Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘Immigrant Investor Visa’

3rd May 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the media mogul and Mayor of the City of New York Michael Bloomberg has been noted for remarks about the beneficial aspects of immigration to America. To quote directly from the website

WASHINGTON – Detroit should take a page from Lady Liberty and shine a beacon of welcome to immigrants as a way to overcome its severe population loss, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Sunday.

For those who follow this blog with any frequency it should be noted that New York has recently seen efforts by the attorney generals of that State to decrease the amount of immigration fraud in the form of illegitimate operators claiming expertise in U.S. immigration matters. It would appear that the city of Detroit has encountered much economic turbulence as a result of recent economic downturns. Meanwhile, there can be significant benefits to a national economy to be had through effective immigration policies. To quote further from the aforementioned article:

Bloomberg’s prescription for Detroit’s salvation came in a discussion about what he called a “crisis of confidence” among business people about the nation’s economy. Bloomberg said the “most obvious” answer is to encourage immigration.

“This is a country that was built by immigrants … that became a superpower because of its immigrant population, and unless we continue to have immigrants, we cannot maintain as a superpower,” he said.

Virtually all Americans are descended from those who immigrated to the United States of America. In a modern context, there are many visa categories available to prospective immigrants who are interested in conducting business in America. For example, the EB-5 visa provides lawful permanent residence to the visa holder upon lawful admission to the United States. Furthermore, the E-2 visa may allow for non-immigrant visa benefits to those foreign nationals conducting business pursuant to a Treaty with the United States. In the context of Thailand, there may be visa benefits which can be acquired pursuant to the bi-lateral relationship between the USA and Thailand as codified in agreements such as the US-Thai Treaty of Amity. Some may be eligible for similar benefits in the form of the E-1 visa. Those working for a multi-national organization may be eligible to obtain an L-1 visa as an intra-company transferee either in the form of an L-1A visa or an L-1B visa, depending upon the factual circumstances of the case.

Clearly, there are benefits to be accrued to those immigrating to the USA. Concurrently, there may also be benefits to the American economy and the American People as a result of immigration to the USA by foreign nationals.

For related information please see: US lawyer or US business visa.


more Comments: 04

20th December 2010

This blogger recently came upon a press release detailing the enactment of a final rule regarding E-2 visas for those wishing to invest and conduct business in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). The following is quoted directly from the official website of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS):

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today posted a final rule in the Federal Register that creates a nonimmigrant investor visa classification in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). The “E-2 CNMI Investor Visa” allows foreign long-term investors to reside in the CNMI through December 2014. Petitions for the E-2 CNMI Investor classification will be accepted beginning Jan. 18, 2011. Petitions received before Jan. 18, 2011, will be rejected.

Authorized by the Consolidated Natural Resources Act (CNRA) of 2008, the E-2 CNMI Investor Visa will be issued for two years, is renewable, and is valid only in the CNMI. The investor’s spouse and children may also apply for status as dependents of the investor.

For those who are unfamiliar with matters pertaining to the CNMI it should be noted that only recently was this jurisdiction folded into the group of jurisdictions which utilize the Department of Homeland Security to set and enforce immigration law and policy. In the past, the CNMI maintained relatively autonomous status when it came to immigration matters, but newly enacted rules have made CNMI Immigration rules very similar to those of the rest of the USA.

E-2 visas are very useful travel documents for those wish to go to the United States of America (or in this instance, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands) for business or investment purposes. Strictly speaking, E-2 visas are non-immigrant visas, but unlike the B-2 visa (US Tourist Visa) the E-2 is effectively treated as if it were a dual intent travel document in the same vein as an L-1 visa. One of the benefits of dual intent travel documents is that the applicant does not need to overcome the presumption of immigrant intent as set forth in section 214b of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act.

The E-2 visa is sometimes confused with the EB-5 visa. The United States EB-5 visa is an Immigrant Investor visa. Pursuant to the provisions of relevant American Immigration law the applicant for an EB-5 visa is accorded Lawful Permanent Resident status upon lawful admission to the United States in EB-5 status. It should be noted that the EB-5 visa process can be rather cumbersome as a petition must initially be filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Furthermore, the EB-5 visa seeker must also undergo Consular Processing at a US Embassy, US Consulate, American Institute, or US Mission with appropriate Consular jurisdiction. Finally, the United States Customs and Border Protection Service (USCBP) is tasked with inspecting and making findings of admissibility when any foreign national requests admission to the USA. As stated above, upon lawful admission to the USA, an alien national in EB-5 status will be granted conditional lawful permanent residence in the USA.

For related information please see: E2 Visa Thailand.

more Comments: 04

14th December 2010

Since recent economic developments have caused turmoil in the American economy, it is this blogger’s opinion that few are willing to look at the positive aspects of the United States economy. As a business platform the United States of America is still one of the best countries to host businesses conducting trade, providing services, or conducting manufacturing. To quote directly from another website,, which discusses issues surrounding the United States economy at length:

U.S. affiliates of foreign companies employ more than five million U.S. workers and support millions more indirectly. There is no question that investing in the United States brings with it many advantages. With a population of more than 300 million and the largest economy in the world, the United States is the most important market for any global company. The American work force ranks as one of the best educated, most productive, and most innovative in the world. As a place to do business, the United States offers a predictable and transparent legal system, outstanding infrastructure, and access to the world’s most lucrative consumer market.

Although it may seem counter-intuitive at first blush, legal immigration has a tremendous positive impact upon local economies. This is especially true where immigrants are investing in the United States economy or setting up a business in the USA. One of the primary ways in which immigrants can be beneficial to the USA is through foreign direct investment. Any money invested in the United States could be viewed as a net positive if one were looking at global competition for foreign direct investment as a “zero sum” game. Furthermore, investment in the USA creates jobs. As stated above, the United States labor market is one of the most sophisticated and efficient on the planet. This is one of the many reasons why foreign companies set up offices in the United States as American Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents are some of the best educated and best equipped to handle complex and difficult tasks. Also, the infrastructure of the United States is ranked high compared to other nations around the globe. In short, the United States of America is an optimal location to engage in business activity aimed at attracting customers from both the USA, which has a very dynamic consumer market, and the world at large.

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor visa is a very useful travel document for those who wish to both invest and work in the United States. This visa is a highly sought after travel document since it provides the bearer with lawful permanent residence upon lawful admission to the USA at a Port of Entry. Those interested in obtaining an EB-5 Visa should conduct research and take note of the fact that Immigrant Investors wishing to enjoy an EB5 visa should be willing to invest a minimum of five hundred thousand (500,000) United States dollars. Those seeking to invest in an “un-targeted” EB-5 program should note that such an investment must generally be at least one million (1,000,000) US dollars.

Those who wish to invest in a small business in the United States may find the the US E-2 visa beneficial as this travel document may be used to travel to the USA to oversee an enterprise located stateside. It should be noted that the E-2 is a non-immigrant visa and therefore, those wishing to immigrate to the USA to reside may not be well served by an E-2 visa.

For related information please see: EB-5 Visa China or EB-5 Visa Thailand.

more Comments: 04

3rd December 2010

The EB-5 Visa has been a frequently discussed topic on this blog over the past few weeks. This may be mostly due to the fact that the United States dollar has been weakening compared to other currencies in Asia as a result of the United States Federal Reserve’s “quantitative easing” policy. In the case of Sri Lanka currency fluctuations are less severe against the US dollar when compared to other currencies in Southern Asia. Bearing this in mind, the EB-5 visa still remains an attractive travel document to many who dream of residing in the United States of America.

The EB5 visa was designed as an Immigrant Investor visa for those making a substantial investment in the USA. Those interested in the EB-5 visa should be aware that the minimum investment is 500,000 United States dollars for targeted programs. Meanwhile, so-called “un-targeted” programs require an investment of 1 million dollars. In any case, those thinking about making an investment in the United States in order to qualify for immigration benefits should consult with an American attorney in order to ascertain whether or not an investment qualifies for immigration benefits under the EB-5 program. Monetary investment is not the only requirement which must be met in order to receive immigration benefits as the prospective immigrant must still file an immigration petition as well as a visa application. Both the immigration petition and visa application require that the prospective immigrant adhere to the relevant provisions of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act. Therefore, merely having capital to invest in the USA is not necessarily sufficient to obtain EB-5 visa benefits.

There are some individuals who are under the mistaken impression that the United States has a Citizenship by Investment program. In point of fact, the United States of American does not routinely grant Citizenship to those who merely invest money in the USA. However, the EB-5 visa could be viewed as a “path to Citizenship by investment.” This is due to the fact that those who enter the USA on an EB-5 visa and receive Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status may later be eligible to apply for naturalization to United States Citizenship provided the statutorily prescribed physical presence requirement is met along with other criteria.

Some individuals opt to retain the services of an attorney to assist with the EB-5 visa process. This may be prudent as many laypeople are unaccustomed to dealing with the United States Immigration system which can sometimes prove to be both byzantine and complicated. Those seeking an attorney are well advised to check the credentials of anyone claiming expertise in US Immigration matters as only an attorney licensed to practice law in an American jurisdiction is entitled to provide advice, counsel, and representation before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and the Department of State.

For related information please see: EB-5 Visa Sri Lanka.

more Comments: 04

2nd December 2010

EB-5 Visas from Singapore

Posted by : admin

Those who read this blog regularly will likely be aware that the administration of this blog routinely posts about issues related to the Immigrant Investor Visa colloquially referred to as the EB5 Visa. Recently, this author discovered an interesting piece on the internet which was written about the United States dollar versus the Singapore Dollar. to quote directly from the

the Singapore dollar is forecast to strengthen to 1.356 against the US dollar by the end of the year, a central bank survey showed…The currency forecast translates into an appreciation of 3.35 per cent from 1.403 to the US dollar at the end of 2009.

Under certain circumstances, a strengthening local currency can be problematic as exporters generally wish to see a strong US dollar when trading with the US. However, those wishing to invest money into an enterprise in the United States of America may find that a strengthened local currency is a benefit. In the case of the EB-5 visa this is certainly the case as those who hold assets in strong foreign currency may find that the real cost of investing in the USA is cheaper compared to costs in the past due to a comparatively weak American dollar.

The EB-5 visa program requires the prospective immigrant investor to make a substantial investment in the USA. Prospective Immigrant Investors should be prepared to invest a minimum of $500,000 into an eligible investment program in the USA. Should an immigrant investor make the required investment, adhere to relevent regulations, and meet other eligibility criteria, then an EB-5 visa may be issued. Once in the USA, the EB-5 visa holder may one day be eligible to apply for naturalization to United States Citizenship. United States Citizenship is a highly sought after benefit as there are many privileges and rights which attach to an individual who has become an American Citizen.

It should be noted that there are a limited number of EB-5 visas available each year. To quote directly from the Beacon, the official web log of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS):

The Immigrant Investor Program, also known as “EB-5,” was created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by immigrant investors by creating a new commercial enterprise or investing in a troubled business. There are 10,000 EB-5 immigrant visas available annually. In 1992 and regularly reauthorized since then, 3,000 EB-5 visas are also set aside for investors in Regional Centers designated by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth.

In many ways, the EB-5 visa program is a “win-win” situation as the alien is granted Lawful Permanent Residence (Green Card status) and the United States economy receives the benefit of foreign investment as well as the addition of an enthusiastic immigrant who is eager to contribute to America’s economic future.

For more information please see: EB-5 Visa Singapore.

more Comments: 04

15th November 2010

As mentioned previously on this blog, the United States dollar is weakening relative to other currencies as other economies around the world strengthen. In a recent report from Reuters in India:

Foreign funds have so far in 2010 bought shares worth a record $28.3 billion, in addition to last year’s $17.5 billion. The rupee has gained 5 percent so far this year.

In terms of international trade, the announcement of a declining dollar could be viewed negatively. However, a comparatively weak United States dollar could turn out to be a boon for those Indian nationals interested in making a qualified investment in the USA while also accruing the benefit of United States Lawful Permanent Residence.

The EB-5 visa program was designed to provide a travel document and Lawful Permanent Residence to those who make an investment in the USA which meets the eligibility criteria set forth by American Immigration authorities such as the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of State. Those interested in obtaining an EB-5 visa should note that the investment in the United States must be substantial and should exceed at least five hundred thousand United States dollars ($500,000), or one million dollars (1,000,000) if the investment is not a “targeted” investment. Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status means that the Indian national in said status has the right to reside and work in the United States permanently. LPR status is highly sought after by those in countries outside of the United States since the benefit is substantial, but immigration law may preclude many visa seekers from obtaining a travel document that confers Lawful Permanent Residence (also referred to as “Green Card” status).

Some individuals have posed the question: “Does the United States allow Citizenship by investment?” The simple answer is: no. However, the EB-5 visa could be viewed as a means of setting oneself on the “path to citizenship” by investment. This is due to the fact that an EB5 visa holder, who meets the legal criteria, may be able to apply for naturalization to US Citizenship after remaining in the United States for a statutorily prescribed period of time in lawful permanent resident status.

The American immigration process and the laws which support the United States Immigration system are complex and can be frustrating to those who are unaccustomed to American law and procedure. For this reason, some individuals and families opt to utilize an American attorney to assist with the process. That said, those interested in retaining professional assistance are well advised to check the credentials of those claiming expertise in American immigrations matters as only a licensed American attorney is entitled to provide advice and counsel in matters pertaining to United States Immigration law.

For related information please see: EB-5 Visa India.

more Comments: 04

11th November 2010

In recent weeks there has been a great deal of discussion in the international media about the United States Federal Reserve’s “quantitative easing” of the American monetary system. Many leaders in Asia are apprehensive that the United States’ policy will result in a relative appreciation of local currencies against the dollar which for export-based nations has been a critical component of economic stability. To quote a recent article on

President Obama landed in Seoul, South Korea today for the Group of 20 Summit, where he will meet with leaders of the world’s most powerful economies to address issues facing the global economy…The G20 Summit is in some ways reminiscent of South Korea’s hosting of the 1988 summer Olympics, seen as an arrival of sorts on the world stage, and the 2002 World Cup, which South Korea co-hosted.

Many feel that one of the most important issues to be discussed at the G20 summit will be the recent currency fluctuations resulting from the American announcement of quantitative easing which is likely to result in capital inflows to Asian economies such as Indonesia. To quote the Voice of America website:

Uwe Parpart is the chief Asia economist and strategist in Hong Kong for the U.S. securities dealer Cantor Fitzgerald…”There are serious concerns that when the U.S. floods the world with dollars that find their way into equities, into stocks in Asia, whether in Hong Kong, in Thailand or Indonesia, the effect of that on the local economies can be quite difficult to cope with,”

Although seemingly counter-intuitive to some, the inflow of so-called “hot money” into an economy can sometimes have a negative impact upon traditional import/export relationships and also create bubbles in an economy which could ultimately prove harmful. Inflows of capital can also be beneficial. In the case of Indonesia, one upside of relative appreciation of Indonesian currency compared to the United States dollar is the fact that investors hoping to benefit from the EB-5 immigrant investor program can obtain benefits at a comparatively lower overall cost in real terms since the dollar has weakened compared to other currencies. This is no less true in the case of Indonesia as a weakening dollar can cause an appreciation of the Indonesian Rupiah. In the event that this occurs, a prospective Indonesian Immigrant Investor wishing to both invest in the United States and also accrue the benefit of United States Lawful Permanent Residence (Green Card status) would be doubly fortunate when the dollar is weak as such an investment can be made more “cheaply” in terms of local currency.

Those Indonesian nationals interested in obtaining an EB-5 Visa should note that an investment of at least 500,000 United States dollars (at a minimum) must be made in order to be eligible for EB5 visa benefits. Furthermore, those seeking such a visa must also meet the eligibility requirements as set forth under relevant United States law. Those interested in immigrating to the USA as immigrant investors are well advised to contact a licensed American attorney in order to gain insight into the EB5 visa process and make informed decisions regarding immigration options.

Some are under the mistaken impression that the EB-5 visa program is a Citizenship-by-Investment program. In fact, this is not the case as an EB-5 visa merely grants the visa holder the right to reside in the United States as a Permanent Resident. That said, should an EB-5 investor, Indonesian or otherwise, remain in the USA for a statutorily prescribed period and meet other eligibility requirements, then such an individual may be eligible to naturalize to United States Citizenship. For this reason, some refer to the EB-5 program as a “path to citizenship” by investment.

For further information please see: EB-5 Visa Indonesia.

more Comments: 04

10th November 2010

เนื่องจากหัวข้อเรื่องวีซ่าการลงทุนอเมริกันได้เผยแพร่ในบล็อกนี้ ผู้เขียนจึงได้รับคำถามที่เกี่ยวกับทางปฏิบัติที่จะขอวีซ่าเพื่อการลงทุนในสหรัฐอเมริกา คำถามที่มีการถามมากที่สุดคือ การขอวีซ่า EB-5 “ฉันสามารถที่จะเป็นพลเมืองอเมริกันโดยการลงทุนในสหรัฐอเมริกาได้หรือไม่” คำตอบสำหรับคำถามนี้………………และต้องใช้ความเข้าใจในเชิงลึกเกี่ยวกับวีซ่าผู้ลงทุนถาวรประเภท EB-5 และขั้นตอนการขอวีซ่าดังกล่าว

หลายๆประเทศทั่วโลกมีแผนงานที่เปิดอกาสให้นักลงทุนสามารถที่จะได้รับสัญชาติทันทีที่ลงทุนในระบบเศรษฐกิจของประเทศนั้นโดยการออกเอกสารสัญชาติ ในสหรัฐอเมริกานั้นไม่มีแผนงานเช่นนั้น แต่อย่างไรก็ตาม วีซ่าประเภทEB-5 ให้สิทธิแก่ผู้ถือวีซ่าในการเป็นผู้มีถิ่นฐานถาวรในสหรัฐอเมริกาอย่างถูกต้องตามกฎหมาย อันเป็นสิทธิประโยชน์ที่สำคัญ และไม่ควรที่จะให้สิทธิแก่ผู้มีถิ่นฐานถาวรมากเกินไปหลังจากที่สถานะนี้อนุญาตให้ผู้มีถิ่นฐานถาวรอยู่อาศัยและทำงานในสหรัฐอเมริกา หลายๆคนกล่าวถึงผู้ที่มีถิ่นฐานถาวรประเภท “กรีนการ์ด” อาจกล่าวได้ว่า ผู้มีถิ่นฐานถาวรในสหรัฐอเมริกาไม่ใช่พลเมืองสัญชาติอเมริกัน ผู้ที่อยู่ในสถานะกรีนการ์ดไม่ได้รับสิทธิในการลงคะแนนเลือกตั้ง สมัครเข้าเป็นผู้ดำรงตำแหน่งทางการเมือง และไม่สามารถถือหนังสือเดินทางอเมริกัน แม้ว่าผู้ที่มีถิ่นฐานถาวรอย่างถูกต้องตามกฎหมาย (LPR) อาจจะได้รับการอนุญาตให้เข้าออกสหรัฐอเมริกาซึ่งอนุญาตให้บุคคลดังกล่าวออกจากสหรัฐอเมริกาเป็นเวลา 2 ปีโดยไม่ต้องมีข้อสันนิษฐานที่จะยกเลิกการเป็นผู้มีถิ่นฐานได้

แม้ว่าสหรัฐอเมริกาจะไม่มีแผนงานสำหรับ “การได้รับสัญชาติโดยการลงทุน” แต่วีซ่าประเภท EB-5นั้นเป็นขั้นตอนแรกของกระบวนการแปลงสัญชาติ ตัวอย่างเช่น ถ้าผู้ลงทุนถาวรได้รับวีซ่าประเถ้าผู้ลงทุนถาวรได้รับวีซ่าประเภท EB-5และเดินทางเข้ามายังสหรัฐอเมริกาหลังจากนั้นบุคคลดังกล่าวสามารถได้รับสิทธิที่จะเป็นผู้มีถิ่นฐานถาวรในการเข้าเมืองอย่างถูกต้องตามกฎหมาย หลังจากที่อาศัยอยู่ในสหรัฐอเมริกาตามระยะเวลาที่กำหนดไว้ในกฎหมายและเป็นไปตามข้อสันนิษฐานซึ่งเป็นสิ่งที่ผู้ถือวีซ่าประเภท EB-5ต้องจัดการเพื่อการแปลงสัญชาติ การแปลงสัญชาตินั้นเป็นกระบวนการที่ชาวต่างชาตินั้นเป็นพลเมืองสัญชาติอเมริกัน กระบวนการนี้ค่อนข้างที่จะมีความยุ่งยากและเป็นเรื่องที่ดูเหมือนจะซับซ้อนและสร้างความผิดหวังอยู่หลายๆครั้ง สำหรับผู้ที่ไม่คุ้นเคยกับการจัดการเรื่องการเข้าเมือง แต่ในทางทฤษฎีการอนุมัติคำขอในการแปลงสัญชาติของผู้ลงทุนถาวรประเภท EB-5สามารถที่จะเป็นพลเมืองสัญชาติอเมริกันได้

แม้ว่าสหรัฐอเมริกาไม่ได้มีข้อเสนอที่จะให้ “สัญชาติโดยการลงทุน” แต่สหรัฐอเมริกามีการให้ “วิธีการที่จะได้รับสัญชาติโดยการลงทุน” ในรูปแบบของวีซ่าประเภท EB-5ซึ่งเป็นทางที่ทำให้ผู้ถือวีซ่าประเภทดังกล่าวมีโอกาสที่จะได้รัยสัญชาติอเมริกันซึ่งจะต้องเป็นไปตามหลักเกณฑ์อื่นๆและจะต้องปรากฏตัวตนอยู่

To view this information in English, please see the previous post on this blog.

more Comments: 04

9th November 2010

Since the topic of American Investment visas was first broached on this blog, this author has received some questions regarding the way in which United States Investment Visas actually operate in the real world. One of the most frequently asked questions pertaining to EB-5 visas is: “Can I get US Citizenship by investing in the United States?” The answer to that question is somewhat nuanced and it requires one to have a rather in-depth understanding of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor visa and the process for obtaining this type of travel document.

There are some countries around the world which have programs whereby investors can obtain virtually instantaneous citizenship simply by investing capital into the economy of the country issuing the nationality documents. In the United States, there is no program that operates this way. However, the EB-5 visa does grant the visa holder lawful permanent residence in the USA. This is a substantial benefit and should not be taken for granted as Lawful Permanent Residence is a highly sought after status that allows the Permanent Resident to permanently reside and work in the United States. Many often refer to Lawful Permanent Residence as “Green Card” status. That said, Lawful Permanent Residence is not American Citizenship. Those in the USA in Green Card status are not permitted to vote in elections, run for political office, and such individuals also cannot obtain a US passport. Although, those in Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status may be eligible to obtain a US reentry permit which allows the bearer to leave the United States for as long as two years without raising the presumption of residential abandonment.

Although there is no “citizenship by investment” program in the USA, the EB-5 visa could be the first step in the United States Naturalization process. For example, if an immigrant investor is granted an EB-5 visa and enters the United States, then that individual would be granted permanent residence upon lawful admission. After residing in the United States for a statutorily prescribed period of time, and assuming all other criteria are met, it may be possible for an EB-5 visa holder to apply for naturalization. Naturalization is the process whereby a foreign national becomes a United States Citizen. The process can be somewhat cumbersome and for those unaccustomed to dealing with immigration matters it may seem complex and frustrating at times, but upon approval of a petition for naturalization an EB-5 Immigrant Investor could theoretically obtain United States Citizenship.

Even though the United States does not offer a direct “Citizenship by Investment” program, one could argue that the US offers a “Path to Citizenship” by Investment program in the form of the EB-5 visa which places holders of said visa on track to possible American Citizenship should all other criteria be adhered to and the physical presence requirement be met.

For related information please see: EB-5 Visa Thailand, EB-5 Visa China, or EB-5 Visa Taiwan.

more Comments: 04

The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisement. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience. The information presented on this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.