Tag Archives: l1 visa

L-1 Visa Rejections Increasing Due to USCIS Crackdown

After the H-1B visa lotteries of 2007, 2008 and more recently in 2013, due to the strict annual quota of 85,000 visas, many large multi-national companies and indeed smaller ones turned to the L-1 visa as a way to get high skilled and much needed foreign talent to work in the US. The general criteria for the L-1 visa is the company must have locations in multiple countries and the foreigner must have worked at least one year in that foreign location.

Some companies have abused this L-1 visa, however the real reason it is being used by companies like Microsoft and up and coming companies like Square and Airbnb is because the high-skill talent is needed and current US Immigration law is arcane and Immigration reform just never seems to get done.

However the USCIS has decided under some form of direction to go completely crazy with these application petitions and reject first time and renewal application at an alarmingly high rate and for respectable companies like the Big 4 Accounting firms and tech giants like Microsoft and Google let alone the smaller companies. This is causing havoc not just for the companies but for the foreigners and their families themselves and underlies the huge flaws in US Immigration for legal, law abiding and high skill immigrants.

The 3 charts below so how major the problem has become in recent times. (from Reuters)

  • In Chart 1 you can see the denial rates of L-1 visa applicants is almost 30% in 2011 and trending higher

l1 chart1


  • In Chart 2 you can see 60% they are doing a Request For Evidence (RFE) which essentially requiring the sponsor employer to provide endless additional documentation about the role and companies which always delays the process by many months with little guarantee of success and a whole lot of internal and legal costs

l1 chart2


  • In Chart 3 you can see that in the middle part of the decade this may have disproportionately affected Indian nationals particularly at companies like InfoSys and Tata who had been accused in past (although not proven) to abuse the L-1 Visa system. However given the sharp drop in L-1 visa holders from Indian applicants in recent years but the continually high rejection rate it shows that either or both of Indian applicants are continuing to be scrutinized most and this sweeping high rejection rate is affecting all foreigners and thus the US economy at large.


l1 chart3



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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