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NAR Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

 

Daniel Kijner, Senior Broker Owner at Kijner & Sons International Realty participated at the recent Realtors® Midyear Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington D.C. This event enables NAR members to take an active role to advance the real estate industry, public policy, and the association by attending for example special issues forums and committee meetings.

This year's legislative activities included a Rally to Protect the American Dream where "an estimated 15,000 Realtors® from every state in the country and invited members of Congress converged on the grounds of the Washington Monument to make their voices heard on behalf of homeowners, real estate investors, and those who aspire to homeownership"*.

 

For all the photos, check KSI Realty's Facebook Page and Album by clicking here.

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Sources:
NAR Midyear Meetings & Trade Expo (Washington, D.C.,14-19 May 2012)

*NAR News Releases, 17 May 2012: Realtors® Raise Awareness at Real Estate Rally

Investing in Costa Rica

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

Have you ever wanted to visit and invest in Costa Rica? Then, Kijner & Sons International Realty is pleased to share with you a step-by step guide by Costa Rican Attorney Alberto Pinto Monturiol for investors interested in this Central American Paradise. 

When offering a client a property investment in Costa Rica, one of his/her logical requests will be: "I want to travel there and check out the property or business I am interested in acquiring". In order to properly advice you as a client, the first thing to do is to find out your nationality. This will allow to determine if you can come freely to Costa Rica (no visa required) or if you need an entry visa, and for how long you will be allowed to stay here as a tourist.



> The following first group of nationalities (and all of their territories) does not require an entry visa and can stay up to 90 days in Costa Rica:

Germany, Lithuania, Andorra, Luxembourg, Argentina, Malta, Australia, Mexico, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Montenegro, Belgium, Norway, Brazil, New Zealand, Bulgaria, Holland, Canada, Panama, Croatia, Paraguay, Chile, Poland, Cyprus, Portugal, Denmark, Monaco, Slovakia, San Marino, Slovenia, Puerto Rico, Spain, Serbia, The USA, South Africa, Estonia, United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland), Northern Ireland, France, Finland, Czech Republic, Hungary, South Korea, Island, Greece, Romania, Israel, Italy, Vatican City, Singapore, Japan, Switzerland, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay & Luxemburg

> The following second group of nationalities does not require an entry visa and can stay up to 30 days in Costa Rica:

Antigua and Barbuda, Mauritius, Belize, Micronesia, Bolivia, Nauru, Dominica, Palau, El Salvador, Kingdom of Tonga, The Philippines, Samoa, Fiji, St Kitts and Nevis, Grenadines, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Guatemala, St Lucia, Guyana, Honduras, São Tomé and Príncipe, Seychelles, Surinam, Northern Mariana Islands, Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands, Turkey, Kiribati, Vanuatu, The Maldives & Venezuela

> The following third group of nationalities requires a consular entry visa which is granted by the Costa Rican Consulate in their home country. If Costa Rica doesn’t have a Consulate there, it will be granted by the nearest Costa Rican Consulate (see below exceptions to this rule)*:

Albania, Malaysia, Angola, Malawi, Saudi Arabia, Mali, Algeria, Morocco, The Maghreb, Armenia, Mauritania, Azerbaijan, Moldavia, Bahrain, Mongolia, Benin, Mozambique, Belarus, Namibia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nepal, Botswana, Nicaragua, Brunei Darussalam, Niger, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Burundi, Oman, Bhutan, Pakistan, Cape Verde, Papua new guinea, Cambodia, Peru, Cameroon, Qatar, Colombia, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Ivory Coast, Central African Republic, Comoro, Republic of Macedonia, Chad, Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, Laos, United Arab Emirates, Dominican Republic, Russia, Rwanda, Gabon, Senegal, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Georgia, Sudan, Ghana, Swaziland, Guinea, Thailand, Guinea Bissau, Taiwan, Equatorial Guinea, Tanzania, Tajikistan, Indonesia, Timor Oriental, Jordan, Togo, Kazakhstan, Tunisia, Kenya, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Kosovo, Uganda, Kuwait, Uzbekistan, Lesotho, Vietnam, Liberia, Yemen, Libya, Djibouti, Lebanon, Zambia, Madagascar & Zimbabwe

 *Exceptions to this rule:

1) When citizens of the third group countries hold a Schengen visa or have a stamped visa from the United States of America, Canada, South Korea, Japan or any countries of the European Union, they will not require any other entry visa than this. They can travel freely and stay up to 90 days in Costa Rica.

2) When citizens of the third group countries have a legal residency, work permit or student visa from the United States of America, Canada, South Korea, Japan or any European Community Countries or Schengen signatory countries, they have to go to the Costa Rican Consulate in their home country to verify that document. If Costa Rica doesn’t have a Consulate there, it will be granted by the nearest Costa Rican Consulate. Then, they will be able to stay in Costa Rica up to 30 days.

> The following fourth group of nationalities requires an authorization process which is decided by the "Restricted Visa Commission" headed by the General Director of Immigration. These nationalities have to be invited by somebody in Costa Rica who will be responsible for them during their visit. This request has to be presented at the Costa Rican Consulate of their home country, to the nearest one to that specific country or directly in Costa Rica by an attorney or a person with power of attorney for the client. The visitor will then be able to stay in Costa Rica for the total of the granted days with a maximum of 30 days (see below exceptions to this rule)*:

Afghanistan, Jamaica, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Cuba, Palestine, Eritrea, Ethiopia, China, Syria, Haiti, North Korea, Iran, Somalia, Iraq & Sri Lanka

*Exceptions to this rule:

1) When citizens of the fourth group countries hold a Schengen visa or have a stamped visa from the United States of America, Canada, South Korea, Japan or any of the European Community Countries, they will not require any other entry visa than this. They will be able to travel freely and stay up to 30 days in Costa Rica.

2) When citizens of the fourth group countries have a legal residency, work permit or student visa from the United States of America, Canada, South Korea, Japan or any of the European Community Countries or of the Schengen signatory countries, they have to go to the Costa Rican Consulate in their home country to verify that document. If Costa Rica doesn’t have a Consulate there, it will be granted by the nearest Costa Rican Consulate, and they will be able to stay here up to 30 days.

3) In case of a still valid British National Overseas/BN Passport holder from Hong Kong, visitors will not require any other entry visa than this. They will be able to travel freely and stay up to 30 days in Costa Rica. Other Hong Kong visitors are citizens of China and thus under restricted entry visa.

4) Businessmen and investors form the People's Republic of China who request an entry visa at the Costa Rican Consulate validated by a letter from the "China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT)" or "La Oficina Comercial de Promocer en China", will only require a consular entry visa granted by the Costa Rican Consulate in China. 

 5) All other countries not mentioned above are included in the fourth group

Premium Processing for the EB-5

by Kijner & Sons International Realty

The Director of USCIS, Alejandro Mayorkas, announced on May 19, 2011, a proposal to implement premium processing of cases under the EB-5 program. The significance of premium processing is that it is a program under which USCIS, in return for an additional fee of $1,225, currently, commits itself to deciding the case, or taking further action on the case by requesting additional evidence, within 15 days. There was a public comment period for the proposal that ended on June 17, 2011. On August 2, 2011, Director Mayorkas announced that within 30 days, USCIS will take the first step to implement premium processing for the EB-5 program. This does not mean that the program will be available then, but rather that USCIS will finish the first of multiple steps directed toward implementing premium processing for the EB-5 program.

An EB-5 investor's ability to file the I-526 petition with premium processing will depend on the regional center, in which he or she invested, obtaining USCIS's approval of its project ahead of time under the application procedures for the I-924 application. The I-924 application is currently used for obtaining approval of a regional center designation or of an amendment to an existing regional center designation. However, under the new procedures, either an entity that is just applying for its designation as a regional center could also present a project for approval of its eligibility for premium processing, or an existing regional center could apply to have its latest project approved as eligible for premium processing. A crucial factor in determining whether a project would qualify as eligible for premium processing is the extent to which work under the project can begin right after approval of the EB-5 investors' I-526 petitions, at which point the investment funds are normally released to the regional center's project. If the project is ready to that extent, then the regional center can opt to pay the additional fee for premium processing for the I-924 application, which would result in a processing time of 15 days. Otherwise, for such projects, if the regional center does not opt for premium processing, USCIS would, nevertheless, commit itself to a processing time of no more than 2 months. If the project is not ready to this extent, or the project is still only hypothetical, then the processing of the I-924 application could take up to 5 months or longer.

Once USCIS gives EB-5 investors the option to use the premium processing service for their I-526 petition, this will be a tremendous benefit to EB-5 investors from multiple perspectives. First, this will constitute a considerable improvement over the current processing time of 6-8 months for a decision on the I-526 petition. Second, there will be greater certainty that the I-526 will not be denied due to the regional center's project, since it will have been approved under the I-924 application process. Third, the availability of premium processing will improve EB-5 investors' chances to complete the process to obtain conditional permanent residence prior to the sunset of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Pilot Program, which is the EB-5 program for the regional centers, on September 30, 2012. Fourth, for those EB-5 investors with a specific need for faster processing, such as those who are already living in the U.S. under a visa that will soon expire, or those EB-5 investors living outside of the U.S. who have plans to get their kids into school or university by a certain starting date, have a job offer in the U.S. with a certain starting date, or have other urgent plans to move to the U.S., the premium processing option for the I-526 petition will be tremendously beneficial.

When will premium processing of the I-526 petition become available? In remarks during the USCIS EB-5 Stakeholder Meeting on June 30, 2011, Director Mayorkas explained that premium processing will be phased in after USCIS accomplishes several steps in preparation. He stated, then on August 2, 2011, that the first step in implementing premium processing of the I-526 petition, will occur within 30 days of August 2, 2011. The remaining steps will presumably be accomplished over the coming weeks and months. Even once premium processing becomes available, regional centers will have to go through the process of applying for approval of their project to make it eligible for premium processing. Therefore, it will take an additional 15 days to 2 months for regional centers to obtain approval of projects that they can offer them as eligible for premium processing. So, we are looking at several months, at least, before premium processing will become effectively available to the public.

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Source: Article courtesy of our exclusive partner Anthony Olson, P.A., Immigration Law Firm (Sarasota, FL, August 21st, 2011)

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