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The Importance of a Well-Drafted Business Plan in L1, E2 and EB5 Visa Matters

The United States government expects to see a well-drafted business plan as support for applications in both the E Treaty Visa category and the EB5 Immigrant Entrepreneur category. Additionally, USCIS often kicks back a request for a feasibility study in L1 “New Office” petitions, which is something that is normally included in a well-drafted business plan. Hence, it stands to reason that inclusion of a well-drafted business plan is essential as supporting documentation in an L1 “New Office” Petition.

As evidence of the critical importance of a well-drafted plan is the fact that the United States government frequently denies L1 visa, E2 visa and EB5 visa petitions and applications due to their lack of a plan that is both comprehensive and credible.

Business plans that are not comprehensive and are more in the nature of a summary or overview of the business are generally not acceptable for L1 visa, E2 visa, and EB5 visa purposes. Instead, in any one given case the United States government expects to receive and review a quality product that, at minimum:

a.) Fully describes the enterprise, its products and services;

b.) Analyzes the market in detail, including potential customers and competition;

c.) Outlines a marketing strategy;

d.) Projects sales, costs, and income over a period of 5 years, showing the basis for these projections; and

e.) Presents complete details regarding the enterprises organizational structure, including complete job descriptions and a staffing timetable.

In short, the United States government expects to see a business plan that is as comprehensive as one that would be presented to a bank for purposes of seeking funding. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that one seek the services of a professional who is familiar with the relevant immigration regulations to draft ones plan if one hopes to stand a strong chance at success in an L1 visa, E2 visa or EB5 visa petition or application.

When selecting the right firm to draft a visa-specific business plan, a company or investor should seek out a firm that possesses both experience in the writing of bespoke business plans as well as the appropriate legal expertise to tailor the plan to the specific requirements of the L1 visa, E2 visa or EB5 visa categories.

To ensure that all the required elements of a well-drafted business plan will be covered to the satisfaction of the United States government, the company or investor should satisfy themselves that all of the following services will be covered by the fee that they will be paying for the business plan writing service:

a.) Setup of business plan according to target visa category;

b.) Gathering of information and documentation regarding company ownership, objectives and mission;

c.) Working with business owner to determine concise statement regarding company’s success formula;

d.) Work out with owner the visa-appropriate management and staffing plan (i.e., executive/management mix for L1 visa; marginality avoidance for E2 visa; creation of 10 full-time positions over a 2-year period for EB5 visa;

e.) Draft an easy to read service summary;

f.) Collaborate with client to create feasibility study, which covers target market, customer/client potentiality in geographical area (with growth projections), and competition analysis;

g.) Gather financial information to draft financial plan and Tables, including Start-up Summary (as applicable), Sales Forecast, Operating Expenses, and 5-year Projections.

Once the business plan has been developed into its penultimate draft, it should undergo a final review by the responsible immigration attorney to secure an opinion as to the viability of the plan, from a financial perspective. (Obviously, if the responsible immigration attorney is drafting the business plan, his or her opinion will be rendered simultaneously with the creation of the penultimate draft.) Once the responsible immigration attorney has rendered his opinion that the plan is fiscally viable, the plan can be finalized and signed off for inclusion in the visa application package.

 

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Copyright 2011, Ortega-Medina & Associates Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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Transfer to an H1B or E3 Work Visa From…

Ok this has to be one of the most common questions I get asked by everyone on this blog and is also in many of the comments I see so I thought it important to cover.

Now there are many issues with transferring and depending on the visa you want to transfer to there are different qualifying criteria so it is important to be aware  of those. I will cover this topic more in depth for specific visa classifications, particular cases like the F1 Student, J1 or H1B/E3 work visas as they tend to be the most common that people want to transfer too while still in the country.

A change of status is not automatically granted even if you qualify and the USCIS will also determine on your unique case how long to extend your visa period for even if it is granted. It is all very arbitrary sometimes but generally you will be successful if they deem your intentions to be genuine and you have not done anything wrong under your current status.

You should not that there are certain visa categories you cannot transfer from while in the US so you have no choice under these visas to leave the US to apply for a new visa.

This includes;
C Visa (aliens in transit)
D Visa (usually for flight/ship staff, etc.)
K1/K2 (fiancee visa and dependent of fiancee)
S Visa (witness or informant)
TWOV (transit without visa)
Tourist under waiver program classified when you receive GREEN I-94W form when you enter US
Also; to note;
J1 visa can’t transfer/extend if they are subject to the 2 year residency rule (unless they have followed the long government channels to get this condition revoked)
M1 vocational visa can’t transfer to F1 student visa. They also can’t transfer to H visa category where the training helped them qualify for the H visa.  ( the M visa is used for things like pilot training, etc.)

Essentially there are some other basic requirements you must meet to also change your status such as;
– Have entered the US legally
– Not have done anything in the US to immediately disqualify you from consideration
– No factor requiring you to leave the US prior to re-entry and admission under your new status (often determined by USCIS)
– You have submitted your application prior to the expiration date recorded on your I-94 form given to you and stamped/dated when you entered the US (usually stapled inside you passport near you current visa)

NB: Your passport must be valid for your entire stay of applied period for your new visa

TO BEGIN TRANSFER

You have to file form I-129 to the USCIS for the categories below and this approval for the change of status has to be approved before you can begin peforming the activities under your new non-immigrant visa category.
If you have a spouse/dependents they need to file form I-539 to change their status. It is a good idea if this is your case to file all together so they are judged at the same time. All dependents can be filed on the same I-539 form.

The is the list requiring the I-129 form filing:
E1/E2 (Treaty Traders and Investors)
E3 (Australian temporary worker)
H1B/H2A/H2B/H3 (Temporary Workers)
L1A/L1B (Intracompany Transferee)
O1/O2 (Aliens with Extraordinary Ability)
P1/P2/P3 (Athletes & Entertainers)
Q1 (International Cultural Exchange)
R1 (Religious Workers)
TN1/TN-2 (Canadians & Mexicans covered under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA))

To qualify for the visa categories below you have to file form I-539.

A (Diplomatic & Other Government   Officials, Immediate Family members, Employees)
B1/B2 (Visitors for Business or Pleasure)
E (Treaty Traders & Investors Dependents Only)
F (Academic Students & Dependents)
G (Foreign Government Officials & Certain Immediate Family Members)
H4 (Temporary Worker Dependents Only)
K3/K4 (Spouse of U.S. Citizen & Minor Child Accompanying)
L2 (Intracompany Transferee Dependents Only)
M (Vocational & Language Students and Dependents)
N (Parents & Children of Certain People  Who Have Been Granted Special   Immigrant Status)
NATO (NATO Representatives, Officials,  Employees, and Immediate Family Members)
O3 (Aliens with Extraordinary Ability Dependents Only)
P4 (Athletes and Entertainer Dependents Only)
R2 (Religious Worker Dependents Only)
TD (TN Dependents Only)

It is recommended by the USCIS to file about 60 days prior to your date on your I-94 expiring. You can still stay in the US while your case is pending even if this is beyond your expiration date on your I-94. However during this time you will be considered not under any non-immigrant status and not be able to perform any activities (i.e. study, work. etc.) until your case is approved.

To check the status of your case, you will be mailed a receipt with a number on it which you can input on the uscis.gov website to see what is happening with your application. There is a part on the website regarding how long each of the various centers take to process these applications but generally if everything is in order it can often be done in less than a few weeks.
For students there is usually some sort of early inital approval you can receive so you can begin studies at the start of a semester.

In your application you will send your current I-94 form and be mailed a new one with a new date if you are approved under your new status. If you are denied you immediately considered ‘out of status’ and legally are required to leave … although many of course decide now to illegally stay longer.

It can always be good (and at time frustrating but necessary 🙂 ) to call the USCIS in these situation so there number if you are calling within the US is 1800-375-5283

I hope this helped provide information helpful to you and let me know if you want to cover other general parts of the process.

CJ

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