Is it difficult to add a new partner to an existing LLP?

No, provided that the LLP’s original charter (its articles of organization) permits it and all of the current partners are onboard.

A limited liability partnership (LLP) is a business formed to protect the individual partners from excessive financial liability. This differs from a limited liability corporation (LLC) in that no separate legal person (a corporation) is set up. Additionally, the focus remains on the individual partners.

The first step would be to examine the LLP’s articles of organization to ensure there is a clause that permits the addition of a new partner. LLP articles of organization already have stipulations about when someone ceases to be a partner: by voluntary withdrawal from the partnership, by death, by mental incapacity, or by declaration or certification of bankruptcy.

Normally, all partners must agree to admit a new partner to the LLP, unless the articles of organization give that authority to one, leading partner. For a rapidly expanding business, or one that could expand further, an LLP might not be the best form of organization, as it requires extensive coordination between individuals, as opposed to the “united front” presented to the world as a corporation.

If you have questions about your existing LLP or one you plan to form, call our office today. Our experienced business law attorneys will review you and your business’s individual needs to suggest the best legal course of action.

J1 Visa Overview

Among the ways to enter the United States legally, the J1 visa is a popular one among researchers and academics. While there is scrutiny on this visa application just like every other form of application, it is a viable route for many people to utilize. In fact, around 350,000 J1 visas were granted in 2017 to a wide range of people from different countries with different skill sets and interests. There are a few important things to note about this type of non-immigrant visa.
First and foremost, you must be sponsored by a program. Whether it is a school, an institution, the government or even a company, you must have a US based organization act as your sponsor. This institution will complete a form confirming that they will sponsor you for the J1 along with the purpose of this sponsorship.
The visa lasts the entire length of the program of study or research with an additional 30 day grace period. That means visiting scholars teaching from September to June can stay until July. Physicians on short rotations get the same privilege. The exact dates of the program must be stated in the application and in the sponsorship documents.
Those that enter on a J1 Visa cannot easily switch to a traditional immigrant visa. In fact, there is a home residency requirement of 2 years. Meaning, they must return home for two years in between a J1 visa and an immigrant visa. On the other hand, there are a few ways this may be waived.
The J1 visa was originally created to allow scholars, researchers, academics and others to come to the US to exchange information and pursue study. Since it was introduced in 1961 as part of the Exchange Visitor Visa Program, the scope and purpose has expanded quite significantly.
Each applicant must meet the background requirements for their specific category which are different for each area. Of course, you need the adequate academic credentials, work credentials and other certifications that demonstrate your capability to meet the specified goals of your sponsors program. On this point, it could become a little subjective. For that reason, appropriate legal counsel is helpful in providing the most coherent and comprehensive submission as possible.
Of course, to obtain a J1 Visa, you are required to produce a large amount of documents to prove your status and to get through the requirements. There is a tight bureaucracy around these documents so it is important to get them all right. Ideally, a trained legal professor should look at each document you provide and sign-off on it before you submit it to the government.
  • DS-160 form which is the formal application
  • DS-2019 form which is The Certificate of Eligibility from the sponsor of the program or institution that you will be working with
  • Any supporting documents that are country and job specific
  • A valid passport, that does not expire within the next six months
  • $180 Fee for the I-901 SEVIS and receipt of payment confirmation
  • A recent 2″×2″ color photo in the same format as the passport
All J-1 applicants must fit into a certain category either in the public or private sector. The categories are as follows:
  • Teacher
  • Trainee
  • Doctor
  • Au pair
  • Camp Counselor for Summer Camp
  • Intern
  • High School Student
  • Research Work
Public or Non-Private Sector
  • Temporary Scholar
  • Specialist
  • College Student
  • Official Government Visitor
  • Official International Visitor
  • Professor or Research Scholar
Overall, the J1 is a fairly popular way to enter the US to pursue a specific research or work purpose. This temporary non-immigrant visa will continue to allow many foreigners to enter the US. To maximize your chances of success though, you should ideally use top legal counsel. If you have questions about obtaining your J1 Visa, please call our office to speak with an attorney.

I am setting up a small business on my own. Would I benefit from incorporating as an LLC?

In a word—yes. You would benefit greatly from incorporating your business as a limited liability company (LLC), as opposed to operating it as a sole proprietor or as part of a group of partners in a general partnership. An LLC is a relatively simple means of incorporating a business, with many benefits for small-business owners.

The primary benefit of an LLC is in the name—limited liability. Incorporating your business as an LLC protects your personal assets in the case of loss, debt, or lawsuit. Like corporations, LLCs are a legally separate, artificial person from their owner or owners.

There is one beneficial area in which LLCs are not separate from their owners: taxes. Rather than file a corporate tax return in addition to one’s personal taxes, LLC earnings and losses are reported as part of individual tax returns. Incorporating as an LLC, as opposed to a C-corporation or S-corporation, also exempts owners from the obligation to hold annual meetings and record minutes.

The major drawback to an LLC is that owners cannot sell stock in the business.

By forming an LLC, you ensure your assets are protected and that your business seems more credible in the eyes of the world. While forming an LLC is a relatively simple process, it is best to contact an attorney to make sure everything is filed correctly and to your absolute benefit. Call our office today to schedule a consultation.

Common United States Work Visas

In the United States, the discussion around non-citizens coming to the country usually revolves around permanent immigration. However, thousands of people from all over the world come to the U.S. each year through work visas. These offer a non-permanent legal status to foreigners who have a specific work purpose for being in the United States.

The following are some of the most commonly issue U.S work visas.

1. H-1B Specialty Work Visa. The H-1B visa is far and away the most popular. These are issued to foreign citizens with specialized skills, such as engineers, programmers, or scientists; this can also include, for example, teachers with a specialty not easily found among U.S. citizens. Applications are filed by U.S. employers on behalf of the employees they wish to bring to the country. If accepted, the H-1B allows workers to stay in the U.S. for up to six years—three years on the initial visa with a further three year extension.
There is a yearly cap of 85,000 on H-1B visas, 20,000 of which must be filed on behalf of individuals with a U.S. master’s degree or higher. As this is far below the number of H-1B applications received each year, other visa types are coming into more regular use.

2. L-1 Intra-Company Transfer Work Visa. The L-1 allows foreign nationals already employed by an international company to transfer to branches of their companies in the U.S. Visa holders must have worked for the company for at least one continuous year within the three years immediately preceding admission to the U.S. These visas are specifically for managers and executives. Self-employed foreign nationals may not receive an L-1 visa.

Like the H-1B, the L-1 has an initial length of three years. However, it can only be extended to a total of five years rather than six.

3. NAFTA Work Visa. Also known as a TN visa, this visa is similar to the H-1B. Applicants must have a higher education degree, be part of a qualifying profession, and have a standing job offer in the United States. This visa was designed as part of NAFTA specifically for Canadian and Mexican nationals; it allows them to live and work in the U.S. without competing for H-1B visas.

The other benefit to the TN visa is that, while it initially allows individuals to stay for three years, visa holders can extend their stay indefinitely as long as they meet TN status.
Please note that Canadian citizens may stay in the U.S. without a visa, as long as they have other appropriate documentation (see here). Mexican citizens must apply for a visa.

4. R-1 Religious Worker Visa. The R-1 visa allows foreign nationals to work in religious occupations in the U.S. The organization that employs the worker must meet one of three criteria: it must be a recognized non-profit religious organization in the United States, a religious organization authorized by a group tax exemption holder to use its group tax exemption, or a non-profit religious organization affiliated with a religious denomination recognized in the United States.

Furthermore, the occupation must primarily relate to a traditional religious function, be recognized as a religious occupation within the denomination, and be primarily related to carrying out the beliefs of the denomination. Most frequently these visas are given to ministers, but they can go to any foreign national whose job meets these criteria.
R-1 visas are granted for thirty months, which can be extended to a total of five years.

For those interested in further information United States visas, a list of both nonimmigrant and immigrant visa categories, and links to what is needed to qualify for those visas, can be found on the U.S. State Department website.