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Thursday, December 01, 2011

Telekom und AT&T: Gemeinschaftsfirma statt Verkauf?

Zu Beginn des Jahres hatten wir auf unserem Blog über den Plan der Deutschen Telekom, seine Mobilfunktochter T-Mobile USA für 39 Milliarden Dollar an den Marktführer AT&T zu verkaufen, berichtet. Der Deal stieß jedoch bei den US-Kartellbehörden auf Widerstand. Das US-Justizministerium klagte wegen einer Verletzung von Wettbewerbsregeln vor Gericht, die Telekommunikationsbehörde FCC äußerte ebenfalls massive Kritik.

Nach einem Bericht des "Wall Street Journal" erwägen die beiden Unternehmen nun statt einem Verkauf von T-Mobile USA an den amerikanischen Konzern AT&T, ein Gemeinschaftsunternehmen (sog. Joint Venture) zu gründen.

Für beide Unternehmen geht es um viel: Die Telekom könnte mit dem Verkauf der US-Tochter ein Sorgenkind loswerden. AT&T hingegen würde dringend benötigte neue Frequenzen bekommen und zur klaren Nummer eins vor Verizon werden.

Den ganzen Artikel finden Sie hier.

(c) Picture: T-Mobile

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Settlement Reached between F.T.C. and Facebook over Privacy Issue

Yesterday, the Federal Trade Commission in Washington announced a broad settlement with Facebook that requires the company to respect the privacy wishes of its users.

The order requires Facebook to obtain its users’ “affirmative express consent” before it can override their own privacy settings. Facebook is also obliged to undergo an independent privacy audit every two years for the next 20 years, according to the terms of the settlement.

The order stems largely from changes that Facebook made to the way it handled its users’ information in December 2009. The Commission accused Facebook of engaging in “unfair and deceptive” practices.

No fines were levied and the Commission did not accuse Facebook of intentionally breaking the law. However, if Facebook violated the terms of the settlement in the future, it would be liable to pay a penalty of $16,000 a day for each count, the F.T.C. said.

To read the full story, click here.

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USCIS Reaches Fiscal Year 2012 H-1B Cap

WASHINGTON - U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced last week that it has received a sufficient number of H-1B petitions to reach the statutory cap of 65,000 for fiscal year (FY) 2012. USCIS is notifying the public that Nov. 22, 2011, was the final receipt date for new H-1B specialty occupation petitions requesting an employment start date in FY 2012.

Properly filed cases will be considered received on the date that USCIS physically receives the petition; not the date that the petition was postmarked. USCIS will reject cap-subject petitions for new H-1B specialty occupation workers seeking an employment start date in FY 2012 that arrive after Nov. 22, 2011.

As of Oct. 19, 2011, USCIS had also received more than 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of persons exempt from the cap under the ‘advanced degree’ exemption. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions that are otherwise exempt from the cap. In addition, petitions filed on behalf of current H-1B workers who have been counted previously against the cap will not be counted toward the FY 2012 H-1B cap. Accordingly, USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions filed to:
  • extend the amount of time a current H-1B worker may remain in the U.S.;
  • change the terms of employment for current H-1B workers;

  • allow current H-1B workers to change employers; and
  • allow current H-1B workers to work concurrently in a second H-1B position.
U.S. businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields such as scientists, engineers or computer programmers.

For Immigration Law related inquiries in German or English, please contact us.

(c) Picture: USCIS

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Alabama Cracks Down on (Illegal) Immigration

In the past we reported about controversial immigration laws in Arizona, Georgia and South Carolina. Another state cracking down on illegal immigration is Alabama. Last weeks arrest of a German Mercedes-Benz executive by Tuscaloosa police for driving without identification required by the law raises the question, however, whether such laws hurt hurt economic development of the respective state by cracking down on legal immigration.

Even though authorities dropped the charge against the German Mercedes-Benz executive last Wednesday, the arrest drew widespread attention. The German automaker Mercedes-Benz is one of the state’s leading employers, and its decision to build its first U.S. assembly plant in Alabama in 1993 provided the spark that helped lead to the state’s large automotive industry, which includes foreign manufacturers Honda, Hyundai and Toyota. One newspaper even cited the executive’s arrest in urging Mercedes to move to Missouri from Alabama.

To read the full article, please click here.

For Immigration Law inquiries please contact us via email at or via phone at 704.333.5230.

(c) Picture: Mercedes-Benz U.S. International

Friday, November 11, 2011

3rd Annual AmCham Business Day

As previously reported on our blog, on November 1, 2011 the 3rd Annual AmCham Business Day was held in Atlanta, GA. The BridgehouseLaw Charlotte team - Managing Partner Reinhard von Hennigs, Attorney Nicole M. Dickey and Attorney Judith S. Haensel - joined the amazing event which addressed Global Changes – Transatlantic Challenges: how political uprisings and financial turmoil impact Euro-American business relations.

Below are some pictures taken at the event:

BridgehouseLaw Charlotte team (from the left: Reinhard von Hennigs, Managing Partner; Judith Haensel, Attorney; Nicole Dickey, Attorney) with Atlanta-based colleague Sebastian Meis.

Reinhard von Hennigs (center) during a discussion with former German politician Friedrich Merz (left).

Reinhard von Hennigs (right) speaking with Friedrich Merz (left).

Judith Haensel (far left) and Nicole Dickey (far right) of BridgehouseLaw Charlotte with German Tax Consultant Joerg Kemkes of BridgehouseTax and Kathleen Darmstadt of BridgehouseLaw Atlanta.

Judith Haensel (far right) of BridgehouseLaw Charlotte next to Kathleen Darmstadt of BridgehouseLaw Atlanta with former German politician Friedrich Merz.

Verbesserter Schutz für persönliche Daten europäischer Passagiere

Die persönlichen Daten europäischer Passagiere werden bei Flügen in die USA künftig besser geschützt. Nach knapp einjährigen Verhandlungen hat die EU mit den USA ein neues Abkommen über die Weitergabe von Fluggastdaten ausgehandelt.

Dem neuen Abkommen zufolge, welchem Europaparlament und Mitgliedsstaaten noch zustimmen müssen, werden sämtliche Datensätze künftig nach sechs Monaten anonymisiert, so dass US-Terrorfahnder nicht mehr auf die Person des Fluggastes schließen können. Zudem dürfen die Datensätze insgesamt nicht mehr 15, sondern nur noch 10 Jahre gespeichert bleiben.

Weitere International Law News finden Sie auf unserer Facebook Seite.

Quelle: Spiegel Online Reise; Picture:

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Daimler to Invest $350M to Build 5th Mercedes Model in Alabama

Good news for the State of Alabama and the Southeastern United States: Daimler AG said it will invest $350 million to produce a fifth Mercedes-Benz model at its factory in Vance, Alabama, starting in 2015.

The investment will create an additional 400 jobs at the plant. The company did not provide details about the additional vehicle.

To read more, please click here.

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Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Status and Highlights of the Visit USA Act

As previously reported on our blog, last week two senators introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate providing foreigners with the opportunity to obtain a visa when buying a pricey home in the United States. The title of the bill is "Visa Improvements to Stimulate International Tourism to the United States of America Act."

The bill was referred to the Senate committee on October 20, 2011. Currently it has been read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

Section 8 of the bill - Increasing Home Ownership by Priority Visitors - outlines the new measure which will offer visas to any foreigner making a cash investment of at least $500,000 on residential single-family houses, condos or townhouses. The text of Section 8 is presented below and the most pertinent parts have been highlighted in bold print.

(a) Nonimmigrant Status- Section 101(a)(15) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended by section 5(a), is further amended by adding at the end the following:

‘(X) subject to section 214(t), an alien who, after the date of the enactment of the VISIT USA Act--

‘(i)(I) uses at least $500,000 in cash to purchase 1 or more residences in the United States, which each sold for more than 100 percent of the most recent appraised value of such residence, as determined by the property assessor in the city or county in which the residence is located;
‘(II) maintains ownership of residential property in the United States worth at least $500,000 during the entire period the alien remains in the United States as a nonimmigrant described in this subparagraph; and
‘(III) resides for more than 180 days per year in a residence in the United States that is worth at least $250,000; and

‘(ii) the alien spouse and children of the alien described in clause (i) if accompanying or following to join the alien.’.

(b) Visa Application Procedures- Section 214 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended by section 5(b), is further amended by adding at the end the following:

‘(t) Visas of Nonimmigrants Described in Section 101(a)(15)(X)-

‘(1) The Secretary of Homeland Security shall authorize the issuance of a nonimmigrant visa to any alien described in section 101(a)(15)(X) who submits a petition to the Secretary that demonstrates, to the satisfaction of the Secretary, that the alien--
‘(A) has purchased a residence in the United States that meets the criteria set forth in section 101(a)(15)(X)(i);
‘(B) is not inadmissible under section 212; and
‘(C) will comply with the terms set forth in paragraph (2).

‘(2) An alien who is issued a visa under this subsection--
‘(A) shall reside in the United States at a residence that meets the criteria set forth in section 101(a)(15)(X)(i) for more than 180 days per year;
‘(B) is not authorized to engage in employment in the United States, except for employment that is directly related to the management of the residential property described in section 101(X)(i)(II);
‘(C) is not eligible for any form of assistance or benefit described in section 403(a) of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (8 U.S.C. 1613(a)); and
‘(D) may renew such visa every 3 years under the same terms and conditions.’.

For more information on the Visit USA Act and other Immigration Law inquiries, please contact us via email at or via phone at 704.333.5230.


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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Harley Davidson startet Rückrufaktion

Der Kult-Motorrad Hersteller Harley Davidson muss wegen aktueller Problemen an den Bremsanlagen seiner Motorräder eine gigantische Rückrufaktion starten. Nach aktuellen Informationen müssen alleine im Heimatmarkt USA mehr als 250.000, weltweit sogar mehr als 300.000 Motorräder und Trikes zurückgerufen werden.

In einer Mitteilung an die US-Behörden teilte das Unternehmen mit, dass rund 308.000 Motorrädern aus den Baujahren 2009-2011 betroffen seien. Bei den Motorrädern kann in einem Teil der Auspuffanlage die Hitze so groß werden, dass sie den Schalter für das Bremslicht außer Gefecht setzt. Zusätzlich könne es im schlimmsten Falle sogar zum Austritt von Bremsflüssigkeit kommen, sodass die Bremsen als solches beeinträchtigt würden.

Auch wenn die Unternehmensdaten in der letzten Zeit wieder einen deutlichen Trend nach oben zeigten - 7.5 % Plus im zweiten Quartal dieses Jahres - wird die Rückrufaktion das Unternehmen erneut vor eine schwierige Situation stellen.

Für das jetzige Geschäftsjahr rechnet Harley Davidson jedoch mit einer Umsatzsteigerung von 228.000 bis 235.000 verkauften Maschinen. Die Rückrufaktion entspricht daher ca. einer ganzen Jahresproduktion.

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Google verliert vor dem Bundesgerichtshof (BGH): erhöhte Prüfpflichten bei Blogeinträgen

Google wurde von einem Geschäftsmann als Betreiber eines Blogs verklagt (BGH, Urt. v. 25. Oktober 2011, VI ZR 93/10). Der Kläger beanstandete, dass ein von einem Dritten eingerichteter Blog unter anderem eine Tatsachenbehauptung enthält, die unwahr und ehrenrührig sei. Daraufhin verklagte der Geschäftsmann Google als Hostprovider in der Störerhaftung auf Unterlassung. Die beiden Vorinstanzen (LG Hamburg, OLG Hamburg) gaben dem Kläger Recht. Google hatte argumentiert, es könne die Wahrheit von Blogeinträgen nicht überprüfen und sei daher zur Löschung nicht verpflichtet. Zudem finde deutsches Recht keine Anwendung.

Der Bundesgerichtshof gab den beiden Vorinstanzen insofern Recht, dass für das Verfahren deutsches Recht anwendbar sei. Zusätzlich konkretisierte er die Voraussetzungen unter denen ein Hostprovider als Störer für von ihm nicht verfasste oder gebilligte Äußerungen eines Dritten in einem Blog auf Unterlassung in Anspruch genommen werden kann.

Folgende Pflichtverletzungen des Hostproviders müssen nach den Feststellungen des BGH vorliegen:
  • Der Hinweis müsse so konkret gefasst sein, dass der Rechtsverstoß auf der Grundlage der Behauptungen des Betroffenen unschwer - das heißt ohne eingehende rechtliche und tatsächliche Überprüfung - bejaht werden kann. Regelmäßig sei zunächst die Beanstandung des Betroffenen an den für den Blog Verantwortlichen zur Stellungnahme weiterzuleiten.

  • Bleibe eine Stellungnahme innerhalb einer nach den Umständen angemessenen Frist aus, sei von der Berechtigung der Beanstandung auszugehen und der beanstandete Eintrag zu löschen. Stelle der für den Blog Verantwortliche die Berechtigung der Beanstandung substantiiert in Abrede und ergeben sich deshalb berechtigte Zweifel, sei der Provider grundsätzlich gehalten, dem Betroffenen dies mitzuteilen und gegebenenfalls Nachweise zu verlangen, aus denen sich die behauptete Rechtsverletzung ergibt.
  • Bleibe hingegen eine Stellungnahme des Betroffenen aus oder lege er gegebenenfalls erforderliche Nachweise nicht vor, sei eine weitere Prüfung nicht veranlasst. Ergebe sich aus der Stellungnahme des Betroffenen oder den vorgelegten Belegen auch unter Berücksichtigung einer etwaigen Äußerung des für den Blog Verantwortlichen eine rechtswidrige Verletzung des Persönlichkeitsrechts, sei der beanstandete Eintrag zu löschen.
Der Bundesgerichtshof hat die Sache an das Berufungsgericht (OLG Hamburg) zurückgewiesen, um den Parteien Gelegenheit zu geben, vorzutragen, ob Google seine Pflichten erfüllt hat oder nicht.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

New Visas for Foreigners Buying Pricy Homes

To stimulate the US-real estate market, two Senators (Democrat Charles Schumer, New York and Republican Mike Lee, Utah) are preparing to introduce a new bill this Thursday that would give residence visas to foreigners who wants to buy a house in the United States.

The measure will offer visas to any foreigner making a cash investment of at least $500,000 on residential single-family houses, condos or townhouses. Applicants can spend the entire amount on one house or spend as little as $250,000 on a residence and invest the rest in other residential real estate, which can be rented out.

The goal of this measure is to get more wealthy people to the United States spending their money there to stimulate American businesses. The measure will complement existing visa programs that allow foreigners to enter the United States if they invest in new businesses that create jobs. Advantage of this measure shall be that "this is a way to create more demand without costing the federal government a nickel," Senator Schumer said in an interview.

Foreigners immigrating to the US with the new visa would not be able to work here unless they obtained a regular work visa through the normal process. Otherwise, they will be allowed to bring a spouse and any children under the age of 18. Once they sold their properties they would not be able to stay in the country legally with the new visa.

The provision would create visas that are separate from current programs so as to not displace anyone waiting for other visas. Expected applicants are supposed to come from Canada, China, Mexico, Great Britain and India.

For all Immigration related inquiries please email us at or give us a call at 704.333.5230.

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Neue Visa-Art für ausländische Hauskäufer

Um den brach liegenden Grundstücks- und Häusermarkt sowie dessen Geschäfte anzukurbeln, haben sich zwei US-Senatoren (der Demokrat Charles Schumer aus N.Y. und der Republikaner Mike Lee aus Utah) einen besonderen Clou einfallen lassen. Sie wollen am Donnerstag einen Gesetzesentwurf vorstellen, der vorsieht, Visa an ausländische Personen zu erteilen, die in den USA ein Haus kaufen wollen.

Voraussetzung für den Erhalt eines solchen Visas ist, dass der ausländische Käufer ein Einfamilienhaus, eine Eigentumswohnung oder Stadthaus im Wert von mindestens 500.000 USD erwirbt, dieses in bar bezahlt und keine Hypothek aufnimmt. Dabei kann die gesamte Summe auf ein Objekt verwendet, oder alternativ 250.000 USD für ein eigenes Haus und die restliche Summe für ein anderes Objekt zu Vermietungszwecken aufgewendet werden.

Ziel dieser Gesetzesinitiative ist es, betuchtere Personen in die USA zu locken, damit sie mit Hilfe ihrer Kaufkraft die US-amerikanische Wirtschaft mit ankurbeln. Diese Maßnahme soll das bereits bestehende Visa-Programm für Existenzgründer, die neue Jobs in den USA schaffen, vervollständigen. Vorteil dieser Maßnahme sei es, die Nachfrage ohne jegliche Belastung für den Staatshaushalt zu erhöhen.

Die Personen mit dem neuen Visa dürften zunächst nicht in den USA arbeiten, bis sie ein eigenständiges Arbeitsvisum erhalten, können aber ihre/n Ehegatten/in und jedes Kind unter 18 Jahren mitbringen. Mit Verkauf des Eigentums würde das Visum seine Gültigkeit verlieren und die Personen würden sich illegal in den USA aufhalten.

Da es sich um eine neue Art des Visums handeln würde, würden auch andere Visa-Antragssteller nicht aus ihren Plätzen verdrängt. Erwartet werden vor allem neue Antragssteller aus Kanada, China, Mexiko, Großbritannien und Indien.

Für weitere Immigration Anfragen schicken Sie uns eine Email ( oder rufen Sie uns an (704.333.5230).

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3rd 1. Nov 2011: Annual AmCham Business Day — Global Changes - Transatlantic Challenges

3rd Annual AmCham Business Day — Global Changes - Transatlantic Challenges
How poltical uprising and financial turmoil impact Euro-American business relations

lanta, November 1, 2011 — American Chamber of Commerce in Germany e.V. and BridgehouseLaw would like to invite you to our 3rdAnnual AmCham Business Day.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 2pm
Goizueta Business School - Emory University
1300 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322

2pm – 5pm

Fred Irwin - President AmCham Germany

Keyfactors for sustainable growth on both sides of the Atlantik
Dr. Marcus C. Schmidt – Director North America, Germany Trade and Invest
Friedrich Merz – Chairman, Atlantik-Brücke e.V., Berlin
Prof. Dr. Markus C. Kerber – Professor at the Berlin Technology University
Martin Richenhagen – Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of AGCO Corporation, Atlanta
Rüdiger Lentz – German-American Heritage Foundation of the USA, Washington, DC
Prof. Jeffrey A. Rosensweig – Director, Global Perspectives Program, Goizueta Business School, Emory UniversityAtlanta

5pm – 8:30pm
Cocktail Reception & Dinner with Intern Presentation

Keynote Speech:
Peter Fischer – Minister, Head of Economics and Science Department of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Washington, DC

 of Internship Program with live report from students

Presentation of Westbrook Endowed Fund Scholarship honoring Mrs. Viola Westbrook – Department of German Studies, Emory University

Sponsored By:
Frankfurt Rhine Main Corp.
NRWInvest Germany
Germany Trade & Invest
INVEST IN BAVARIA - Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs,Infrastructure, Transport and Technology
Kuehne + Nagel
Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany Atlanta
German American Chamber of Commerce Atlanta
Porsche Cars North America, Inc.
Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, LLP
Holz Creative
Global Secutive LLC

Supported By:
Atlantik Brücke e.V.
Emory University – Department of German Studies
Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany Atlanta
Georgia Department of Economic Development
Goethe-Zentrum Atlanta
Metro Atlanta Chamber
World Affairs Council of Atlanta

Attending Universities
Emory University – Goizueta Business School
Georgia Institute of Technology
Georgia State University
Kennesaw State University
Morehouse College
North Georgia College & State University
UNC Charlotte
University of Georgia
ColumbusState University

For more information please contact: Kathleen Darmstadt, T +1 404 885 5221, kathleen.darmstadt(at), and see here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

DV-2013 Immigrant Visa Program

The DV-2013 Immigrant Visa Program, commonly known as the "Green Card Lottery," started on October 4, 2011 for the fiscal year 2013.

Under this program 50,000 green cards are made available to persons from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States who meet the simple, but strict, eligibility requirements. If you want to become a permanent resident of the United States, you will have to apply for a green card.

Entries for the DV2013 Lottery can be submitted electronically between noon, EDT, on October 4, 2011, to noon EDT, November 5, 2011. Applicants may access the electronic DV Entry Form (E-DV) during the registration period. Paper entries will not be accepted.

A computer-generated, random drawing chooses selectees for DVs. The visas are distributed among six geographic regions, and within each region, no single country may receive more than seven percent of the available DVs in any one year. Nationals of countries who have sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States over the past five years are not eligible to apply for the Diversity Visa program.

The countries of the six geographic regions, whose citizens are eligible to apply, can be found here.

For DV-2013, natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply because the countries sent a total of more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States in the previous five years:
Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.

Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible.

Changes in eligibility this year: natives of South Sudan and Poland are now eligible for selection, while Bangladesh natives are now ineligible.

For more information please click here visit and/or contact us!

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Tobacco Companies File Lawsuit over Warning Labels

Four of the five largest tobacco producing companies of the USA, R.J. Reynolds, Lorillard, Commonwealth Brands, Liggett Group and Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company are suing the U.S. federal government over a law which will require them to print government created warning labels on the package of their tobacco products.

The free speech complaint is directed towards a law created by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which requires larger and more prominent health warnings on the labels of tobacco products starting in September 2012.

The nine graphic images show among other things organs before and after the regular use of tobacco products as well an image of a dead body after a post mortem examination. Alongside the images, phrases are printed informing the reader that smoking can be deadly or that smoking harms children. Also posted on the labels is the number of a hotline that is meant to assist tobacco consumers in quitting. The warning label will take up 50% of the entire packaging and will cover the front, top and back.

The FDA argues that the images are the first change in cigarette marketing in 25 years and are therefore more than necessary to inform the modern consumer of the dangers of smoking. The images are to serve as a reminder of the great danger and health problems smoking causes. They are also a tool of the public policy of reducing the costs which smoke related diseases cause in the public health care system, as well as avoiding unnecessary smoking related deaths and prevent young people from starting to smoke. The FDA therefore believes the warnings will have a positive effect on public health.

The tobacco companies on the other side claim that the law violates their right to free speech, which according to them protects their freedom of deciding what to print on their labels. They also argue that the warnings do not simply convey the message of informing the consumer. Instead, the companies believe the labels are designed to evoke an emotional reaction and therefore are meant to “scare” consumers away from the tobacco products. Additionally, the tobacco companies claim that the organs and body on the pictures are made to look worse by sanitizing them and using actors. Furthermore, the companies complain that they will have to spent millions on altering their brand logos and change the layout of their packaging as well as invest in equipment to match the requirements of the FDA law.

Printing warning images on tobacco product packaging is already a part of public health strategies in Great Britain, Romania, Belgium and Lithuania. It remains to be seen what effect the new FDA law will have on consumers in the United States.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Moving to North Carolina with a Pet

You are moving to North Carolina and want to bring your pet? No problem! Here is some important information you need to know.

Your cat, dog or ferret older than 4 months has to be licensed within 30 days of your moving date.

For licensing, proof of a current rabies vaccination is required. “Current” means the pet has to have had a vaccine shot within the last year if moving in from out of state, the last three years if moving within the state.

Registration is administered by PetData:
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Licensing
c/o PetData
PO Box 141929
Irving, TX 75014-1929

For licensing your pet, click here to print and fill out the application. Together with the application, you must send in the required paperwork. The required paperwork consists of:
  • vaccination proof;
  • proof of whether the pet is fertile or unfertile; and
  • proof that makes your pet eligible for any exemptions, for example age discount (62 years or older) or if applying for the show dog exception.
The licensing fees vary depending on whether the pet has been made unfertile or not. An unfertile pet will cost $10 for one year, a tag valid for three years costs $25. A fertile pet costs $30 for one year, longer lasting tags are not available. The license has to be renewed annually. In case the renewal is not timely, Mecklenburg County charges a late fee.

You will also need a permit if you own three or more dogs or cats that are frequently kept outside. For more information, please click here.

For more information about all pet or animal related questions, especially about missing pets, go to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Animal Care and Control website.

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North Carolina and Guns

Want to purchase a gun in North Carolina or move into the state with one? The following provides you with information on what you need when purchasing a gun in North Carolina or moving into the state with a gun.

If you want to purchase a gun in North Carolina, you have to acquire a permit from your county sheriffs' office. In order to do so, you must:
  • be a U.S. citizen or have a similar residential status;
  • be at least 21 years of age;
  • have a certain minimum time of residence in the county (Mecklenburg County: 1 month); and
  • provide a valid drivers license or other picture ID with current address issued in North Carolina.
You will also need to get a permit if you want to carry a concealed weapon. In addition to the above outlined requirements, you will have to complete a training course.

If you are moving to North Carolina from another state, you will not have to acquire a new permit to carry your gun because North Carolina does not require gun owners to be listed.

For more information on guns in Mecklenburg County, please visit the website of the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office or contact Tamara Rhode at the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office (Phone: 704.336.8731; Fax: 704.432.5246).

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

NCBA Int'l Section Event on Friday in Charlotte, NC

The North Carolina Bar Association
International Law & Practice Section

in cooperation with

The Charlotte School of Law

Invites all Members of the International Law & Practice Section to attend

on Friday, August 26, 2011
10:45 AM – 1:30 PM
a Presentation and Luncheon*

"Politics and Precedents in Germany"


Prof. Dr. Thomas Lundmark
Professor of Common Law & Comparative Jurisprudence
at University of Münster, Germany

10:45 AM – 12:10 PM Lecture (Rm. 402)

12:20 PM – 1:30 PM Luncheon (Rm. 408)

Charlotte School of Law 2145 Suttle Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28208

Thursday, August 25, 2011 by 3 PM (limited space available – first-come, first-served) or 704.333.5230

*You may attend both or either parts of the program, as your schedules permit.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

North Carolina Drivers License Requirements

Americans love cars and they heavily depend on them. Having a drivers license is therefore almost a life necessity here in the United States. Obtaining one, however, can be tricky since the requirements vary from state to state. Official sites can be difficult to navigate, especially for foreigners. In an effort to make the application for a North Carolina drivers license as easy as possible we would like to provide you with some useful information below.

When moving to North Carolina you must obtain a North Carolina drivers license before you can register a vehicle.

New residents are encouraged to become familiar with North Carolina license requirements and traffic laws. They must successfully complete the written, road sign recognition, and vision tests to obtain a North Carolina driver license. You can find detailed information regarding North Carolina drivers license testing clicking on this link.

Step 1: Apply for a Driver's License
All new residents of North Carolina who plan to operate a motor vehicle in the state must obtain a drivers license within 60 days of establishing a permanent residence. To apply, you must appear in person at one of the state’s drivers license offices and take the required tests. You can find the different drivers license office locations here.

You will need to bring 4 documents with you:

1. Proof of Residency
The proof of residency includes providing your name and current address. Listed below are examples of documents you can use:
- Military orders
- Immigration & Naturalization Service documents
- Matricula Consular issued by the Mexican consulate for North Carolina
- Correspondence from the Social Security Administration
- A pre-printed bank or other corporate statement (i.e. bank statement)
- Apartment lease (from an identifiable company), housing contract, or mortgage statement.

2. Proof of Age & Identity
You will need 2 documents from this category. One of those documents must be a Social Security Card or documentation issued by the U. S. Government indicating legal presence. If you are not eligible for a Social Security Card, you must provide documentation issued by the U. S. Government indicating your legal presence in this country.

Listed below are examples of documents you can use:
- Driver license
- Birth Certificate
- Original Social Security Card
- U.S. Military ID
- Valid, unexpired passport from any nation.

3. Proof of Liability Insurance
Your vehicle must be insured by a company licensed to do business in the State of North Carolina when registering it. This includes providing documents that show your name, the effective date of policy, the expiration date of the policy, and the date the policy was issued.

You may still apply for a license if you do not own a currently registered vehicle, but a restriction will be placed on your drivers license. It limits you to only driving “fleet vehicles.”

The following list shows examples of documents you can use:
- DMV form DL- 123
- An original liability insurance policy binder
- An insurance card with: your name, policy number, issue and expiration date.

Step 2: Vehicle Emissions and Safety Inspection
When you are moving to North Carolina from another state, you will be allowed to register your vehicle without an initial inspection. When your next annual registration renewal is due, you must have the vehicle inspected up to 90 days prior to the plate expiration date.

You can find several inspection station locations here.

Step 3: Title and Register a Vehicle
Upon moving to North Carolina from another state, you must register your motor vehicle at the expiration of the time granted by the reciprocity agreement between North Carolina and your prior state of residence (usually 30 days) or when gainful employment is accepted, whichever occurs first.

You should obtain a North Carolina drivers license prior to registering a vehicle.

When moving within North Carolina you will need to apply for a duplicate drivers license to notify the DMV of your change your address.

If you move to a county that requires “emissions inspections,” your vehicle will need to undergo a safety and emissions inspection up to 90 days prior to the next plate expiration date. Counties that require an emission inspection can be found here.

Step 1: Apply for a Duplicate License

To apply for a duplicate license you must go to a DMV Driver License Office or use the online service. The online service is only available if the DMV has your last image on file or your valid Social Security Number (SSN), Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) or a U.S. Government document indicating legal presence on file.

For requesting your Duplicate License in person you need to bring your original license and pay a Duplicate License Fee of $10.00. Payment transactions at DMV Offices are limited to cash, money order or personal checks. Debit and credit cards are not accepted.

Step 2: Emissions Inspection (see above)

An acceptable drivers license from your country of residence must be presented at the time of rental. The drivers license must be valid for the entire rental period. If the drivers license is in a language other than English and the rental is in the United States an international drivers permit is recommended.
A valid drivers license issued from your home country must always be presented, whether or not you possess an international drivers permit. You will not be allowed to rent a vehicle with only an international drivers permit.

Generally the rental car companies require also a credit card (or debit card at participating locations) in the driver’s name and a passport.

Under the United Nations Convention on Road Traffic, Geneva (1949) a German drivers license can be used to drive and/or rent a motor vehicle for up to one year while visiting the United states. The law enforcement authorities in North Carolina do not honor an International Drivers License. A valid license issued by a government agency from a home state or country is required to legally drive in North Carolina.

To simplify the procedure and avoid linguistic problems, it would be convenient to have both, a valid license issued by a government from a home state as well as an International Drivers License.

For more information, please contact one of our dedicated attorneys in the Charlotte, NC office of our firm.

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Monday, July 18, 2011

International Arbitration Series: What is Arbitration?

“When will mankind be convinced and agree to settle their difficulties by arbitration?”

– Benjamin Franklin

Ben Franklin may be pleased to know that arbitration has become a leading method of resolving disputes, especially in the international context. Generally, arbitration is a creation of contract. Two parties decide that they will submit their disputes to the binding decision of a third party, rather than deal with the expense and time of pursuing restitution through a court. The risk of this is the decision of the arbitrator is final, and the parties must accept the decision. International arbitration has developed as an important tool to allow parties from different countries, cultures, and legal structures to come to an agreement.

Arbitration is different from mediation and conciliation, although they all make up what is known as Alternative Dispute Resolution, or ADR. ADR is increasingly seen as an efficient way of avoiding the traditional legal system while still receiving a fair result. Different from arbitration, mediation and conciliation usually involve a facilitated negotiation between two parties that is aimed at producing a consensual settlement. The parties are negotiating with each other through an intermediary, and the theory is that both parties will come to an agreement about how to settle their dispute. With arbitration the parties don’t negotiate or have a say in the final decision; the solution of the arbitrator is a final, binding determination of the situation.

While arbitrators usually must be certified and credential to practice, what that actually means is left up to the individual jurisdictions. A standard practice is for an arbitrator to have at minimum a college degree and preferably a graduate degree. After passing a set amount of courses the fledgling arbitrator usually is required to intern or shadow an established arbitrator for a period of time. After this requirement is met, the new arbitrator is free to handle their own cases. Although this seems like relatively few requirements to make binding decisions on complex, international commercial issues, the parties will usually have a choice about who actually arbitrates the case, including veto power over someone that is not qualified for the situation.

Arbitration has become an important tool for many commercial transactions. Over the next week we will be exploring some of the ins and outs of this method of dispute resolution in an international context.

This is the first post in what will be an examination of International Arbitration. Check back here often for the rest of the series.

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