News & Resources
Tax and immigration law share intersecting objectives in that both seek to define rights and obligations based on a person’s status in the U.S. (e.g. non-resident alien, green card holder, U.S. citizen). The clearest example of this is the significant event of becoming a legal permanent resident (green card holder). The act of becoming a legal permanent resident (even conditional) triggers taxation on worldwide income and transfer tax on worldwide assets for U.S. tax purposes. This obligation begins immediately upon entering the U.S. and receiving a green card.
There is minimal tax difference between how green card holders and U.S. citizens are treated in that green card holders possess the same tax responsibilities as U.S. citizens. Green card holders do however, miss out on some citizen exclusive benefits. For example, the inability to take advantage of the foreign earned income exclusion on tax returns (while the IRS permits green card holders to take this exclusion, doing so can severely undercut a claim to maintaining legal permanent resident status).
Because taxation is an area where prospective green card recipients can save a lot of money, pre-immigration tax planning is well advised. Some strategies to minimizing income tax include engaging in certain transactions prior to moving to the U.S.; accelerating gains and deferring losses; offshore trusts; and accelerating gifts (to reduce the overall taxable estate). As such, future green card holders would be wise to take the time to meet with an experienced adviser who is familiar with U.S. tax law and can provide advice on what it means to become a U.S. taxpayer and how best protect their wealth.
Meltzer Hellrung is a boutique law firm that provides pragmatic business immigration management support, including long-term strategies for navigating the US immigration system and responsive day-to-day legal services.
Posted June 14, 2019 Articles, Entrepreneurship
The US and New Zealand have announced a treaty investor agreement (E1/E2) which will become effective as of June 10, 2019. New Zealand citizens will be able to apply for the E1/E2 visa the US Embassy Branch Office in Auckland as well as allow New Zealand nationals already in the U.S. to request a change of status to E-1 or E-2 classification through USCIS. Spouses, and unmarried children under 21 who wish to join the principal visa holder may apply for derivate E visas. Spouses who hold a derivative E visa may seek employment authorization. Spouses and unmarried children may also request a change of status if they are already in the United States. Please contact your designated Meltzer Hellrung attorney for additional information regarding E1/E2 visas.
Posted April 17, 2019 Articles, Entrepreneurship
The US and Israel have announced a treaty investor agreement (E2) which will become effective as of May 1, 2019. Israeli citizens will be able to apply for the E2 visa the US Embassy Branch Office in Tel Aviv. Israeli national who are currently in the U.S. can apply for a change of status through USCIS.
All Israel companies seeking E-visas for their owners or employees must apply at the Branch Office in Tel Aviv. For first time applicants and renewals, the company must submit all of the supporting documents, including the individual application for the employee, by mail. Companies can sponsor individuals who are lawfully present in the U.S. by filing a Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker with USCIS.
Applications filed with the U.S. Embassy: Preliminary review of corporate files is currently taking two to three weeks. After the preliminary review, the applicant is required to attend an in-person interview. Following an approved E-visa application, the applicant will receive their passport via Israel Post’s courier service within 10 days.
Applications filed with USCIS: Processing times with USCIS vary based on officer case loads. The premium processing service is available for E visa applications. Cases filed with premium processing are guaranteed to be processed within 15 calendar days.
Procedures for Dependents
Spouses, and unmarried children under 21 who wish to join the principal visa holder may apply for derivate E visas. Spouses who hold a derivative E visa may seek employment authorization.
Length of Authorized Stay
E-visa holders may reside in the US as long as they continue to maintain their status with the company.
Please contact your designated Meltzer Hellrung attorney for additional information regarding E1/E2 visas.
Posted December 3, 2017 Entrepreneurship
On December 1st a Federal District Court made the Entrepreneur Immigration Rule effective immediately. We are proud to represent Occasion, one of the plaintiffs who successfully challenged the government’s delay of the implementation of the rule. The Federal Court found that the delay of the implementation of the rule violated the Administrative Procedure Act. We are excited to help Occasion file one of the first petitions for parole for a founder.
The Department of Homeland Security will grant parole and work authorization to entrepreneurs for up to 30 months. Entrepreneurs will be able to apply for an extension for an additional 30 months.
A summary of the qualifications for an initial application is below:
New Company: The company must have been formed within 5 years of the date of filing the parole application.
Applicant is an Entrepreneur: The applicant must own at least 10% of the company and have “an active and central role in the operations and future growth of the entity, such that the alien is well-positioned, due to his or her knowledge, skills, or experience, to substantially assist the entity with the growth and success of its business.”
Significant US Capital Investment or Government Funding: The government lists three scenarios in which a company may qualify:
- The company has received investment capital from US investors with established records of successful investments totaling $250,000 or more. These investments must come from investors such as venture capital firms, angel investors, or start-up accelerators. These investment numbers will be re-calibrated every three years.
- The company has received Federal, State or local government grants or awards totaling $100,000 or more.
- Alternative: Provide “additional reliable and compelling evidence” of the company’s “substantial potential for rapid growth and job creation.”
Additional criteria will apply to a renewal application as listed below:
Applicant is an Entrepreneur: The ownership percentage required is diluted to 5%.
Significant US Capital Investment or Government Funding: To file for renewal an applicant will have to demonstrate one or more of the following:
- At least $500,000 in additional qualifying funding since initial parole period was granted.
- Revenue generation of $500,000 per year or more with average annualized revenue growth of at least 20%.
- Substantial job growth, at least 5 full-time jobs (35 hours per week) have been created since the grant or parole.
- Alternative catch-all still available.
Several plaintiffs have jointly sued the Trump administration's USCIS and Department of Homeland Security over the delay in implementation of the International Entrepreneur Rule. We are proud to represent one of those plaintiffs, Occasion. The lawsuit has been brought in US District Court for the District of Columbia.
The International Entrepreneur Rule was slated to go into effect in July. The rule would have allowed a small number of entrepreneurs the opportunity to enter the US through parole if they met the following standards:
- The company was founded within the last five years
- The individual entrepreneur owned at least 10% of the company
- The company had received significant funding through either:
- $250,000 from traditional venture capital investors
- $100,000 from governmental resources
- There is a catch-all provision that allows other compelling evidence to be demonstrated for the potential for rapid growth and job creation
Just before the rule was to take effect the Trump administration delayed the implementation of the rule until March 2018. The administration justified the delay stating it would give them time to reconsider the rule in light of one of President Trump's executive orders regarding the granting of parole. The administration has admitted that this delay is a de facto repeal of the Rule and that is highly likely the regulation will be ultimately rescinded.
The named plaintiffs have sued the Trump administration arguing that the delay in implementation of the International Entrepreneur Rule is a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. The Department of Homeland Security has not followed traditional notice and comment procedures in delaying the implementation of the Rule. The administration has justified this action under the "good cause exception to public participation" in the Administrative Procedure Act which allows an agency to dispense with notice and comment in extraordinary circumstances.
Plaintiffs have stated in their complaint that the Department of Homeland Security has relied on an unlawful use of the "good cause exception". Courts have narrowly construed the "good cause exception". We are hopeful that the court will follow precedent in the DC Circuit and find that the agency has unlawfully delayed implementation without allowing notice and comment.
Plaintiffs have asked the court to enjoin USCIS from delaying the effective date of the International Entrepreneur Rule and require that the government immediately begin accepting and adjudicating applications from international entrepreneurs.
We are proud to support Occasion in their pursuit of justice.