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On October 2, 2017, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a new version of Form I-765, the application used to apply for an employment authorization document (or “EAD” card). Based on a new information-sharing partnership between U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA), foreign nationals in certain categories or classifications can now apply for work authorization and a social security number using a single form – the updated Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services indicated during a September 27, 2017, call with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) that it is on track to resume offering its Premium Processing service on or before October 3, 2017, to all H-1B petitions.

While no "official" announcement has been made by the agency, the recent statement during an AILA government liaison meeting is welcome news for employers who have experienced long wait times for adjudication of H-1B petitions filed on behalf of their employees.

VisaOn Monday, September 18, 2017, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it would resume offering its 15-day Premium Processing service for any H-1B visa petition still pending that had been accepted under this Fiscal Year’s (FY) 2018 cap during the first five business days in April 2017. Premium Processing had been suspended for this and almost all other H-1B work visa categories since April 3, 2017.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently adopted a new policy for travel document applications that should be taken into account by those applying for green cards. Under the new policy, the agency will deny a request for a travel document, called an Advance Parole (AP), if it discovers that the individual traveled outside the United States after filing the request, but before its approval. AP renewals are sought by submission of Form I-131, Application for Travel Document.

On August 28, 2017, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security agency responsible for adjudicating immigration benefits, announced that it will begin expanding the in-person interview requirement for all employer-sponsored permanent residency applications. Effective October 1, 2017, the agency will begin to “phase-in” personal interviews at the nearest USCIS Field Office for all adjustment of status applications based on employment (Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status).

In line with PRC’s 13th Five-Year-Plan and “Internet+” initiative, the Ministry of Transport (MOT) launched the Non-Truck-Owning-Carrier program as a one-year pilot beginning December 2016. The goal of the program is to introduce innovation in surface transportation to enable the logistics industry to operate with low cost and high efficiency.

The British Virgin Islands (“BVI”) is a small chain of islands in the Caribbean situated between Puerto Rico and St. Maarten. The BVI has been a top sailing destination since the days of Sir Francis Drake. The BVI is a British Overseas Territory, meaning that although the BVI has a locally elected government, the British Crown exercises control over the territory and those born in the BVI are British citizens. However, since the leak of the so-called Panama Papers, the BVI has become known as a tax haven due to the perception that it is easy to register a company in the BVI without disclosure of company’s owners. Although the BVI issued a $440,000 fine against Mossack Fonseca for violating the BVI’s existing money laundering laws (the largest in the BVI’s history), the British government has expected the territory to do more.

When many people think of the United States Virgin Islands (“USVI”), they think of beautiful beaches on secluded islands. This is certainly correct, but many people do not know that the USVI is also home to some of the most lucrative tax incentives available to American citizens and permanent residents. For decades, Congress has allowed the USVI the ability to grant tax incentives to individuals and businesses located in the USVI. The United States Department of the Interior, which administers territories such as the USVI, touts these incentive programs as providing for economic stability of the territory.

Below are the basics to understanding USVI’s taxation laws and its tax incentive programs:

Despite the rapid rise in Chinese investment in the U.S. in recent years, there has been some early speculation that the Trump Administration would not allow the level of Chinese investment to continue at the same rate.  

Proposals to limit Chinese investment continue to be floated in Congress.  Recent developments suggest however that these concerns are overblown.  Prospects for Chinese investment remain bright.  At the same time, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) retains considerable discretionary authority to block foreign direct investments from China and elsewhere, or to dictate changes to the terms of the deal.  Threats to U.S. national security, including the safety of our country’s infrastructure, remain key criteria for CFIUS in its scrutiny of inbound transactions.  

Kentaro Furuya is a guest author who practices in General Corporate, Litigation from Matsuo & Kosugi, a law firm based in Tokyo, Japan.

Anyone forming contracts with Japanese businesses or consumers beware: The Civil Code in Japan is likely to face the largest reforms since it became effective in 1898. On April 14, 2017, sweeping reforms to the Civil Code were approved by the Japanese Parliament’s Lower House. Although they must still be approved by the Upper House, and they might change in the process, pundits expect approval without change.

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The International Practice Group of Garvey Schubert Barer is a cross-disciplinary group of attorneys practicing in areas ranging from business transactions, immigration, maritime, government regulatory work, transportation and logistics, and estate planning. The group members include bilingual and multicultural attorneys who are well-versed in handling these subject matters in a cross-border context. The firm’s attorneys have been actively practicing in the international arena since the early 1970s. 
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