SMA Law Firm has its origins in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where its founder, Steve Maggi, set up shop in 2004 and started offering U.S. immigration legal assistance to people and companies from his native Argentina. What developed from that was a specialization in what we call “Outside-In Immigration”. What does this mean? Essentially it means that SMA’s chief focus is working with people who have existing foreign companies, concepts to take to market as start-ups, or capital to invest, who are located outside the U.S. and seek to use what they have to launch in, or expand to, the U.S. and need visas to do so.

The main component of this practice area is the presentation of E-2 visa petitions at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world. This visa is based on investment in a U.S. venture and is usually used to launch a new start-up or the subsidiary of an existing foreign business. Currently, the visa is available to anyone holding nationality from the approximately 80 countries which have a bilateral treaty with the U.S.

SMA presented its first E-2 case at the U.S. embassy in Buenos Aires in 2005 for an entrepreneur who designed jewelry and wanted to take her brand to Miami, then worked with an Argentinian steak restaurant chain expanding to the U.S., and from there began to present E-2 cases at other U.S. embassies and consulates in South America. When SMA’s main office was moved to New York, SMA began presenting these petitions all over the world, and has now successfully presented E-2 petitions in over 40 different countries, including Japan, Australia, Lithuania, Italy, The Netherlands, Germany, Spain, UK, France, Denmark and Norway, to name a few. This is the core of SMA’s consular practice.

For companies whose owners do not come from E-2 eligible countries, or whose employees to be transferred do not possess E-2 eligible nationality, SMA presents L-1 visa petitions, based on the setting up of U.S. subsidiaries of existing foreign companies, in order to transfer managers and executives. It has assisted companies from the People’s Republic of China, Brazil, Indonesia, and India, to name a few, in order to facilitate the expansion of those companies into the U.S. It also has secured L Blanket status for large multinational clients who need to transfer managers and executives in larger volumes.

Also a staple of SMA’s Outside-In immigration practice is assisting foreign investors from around the world to take advantage of the EB-5 program, which allows foreign nationals to invest passively in pooled investment projects, or actively in their own entrepreneurial ventures, to obtain green cards for themselves and their family members based on the creation of at least 10 full-time jobs for American citizens and legal permanent residents, based on their investment.

The three scenarios highlighted above are present a win-win situation, as they lead to significant U.S. job creation, as well as assisting many entrepreneurs, businesspeople, and investors to realize their unique version of the American Dream. If you have any questions about any of these options, please contact our Managing Partner, Steve Maggi at

(To check if you hold an eligible nationality you can check online: