The U.S. Consulate’s New Requirement For Small Businesses and Restaurants

For Visa holders living in the United States who own small businesses, a recent policy change has made getting a Visa renewed more difficult. Specifically, US Consulates are now focusing on all the employees working in the business. In order to renew your Visa, the company may have to prove that everyone working at your business is able to legally work in the US.

This new policy seems to have begun a year ago. At this point, it looks like it is here to stay. This may happen when a business owner is trying to renew their own Visa or trying to bring in people from other countries to expand their business. We have only seen it happen to small businesses, not major corporations. It tends to affect small businesses, start-ups, travel companies, and restaurants most of all.

When the business owner goes to renew their Visa, the US Consulate will ask for proof that everyone working in their business is legally allowed to work in the US. They will want to see not only the I-9 forms for all employees on the company payroll but supporting proof of each employee’s identity and legal ability to work in the US. If any of your employees do not have the legal ability to work in the US, you may have to fire them in order to obtain your Visa. It may be heartbreaking to lose a valued employee, but it is the way things are going right now.

For small businesses and restaurants, business owners need to make sure that all of their employees are legally allowed to work in the US. One difficult aspect of this requires the business owner to track their employees’ Visa renewal dates. If the employee had a valid I-94 or Visa when they were hired, but it has since expired and not been renewed, they will count against your business. Business owners must take note of the Visa and I-94 expiration dates of all their nonimmigrant employees and ensure that they are renewing them in time.

This change has made it more difficult for business owners to get their Visas renewed, even for those who are certain of their employees’ Visa status. It takes longer to process things, so consider applying for renewal earlier than you normally would. Additionally, make a point to know the Visa status of all of your employees at any given moment.

At Valvo & Associates, we love small businesses and local restaurants. We want to see them succeed – and so we wanted to share this new policy with their business owners. For help with any immigration and Visa-related concerns, contact Valvo & Associates today! We have over 88 years of combined expertise and the ability to represent clients federally in all fifty states!

By Brandon Valvo