Employment Visas and EB-5 Updates

Thousands of foreign workers employed in various occupations are welcomed into the United States every year. All of these workers – artists, researchers, information technology specialists, religious workers, scientists and others from numerous occupations – must obtain permission to work in the U.S. by obtaining an employment visa.

Temporary (Non-immigrant) Worker Visa

This visa is for an individual asking to enter the United States on a temporary basis for a specific purpose. Applicants are restricted to the activities and purpose(s) they listed in their visa request.

Permanent (Immigrant) Worker Visa

This visa is for an individual who has been authorized to live and work permanently in the United States.

Students and Exchange Visitors Visas

Students and exchange visitors are allowed to work in the United States under specified circumstances.

Temporary Visitors for Business

To enter the United States for business purposes requires a visa as a temporary visitor for business (B-1 Visa).

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

Under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program administered by the USCIS,  entrepreneurs, their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 can apply for a green card to gain permanent residence if: they make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise and plan to create ten permanent full time jobs for United States workers.

Employment Visa AtlantaThis program was created by Congress in 1990 as a means to stimulate the U.S. economy. The dual goals were to create jobs and increase capital investment by foreign investors.

Association to Invest in USA (IIUSA) reports this program has brought many investments from Great Britain, Canada and South Korea, with the most investments in recent years coming from China. Since it was created, the EB-5 Visa Program has brought 6.8 billion dollars into the U.S. and has issued more than 29,000 visas.

Small Business and EB-5 Investment Visas

For a small business to attract an EB-5 investment, the business needs a project set up to raise funds, be financially viable and marketable, and prove there will be a creation of jobs and have a clear exit strategy to return funds to investors. Small business owners have tough competition in this market from ventures promoting larger projects, such as multi-million dollar real estate developments. Foreign investors have been drawn to larger-scale and higher profile investments.

The EB-5 process takes a lot of time, patience and expertise. Experts advise businesses interested to get in touch with the USCIS EB-5 Regional Center in their area as they can help ensure a proposed project fits the parameters of the program. Experts also advise being careful and as complete as you can when filing.

Reforms are being made to the EB-5 Regional Center Program, in large part to address abuses by some promoters. Industry stakeholders should take this opportunity to present their thoughts on how reforms can be implemented in a way that both supports job creation and foreign investment efforts. Congress recently passed a temporary extension of the program through December 2015.

In 2014, President Obama took action concerning immigrants entering our country illegally to find employment. He has announced three steps to gain control of those illegally entering our country for employment:

  • Grant additional resources to border patrols to stem the flow.
  • Make it easier for highly skilled immigrants to stay and contribute to the economy.
  • Proposed measures to address the millions of undocumented immigrants already in the country.

Opponents of the President’s reforms subsequently went to court to block many of them, and were successful doing so. The U.S. immigration system remains in need of change today.

Today, applying for one of the many types of employment visas is an important avenue for those who wish to enter the United States legally for employment reasons.

The Atlanta immigration offices of Brownstein & Nguyen offer experienced and qualified help with employment visasinvestment visas, and other immigration questions and assistance. Contact our Georgia immigration law offices today.

Executive Action Updates

Executive Action on Immigration

The future looked bright for more than 4 million immigrants and their families when President Obama issued his executive action on immigration in late 2014.Immigration

The action was designed to help immigrant children and their parents who had been in the country for several years without violating laws.

Unfortunately, those opposing the President’s executive immigration action sought and obtained an injunction in federal court putting it on hold.

In May, an appellate court upheld the injunction which means the executive action is indefinitely stalled. President Obama has vowed to continue to work on immigration reform.

To read more about the executive action, visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website at www.uscis.gov/immigrationaction.

Immigration Laws Are Complex

If you have had any dealings with United States’s immigration laws, you understand there are few areas of US law more difficult to understand and successfully navigate. The rules are extensive and subject to a variety of interpretations that depend on the facts and circumstances of each case, as well as the immigration officer, government officials and administrative judge handling each case.

Because immigration laws are so complex, you need an experienced immigration lawyer who understands the complexities and subtle nuances of the law and how to effectively advocate for you.

Safeguard your right to stay in the United States or your ability to bring your family to the United States by working with the immigration law firm of Brownstein and Nguyen of Atlanta.

Experienced Immigration Attorneys

Brownstein and Nguyen will fight to ensure you are able to stay and work in the United States. For over 20 years, we have successfully handled immigration cases in Georgia and throughout the United States. Brownstein and Nguyen has helped thousands of clients desiring to enter, reside and stay in the United States.

Trust us with your immigration needs

We can help you with any of these immigration issues:

Visas (Fiancee, Spouses, Minor Children)
Family Immigration (Green Cards)
Employment/Investor Visas
Immigration from Vietnam

Call us today for a consultation, or fill out the simple contact form at the right. We look forward to helping you.

Employment and Investment Visas

The White House has been working on immigration initiatives, including the DACA program enacted in 2012, since President Obama was first elected in 2008. The DACA program, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, has already helped countless individuals who came to the United States as minors remain united with their families. The latest expansion of DACA, currently on hold pending a court challenge, will have an impact on potentially millions of immigrants looking to make a better life in America. Thousands of other hopeful immigrants seek to bring their valuable talents and human resources to our country through viable work visas or green cards.

Employment Visas

Work VisasMark Zuckerberg and other tech titans appear have keen interest in different aspects of immigration policy as it applies to work visas. These influential business leaders are people to pay attention to because they are leading the charge to open up the number of employment visas for skilled workers to come to the United States. Zuckerberg and others founded a political action committee in support of immigration, and have been supportive of President Obama’s recent executive order pushing new immigration guidelines.


There are opponents to the expansion of employment visas, including some legislators who have also voiced harsh criticisms of President Obama’s executive actions. For example, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) has expressed concern over the number of work visas carved out for the nation of Ireland within a recent Senate bill, particularly when it comes to “lower skilled” workers. There are provisions within immigration reform legislation that limits the number of work visas within a particular city, if unemployment within the community hits 8.5% or higher. Provisions protecting the unemployed that were put in place by the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 appear to conflict with President Obama’s executive order in many ways.


A number of evaluations have been performed concerning how DACA might impact the fiscal picture of the United States. There are those who believe that millions of jobs will be created once 8 million immigrants ultimately receive legal status. The immigration issue and President Obama’s executive orders will clearly have an impact on the direction and future of our country, and the debates will likely continue for many years to come.

Contact the Atlanta immigration offices of Brownstein & Nguyen for expert help with employment visas and investment visas and other immigration questions and assistance.

Citizenship and Naturalization for Children

The procedures to apply for US citizenship or naturalization of minor children have changes, after recent Obama administration updates to our immigration laws.  Visitors of the US who have indicated that they are US citizens but are not will be granted immunity from prosecution regarding this.  Another change in our laws affects children of undocumented immigrants, who can now apply for a type of “blue card.”  These newer laws will allow undocumented immigrants to remain in the US and work, but they must pay taxes and contribute to the Social Security system.  Their children can remain within the country, and therefore families will be able to remain together. Chicago Immigration Protest May 1, 2006 Flickr – Photo Sharing!

138556236_e95a080235_zNew Laws About Visas, Green Cards, US Citizenship and Naturalization

Visas are required for those US visitors who wish to remain in the country to live or work.  An application for a visa can be completed online or in a local government immigration office.  The purpose of one’s stay will determine which type of visa application to use.  Allowed reasons for living or working within the US include the following:

  • Family sponsored visas for immediate relatives of US citizens to come live with their family members in the United States.
  • Application for a student visa through the US Department of Homeland Security, if one plans to attend college here.
  • Temporary workers need an employer-sponsored visa.
  • Medical treatment within the US requires a special medical-purpose visa.
  • Tourists from certain countries require a tourist visa application to be completed.  Certain countries that are a part of a visa waiver program.

Naturalization procedures have also changed for children of immigrants and for children born to illegal aliens within the US.  Requirements have been revised allowing minor children an opportunity to apply for certain types of citizenship, including citizenship through a derivation process or acquisition process.

Naturalization for minor children under the age of eighteen can be granted if a parent is a US citizen.  The process of gaining US citizenship at the time of birth through a parent is called acquisition.  Naturalized rules for adults include passing a citizenship test and filing a standard application.

Contact the immigration law offices of Atlanta attorneys Brownstein & Nguyen for any further questions or details regarding the citizenship and naturalization of a minor.

Image via Flickr

What You Need to Know About Executive Action Changes to DACA and DAPA

President Obama announced executive actions implementing important changes to U.S. immigration laws on November 20, 2014. These changes include the expansion of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and the establishment of DAPA – Deferred Action for Parental Accountability. More announcements concerning these changes are expected in February 2015 for DACA and May 2015 for DAPA.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

United States Capitol

Image via Flickr

The executive actions include an expansion of the existing DACA program that was established in June 2012. Under the expanded program, the Department of Homeland Security will expand DACA eligibility for people who came into the U.S. as children, commonly referred to as DREAMers.

The expanded pool gives eligibility to those individuals who entered the United States on or before January 1, 2010, were under 16 years of age at the time of entry, and have remained continuously within the country since then. Initially, DACA required that applicants be under the age of thirty-one years at the application time, but under the revised program there is no age limit. Unlike the initial program which offered a two year deferred action, the expanded DACA program grants a three year deferred action to eligible persons. This means first-time DACA applicants, as well as those renewing their status, will be granted a three-year deferred action as well as a work authorization.

DACA targets approximately 300,000 individuals who are potentially eligible for the program. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will start receiving and acting on new DACA applications 90 days after the President’s announcement, or sometime in February 2015.

Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA)

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will establish a new program targeting the parents of U.S. citizens who do not have legal status (the parents). The DAPA, or Deferred Action for Parental Accountability, program will grant deferred action to eligible parents of United States citizens or parents of lawful permanent residents (LPRs). This will cover children born on or before November 20, 2014.

Individuals eligible for the DAPA program must demonstrate that they have been living within the U.S. since before 2010 and have remained continuously in the country since that date, including on November 20, 2014 and through the date of their application. The DAPA program will grant successful applicants deferred action for a period of three years, just like the expanded DACA program.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) believes there is an immigrant population of over four million people who are eligible for this program. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will start accepting DAPA applications about 180 days from the President’s November announcement, or sometime in May 2015.

Do you believe you are eligible for either the DACA or the DAPA program? If so, it is important to start gathering the necessary documents required for the respective program so that you will be ready when the time comes. You will need required documents to establish your:

  1. Identity
  2. Relationship to a lawful permanent resident (LPR) or a U.S. citizen
  3. Continuous stay within the country for the last five or more years.

In addition to these documents, keep in mind that an experienced immigration lawyer on your side is extremely important. The requirements and procedures for DACA and DAPA are complicated, and having proper legal guidance could mean the difference between a successful application and rejection. Atlanta immigration attorneys Brownstein & Nguyen are experienced in immigration law, and have a proven track record of making a difference for those treading their way through the U.S. immigration system and paperwork. Contact them today for assistance with your immigration needs in the Atlanta area.

Immigration Reform Updates

On Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, President Obama addressed the nation from the East Room of the White House. The subject – immigration reform. In a bold and controversial move, the President announced executive actions that represent an important policy change on deportation and provided temporary relief to undocumented, law-abiding immigrants who meet certain requirements.

News“You can come out of the shadows,” President Obama said to millions of immigrants currently without papers but who are committed to ‘playing by the rules’ if given the chance. These immigrants include parents of U.S. Citizens, those who have been in the U.S. for five or more years, those willing to pay taxes and – should future measures permit – those willing to pursue a legitimate path to citizenship.

The immigration reforms will afford eligible immigrants a chance for deferred deportation, providing much needed relief for up to 5 million including for many the ability work legally. Under a ‘felons, not families’ policy, new measures will shift the emphasis of deportation efforts away from routine round-ups of undocumented immigrants and instead focus on identifying criminals and security threats. An additional 20,000 border patrol agents would be introduced, along with a crackdown on companies employing undocumented workers.

summary by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services details the initiatives enacted under the announced executive actions, which include:

  • Broadening the eligibility criteria for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to include those under 16 who have been in the U.S. since Jan. 1, 2010, as well as extending relief and employment authorization under the program to three years
  • The introduction of a Deferred Action for Parental Accountability program, which would allow parents of U.S. citizens and other lawful permanent residents present in the U.S. since Jan. 1, 2010 the same period of deferment and employment authorization
  • Making spouses and children of lawful permanent residents and children of U.S. citizens eligible for provisional waivers.
  • Simplifying the legal immigration process to continue to aid in job creation and economic recovery
  • Promoting and improving both citizen education and public awareness for lawful permanent residents

President Obama’s address began with a famous line of scripture: “We shall not oppress a stranger for we know the heart of a stranger – we were strangers once, too.” At its core, the executive actions aim to promote a process by which those already in this country who follow the law and contribute to society are legally recognized. The executive actions do not grant permanent legal status or citizenship to anyone.

Those who qualify for deferred deportation and are permitted to work will receive Social Security cards, provided they meet certain conditions: that they pay a fine for illegally entering the country, pay taxes, learn English and are willing to ‘go to the back of the line’. Underlying the reforms is a move to promote accountability on the part of immigrants, as well as providing the means by which this accountability may be honored and enforced.

For millions in limbo as Congress and the White House battled over immigration reform for the past 6 years, the new measures are nothing less than a “massive breakthrough for the immigration rights movement” according to Deepak Bhargava, director of the Center for Community, in an article in The New York Times. Aimed at directly supporting ‘hard working parents’ and those with families, the initiatives honor the American culture of inclusion and a society built on the energy, hard work and innovation of foreign entrepreneurs and immigrants.

For more information about immigration issues, please feel free to read through the information found in our Immigration Practice pages. If you, a loved one or someone you know might be eligible for deferred action or has a question regarding the latest executive actions on immigration, please contact the Atlanta immigration specialists at Brownstein & Nguyen.

What is Lost in the Wait for Immigration Reform?

Opportunities, Time, Money and Lives Lost Waiting for Immigration Reforms

The answer seems obvious:  for those caught up waiting for changes in U.S. immigration policies, there has been lost opportunity, lost financial gain, and lost lives. However, the matter of immigration reform is actually quite complex. On October 22, 2013, the Immigration Policy Center released a report titled The Cost of Doing Nothing. The policy group was clearly unhappy with Congress’ failure to act on immigration reform legislation. The report expresses resentment and disappointment with the “enforcement only” approach to immigration that has caused many human tragedies and wasted millions of taxpayers’ money. As the report indicates, the full economic potential of unrecognized immigrants as taxpayers, workers, entrepreneurs, and consumers continues to be squandered because there is no path for them to obtain legal status.

waiting = lost timeNo one says the government shouldn’t enforce our immigration laws and properly screen people coming into the United States. But if proposed legislation offering hope and a solution for the millions of undocumented immigrants already here had been viewed with the urgency it deserves, it would have not only helped a large but silent population but also been a major step towards strengthening society while at the same time expanding the public coffers.

The Immigration Policy Center’s report is worth a read. Not only have taxpayers lost lost millions of dollars over the years, but families have been broken and lives lost in what has become a black eye to our country’s long history of inclusion and openness.

The U.S. immigration system was last overhauled in 1986. Much has changed in this nearly 30 year span, yet our immigration policies have not kept up as societies become globalized. How can millions in spending on immigration enforcement be accounted for when the number of unauthorized immigrants in the country has tripled to approximately 11 million and continues to rise?

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The following statistics are enlightening:

  • At least 240 immigrant deaths occur every year at U.S. borders. Every year from 2005 to 2012 has seen at least 350 deaths, with the highest number being 463 in 2012.
  • The US Border Patrol budget has multiplied tenfold from 1993 to 2012.

The Atlanta, Georgia law firm of Brownstein & Nguyen has helped thousands of foreign citizens over the last 20 years. Individuals have found support in obtaining visas to come and live in the United States. Tien G. Nguyen, a founding lawyer with the firm, has the necessary expertise to help individuals and families with their visa needs. She has assisted with cases involving visas and green cardscitizenship and naturalization, and removal/deportation. Contact our Atlanta, Georgia immigration law attorneys if you, a family member or someone you know needs expert advice or representation in immigration law, do not hesitate to call for a free consultation.


Detention of Immigrants: Good for Business?

While recent headlines have focused on the ongoing debate in Washington and around the country about immigration reform, very little attention has been given to the intersection between private, for-profit businesses and the detention of immigrants. We would like to share some important facts about profits and immigration policy in our country.

Private Prisons-Immigration detention-Atlanta Immigration LawImmigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) follows a congressional mandate that the government must detain and house  34,000 immigrants each day. William Selway and Margaret Newkirk outline that this quota does not come cheap for taxpayers; each of those slots costs about $120 per day to keep filled. In total, the United States spends over $2 billion in taxpayer dollars a year to detain immigrants who are awaiting government action on their cases (which can take years). Over half of that amount – more than $1 billion – is spent on private prison facilities. Public financial information from the country’s largest private prison operators shows that the private prison industry is profiting from our country’s current immigration detention policies.

Does the current detention mandate make sense? Should private corporations that spend millions lobbying in Washington profit from the detainment of immigrants?

At Brownstein and Nguyen, we do not claim to have the answers to these policy questions. However, we have seen firsthand the often harsh effects of the government’s detention policies in the lives of honest, hard-working immigrants and the families who depend on them. We are proud to state that we have been able to help thousands of immigrants over the years who seek only a fair chance at a better life for themselves and their families in the United States.

Please do not hesitate to contact Brownstein and Nguyen, your Atlanta immigration law experts regarding immigration custody and detention and other immigration concerns. We have a proven track record of success, showing time and again that our knowledge and experience in immigration law provide clients with the best possible representation when they need it most.

Immigration: Reform or Not, We are Here to Help

For the past several years, immigration reform has been a hot topic in our country as evidenced by frequent news headlines and reports about the many individuals and families caught in the middle. The general consensus seems to be that changes to current immigration policy and laws are needed. Some reforms – including a path to citizenship for those who entered or stayed in the United States illegally but have become productive members of society – even have broad support. Unfortunately, however, the political stalemate in Washington has prevented legislation from being enacted. For the countless immigrants seeking to become citizens or who are facing possible deportation, change cannot come soon enough.

Immigration Law-AtlantaImmigration laws and procedures are not simple, but rather are extremely complicated. For those needing relief, the U.S. immigration system is daunting and should not be faced alone. At Brownstein & Nguyen, our attorneys are intimately familiar with the many complex aspects of immigration law and the legal process involved. Even within the current system, that can seem overwhelming and often leads to harsh and unintended results, we can make a difference for clients. While we may not be able to effect broader changes in policy or the law, over the years we have successfully helped thousands of clients to fulfill their dreams of living and prospering in our great nation.

For example, we have helped individuals and families seeking to enter or stay in the United States by obtaining the appropriate type of visa. Visas mean all the difference in the world for so many, as families can be reunited, students can gain college educations, and gainful employment can be legally obtained.

An opinion piece in USA today gave a Last Call for Obama on Immigration Reform. At Brownstein and Nguyen, we are here to help those in need to navigate an immigration system waiting for change, so they can improve the quality of their lives and their families’ futures.

For more information on immigration issues, please feel free to read through the information found in our Immigration Practice pages. If you or someone you know is experiencing an immigration problem or has an immigration question, please do not hesitate to contact our Atlanta immigration specialists at Brownstein and Nguyen.

Immigration Reform

For the past several years, immigration reform has been the subject of much political debate and maneuvering and a hot topic in the news. But to the millions of immigrants peacefully living and working, paying taxes and raising families in the United States, immigration reform is much more politics. Take a look at a recent article, regarding the story of Josue Noe Sandoval-Perez, and it is hard not to feel the gut wrenching pain that some of the current immigration enforcement practices place on families. In the midst of the headlines, and the current state of progress on immigration reform, it may seem that there is no hope. However, even under current law there is much that can be done to help immigrants wanting to make this country their home.

19272384Citizens of foreign countries who seek to enter the United States generally must first obtain a U.S. visa. Visas fall into two main categories: non-immigrant visas and immigrant visas. For those wishing only to travel to, visit, or study abroad in the United States on a temporary basis, they would need to obtain a non-immigrant visa. If a non-U.S. citizen wishes to reside permanently in the United States, an immigrant visa would be necessary. There are numerous categories and methods of obtaining immigrant visas, or green cards, each with their own requirements. Generally, these categories include relative, spouse and finance’ visas, investor or employment visas, and various special circumstance visas. For more information about the various types of visas available, please click here.

For the past 20 years, the Atlanta, Georgia law firm of Brownstein & Nguyen has helped thousands of foreign citizens obtain visas to come and live in the United States. Founding attorney Tien G. Nguyen has the necessary expertise to help individuals and families with their visa needs, including visas and green cards, citizenship and naturalization, and removal/deportation. If you, a family member or someone you know needs expert advice or representation in immigration law, do not hesitate to call or contact our Atlanta, Georgia immigration law attorneys today for a free consultation.