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90-year-old Sarasota Immigrant Becomes Citizen

Posted: May 21st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Jaensch Immigration Law Firm, Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Congratulations to Don Fisher for recently completing the naturalization process and becoming a U.S. citizen at the age of 90.  Don first moved to the U.S. in 1984 and had E-2 Treaty Investor visa status from 1987 to 2010.  After six consecutive E-2 visas Don married a U.S. citizen and became a permanent resident in 2010.  

At age 90, Don is believed to be the oldest client in the 30 year history of Jaensch Immigration Law Firm to become a U.S. citizen.  We took a picture of Don in the office with his Naturalization Certificate.

Don says the following about the process, “it was a challenge, but we did enjoy the chase.” 

Congratulations again to Don Fisher!

-P. Christopher Jaensch


Q&A for Diversity Visa Applicants Attempting to Log into Entrant Status Check Website

Posted: May 12th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: National News, Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

This post is related to our earlier post about the issues the Kentucky Consular Center has been having with the Entrant Status Check website.  The technical problem with the Entrant Status Check system has led to many questions.  We contacted the Kentucky Consular Center for answers and are posting them below.

How will I know if I have been selected?

  • The only proof that you have been selected to process further in the DV-2015 program is a notice with your name on it that states you have been selected.  When you log into the Entrant Status Check (ESC) on the dvlottery.state.govwebsite you will see one of two responses:
  • If you see a message that says you were selected, and it includes your name, you have been selected to process further in the DV-2015 lottery.  Please review the website at www.dvselectee.state.gov for full instructions on how to proceed.
  • If you see a message that says you were not selected, you have not been selected to process further in the DV-2015 lottery.  You may enter again next year.  This message will not include your name.

When I logged in, I got a message saying I was not selected, but there was no name on the screen. What does that mean?

  • That means you were not selected.  If you were not selected for further processing, you will receive a standard message that applies to anyone who was not selected.  It will not have your name on it.

 I saw a selection notice, but it had someone else’s name on it. What do I do? 

  • If you log into the ESC now and see a notice that says you were selected, but it is addressed to another person, this does not mean that you have been selected. You should contact KCC at KCCDV@state.gov for further information.  Include your name and confirmation number, and tell KCC at what time you tried to log in to the ESC.  (If this happened to you on May 1, there is no need to tell KCC. If it happens to you now, please let us know.)

Will these results change?  Should I check back again later to see if I was selected in the future?

  • These results are final.  We do not anticipate that there will be any additional names selected for DV-2015. 

 I am having problems logging in, or I am confused by my results.  Can KCC tell me if I was selected?

  • KCC cannot tell you if you have been selected for further processing.  The ESC is the only means by which you may check your status.

If you are unable to log into the ESC, please check to be sure you are entering your confirmation number correctly.  Some letters and numbers look similar to one another.  If the ESC web page is experiencing a high volume of requests, it may work very slowly and some connections may time out.  If this happens to you, please try again later. 

If you have lost your confirmation number, please try to retrieve it using the “forgot confirmation number” link on the ESC website.  If you cannot retrieve your confirmation number by providing the information required, there is no way for you to check your status.

If you have read all of this information and still have questions, please contact KCC at KCCDV@state.gov.  Include your full name and, if you know it, your DV case number.


Guest Post: Tax Planning for Canadians Purchasing Property in Florida

Posted: April 18th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Investor Visas, Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

This post is a summary of an article written by Attorney Michael Wilson and Attorney Heather Cooper and posted on the Williams Parker blog. Click the link (CanadaUSArticle) to read the entire article.

We are not tax attorneys.  Any questions about US tax law should be directed to a qualified US tax attorney.

Mike Wilson

Attorney Michael Wilson of Williams Parker

Tax Planning for Canadians Purchasing Property in Florida

Canadians make up a large portion of Florida home-buyers and immigrants and we are happy to welcome them.  It is imperative to note, however, that making the transition to the US or entering the Florida property market requires careful planning and preparation.  One does not simply walk in.  Choosing an immigration strategy is one factor that must be considered when moving to the US.  Tax planning is another.

Overview:

US citizens and residents are taxed on WORLDWIDE income.  Income is divided into two categories: ordinary and capital.  Foreigners can become US residents for tax purposes through several ways, even if they do not hold any US immigration status.

“A Canadian can become a U.S. tax resident if they obtain U.S. citizenship, become a lawful permanent resident (i.e., green card holder), or satisfy the “substantial presence” test, which looks at the number of days spent in the United States. The substantial presence test can be a trap for the unwary that spend too much time in the United States. If a Canadian becomes a U.S. tax resident, they will have the same tax obligations as any U.S. person (including the requirement to file an annual tax return with the IRS reporting all worldwide income).”

The US also taxes non-residents on income gained in a US trade or business and on passive income sourced to the United States.

Rental income from property in the US is generally sourced to the US and taxed by the US.  The US-Canadian tax treaty does not provide any relief for double-taxation of rental income, which is something to be very aware of.

Income from the sale of US real estate is also sourced to the US and subject to US taxation.  Like income from rental property, there is no relief in the US-Canadian tax treaty for income from the sale of US real estate and such income may be taxed in Canada as well.  The “Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act” (“FIRPTA”) regulates taxes on income from the sale of US real estate by foreigners.

Estate tax, which is 40% in the US, is another important consideration for Canadians who wish to buy real estate or immigrate to the US.  Any US real estate is subject to estate tax.  However, non-residents may be able to structure their assets so that they fall entirely outside the scope of US estate tax.

While there is no state income tax in Florida, there is sales tax and this can be levied against proceeds from rental property.  In addition there are various local taxes that may also need to be considered.

Holding Structures for Investments in US Real Estate

Direct Ownership:

  • Simplest structure
  • Rental income: 30% flat withholding tax unless net basis election
  • Disposition income: may be eligible for 20% capital gains tax; otherwise, taxed up to 39.6%
  • FIRPTA withholding applies on disposition
  • Foreign owner must file U.S. tax return reporting any income
  • Estate tax applies
  • No limited liability

U.S. Partnership Planning Highlights:

  • More administrative requirements than direct ownership
  • Rental income: 30% flat withholding tax
  • Disposition income: may be eligible for 20% capital gains tax; otherwise, taxed up to 39.6%
  • FIRPTA withholding applies on sale of property or on sale of partnership interests
  • Foreign owner and U.S. partnership have annual tax filing obligations
  • Estate tax likely does not apply

LLC Planning Highlights:

  • More administrative requirements than direct ownership
  • Limited liability for owners
  • Rental income: 30% flat withholding tax
  • Disposition income: may be eligible for 20% capital gains tax; otherwise, taxed up to 39.6%
  • FIRPTA withholding applies on sale of property or on sale of LLC interests
  • Estate tax may apply
  • Canadian tax planning concerns

U.S. Corporation Planning Highlights:

  • More administrative requirements than direct ownership
  • All income subject to corporate income tax (up to 35%) plus Florida corporate income tax (5.5%)
  • Income is “double-taxed” (corporate income tax plus tax upon distribution to shareholders)
  • FIRPTA withholding applies on sale of property (but only when proceeds are distributed to foreign shareholders) or on sale of corporation, but not on direct sale of property
  • Corporate tax return required every year
  • Estate tax applies

Canadian Corporation Planning Highlights:

  • More administrative requirements than direct ownership
  • Rental income: 30% flat withholding tax
  • Disposition income: subject to corporate income tax (up to 35%) plus Florida corporate income tax (5.5%)
  • Income is “double-taxed” (branch profits tax) at 5%
  • FIRPTA withholding applies on sale of property at 35% of gain but not on sale of stock
  • Estate tax does not apply

Canadian Partnership Planning Highlights:

  • More administrative requirements than direct ownership
  • Rental income: 30% flat withholding tax
  • Disposition income: may be eligible for 20% capital gains tax; otherwise, taxed up to 39.6%
  • FIRPTA applies on sale of property or on sale of partnership interests
  • Foreign owner and U.S. partnership have annual tax filing obligations
  • Estate tax likely does not apply

Trust Planning Highlights:

  • Increased expenses and administrative complexity
  • More options for minimizing tax liabilities

Multi-Tiered Structure Planning Highlights:

  • Increased administration over multiple entities
  • Increased expenses associated with multiple entities
  • More options for minimizing tax liabilities

Victoria Jaensch Karins Quoted in SRQ Herald Tribune

Posted: April 4th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Jaensch Immigration Law Firm, Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Scroll to bottom to see her quote. Reposted from Herald Tribune Website:

Making a case for in-state tuition

By Zac Anderson , Herald-Tribune
/ Thursday, April 3, 2014

Mylena DeMaman has been working and saving for college since graduating from Sarasota High School in 2012, but the high cost of continuing her education can be disheartening.

The 19-year-old recently filled out an application to attend State College of Florida and was dismayed to learn she may have to pay much more than most students — $11,595 annually to attend full-time versus $3,074 for the typical Florida resident.

Mylena DeMaman has lived in Sarasota for a decade, plenty of time to qualify for cheaper in-state tuition at a Florida university. DeMaman is applying to State College of Florida and hopes to get an associate's degree before moving on to a Florida university.  But because DeMaman's parents brought her to the country illegally as a young girl, the bright 19-year-old with ambitions of becoming a doctor will have to pay triple what other Florida residents do for college. DeMaman believes that is unfair. Surprisingly, many state lawmakers agree. Legislation has already cleared the House and is advancing in the Senate that would give undocumented college students such as DeMaman in-state tuition.    (Apr. 2, 2014; Herald-Tribune staff photo by Mike Lang)

Mylena DeMaman is applying to State College of Florida and hopes to get an associate’s degree before moving on to a Florida university. But because DeMaman’s parents brought her to the country illegally as a young girl, the bright 19-year-old with ambitions of becoming a doctor will have to pay triple what other Florida residents do for college.  (Staff photo by Mike Lang)

The extra cost stems from the fact that DeMaman’s family came to the United States from Brazil illegally a decade ago.

Undocumented immigrants pay the higher “out of state” tuition rate at most Florida colleges and universities, but that could soon change. In a surprising move that has divided Republicans and contradicts previous efforts by state leaders such as Gov. Rick Scott to crack down on immigrants who came to the country illegally, momentum is building to grant in-state tuition to undocumented students who have attended Florida high schools.

Political observers say the legislation — which has cleared the House and passed a second Senate committee this week — is a concession to the demographic changes shaping Florida.

Hispanics are an increasingly influential voting bloc. They made up 17 percent of the Florida electorate in the 2012 presidential election, up from 14 percent in 2008, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. These voters lean heavily Democratic: President Barack Obama won 60 percent of Florida Hispanics in 2012. Republicans would like to change that equation going forward.

“2012 was a demographic reality check for Republican strategists,” said New College of Florida political science professor Frank Alcock.

The in-state tuition bill is a significant step by Florida GOP leaders toward Hispanic outreach. It has been championed by House Speaker Will Weatherford, a Wesley Chapel Republican seen as a potential candidate for statewide office. But the legislation is not without political risks, especially for Scott.

The governor won office in 2010 touting a tough Arizona immigration law that critics said amounted to racial profiling. He also supported forcing Florida businesses to electronically verify that their workers are in the country legally.

Scott’s hard-line immigration views endeared him to the Tea Party and likely contributed to his closely contested primary victory. Many conservatives strongly oppose the in-state tuition bill and say Scott’s signature on the legislation would be a betrayal.

“He’d be making a mistake to support this bill,” said Beth Colvin with the Sarasota Patriots, a local Tea Party group. “I just feel the majority of the conservatives have faith in him because he does have his values and his heart in the right place and I just don’t feel like there’s any need for us to reach out to illegals.”

Yet Scott long ago stopped talking about the Arizona immigration law or E-verify, and appears to be moving toward the center on immigration issues. He expressed support for the Senate tuition bill this week, but avoided talking specifically about illegal immigrants.

Lawmakers have sweetened the legislation by including one of Scott’s top priorities in the bill, a provision that limits universities from hiking tuition without legislative approval.

That allows Scott to sell the legislation as a financial boon for all students, not just undocumented immigrants.

“On behalf of all of Florida’s families who dream of a brighter future for their kids, and all of our students who aspire to achieve success in the classroom and in the workforce, we will keep fighting to help every student in Florida afford a college education,” Scott said in a statement after the bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday by a 7-2 vote, with four Republicans in support and two in opposition.

Alcock said Scott is walking a fine line with the tuition measure, trying to “have his cake and eat it” by quietly backing a priority of the Hispanic community while working to minimize Tea Party anger. Ultimately, the rewards are probably worth the risk.

“Tea Party people are going to show up no matter what and they’re not going to vote for” Scott’s Democratic opponent, expected to be Charlie Crist, Alcock said.

The legislation still has two more committee stops in the Senate. The fact that top Republicans on the Judiciary Committee voted for the bill is a favorable sign for the measure. Supporters included Sen. John Thrasher, the former Republican Party of Florida chairman, and Sen. Andy Gardiner, the next Senate president.

Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, voted against the bill at an earlier committee stop but has agreed to let it be heard next by the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, which Galvano chairs. Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, also is on the committee.

There is strong interest in the issue among the Hispanic population in Sarasota and Manatee counties, said Victoria Karins, a Sarasota immigration attorney who has helped DeMaman and roughly 150 other young people in the region gain a measure of legal status through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program announced by President Barack Obama in 2012.

Deferred action allows younger immigrants who have been in the country for years to obtain a driver’s license, Social Security number and limited protection against deportation.

The in-state tuition bill is another step toward “being able to really fully integrate them into society,” Karins said.

DeMaman’s father works as a mechanic. Her mother cleans houses. They emphasize the importance of education.

“They always tell us, ‘The reason why we brought you to this country was to do good in school,’ and fortunately I really like school,” said DeMaman, who has lived in Sarasota since the fourth grade and speaks without an accent.

Bright and highly motivated, DeMaman has long been focused on a medical career. She took medical billing classes at the Sarasota County Technical Institute while in high school and served as president of SCTI’s Future Business Leaders of America club.

Working at a medical practice over the last year has sparked an interest in becoming a doctor. But the costs can seem daunting.

“It is discouraging,” she said. “And why would you want to discourage somebody from getting an education?”


Legislature Debates In-State Tuition Rates for Undocumented Students

Posted: March 20th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Immigration Reform, Jaensch Immigration Law Firm, Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Reposted from ABC7’s MySuncoast.com
Posted: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 4:56 pm

SARASOTA, Fla. — The Florida House of Representatives is taking up a bill that would offer in-state tuition rates to children of undocumented immigrants living in Florida, with hundreds of affected students in Tallahassee today urging more lawmakers to support the cause.

In-state tuition for children of undocumented immigrants has been a controversial topic, though the move has gotten bipartisan support in recent months.

“I just started this semester and for two classes I paid almost $3,000,” says Thania Erresuris, a student at State College of Florida. While $3,000 for one semester may not sound all that alarming, that amount is 380 percent higher than the in-state rate. Erresuris is forced to pay the higher rate despite the fact that she’s lived in Florida for most of her life.

“I had to do the Dream Act, so I’m basically not a resident in the eyes of the school, so I have to do out-of-state tuition,” she says. “I don’t like it because I’ve been here since I was 3 and this is my home, and I feel like it’s unfair because I’ve never been over to Mexico or anything.”

Erresuris is one of the many undocumented students facing what she calls unjust tuition rates.

“If it was regular tuition I would be able to take more classes, but because of [the higher cost] I can only take two,” she says.

The issue has caught the attention of lawmakers, with the Senate Education Committee passing a measure to that would allow undocumented immigrants to pay in-state college tuition. With the bill coming before the entire House Wednesday, immigration attorney Victoria Karins says passage would have a major impact

“This bill will largely benefit the Hispanic community, as that population is trying its hardest to advance in our society by attempting to get a better education [and] better jobs,” Karins says.

For dreamers like Erresuris, who is also a single mother on a fixed income, yes votes for HB 851 and SB 1400 would allow her to take more than two classes a semester, in turn helping her reach her ultimate goal much quicker.

“For me, education is important because I want to prove to my daughter that they need education. … I want to study nursing. I want to be a nurse. I want to actually further it to be a doctor, and I need this education to be able to further my self in life.” Erresuris says.
The House was still debating the measure as we published this story. We will update this page as more information about the vote becomes available.


Reposted from AILA National: Information for Venezuelan Asylum-Seekers

Posted: March 17th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: National News, Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Reposted from AILA National Youtube Channel.


Foreign Residents In Need of Loans Find Help

Posted: March 12th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Sabdell Bank

We recently learned that Sabadell Bank, a Spanish bank with offices in Florida, is offering some mortgage products and loans where credit record and income are not checked, which is useful for new permanent residents or nonimmigrants.  Here are the details:

JUMBO & SUPER JUMBO PRODUCTS

*         5/1, 7/1 & 10/1 ARM’s STARTING AT 2.875%, 3.125%, AND 3.375% RESPECIVELY WITH NO POINTS AND NO PREPAYMENT PENALTY

*         NO PRICING ADD ONS FOR LOAN AMOUNTS THAT ARE SUPER JUMBO’S, (WE CLOSED A 20 MILLION DOLLAR LOAN IN MIAMI SAME PRICING)

*         NO PRICING ADJUSTMENTS FOR REFINANCE OR CASH OUT REFINANCE.

*         HIGH NET WORTH CLIENTS CAN USE LIQUID ASSETS TO QUALIFY, (TWICE THE AMOUNT OF THE LOAN AFTER CLOSING IN LIQUID ASSETS AND WE HAVE A VIRTUAL NO INCOME QUALIFIER)

*         30 YEAR FIXED AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASES AND NO CASH OUT REFINANCES, CURRENTLY STARTING AT 4.75%, 1.5 MILLION MAX

*         15 YEAR FIXED OK FOR CASH OUT REFINACES UP TO 20 MILLION DOLLARS RATES STARTING AT 3.375%

*         NO LIMIT ON CASH OUT REFINACES  (CLOSED A REFINANCE WITH 4.9 MILLION DOLLARS CASH OUT)

*         BRIDGE LOANS AVAILABLE FOR 24 MONTHS INTEREST ONLY @ 4.00%.  SUPER JUMBO OK

*         NO MINIMUM CREDIT SCORE FOR APPROVAL

*         NO ESCROWS AND NO CHARGE FOR WAIVING ESCROWS

CONSTRUCTION LOANS

*         PREFERABLE FOR LOAN AMOUNTS OF ONE MILLION DOLLARS PLUS.

*         CAN BE USED FOR FOREIGN NATIONALS THAT CAN DOCUMENT WEALTH IN LIQUID ASSETS

*         24 MONTH CONSTRUCTION PERIOD

*         ONE TIME CLOSE AS A 10/1 ARM

They also have some loans for foreign nationals looking to buy vacation homes or principal residences (and not investment property).  Here are the terms if you know anyone from abroad looking to buy a home here:

FOREIGN NATIONAL LOANS

*         60% LOAN TO VALUE FOR LOAN AMOUNTS UP TO 3, 5, OR 10 MILLION DOLLARS OR HIGHER

*         EASIEST QUALIFIER IN THE INDUSTRY, 2 BANK REFERENCES AND VERIFY LIQUIDITY AT TWICE THE LOAN AMOUNT

*         LIQUID ASSETS DO NOT HAVE TO BE U.S. ACCOUNTS OR MOVED TO THE U.S. (The advantage of being an international bank)

*         REQUIRES A SABADELL ACCOUNT WITH 6 MONTHS PITI (principal and interest payments)

*         NO CREDIT REPORT AND NO INCOME VERIFICATION

*         3/1, 5/1, 7/1 AND 15 YEAR FIXED.  STARTING AT 3.00%, 3.75%, 4.50% AND 4.75% RESPECTIVELY

In short, if a borrower can show they have double the amount of the desired loan in liquid assets (e.g. bank and investments accounts) in the U.S. or abroad, then the bank will be interested in giving a loan.  Generally the loan to value is 60/40.  This means that the borrow must put down 40% of the purchase price or the actual appraised value, whichever is lower.

The contact person in Sarasota is Charles Campbell (charles.campbell@sabadellbank.com).  The west coast program is managed by this bank official in Naples: (douglas.rushing@sabadellbank.com).


Announcing German Film Festival, April 1-9

Posted: March 7th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Jaensch Immigration Law Firm, Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Screenshot (6)


Loss in the Family

Posted: March 6th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Sarasota Immigrants | 11 Comments »

2014.0306.Victor Machado

It is with great sadness, that I have to report that there has been a loss in the family. Victor Andres Machado passed away on March 4, 2014. Victor was my brother in law and was a vital member of staff at Jaensch Immigration Law Firm for many years. 

Victor first came to Sarasota from Venezuela in the early 90s to prepare for becoming a professional tennis player. His sister (my wife, Rebeca) was his chaperone and they both knew quickly that they preferred the American way of life and felt more at home here than in their home country.

Victor trained in tennis with incredible intensity for a young man and competed in tournaments around the world. He mentioned Japan and Denmark as two of his favorite places.

Eventually, his body could not withstand the rigors of the sport and he stopped playing competitively at the elite level. He got a scholarship to attend Berry College in Georgia and graduated with a degree in Business Administration.

Victor joined the team at Jaensch Immigration Law Firm in 2002 soon after he graduated from college. He worked in a number of areas of specialization within the field of immigration law including H-1B visas, employment based green cards, and O and P visas for extraordinary individuals and internationally recognized athletes. One of his lasting legacies will clearly be the vast number of immigrants he helped to achieve their goal of residence in the U.S.

Victor’s impact on the law firm was profound over the past 10 years. He helped to develop many of our office processes and procedures, including our custom-made case tracking system. He took it upon himself to train new members of the firm and was the person we all turned to when something needed fixing. He even came up with the original concept for our current firm logo.

Victor was always a very serious and intense individual who believed in structure and following the rules. And yet, he had a remarkable sense of humor and could tell a joke and appreciate a good joke better than anyone. His laugh made others smile. He had a creative and artistic talent that he expressed with writing, music and the most fantastic Halloween costumes.

Victor reserved his friendship and affection for those he felt were special. As a result, his friends always knew they had an exceptional place in his heart.

In respect for the privacy of his family, members of the law firm have been asked not to answer questions about Victor and let this tribute be the singular communication on the subject from the law firm.

As a friend, colleague, brother, cuñado, and employee; Victor Andres Machado will be dearly missed, but never forgotten.

Sincerely, Chris Jaensch


Chile Added to Exclusive List of Visa Waiver Countries

Posted: March 5th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Immigration Reform, National News, Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Reposted from AILA.org.

Press release dated 2/28/14:

WASHINGTON—Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, joined by Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources  Heather Higginbottom, Chilean Foreign Minister Alfredo Moreno and Chilean Ambassador Felipe Bulnes, announced the designation of Chile into the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)—streamlining travel for thousands of eligible Chilean passport holders, while maintaining strong security standards. Starting May 1, 2014, eligible Chilean passport holders with both an approved Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) and an e-passport will be able to visit the United States without nonimmigrant visitor visas.

“This announcement furthers our important partnership with Chile and will benefit the security and the economies of both our nations,” said Secretary Johnson. “The addition of Chile to the Visa Waiver Program will enable us to work together to maintain the highest standards of security, while also facilitating travel for Chileans visiting the United States.”

“The United States and Chile have a robust partnership – from advancing peace and democratic values in the hemisphere to supporting shared economic growth through trade and investment,” said Deputy Secretary Higginbottom. “Today’s move will continue to bring our governments – and, more importantly, our citizens – closer together, strengthening the foundation of our enduring partnership for years to come.”

Chile will join 37 participants in the VWP—which permits visa-free travel to the United States for eligible travelers visiting the United States for 90 days or fewer for business or tourism.  In Fiscal Year 2013, the VWP accounted for about 19.6 million visits to the United States, or approximately 60 percent of tourist and business travelers entering the United States by air.

In accordance with the VWP designation process, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) , in consultation with the Department of State, determined that Chile complies with key security and information-sharing requirements—such as enhanced law enforcement and security-related data sharing with the United States; timely reporting of lost and stolen passports; and the maintenance of high counterterrorism, law enforcement, border control, aviation and document security standards.

Like other VWP travelers, eligible Chilean passport holders will be required to apply for advanced authorization through the ESTA, a DHS Web-based system.

For more information, visit www.dhs.gov or www.cbp.gov/esta.


International Athletes Compete in Sarasota for Possible Olympic Opportunity

Posted: March 4th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Athlete & Artist Visas, Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Reposted from Sarasota Herald Tribune website.  Article originally posted on March 3rd, 2014.

SARASOTA – International triathletes — ranging from established elites to up and coming athletes under 19 — won’t just be competing for prize money at the Sarasota Pan American Cup at Nathan Benderson Rowing Park.

The sprint championships — held in addition to competitions for juniors and mixed teams of men and women — will likely be indicative of how elite triathletes will perform in qualifying events for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In addition to the championship events, two triathlons for youth and age-group competitors will be held on the same course during the competition this weekend.

“We’re trying to create a weekend event that caters to all types of athletes from the elites down to the age groupers,” Race Director Bill Burnett said.

While the 2016 Olympic qualifying period does not begin until May 15, the Sarasota competition for juniors is an important pathway in earning a spot at the Olympic Youth Games scheduled in Nanjing, China, this summer.

Hosted by Sarasota, the North American Junior Championships determine which 16- and 17-year-olds can compete in the Olympic Youth Games qualifying event in Mexico this May and includes triathletes under 19 from the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

This is the second year that Sarasota has hosted a Pan American Cup, a competition also held more recently in Clermont — near Orlando — and Dallas, Texas. Roughly 100 men and women from eight countries have registered for the main sprint championship this year, Burnett said.

Part of the appeal is the venue: a 600-acre rowing park on Cattlemen Road with the infrastructure to support swimming, biking and running, and lots of room for spectators.

American Tommy Zaferes, a Santa Cruz, Calif., native, came in second at last year’s sprint championships. Zaferes appreciated the opportunity to compete in two Pan Am cups, as the Clermont race is held a week before Sarasota’s race.

“There are only 3 Pan Am Cups in the USA, so having the chance to race in Clermont one weekend, then Sarasota the next weekend was a good opportunity for some good racing without the hassle of insane travel,” said Zaferes, who is training in New Zealand.

The sprint distance events in Sarasota include a 750-meter swim, 20K bike and 5K run. Youth under 16 will compete on an abbreviated course and the mixed teams (two men, two women) will complete shorter circuits of all three events each.

While the sprint championships events for elite triathletes comes with $10,000 in prize money, the race is perhaps more crucial for junior athletes, who range from 16 to 19 years old.

The event will serve as a selection event for the Panamerican Triathlon Confederation Junior Championships this spring — a key race in making the world championships — in addition to the Olympic Youth Games qualifying event in Mexico.

“These are some of very best athletes out there who are looking to eventually go to the Olympics,” Burnett said.

It’s a quest shared by many others.

Zafares will not compete in Sarasota this spring because he has chosen to start the racing season in New Zealand. Making the Olympics, he explains, relies on his ability to frequently compete, train up to 30 hours a week and rack up wins in key races.

Florida has been an important part of his development as a triathlete. He earned his pro card at an elite development race in Clermont during 2010, and he remembers the Sarasota’s Pan-American Cup as a fast course free of traffic.

“That race went great,” he said. “I just got outsprinted the last 200 meters by a Portuguese Olympian, so I can’t be bummed.”


Roman Jasek: How to be a Successful Immigrant-Entrepreneur

Posted: February 24th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Jaensch Immigration Law Firm, Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Sarasota Immigrant from Czech Republic offers home theater installation and explains why more and more Czech immigrants are calling Sarasota-Bradenton home.

Roman Jasek is one of 1.5 million people who immigrate to the United States every year.  What’s more, he is an immigrant who came to America to work and build a business.  Recently, we sat down with Roman to talk about his story.  Please enjoy.

ImmigrationSarasota.com: Tell us about your background.

Roman Jasek:  I come from the Czech Republic.  In university in Brno I studied electrical engineering.  But even before college I had started a clothing wholesale company and after college I began modeling and doing catwalk shows.

IS.com: That’s a departure.

RJ: Yes, but I was good at it.  I even won the Mr. Czech Republic in 1995.  Unfortunately, in 1997 I got into a car accident and wasn’t able to do any modeling after that.

IS.com: What did you decide to do then?

RJ: I decided to follow up on my childhood dream to come to the United States.

IS.com: Why that dream?

RJ: I had always wanted more than what the Czech Republic could provide me.  I remember as a teenager telling my parents that I wanted to leave the Czech Republic, that was before the fall of the Communist regime.  With the interruption of my modeling career I decided it was time to realize my goal.  I sold or gave everything away.  When I arrived in the US I had $800.  I didn’t speak any English.

IS.com: What do you do now?

RJ: I run a company called Audio and Communications Experts.  We install home theaters, home automation systems, lighting control, central vacuum systems and more.  I estimate we’ve worked on over 250 houses since we started.  Our website is acesrq.com.

Home theaters are one of the many things that Roman Janesk can do.

Home theaters are one of the many things that Roman Janesk can do.

IS.com: Tell us more about your services.

RJ: Our two most popular services are home theater design and home automation.

The first step to home theater design is determining if you want a traditional home theater or a dedicated home theater.  A traditional home theater is set up in an area such as a family room or living room, so there’s already an existing space along with furniture.  Clients choose from plasma or LED screens, projectors and speaker set-ups, and we discuss what audio/video selection will provide the best viewing & listening enjoyment.

A dedicated home theater features custom designed seating, lighting, sound and picture. We understand this is a big investment in time and money, so we work with you to create a movie theater feel right in your own home.

We start with a few basic questions about the design:

  • How big is the room you want to transform? This will determine the overall layout and sound design.
  • How many people do you want the room to hold? We work with contractors who create a custom designed seating configuration. You can choose from anything from stadium seating to all-leather couches.
  • Lastly, we need to determine how large a screen will fit in the room.  Using a basic formula of the screen being one half the size of the distance from where you sit, we’ll help you pick the right monitor, projector screen etc.

Ambient lighting is important because it not only sets the tone of your home theater room, it also determines what kind of projector or television you purchase.  Lighting can be as simple as using dimmers.  We also install lighting to our clients’ specifications.

An example of a custom-built in-home theater

An example of a custom-built in-home theater

IS.com: Tell us more about home automation.

RJ: Imagine an iPad or touch panel that takes care of lights, drapes, HVAC, and A/V with one touch.  A door that can tell you when your teenager gets home.  A sprinkler system that knows the weather forecast and a garage door that remembers to close itself if left open.  That’s what we call Home Automation.

There is no better or more economical time to design and install a home wiring system than while your home is being constructed.  Don’t limit the dream home you are building today to technologies that will be obsolete tomorrow.  With the proper design and materials, your new home will be ready for the future of digital technology.

Your home’s wiring is the skeleton upon which your future electronic lifestyle is built. Audio/video structured wiring solutions start with a centralized wiring panel that is organized, easy to service and able to be modified to cater to your needs and the design of your home.

Because future technologies are uncertain, the best way to ensure that your home wiring will be compatible is to design in a level of expandability from the beginning. With the right combination of Category 5 telephone wire, RG-6 coaxial cable and speaker wire you can be sure that you will have the right cable and available bandwidth throughout your home.

The most versatile wire you will install in your home is known in the industry as “Category 5″ cable. It is ideal for phones, fax machines, computer modems, computer networks, and as control wire for today and tomorrow’s sophisticated home automation and distributed audio/video systems.  We only use the highest quality Category 5 cable in designs that consider present needs and future possibilities.

Because you live with your home’s wiring system for a very long time, selecting the right company for its design and installation is critical.  Our highly trained and experienced staff of installation technicians will ensure that your home wiring is done properly the first time – on time and on budget.

We have the expertise not only in the wiring of your home, but also in the audio/video and home automation systems that must be made to work with that wiring.  We can plan the system, pre-wire your new home, then do the final installation of your home theater, multi-room audio/video system, or even your sophisticated home automation system.

Home Automation is the wave of the future.

Home Automation is the wave of the future.

IS.com: We hear you have been very busy lately.

RJ: I am one of the few contractors who does what I do with an Electric Specialty License.  This has really helped me get more work from builders.  I’ve also noticed that the number of Czech immigrants to the Sarasota-Bradenton area has increased in recent years.  When we first started I had close to 0 Czech clients, now Czechs make up about 20% of my clients.  Of course, since I am Czech, this is a nice niche to be able to service.

IS.com: What do you think is bringing the Czechs to Sarasota?

RJ: Many Czechs are coming, buying houses, starting companies and patronizing local businesses.  They are attracted by the affordable housing prices and the beautiful weather.  As the Czech community grows and word of mouth gets back to the Czech Republic, more and more people decide to come.

IS.com: It’s a good self-reinforcing cycle.  Roman, what would you say separates you from your competition?

RJ: We keep things simple and personal.  I have two guys who work with me, no more.  I stay on top of every project and give it my own undivided attention.  I really think it’s that belief in customer service and the fact that I treat every house I work on as if it were my own that sets us apart.

IS.com: What are your plans for the future?

RJ: We plan on opening a showroom downtown.  We want a way for customers to see and touch the changes we can make in their homes.  We’re starting to put the numbers together now and we’re hoping to open this fall.

IS.com: We wish you the best of luck.  Thank you for your time.

RJ: Thank you.


Signs that Immigration Reform May Happen This Year

Posted: February 3rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Immigration Reform, Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

I recently returned from the AILA CFC conference where one of the topics of discussion was immigration reform.  Below I’ve included some signs that AILA sees as positive for immigration reform this year.

  1. John Boehner hired Rebecca Tallent, a top immigration policy aide who formerly worked for Sen McCain
  2. Only 16 Republicans signed on to a recent letter to Obama stating their opposition to immigration reform
  3. Rep. Goodlatte took over the House Judiciary Committee (the committee from which any immigration bill will derive)  from Rep. Lamar Smith, one of the most anti-immigrant legislators of the last two decades.  Some of that anti-immigrant staff loyal to Lamar and the anti-immigrant slant remain on Goodlatte’s staff, who are still very publicly anti-immigration reform.  But Goodlatte has of late been slowly stepping out publicly about immigration reform’s chances (for instance, saying that House Republicans will push to make it harder for undocumented to have a path to citizenship but easier to live and work in the U.S. – meaning some form of legalization seems to now be acceptable to House Republicans if there is no path to citizenship.
  4. NY Times: GOP Leadership Backs Legal Status for Many Undocumented Immigrants.  According to The New York Times, the House Republican leadership’s outline of immigration principles will call for a path to legal status, but not citizenship, for many of the 11 million adult undocumented immigrants in this country. For immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, however, Republicans would offer a path to citizenship.

Local Immigrants are Involved in this Job-Creating Enterprise

Posted: January 16th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Investor Visas, Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , | No Comments »

Re-posted from Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Please see a video below about a job-creating EB-5 immigrant investment project in Charlotte County.  For inquiries please contact Franz Rosinus: Franz@LighthouseCapitalCompany.com.


New Immigration Policy: Parole-in-Place

Posted: January 2nd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

President Obama Announces New Policy That Could Lead to Wider Immigration Reform

New Parole-in-Place Policy May Create the Precedent for a General Amnesty

President Obama has announced a new policy that could serve as the model for immigration reform if Congress doesn’t act.  It’s called “Parole-in-Place” and it allows undocumented immigrant spouses, children under 21 and parents of current US service members, reservists and veterans to apply to live legally in the US.

Under prior rules, anyone who entered the U.S. without Immigration inspection was subject to deportation and most could not adjust to permanent residence. Their only option was to pursue a lengthy and uncertain waiver process that requires a return to their home country.  But leaving the United States triggers a 10-year bar from returning for any immigrant who entered without inspection.

“This is good news for immigrants because it creates another way for those who would otherwise be caught in an impossible situation to adjust their status without suffering the hardship of a 10-year bar,” says Peter Jaensch, military veteran, prominent Sarasota immigration attorney and founder of Jaensch Immigration Law Firm.

Immigrants who are paroled-in-place can obtain work and travel permission without leaving the US.  With work permission, the applicant can obtain a Social Security number.  If parole-in-place is granted and the applicant is a spouse, child under 21, or parent of a U.S. citizen, he or she would also be able to apply for a Green card.

President Obama has publicly stated several times that he supports immigration reform.  In June, the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration bill but the House of Representatives has not taken it up.  House Speaker Boehner recently announced that the House will not hold formal compromise talks on the bill.

In the meantime, President Obama has pursued immigration reform through prosecutorial discretion.  In June 2012, in a policy change similar to “Parole-in-Place,” the President announced the Deferred Action policy.  It allowed undocumented immigrants who entered the country as children, obtained a high school diploma or equivalent and remained under a certain age, to obtain work and travel permission.  In August, the President instructed DHS officials, when finalizing removal orders for undocumented parents, to take into account the potential hardship for their minor children.  With this new policy, Obama moves closer to his goal of immigration reform.

There is no government fee for the parole-in-place application, as there usually is.  Parole-in-place will be granted in one-year increments.

“As a military veteran myself I am glad to see the government doing more to support our service members and veterans,” says Mr. Jaensch.  “And we are ready to do our part as well.”  Jaensch Immigration Law Firm is offering free consultations to military family members who want to know more about this policy.

IN SPANISH: Cesar Gomez explica la nueva política de parole-in-place.