You may be eligible for an L-1 visa for “intracompany transferees” if you are an executive, manager, or a worker with specialized knowledge who has worked abroad for a qualifying organization (including an affiliate, parent, subsidiary or branch of your foreign employer) for at least one year within the 3 years preceding the filing of your L-1 petition (or in some cases your admission to the United States). The organization must seek to transfer you to the United States to work in one of the capacities listed above. There are two types of L-1 visas, L-1A Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager and L-1B Intracompany Transferee Specialized Knowledge.
The L-1A nonimmigrant classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. This classification also enables a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send an executive or manager to the United States with the purpose of establishing one. The employer must file a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker [http://www.uscis.gov/I-129], with fee, on behalf of the employee.
The L-1B nonimmigrant classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer a professional employee with specialized knowledge relating to the organization’s interests from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. This classification also enables a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send a specialized knowledge employee to the United States to help establish one. The employer must file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker with fee, on behalf of the employee.
The following information describes some of the features and requirements of the L-1 nonimmigrant visa program.
General Qualifications of the Employer and Employee
To qualify for L-1 classification in this category, the employer must:
• Have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company (parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate, collectively referred to as qualifying organizations); and
• Currently be, or will be, doing business as an employer in the United States and in at least one other country directly or through a qualifying organization for the duration of the beneficiary’s stay in the United States as an L-1. While the business must be viable, there is no requirement that it be engaged in international trade.
Doing business means the regular, systematic, and continuous provision of goods and/or services by a qualifying organization and does not include the mere presence of an agent or office of the qualifying organization in the United States and abroad.
To qualify, the named employee must also:
• Generally have been working for a qualifying organization abroad for one continuous year within the three years immediately preceding his or her admission to the United States; and
• Be seeking to enter the United States to provide service in an executive or managerial capacity or professional employee with specialized knowledge for a branch of the same employer or one of its qualifying organizations.
Executive capacity generally refers to the employee’s ability to make decisions of wide latitude without much oversight.
Managerial capacity generally refers to the ability of the employee to supervise and control the work of professional employees and to manage the organization, or a department, subdivision, function, or component of the organization. It may also refer to the employee’s ability to manage an essential function of the organization at a high level, without direct supervision of others. See section 101(a)(44) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended, and 8 CFR 214.2(l)(1)(ii) for complete definitions.
Specialized knowledge means either special knowledge possessed by an individual of the petitioning organization’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and its application in international markets, or an advanced level of knowledge or expertise in the organization’s processes and procedures (See 8 CFR 214.2(l)(1)(ii)(D)).
g. M-1 Visa for Vocational Students
Generally, as an alien, if you want to study in the US, you must have a student visa to study in the United States. Your course of study and the type of school you plan to attend will determine whether you need an M-1 visa or an F-1 visa. You may need apply an M-1 visa if you enter the United States to attend:
• Vocational or other recognized nonacademic institution, other than a language training program
h. O-1 Visa: Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement
The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is for the individual who possess extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, educations, businesses, athletics, or demonstrates a record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.
The O nonimmigrant classification is commonly referred to as:
• 1A: Individuals with an extraordinary ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics (not including the arts, motion pictures or television industry)
• 1B: Individuals with an extraordinary ability in the arts or extraordinary achievement in motion picture or television industry
• O-2: Individuals who will accompany an O-1, artist or athlete, to assist in a specific event or performance. For an O-1A, the O-2’s assistance must be an “integral part” of the O-1A’s activity. For an O-1B, the O-2’s assistance must be “essential” to the completion of the O-1B’s production. The O-2 worker has critical skills and experience with the O-1 that cannot be readily performed by a U.S. worker and which are essential to the successful performance of the O-1
General Eligibility Criteria
To qualify for an O-1 visa, the beneficiary must demonstrate extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim and must be coming temporarily to the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability.
Extraordinary ability in the fields of science, education, business or athletics means a level of expertise indicating that the person is one of the small percentages who has risen to the very top of the field of endeavor.
Extraordinary ability in the field of arts means distinction. Distinction means a high level of achievement in the field of the arts evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition substantially above that ordinarily encountered to the extent that a person described as prominent, renowned, leading, or well-known in the field of arts.
To qualify for an O-1 visa in the motion picture or television industry, the beneficiary must demonstrate extraordinary achievement evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition significantly above that ordinarily encountered to the extent the person is recognized as outstanding, notable or leading in the motion picture and/or television field.
i. U Visa for Victims of Criminal Activity
The U Nonimmigrant Status (U visa) is set aside for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity. Congress created the U nonimmigrant visa with the passage of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (including the Battered Immigrant Women’s Protection Act) in October 2000. The legislation was intended to strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies in order to investigate and prosecute cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking of aliens, and other crimes. Meanwhile, it is also intended to protect victims of crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse due to the crime and are willing to help law enforcement authorities in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity. The legislation also helps law enforcement agencies to better serve victims of crimes.
U Nonimmigrant Eligibility
You may be eligible for a U nonimmigrant visa if:
• You are the victim of qualifying criminal activity.
• You have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of criminal activity.
• You have information about the criminal activity. If you are under the age of 16 or unable to provide information due to a disability, a parent, guardian, or next friend may possess the information about the crime on your behalf (see glossary for definition of ‘next friend’).
• You were helpful, are helpful, or are likely to be helpful to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of the crime. If you are under the age of 16 or unable to provide information due to a disability, a parent, guardian, or next friend may assist law enforcement on your behalf.
• The crime occurred in the United States or violated U.S. laws.
• You are admissible to the United States.
B. Immigration Application
A foreign citizen seeking to immigrate generally must be sponsored by a qualifying relative who must be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, or prospective U.S. employer, and have an approved petition before applying for an immigrant visa.
There are two groups of family based immigrant visa categories, including immediate relatives and family preference categories.
a. Immediate Relative Immigration Visa
Immediate Relative Immigrant Visas (Unlimited): These categories of visas are based on a close family relationship with a United States (U.S.) citizen described as an Immediate Relative (IR). The number of immigrants in these categories is not limited each fiscal year.
Immediate relatives are:
• IR-1: Spouses of the U.S. Citizens;
• IR-2: Unmarried children under 21 years of age of the U.S. citizen;
• IR-3: Orphans adopted abroad by a U.S. citizen;
• IR-4: Orphans to be adopted in the U.S. by a U.S. Citizen;
• IR-5: Parents of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years old.
To petition for a family member to immigrate to US or to receive a green card (permanent residence), you must begin by filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. This form establishes the family relationship that exists between you and your relative. Sometimes the I-130 can be filed together with an application for permanent residence, officially known as Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status if your relative is inside the U.S.. After the Petitioner (Applicant) submits the application forms and supporting documents, he/she will receive a receipt from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If the documents that the applicant submitted is not sufficient, flawed, and/or does not meet the requirements of the law, the USCIS might refuse accept the application and/or ask for more supporting documents which would increase the application time. So during the preparation, it would be the best to consult or hire an experienced immigration attorney who can reduce the rate of flaws may make during the application process.
I-130 Petitioner has to sponsor the immigration visa applicant or I-485 applicant showing the proof that the Petitioner has sufficient incomes and/or financial support in the U.S. When your relative begins apply immigration visa or submit I-485 application, Petitioner has to submit I-864, Affidavit of Support, and agrees to be the financial guarantor for the applicant. If the petitioner could not meet the requirements of the financial support, other U.S citizen or green card holder can be the co-financial guarantor for the applicant.
Apply for your Fiancé (e)
If a U.S citizen wants to get married with a foreign fiancé (e), his/her fiancé (e) must apply to be a permanent resident in the following ways:
• If your fiancé (e) is outside of the United States, she/he can get a K-1 visa, and be invited to the United States for the marriage within 90 days. Once they get married, a U.S citizen can file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. During the pending time, your spouse can legally stay in the United States.
• If a U.S citizen gets married with his/her fiancé (e) outside the Unites States, after their marriage, the U.S citizen can file Form I-130 for his/her spouse;
• If a U.S citizen’s fiancé (e) with other visa and lawfully enter in the United States, the U.S citizen can file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, and Form I-485,
• Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.
K-1 Fiancé (e) Visas
If you petition for a fiancé (e) visa, you must show that:
• You (the petitioner) are a U.S. citizen.
• You intend to marry within 90 days of your fiancé (e) entering the United States.
• You and your fiancé (e) are both free to marry and any previous marriages must have been legally terminated by divorce, death, or annulment.
• You met each other, in person, at least once within 2 years of filing your petition. There are two exceptions that require a waiver.
1. If the requirement to meet would violate strict and long-established customs of your or your fiancé (e)’s foreign culture or social practice.
2. If you prove that the requirement to meet would result in extreme hardship to you.
After the Fiancé (e) Visa is Issued
Once issued, the fiancé (e) visa (or K-1 nonimmigrant visa) allows your fiancé (e) to enter the United States for 90 days so that your marriage ceremony can take place. Once you marry, your spouse may apply for permanent residence and remain in the United States while USCIS processes the application. For additional information, see the “Immigration application” section.
Treatment of I-129F petitions where the Department of State (DOS) refuses to issue the K-1 visa and returns the expired petition to USCIS.
Once USCIS receives a consular returned I-129F for K-1 classification from DOS and the petition has expired in accordance with 8 CFR214.2(k)(5), USCIS will allow the petition to remain expired and will not reaffirm or reopen the petition. Please note that this will not preclude the petitioner from filing another petition.
Children of Fiancé (e)
If your fiancé (e) has any children (under 21 and unmarried), a K-2 nonimmigrant visa may be available to him or her. Be sure to include the names of your fiancé (e)’s children on your Form I-129F petition.
Permission to Work
After admission, your fiancé (e) may immediately apply for permission to work by filing a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization with the USCIS Service Center having jurisdiction over your place of residence. Any work authorization based on a nonimmigrant fiancé (e) visa would be valid for only 90 days after entry. However, your fiancé (e) would also be eligible to apply for an extended work authorization at the same time as he or she files for permanent residence. In this case, your fiancé (e) would file Form I-765 together with Form I-485 as soon as you marry.
Status Expires If Not Marry Within 90 Days
Fiancé (e) status automatically expires after 90 days. It cannot be extended. Your fiancé (e) should leave the United States at the end of the 90 days if you do not marry. If your fiancé (e) does not depart, he or she will be in violation of U.S. immigration law. This may result in removal (deportation) and/or could affect future eligibility for U.S. immigration benefits.
a. Family Preference Immigrant Visa
Family Preference Immigrant Visas (Limited): These visa types are for specific, more distant, family relationships with a U.S. citizen and some specified relationships with a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). There are fiscal year numerical limitations on family preference immigrants, shown at the end of each category. Preference categories are grouped as follows:
• First preference: Unmarried, adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens (adult means 21 or older)(23,400);
• Second Preference (2A): Spouses of green card holders, unmarried children (under 21) of permanent residents (26,300);
• Second Preference (2B): Unmarried adult sons and daughters of permanent residents (23,400);
• Third Preference: Married sons and daughters (any age) of U.S. citizens (23,400);
• Fourth Preference: Brothers and sisters of adult U.S. citizens (65,000).
Whenever the number of qualified applicants for a category exceeds the available immigrant visas, there will be an immigration wait. In this situation, the available immigrant visas will be issued in the chronological order in which the petitions were filed using their priority date. The filing date of a petition becomes what is called the applicant's priority date. Immigrant visas cannot be issued until an applicant's priority date is reached. In certain categories where there are more approved petitions compared to available visas, there may be a waiting period of several years or more before a priority date is reached.
Please note that, in Second Preference (2B), the applicant alien cannot get married during the application process; otherwise, the approved I-130 will expire.
As for the applicant’s priority date, when the priority date is approaching, the applicant can subtract his/her child’s age and the time that the USCIS process. If your result is less than 21 years old, your child’s age meet the required age.
a. Apply for Adopted Orphan
We encourage you to familiarize yourself with each adoption process as there are important differences from country to cournty. An adoption agency will be able to help you arrange an adoption placement, but cannot represent you before USCIS or advise you on the legal aspects of your child’s immigration. If you want representation with adoption proceedings you may want to consider obtaining an attorney.
The intercountry adoption process is governed by three different sets of laws:
• U.S. Federal Law
• The laws of the child’s country of birth.
• The laws of where you reside (U.S. state/territory or foreign country).
Under the INA, a child who is adopted abroad while under the age of 16 and who has been in the legal custody, and has resided with, his or her adoptive parent(s) for at least two years may be the beneficiary of a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) I-130 petition and receive an immigrant visa in the IR-2 category.
Most U.S. citizen prospective adoptive parents, however, are unable to live abroad to satisfy the two-year requirement. In such cases, children being adopted obtain an immigrant visa in one of two ways: one process applies to children in Hague Adoption Convention countries, and a separate process applies to children in countries that are not party to the Hague Adoption Convention.
U.S. Hague Convention Adoption Case
Follow these steps in a Convention case to complete the adoption and visa process:
1. Choose a U.S. Accredited or Approved Adoption Service Provider.
2. Apply to USCIS to be Found Suitable and Eligible to Adopt: File Form I-800A – Determination on Suitability to Adopt a child from a Convention Country with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) to establish your suitability as an adoptive parent.
3. Apply to the Country of Origin’s Authorities to Adopt and be Matched with a Child.
4. Apply to USCIS for the Child to be found Provisionally Eligible for Immigration to the United States as a Convention Adoptee and Receive U.S. Agreement to Proceed with the Adoption.
a. Submit a petition for a determination on the child’s immigration eligibility through the USCIS Form I-800 Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative.
b. Submit an immigrant visa application, Form DS-260 , to the Embassy or Consulate responsible for processing immigrant visa applications for the child’s country of origin.
5. Adopt the Child or Obtain Legal Custody of the Child in the Country of Origin for Purposes of Emigration and Adoption
6. Complete the Application Process for a U.S. Immigrant Visa for your Child and Bring your Child Home:
After the adoption is completed, a consular officer at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the child’s country of origin will complete the final adjudication of the petition. Generally, if the consular officer determines that the adoption was completed in accordance with the laws of the child’s country of origin and with Convention requirements, and there are no visa ineligibilities, the consular officer will issue final approval of the Form I-800 petition, issue either a Hague Adoption Certificate or Hague Custody Certificate, and an immigrant visa to the child.
Steps in the Non-Convention Adoption Process
Follow these steps in a non-Convention adoption case before applying for a child's visa:
1. Optional Filing of Form I-600A with USCIS:
USCIS must determine your suitability as an adoptive parent; you may file Form I-600A (Application of Advance Processing of Orphan Petition) to establish this. Form I-600A is not designed to evaluate a particular child's classification as an orphan. Filing it can help you get a head start on the intercountry adoption process. Together with Form I-600A, prospective adoptive parents submit a home study, their fingerprints, and other documents.
2. Adopt or obtain legal custody of the child: Adopt or obtain legal custody of the child in his or her country of residence.
3. File Form I-600 with USCIS: File Form I-600 (Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative) and supporting documents with USCIS to establish that the child qualifies as an orphan under the INA. If you file the I-600 with a USCIS office in the United States, you may submit proof of your suitability to adopt at that time instead of using Form I-600A. If you are residing abroad, file the I-600 with the USCIS office in that country. For countries with no USCIS presence, consular officers at U.S. Embassies and Consulates may accept I-600s under limited circumstances, including prior USCIS approval of an I-600A that remains valid.
REQUIRED DOCUMENTS - You must present the following documents with Form I-600:
• Child's original birth certificate or, if unavailable, a written explanation together with secondary evidence of identity and age (e.g. a re-issued birth certificate listing the adoptive parents);
• Evidence that the child either has no parents or a sole/surviving parent unable to provide proper care who has irrevocably released the child for emigration and adoption;
• Evidence of adoption or intent to adopt.
• NOTE: Any foreign language documents submitted with the I-600 petition must be accompanied by a full English translation, which the translator has certified as complete and correct, along with the translator's certification that he or she is competent to translate the foreign language into English. If you file Form I-600 at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, you must submit originals of the required documents along with the petition. If filing in the United States, USCIS permits petitioners to submit copies of some documents.
4. 1. USCIS or Consular Officer in Child's Country of Residence Completes Form I-604: The National Visa Center will notify you by letter when your case has been assigned to a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. The Embassy or Consulate will provide instructions on the next steps. A USCIS or consular officer in the child's country of residence then completes Form I-604 (Determination on Child for Adoption) to ensure the child has been properly classified as an orphan as defined by INA.
5. Schedule Visa Interview and Submit Visa Application: Once your Form I-600 has been approved, the Embassy or Consulate will schedule the child's visa interview. Submit the immigrant visa application (Form DS-260) at the interview. (Certain cases require the nonimmigrant visa application, Form DS-156, instead; check with your adoption service provider or the Embassy or Consulate.) The Embassy or Consulate will inform you of the documents needed for the interview, which include evidence of the adoption or grant of legal custody and the results of the child's medical exam.
REQUIRED FEES - Pay visa processing fees.
6. Embassy or Consulate Issues the Visa: If no ineligibilities are found, the consular officer issues your child the IR-3 or IR-4 visa.
The INA identifies ineligibilities, or reasons that disqualify a foreign national from receiving a visa. In some cases, a visa applicant may apply to USCIS for a waiver of ineligibility.
The INA identifies ineligibilities, or reasons that disqualify a foreign national from receiving a visa. In some cases, a visa applicant may apply to USCIS for a waiver of ineligibility.
d. First Preference Employment Based Immigration (EB-1)
You may be eligible for an employment-based, first-preference visa if you have an extraordinary ability, are an outstanding professor or researcher, or are a multinational executive or manager. Each occupational category has certain requirements that must be met:
|Extraordinary Ability||You must be able to demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim. Your achievements must be recognized in your field through extensive documentation. No offer of employment is required.||You must meet 3 of 10 criteria* below, or provide evidence of a one-time achievement (i.e., Pulitzer, Oscar, Olympic Medal)
|Outstanding professors and researchers||You must demonstrate international recognition for your outstanding achievements in a particular academic field. You must have at least 3 years experience in teaching or research in that academic area. You must be entering the United States in order to pursue tenure or tenure track teaching or comparable research position at a university or other institution of higher education.||You must include documentation of at least two listed below** and an offer of employment from the prospective U.S. employer.|
|Multinational manager or executive||You must have been employed outside the United States in the 3 years preceding the petition for at least 1 year by a firm or corporation and you must be seeking to enter the United States to continue service to that firm or organization. Your employment must have been outside the United States in a managerial or executive capacity and with the same employer, an affiliate, or a subsidiary of the employer.||Your petitioning employer must be a U.S. employer. Your employer must have been doing business for at least 1 year, as an affiliate, a subsidiary, or as the same corporation or other legal entity that employed you abroad.
*Criteria for Demonstrating Extraordinary Ability
You must meet 3 out of the 10 listed criteria below to prove extraordinary ability in your field:
• Evidence of receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence
• Evidence of your membership in associations in the field which demand outstanding achievement of their members
• Evidence of published material about you in professional or major trade publications or other major media
• Evidence that you have been asked to judge the work of others, either individually or on a panel
• Evidence of your original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field
• Evidence of your authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media
• Evidence that your work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases
• Evidence of your performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations
• Evidence that you command a high salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field
• Evidence of your commercial successes in the performing arts
** Examples of Documentary Evidence That a Person is an Outstanding Professor or Researcher
• Evidence of receipt of major prizes or awards for outstanding achievement
• Evidence of membership in associations that require their members to demonstrate outstanding achievement
• Evidence of published material in professional publications written by others about the alien's work in the academic field
• Evidence of participation, either on a panel or individually, as a judge of the work of others in the same or allied academic field
• Evidence of original scientific or scholarly research contributions in the field
• Evidence of authorship of scholarly books or articles (in scholarly journals with international circulation) in the field
• Extraordinary Ability: You may petition for yourself by filing a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker.
• Outstanding Professors and Researchers: Your employer must file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker.
• Multinational Manager or Executive: Your employer must file USCIS Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker. (Reference: https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/permanent-workers/employment-based-immigration-first-preference-eb-1 )
e. Second Preference Employment Based Immigration (EB-2)
You may be eligible for an employment-based, second preference visa if you are a member of the professions holding an advanced degree or its equivalent, or a foreign national who has exceptional ability. Below are the occupational categories and requirements:
|Advanced Degree||The job you apply for must require an advanced degree and you must possess such a degree or its equivalent (a baccalaureate degree plus 5 years progressive work experience in the field).||Documentation, such as an official academic record showing that you have a U.S. advanced degree or a foreign equivalent degree, or an official academic record showing that you have a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent degree and letters from current or former employers showing that you have at least 5 years of progressive post-baccalaureate work experience in the specialty.
|Exceptional Ability||You must be able to show exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. Exceptional ability “means a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or business.”||You must meet at least three of the criteria below.*|
|National Interest Waiver||Aliens seeking a national interest waiver are requesting that the Labor Certification be waived because it is in the interest of the United States. Though the jobs that qualify for a national interest waiver are not defined by statute, national interest waivers are usually granted to those who have exceptional ability (see above) and whose employment in the United States would greatly benefit the nation. Those seeking a national interest waiver may self-petition (they do not need an employer to sponsor them) and may file their labor certification directly with USCIS along with their Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker.||You must meet at least three of the criteria below* and demonstrate that it is in the national interest that you work permanently in the United States.|
• Official academic record showing that you have a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to your area of exceptional ability
• Letters documenting at least 10 years of full-time experience in your occupation
• A license to practice your profession or certification for your profession or occupation
• Evidence that you have commanded a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates your exceptional ability
• Membership in a professional association(s)
• Recognition for your achievements and significant contributions to your industry or field by your peers, government entities, professional or business organizations
• Other comparable evidence of eligibility is also acceptable.
Note: Employment-based, second-preference petitions must generally be accompanied by an approved individual labor certification from the Department of Labor on Form ETA-750.
To qualify for an EB-2 visa, your employer must file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker.
f. Employment-Based Immigration: Third Preference EB-3
You may be eligible for this immigrant visa preference category if you are a skilled worker, professional, or other worker.
• “Skilled workers” are persons whose job requires a minimum of 2 years training or work experience, not of a temporary or seasonal nature
• “Professionals” are persons whose job requires at least a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent and are a member of the professions
• The “other workers” subcategory is for persons performing unskilled labor requiring less than 2 years training or experience, not of a temporary or seasonal nature.
||Labor certification and a permanent, full-time job offer required.|
||Labor certification and a permanent, full-time job offer required.|
|Unskilled Workers (Other Workers)||You must be capable, at the time the petition is filed on your behalf, of performing unskilled labor (requiring less than 2 years training or experience), that is not of a temporary or seasonal nature, for which qualified workers are not available in the United States.||Labor certification and a permanent, full-time job offer required.|
Note: While eligibility requirements for the third preference classification are less stringent, you should be aware that a long backlog exists for visas in the "other workers" category.
U.S. Department of Labor – Labor Certification
Third preference petitions must generally be accompanied by an approved, individual labor certification from the Department of Labor on Form ETA-9089.
Your employer (petitioner) must file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker. As part of the application process, your employer must be able to demonstrate an ability to pay the offered wage as of your visa priority date. Your employer may use an annual report, federal income tax return, or audited financial statement to demonstrate an ability to pay your wage.
g. Employment-Based Immigration: Fourth Preference EB-4
You may be eligible for an employment-based, fourth preference visa if you are a special immigrant. The following special immigrants are eligible for the fourth preference visa:
• Religious Workers
• Iraqi/Afghan Translators
• Iraqis Who Have Assisted the United States
• International Organization Employees
• Armed Forces Members
• Panama Canal Zone Employees
• Retired NATO-6 employees
• Spouses and Children of Deceased NATO-6 employees
h. EB-5 Visa
USCIS administers the EB-5 program, created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. Under a pilot program enacted in 1992, and regularly reauthorized since then, investors may also qualify for EB-5 visas by investing through regional centers designated by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth.
The EB-5 Adjudications Policy Memorandum is the guiding document for USCIS administration of the EB-5 program. It builds upon prior policy guidance for adjudicating EB-5 and is applicable to, and binding on, all USCIS employees.
All EB-5 investors must invest in a new commercial enterprise, which is a commercial enterprise:
• Established after Nov. 29, 1990, or
• Established on or before Nov. 29, 1990, that is:
1. Purchased and the existing business is restructured or reorganized in such a way that a new commercial enterprise results, or
2. Expanded through the investment so that a 40-percent increase in the net worth or number of employees occurs
Commercial enterprise means any for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of lawful business including, but not limited to:
• A sole proprietorship
• Partnership (whether limited or general)
• Holding company
• Joint venture
• Business trust or other entity, which may be publicly or privately owned
This definition includes a commercial enterprise consisting of a holding company and its wholly owned subsidiaries, provided that each such subsidiary is engaged in a for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of a lawful business.
Note: This definition does not include noncommercial activity such as owning and operating a personal residence.
Job Creation Requirements
• Create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers within two years (or under certain circumstances, within a reasonable time after the two-year period) of the immigrant investor’s admission to the United States as a Conditional Permanent Resident.
• Create or preserve either direct or indirect jobs:
• Direct jobs are actual identifiable jobs for qualified employees located within the commercial enterprise into which the EB-5 investor has directly invested his or her capital.
• Indirect jobs are those jobs shown to have been created collaterally or as a result of capital invested in a commercial enterprise affiliated with a regional center by an EB-5 investor. A foreign investor may only use the indirect job calculation if affiliated with a regional center.
Note: Investors may only be credited with preserving jobs in a troubled business.
A troubled business is an enterprise that has been in existence for at least two years and has incurred a net loss during the 12- or 24-month period prior to the priority date on the immigrant investor’s Form I-526. The loss for this period must be at least 20 percent of the troubled business’ net worth prior to the loss. For purposes of determining whether the troubled business has been in existence for two years, successors in interest to the troubled business will be deemed to have been in existence for the same period of time as the business they succeeded.
A qualified employee is a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or other immigrant authorized to work in the United States. The individual may be a conditional resident, an asylum, a refugee, or a person residing in the United States under suspension of deportation. This definition does not include the immigrant investor; his or her spouse, sons, or daughters; or any foreign national in any nonimmigrant status (such as an H-1B visa holder) or who is not authorized to work in the United States.
Full-time employment means employment of a qualifying employee by the new commercial enterprise in a position that requires a minimum of 35 working hours per week. In the case of the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program, "full-time employment" also means employment of a qualifying employee in a position that has been created indirectly from investments associated with the Pilot Program.
A job-sharing arrangement whereby two or more qualifying employees share a full-time position will count as full-time employment provided the hourly requirement per week is met. This definition does not include combinations of part-time positions or full-time equivalents even if, when combined, the positions meet the hourly requirement per week. The position must be permanent, full-time and constant. The two qualified employees sharing the job must be permanent and share the associated benefits normally related to any permanent, full-time position, including payment of both workman’s compensation and unemployment premiums for the position by the employer.
Capital Investment Requirements
Capital means cash, equipment, inventory, other tangible property, cash equivalents and indebtedness secured by assets owned by the alien entrepreneur, provided that the alien entrepreneur is personally and primarily liable and that the assets of the new commercial enterprise upon which the petition is based are not used to secure any of the indebtedness. All capital shall be valued at fair-market value in United States dollars. Assets acquired, directly or indirectly, by unlawful means (such as criminal activities) shall not be considered capital for the purposes of section 203(b)(5) of the Act.
Note: Investment capital cannot be borrowed.
Required minimum investments are:
• General. The minimum qualifying investment in the United States is $1 million.
• Targeted Employment Area (High Unemployment or Rural Area). The minimum qualifying investment either within a high-unemployment area or rural area in the United States is $500,000.
A targeted employment area is an area that, at the time of investment, is a rural area or an area experiencing unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average rate.
A rural area is any area outside a metropolitan statistical area (as designated by the Office of Management and Budget) or outside the boundary of any city or town having a population of 20,000 or more according to the decennial census.
National Interest Waiver (NIW)
Below are some key requirements you must fulfill to demonstrate that your request to waive the job offer requirement and, therefore, the labor certification, is in the "national interest." For each requirement, we have included forms of evidence that you may submit to meet the requirement and other tips to help you prepare your petition.
As there is no statutory or regulatory definition of the term “national interest”, USCIS relies on a 1998 Administrative Appeals Office precedent decision setting forth a three-prong test for evaluating requests for a national interest waiver. See Matter of New York State Department of Transportation, 22 I&N Dec. 215 (Comm’r 1998) (“NYSDOT”). These three prongs are outlined below.
Requirement 1 – You must show that you plan on working in the United States in an area of substantial intrinsic merit.
Under the first prong of the NYSDOT test, it is important for you to focus on the proposed employment. USCIS will look at your documents to determine whether the importance of your proposed work is readily apparent. Some of the evidence you may submit to demonstrate that you plan on working in the United States in an area of substantial intrinsic merit includes:
• A letter from you and/or your company describing the work and its importance
• Articles or other published media discussing your and/or your company’s work and its importance
• Letters from experts in the field attesting to your work and its importance
• Testimonial letters should include information about the expert’s own credentials, such as a C.V.
Requirement 2: You must show that the proposed impact of your work is national in scope.
While your employment may be limited to a particular geographic area, you must establish a benefit to more than a particular region of the country. Under the second prong of the NYSDOT test, you must demonstrate that the proposed benefit to be provided will be national in scope. USCIS will give due consideration to entrepreneurs who establish that their entrepreneurial enterprise will serve the national interest to a substantially greater degree than the work of others in the same field. Some of the evidence you may submit to demonstrate that the proposed impact of your work is national in scope includes:
• Published articles or media reports
• Copies of contracts, agreements, or licenses showing the scope and impact
• Letters from current and former employers discussing your work and its national importance
• Letters from experts in the field attesting to your work and its national importance
Testimonial letters should include information about the expert’s own credentials, such as a C.V.
Requirement 3: You must show waiving the labor certification requirement would benefit the national interest of the United States
The purpose of the labor certification process is to protect the national interests of the United States by ensuring that the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers employed in the same field would not be adversely affected. Thus, when deciding whether to grant a waiver of the labor certification requirement, USCIS looks at all of the evidence to see whether the national benefits you offer are so great that they outweigh the national interests inherent in the labor certification process. This means that your evidence must show that you serve the national interest to a substantially greater extent than the majority of your colleagues and that you have a degree of influence on your field that distinguishes you from your colleagues. The national interest evaluation is prospective. This means you must show that you have a past record of specific prior achievements that indicate future benefits to the national interests of the United States.
Demonstrating that your business enterprise will create jobs for U.S. workers or otherwise enhance the welfare of the United States may qualify you for an NIW. However, you still have to show that the creation of jobs domestically for U.S. workers may serve the national interest to a substantially greater degree than the work of others in the same field.
Some of the evidence you may submit to demonstrate that waiving the labor certification requirement would benefit the national interests of the United States includes:
• Copies of published articles that cite or otherwise recognize your achievements
• Copies of grants or other funding you received listing the amount and terms of the grants, as well as the principal and co-investigators
• Documents showing how your work is being implemented by others, for example:
• Contracts with companies using your or your company’s products
• Documents showing licensed technology that you and/or your company invented or co-invented, and how that licensed technology is being used by others
• Patents or licenses awarded to you and/or your company with documents showing how they are being used and why they are significant to your field.
Approximately 140,000 immigrant visas are available each fiscal year for aliens (and their spouses and children) who seek to immigrate based on their job skills. If you have the right combination of skills, education, and/or work experience and are otherwise eligible, you may be able to live permanently in the United States. The five employment-based immigrant visa preferences (categories) are listed below.
Some immigrant visa preferences require you to already have a job offer from a U.S. employer. This employer will be considered your sponsor. For some visa categories, before the U.S. employer can submit an immigration petition to USCIS, the employer must obtain an approved labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The DOL labor certification verifies the following:
• There are insufficient available, qualified, and willing U.S. workers to fill the position being offered at the prevailing wage
• Hiring a foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers
For more information see the “Labor Certification” page.
US Federal Tax Information
Aliens employed in the U.S. may have a U.S. Tax obligation.
• Taxation of Resident Aliens
Permanent Worker Visa Preference Categories
|Labor Certification Required?|
|First Preference EB-1||This preference is reserved for persons of extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics; outstanding professors or researchers; and multinational executives and managers.||No|
|Second Preference EB-2||This preference is reserved for persons who are members of the professions holding advanced degrees or for persons with exceptional ability in the arts, sciences, or business.||Yes, unless applicant can obtain a national interest waiver (See the “Labor Certification” page for more waiver information.)|
|Third Preference EB-3||This preference is reserved for professionals, skilled workers, and other workers. (See Third Preference EB-3 page for further definition of these job classifications.)||Yes|
|Fourth Preference EB-4||This preference is reserved for “special immigrants,” which includes certain religious workers, employees of U.S. foreign service posts, retired employees of international organizations, alien minors who are wards of courts in the United States, and other classes of aliens.||No|
|Fifth Preference EB-5||This preference is reserved for business investors who invest $1 million or $500,000 (if the investment is made in a targeted employment area) in a new commercial enterprise that employs at least 10 full-time U.S. workers.||No|
a. Citizenship through Naturalization
(Reference: https://www.uscis.gov/us-citizenship/citizenship-through-naturalization )
Naturalization is the process by which U.S. citizenship is granted to a foreign citizen or national after he or she fulfills the requirements established by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
You May Qualify for Naturalization if:
• You have been a permanent resident for at least 5 years and meet all other eligibility requirements, please visit USCIS’ Path to Citizenship page for more information.
• You have been a permanent resident for 3 years or more and meet all eligibility requirements to file as a spouse of a U.S. citizen, please visit USCIS’ Naturalization for Spouses of U.S. Citizens page for more information.
• You have qualifying service in the U.S. armed forces and meet all other eligibility requirements. Visit the Military section of USCIS’ website.
• Your child may qualify for naturalization if you are a U.S. citizen, the child was born outside the U.S., the child is currently residing outside the U.S., and all other eligibility requirements are met. Visit USCIS’ Citizenship Through Parents page for more information.
b. Travel Documents
Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, is used to apply for three different types of travel documents:
• Advance Parole
• Refugee Travel Document
• Re-Entry Permit
Below you will find more information about these three types of travel documents. For more information on how to apply for these travel documents, see “Form I-131.”
Advance parole is issued solely to authorize the temporary parole of a person into the United States. The document may be accepted by a transportation company (airlines) instead of a visa as an authorization to travel to the United States.
An advance parole document does not replace your passport.
Advance parole is most commonly used when someone has Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status, pending. If you depart the U.S. while your I-485 application is pending without first obtaining advance parole, your case will be denied unless you fit into a narrow exception for those maintaining certain nonimmigrant statuses.
Advance Parole for Asylums
An asylum applicant who has a pending Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, and has not received a final decision may be allowed to travel outside the United States.
If you are an asylum applicant and you intend to travel outside the United States and return you must apply for and receive advance parole. If you leave the United States without first obtaining advance parole, USICS will presume you abandoned your asylum application.
Advance parole does not guarantee that you will be allowed to reenter the United States, rather, an immigration inspector from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) must inspect you and determine whether you will be allowed to reenter the United States.
Refugee Travel Document
A refugee travel document is issued to a person who has been granted refugee or asylum status, or to a permanent resident who obtained a green card because they were a refugee or asylum.
If you hold refugee or asylum status and are not a permanent resident, you must have a refugee travel document to return to the United States.
Derivative asylums and refugees must also obtain a refugee travel document before leaving the United States.
If you do not obtain a refugee travel document in advance of departure, you may be unable to re-enter the United States, or you may be placed in removal proceedings before an immigration judge.
A re-entry permit allows a permanent resident or conditional resident to apply for admission to the U.S. upon returning from abroad during the permit’s validity, without having to obtain a returning resident visa from a U.S. Embassy or consulate. Permanent or conditional residents should apply for a re-entry permit if they will be outside the United States for one year or more.
c. Employment Authorization Document
U.S. employers must check to make sure all employees, regardless of citizenship or national origin, are allowed to work in the United States. If you are not a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident, you may fall into one of three categories of persons who are eligible for employment authorization.
• Category 1: You may have authorization to work in the United States as a result of your nonimmigrant status
• Category 2: You may have authorization to work for a specific employer as a result of your nonimmigrant status
• Category 3: You may be in a category which requires you to file for permission to work
Some of those that fall in the first and third categories (including those who have a pending Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) are required to apply for work authorization and an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) with the Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization prior to seeking work in the United States. The EAD is the proof that you will show to your employer that you are allowed to work in the United States. In most cases, EADs are granted for a 1 year period.
USCIS issues EADs for the following reasons:
• As proof that you are allowed to work in the United States for a specific time period or while you have a specific immigration status
• To renew an EAD that has expired
• To replace an EAD
If Your EAD has Expired
If you are still eligible for work authorization but your EAD has expired, you should file for a renewal EAD by submitting a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. You cannot file for a renewal EAD more than 120 days before your original EAD expires.
If the card issued to you contains incorrect information that is not attributed to USCIS error, a new Form I-765 and filing fee are required as well as any documents specified in the form instructions. The Form I-765 must be accompanied by the card containing the error.
If the card issued to you contains incorrect information due to an error made by USCIS, the appropriate correction will be made. In these cases, a new Form I-765 and filing fee are not required. Instead, you must submit the original card along with a detailed explanation of the card error and supporting documentation on the correct information to the Service Center or National Benefit Center that approved your last employment authorization request.
In either case, if an application for a replacement card is received and the applicant no longer has any basis for applying for employment authorization, the card submitted with the application will not be returned and the applicant will be advised that they do not have a current basis for applying for employment authorization.
If your EAD is lost, stolen or destroyed, it may be replaced by filing a new Form I-765 and filing fee, unless a fee waiver is requested and approved. However, dependents of certain foreign governments, international organizations, and NATO personnel are not required to pay a fee for a replacement EAD.
Every year people come to the United States seeking protection because they have suffered persecution or fear that they will suffer persecution due to:
• Membership in a particular social group
• Political opinion
If you are eligible for asylum you may be permitted to remain in the United States. To apply for Asylum, file a Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, within one year of your arrival to the United States. There is no fee to apply for asylum.
You may include your spouse and children who are in the United States on your application at the time you file or at any time until a final decision is made on your case. To include your child on your application, the child must be under 21 and unmarried.
Permission to Work in the United States
You cannot apply for permission to work (employment authorization) in the United States at the same time you apply for asylum.
You may apply for employment authorization if:
• 150 days have passed since you filed your complete asylum application, excluding any delays caused by you (such as a request to reschedule your interview) AND
• No decision has been made on your application
If you are granted asylum you may work immediately. Some asylums choose to obtain Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) for convenience or identification purposes, but an EAD is not necessary to work if you are an asylum.
To apply for employment authorization, you must file a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. There is no fee to apply for your first EAD if you have a pending asylum application or if you have been granted asylum.
Contracts are essential to the day-to-day functioning of business operations. They form the backbone of business transactions. A well-drafted and thought-out contract will set out rights and responsibilities, limit your business’s exposure to liabilities, and address contingencies and potential disputes. It can lay the foundation for smooth operations of your businesses.
At the law office of ML and Chen, P.C., we understand the important function contracts play in nearly all business ventures. Our attorneys are very experienced and have devoted a significant amount of their professional lives in mastering the art of drafting proper legal contracts according to clients’ needs.
Attorneys at ML and Chen, P.C., understand that contract drafting begins before words are written down. To facilitate the drafting process, our attorneys provide comprehensive guidance on different aspects of business law, from negotiating deals to putting words on actual contracts.
Contracts We Frequently Draft
Our attorneys have drafted many kinds of contracts to a large number of clients over the years. While it would be nearly impossible to list all the contracts that we have drafted, the following list contains the most common types of contracts we drafted for our clients:
• Transaction contracts, including buy-sell agreements, and stock purchase agreements;
• Internal governance agreements, including partnership agreements and shareholder agreements;
• Employment-related contracts, including non-compete agreements, confidentiality agreements, release and waiver agreements, severance agreements, and independent contractor agreements;
• Dispute resolution agreements, including arbitration agreements, choice-of-law provisions, and settlement agreements;
• Other types of contracts, including indemnification agreements, commercial leases, vendor contracts, and rental contracts.
For experienced legal assistance on contract matters, please do not hesitate to reach out to our law firm to schedule a consultation with our attorneys.
Trademarks can be names, symbols or words used to identify and distinguish a business’ products and/or services from those of competitors and other businesses. Trademark rights may be used to preclude others from using a confusingly similar mark, which may create a likelihood of confusion that different businesses belong to a same entity. However, trademark may not be used to prevent others from making the same goods and/or selling the same goods and/or service under a clearly different mark.
The scope of our trademark services is broad. Our attorneys counsel clients from diverse industries on matters related to evaluating the strength of proposed marks and names, clearing and registering marks, enforcing trademarks, managing trademark portfolios throughout the United States, and trademark litigation.
Setting up a business is both challenging and tedious. ML and Chen, P.C. can provide legal assistances in making this less strenuous. The law office of ML and Chen, P.C., provides the following services:
• Selecting appropriate business structures for clients – this depends on the state where clients’ businesses will be operating from. For example, in New York, your choices are: sole proprietor, partnership, corporation, or limited liability company (“LLC”);
• Selecting naming conventions that conform to state laws – In New York has laws regarding certain naming conventions that must be used. Corporations must contain the word “corporation”, “incorporated” or “limited”, or an abbreviation of one of such words. Also, the name of the corporation cannot be the same as any other New York corporation, LLC, or limited partnership;
• Filing the proper documents with the state department – Submit the completed Certificate of Incorporation with any approvals and/or consents you have obtained and the filing fee to the Department of State;
• Applying for an Employer Identification Number (“EIN”) – Applying for an EIN is a free service offered by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), application can be achieved via Internet, fax, mail, or telephone. Applying for EIN over the Internet is the preferred method for customers. Once the application is completed, the information is validated during the online session, and an EIN is issued immediately;
• Opening a business banking account – Setting up a business banking account is an essential step for properly conducting your business transactions; and
• Getting license and permits for clients’ businesses – It is often mandatory for a business to obtain local city or county business license, which allows the business to engage in business activities within the local jurisdiction. Businesses such as legal services, medical services, or financial advisor services, require state or federal professional licensing or certification. Based on the type of business an individual intends to operate, one may need to obtain an inspection and permit from the corresponding local agency. Health department permits for example are commonly needed for businesses engaging in the whole sale or retail selling of food and/or beverage.
Trusts & Estates
We work with our clients to create customized estate plans that accomplish our clients' personal and financial goals. We draft the necessary legal instruments, such as wills and trusts, to implement customized estate plans and assist our clients to manage their wealth. We also assist our clients to identify assets that might be used as lifetime gifts and to structure the gift which provide the most tax benefits.
We manage the disposition of client's estate and trusts and often be the counsels to the executors and trustees. We also advise clients on gift and income tax issues that affect estates and beneficiaries.
We represent clients at any tax dispute with taxing authorities. Our services include assistance with tax audits, administrative appeal hearing, United States Tax Court petition, Offers in Compromise, Installment Agreements, sales and use tax matters and many others.
Preparation of Expatriate Tax Returns
We assist our clients to get compliant with the taxing authorities. We also assist our clients with the filing requirement of Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR). In addition, we represent clients with unreported foreign bank accounts in streamlined filing compliance procedures.
Legal Consultation and Community Services
ML and Chen, P.C. offers year-round legal consultations to businesses of different sizes, and provides legal advice and recommendation before actions are officially taken by these entities.
ML and Chen, P.C. provides legal consultation in dispute arbitration and mediation, civil and criminal litigation, labor dispute, immigration, and certain legal matters concerning Chinese laws. Abiding by the philosophy and slogan of ML and Chen, P.C. – “Law of Righteousness Defined,” we are always conscientious, dedicated, and professional, when providing legal services to our clients. One distinction between this law firm and others is that, in addition to pursuing economic benefits, the law firm’s second and more important purpose is striving to best serve the society and community. Accordingly, we sometimes provide free or low price legal help to those who are financially unstable.
Furthermore, ML and Chen, P.C frequently participated in community services. Mingli Chen, Esq., our managing attorney, has started providing free legal services to the community of Chinese Christian Herald Crusades since 2012, and is also a legal consultant of Immigration Service Center in Chinese Christian Herald Crusades. Since 2014, Mingli Chen, Esq. has provided free legal services to the community of Harvest Church of New York, and has been invited to give legal speeches for many other churches.