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Visa Options for U.S. Real Estate Professionals Looking to Expand Foreign Clientele

Please find a brief guide to visa options for U.S. real estate professionals looking to expand their foreign clientele here. This guide comes from several years of attending and presenting at real estate conferences and the questions that have been raised by real estate professionals. Foreign Nationals: Profile of Real Estate Buyers 1. Investment: These individuals have money to burn, and see brick & mortar as a sound investment vehicle. They may or may not be interested in residing in the U.S. 2. Pied-à-terre: These individuals have principal residence in another country and use property in U.S. as vacation home.They too may or may not be interested in residing in the U.S. 3. Primary Residence: They want to live in the U.S. permanently but may not have the immigration status to do so… yet. How can you expand your real estate clientele to include foreign customers? — Marketing is important but the potential buyers may want to live, work, and study in the U.S. and that requires immigration solutions. — One way is to be able to help identify ways to get your clients to the US. Some people do not have access to the U.S.: If you can pair them up with people who have solutions, you may gain new clients. — If they are in the U.S. full-time, then they are potentially a constant referral source (as well as a repeat customer). — Selling to employment-authorized visa holders and green card holders mean you can also secure buyers who need a mortgage, so you are not limited to cash-only buyers. Foreign Investors: 5 Common Profiles 1)  Types of Investors: Foreign Students Foreign Students are usually on an F-1 student visa, which only covers them for the term of study + one year of OPT (Optional Practical Training). They cannot remain in the U.S. unless they are sponsored for employment. Last year only 85,000 visas were available for all foreign university graduates, so odds are low. Many foreign students who come here to study desire to remain in the U.S. because the cost of education is so high & chances for scholarships and loans are so low, students generally come from upper-class families with substantial resources. Options for Students — E-2 visa: For students from countries which have a bilateral treaty with the U.S., they can get a visa to run a start-up or buy an existing business. — EB-5: For students who do not come from a treaty country (including BRIICS countries), they can invest passively in any project which will create at least 10 full-time jobs. Examples include restaurants, hotels, assisted living centers, factories, etc. — Funds need to be legally obtained, though need not have to be earned. Funds can be gifted by family members. 2)  Types of Investors: Professionals (Employees) “Un pied et demi” is an idiom that translates into “one and a half feet in the U.S.,” meaning: Foreign professionals who are employed by U.S. employers; they usually come in under 3 categories: 1. H-1B are university degree holders. 2. E-1/E-2 are treaty-based companies set up in U.S. to sponsor people from the same country. 3. L-1 are when a foreign parent company transfers foreign employees to a U.S. subsidiary. Employees – Why are they such great potential clients? Foreign nationals with any of these three visa classifications are deemed to have “dual intent.” This means they are not required to maintain a foreign residence, which makes them prime candidates for buying a U.S. residence. They are the most likely to be sponsored for green cards and become permanent residents. They are also eligible for mortgages with many mortgage lenders. 3)  Types of Investors: Entrepreneurs/Business Owners Entrepreneurs and business owners overseas can launch new U.S. companies and can get visas to run the US operations. Since they are basing their visas on either investment or expansion of an existing business, they have money and make for good potential clients. The applicable visa classifications carry dual intent and are eligible for green cards. 4)  Types of Investors: Stars “Stars” means anyone who is considered to have extraordinary ability and at the top of their field. This can be movie stars, serial entrepreneurs, well-known scientists, researchers, journalists, you name it! (No world-famous criminals!) They do not require a sponsor: Self-sponsored petitions can be fast-tracked and processed very quickly. 5)  Types of Investors: Retirees with money While this may be more relevant in Florida or Arizona, foreign nationals wanting to retire in the U.S. can do so, if they have a significant amount of extra money: The EB-5 program allows them to invest in a program or project that meets the job creation requirements for a permanent green card. Very important caveat: A green card CANNOT be obtained by simply investing in real estate. If 10 full-time jobs are not created as a direct result of their investment, they will not qualify for a permanent green card!! How to use EB-5 EB-5 allows the broker to “package” the property to be sold as a “combo” of sorts. There are two separate investments: The EB-5 investment and the property purchase. Working with an EB-5 project allows you to use a global budget which takes into consideration the cost of EB-5, and gives you a ceiling of the remaining funds to work with. For example: Foreign investor has $2 million overall to invest and wants a green card for himself, his wife and their three minor children. The EB-5 project requires $500k plus $100k in administrative / legal / processing fees. This gives you a budget of $1.4 million to work with for your property sale. Take-Home Lessons In order to attract more foreign national clients, it is good to be minimally familiar with the different options foreign nationals have to procure temporary and permanent residence in the U.S., and the visa classifications that allow them to reside here and get mortgages. Many times, helping foreign national clients to find a solution to their immigration needs will help you get the client and keep them for the long term. It can also generate more long-term potential referral sources. If you can’t be their problem-solver and resource, they may find someone else who can!Make sure to have someone in your wheelhouse who understands these issues thoroughly in order to be able to maximize your chances of closing the deal, and opening the door to an unlimited amount of future clients!

Nepal: TPS vs Asylum

 On June 24, 2015, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security designated Nepal as a country qualifying for Temporary Protected Status (commonly referred to as “TPS”). Many individuals from Nepal are now faced with the question of whether or not to apply for TPS or asylum. To help assist those potentially facing this dilemma, I want to provide a brief explanation regarding the difference between the two benefits. Temporary Protected Status is a temporary immigration benefit that allows qualifying nationals from a designated country the right to remain in the United States legally until a specific date. TPS also authorizes qualifying nationals to obtain a work permit for the duration of their authorized stay. Some people may also qualify to receive authorization from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) to leave the United States, travel to Nepal, and then re-enter the United States. In order to be eligible for Nepali TPS, you must provide evidence to USCIS of the following: 1. That you have continuously resided, which means you have been physically present, in the United States since June 24, 2015. 2. That you are a national of Nepal. If you have no nationality (for example you are a Tibetan or Bhutanese refugee), you may still qualify if you can show that the country you last resided in was Nepal. 3. That you have not been convicted of a felony or 2 or more misdemeanors in the United States, and that you are not inadmissible to the United States on other security-related grounds. TPS is granted on a case-by-case basis, which means that you must apply for TPS in order to receive it. The last date that you can apply is December 21, 2015. If you do not apply by December 21, 2015, you will not be eligible to receive TPS. Applying for Both TPS and Asylum It is important to note that TPS is a TEMPORARY immigration benefit and does not lead to lawful permanent resident status. However, you can apply for TPS in addition to other permanent immigration benefits such as asylum. While TPS is available to anyone who meets the qualifications listed above, asylum is a benefit that is only available to those that are able to prove that they were persecuted in the past, or that they fear future persecution on account of a protected ground. If you believe that you may qualify for both benefits, it is important to understand that asylum leads to permanent legal status in the United States and TPS does not. Furthermore, if you apply for asylum and TPS, you cannot return to Nepal or your asylum claim will be deemed abandoned. There may be an advantage, however, to applying for both benefits: If you are granted TPS and it is extended by the government (which has happened with many other TPS designated countries), you may remain in a protected status even if your asylum claim is denied. For more information on the process of applying for asylum, please refer to my previous post, Mission: Securing Asylum for Tibetan Nationals. If you have questions regarding your eligibility for either benefit please don’t hesitate to contact me As always, we are here to help.

Singer Zeca Pagodinho sings at hart of the Big Apple

The USA welcomes Zeca Pagodinho back to its shores. He will be once again in the New York, New Jersey area to give you a super performance. He will be here once more dazzling the community with his Brazilian personality and customary Samba music. Award winning singer Zeca Pagodinho has been honored on multiple occasions. He received 3 years back to back best singer, best samba, best disk, and best song. This artist is not only a talented vocalist, but a talented song writer as well. He is one of Brazil’s top sellers in the country. His music fills the room with the spirit of Rio De Janeiro. You will not want to miss out on this amazing event on Sunday, October 25, 2015. This mega performance is being brought to you by Brazil in Concert. There are still a few tickets available to purchase online at TicketFly for this grand performance that will be held in Astoria, Queens, NY.  In the newly renovated Mellrose Ballroom you can experience everything that this musical icon can give you. Contact: BrazilinConcert

Mission: Securing Asylum for Tibetan Nationals

In our recent blog regarding Steve’s trip to Tibet in May of this year, he noted the oppressive conditions under which Tibetans have been suffering since the PRC invaded in 1951. The continued persecution of the Tibetan people by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has also been well-documented by human rights advocacy groups and the United States Department of State. As a result, it is possible for many Tibetans now in the United States or traveling to the U.S. to qualify for asylum protection under the American immigration laws. It is our aim at SMA to help as many of those people as we can. To qualify for asylum in the United States a foreign national must show: — That he or she has been persecuted in the past or has a well-founded fear of future persecution, on account of his or her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion; and — That the government of his or her country of nationality, or in the case of an individual who is stateless, the government of the country where he or she last habitually resided, is unwilling or unable to protect him/her from such persecution.   This is usually shown through a combination of oral testimony and documentary evidence which are presented to an Asylum Officer or an immigration judge after the foreign national has filed an asylum application with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The asylum application must be filed within 1 year of arrival in the United States unless it can be shown that 1 of the 2 exceptions to the one-year filing deadline applies. It is also possible for a foreign national who is in deportation or removal proceedings, to raise a claim for asylum as a defense to removal, however this can only be done in front of an immigration judge. There is no set list of what treatment constitutes persecution. Rather, there is a wide-range of treatment that often, when combined, is considered sufficiently serious by the courts to constitute persecution. Because of this, it is extremely important for an individual who believes that he or she has been persecuted, to speak with a qualified immigration attorney about whether or not they are eligible to apply for asylum. While the process of applying for asylum protection can be a lengthy one, asylum is an exceptional benefit because it allows an asylum applicant to live and work in a protected status in the United States during the entire course of the application process. Once granted, the recipient and his or her spouse and children are entitled to remain permanently in the United States with the freedom to leave and return as they wish, and without fear that they will be returned to the place where they fear harm. Finally, an individual need not be from Tibet to qualify for asylum; individuals from any country outside the United States, who meet the criteria listed above, may qualify for asylum protection. If you have any questions regarding eligibility or the process please contact us. We are here to help. Please contact our asylum/immigration specialist Kate Chaltain at

Trump is destroying the Republican Party!

It was not until Trump decided to run for president did the Republican Party lose traction in its' race to the Whitehouse. Immigration and the 11 million undocumented people living in the United States have been propelled it to the front position of American republican politics As soon as  Donald Trump launched his campaign for president he began emitting repulsive rhetoric about "Mexican rapists" and making minorities his patsy  in a disgraceful appeal to the Republican Party's racist base. His apparent purpose is to destroy American families and American-born children of  immigrants. His solution of mass deportation and ending birthright says it all. Throught history "ethnic cleansing" has bee part of the human experience.  Trump's solution to the "immigrant problem" is version of ethnic cleansing in the ilk of Hitler's 25 demands  "All financial interests in or in any way affecting German newspapers shall be forbidden to non-Germans by law, and we demand that the punishment for transgressing this law be the immediate suppression of the newspaper and the expulsion of the non-Germans from the Reich.  Newspapers transgressing against the common welfare shall be suppressed. We demand legal action against those tendencies in art and literature that have a disruptive influence upon the life of our folk, and that any organizations that offend against the foregoing demands shall be dissolved"  While shifting the republican's base from policy issues to  immigration may have catapulted Trump to number one in the polls, it created a backlash from the millions of Americans with an undocumented immigrant family member.   Even as we speak President Obama is intervening with plans to help the 8.8 million legal immigrants in the country to become American citizens though an organized push to make all eligible Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card Holders).  Obama's "Stand Stronger" Citizenship Awareness Campaign is intended as  a comprehensive effort to change their immigration status so that they can fight back against the GOP hate in the voting booths. Imagine the effect of   8 million new voters in the next decade, and some 5.4 million of them Latino? It will be all over for the republicans as no republican will ever live in the White house again. The whiplash republicans are feeling is due to the frightening  thoughts of millions of new citizens. Republicans recognize that Latinos vote for Democratic candidates in much higher numbers (2-1) than they vote for GOP candidates. 5 million new Latino vote could permanent keep republicans out of the white house.
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Visa Options for U.S. Real Estate Professionals Looking to Expand Foreign Clientele News Agency

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Nepal: TPS vs Asylum News Agency

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Singer Zeca Pagodinho sings at hart of the Big Apple News Agency

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Mission: Securing Asylum for Tibetan Nationals News Agency

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Trump is destroying the Republican Party! News Agency

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Zeca Pagodinho live in New York October 2015 News Agency

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The Cleansing of 46th Street 2015 News Agency

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Go Greece! Gone Greece! News Agency

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USCIS Seeks Comments on Proposed Expansion of Eligibility for Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers News Agency

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