“CEO of Two” – Successful L-1A Extension
- Applicant: Mr. Wong
- Nationality: China
- Applying For: L-1A Extension
- Industry: Rubber (Material Goods)
- Company: Startup
- Position: CEO
- Only 2 Employees in U.S. Office
- Parent Company in China was state owned
- Client just recently had his case denied
- Client was no longer in the US and we had to work across time zones
Mr. Wong* is a hardworking businessman who came to the US to establish an American subsidiary of a Chinese state-owned rubber and material goods company. He was operating in the US for nine months before he had to apply for a visa extension which, if granted, would allow him to stay for another two years.
In order to qualify for an L-1A extension, though, he would have to prove that he meets the requirement for an L-1A visa, meaning he would have to prove that he is either an executive or a higher-level manager (showing that he was not just involved in the mundane day-to-day operations of the business).
Through no fault of his own, the odds were heavily stacked against Mr. Wong’s chances of renewal. Between the stress of several employees quitting without warning and the hardships of adapting to an international market, his first year of operations in the US was not as fruitful or smooth as he had hoped. There was not much promising revenue data he could present as evidence that the company was thriving; it was difficult to make a definitive argument that his business in the US would eventually take off.
Furthermore: when Mr. Wong applied for his L-1A extension, he was operating out of a very small office with a staff of only two people (an office assistant and an account manager). Considering that the overall size of an applicant’s business is often one of the most crucial factors immigration officers account for in their L-1A decisions, it was going to be extremely difficult for Mr. Wong to demonstrate his value in an executive or managerial capacity with such a small workforce. In fact, many of Mr. Wong’s business colleagues and peers (most of who managed more successful, larger-scale operations than he did) warned him that even they had major difficulties getting their L-1A applications accepted.
Most importantly, however, was that his L-1A petition was recently denied. Frustrated and with his entire career and job on the line, he heard that Tsang & Associates had a reputation for solving complex cases and reached out to us as his last resort.
What made matters even more difficult was that the client already left the U.S. and our team had to work and interview his team across time zones and review all documents electronically.
Every minute our client spent away from his duties in the US was another minute of missed business opportunities for him, and so our team managed to assemble a comprehensive and compelling case for him in less than a month. Whereas most L-1A applications at our firm do not exceed five hundred pages, Mr. Wong’s unique circumstances warranted over eight hundred pages—not including the response to the request for evidence.
The team at Tsang & Associates did a thorough audit of his company operations and was able to prepare a convincing application showing the managerial and executive responsibilities of the applicant despite the weak data.
KEYS TO SUCCESS FOR THIS L-1A EXTENSION
Mr. Wong’s position leading a three-person office certainly did demand him to fill more than one role, which generated some confusion as to whether he actually was an executive or a manager eligible for this type of visa extension. We were able establish that the executive and managerial duties Mr. Wong was performing were not mutually exclusive by referencing previously affirmed case law and successful appeals of the same sort. In fact, we insisted that his combined responsibilities as both an executive and a manager of the company made him more than qualified for an L-1A extension.
The multi-faceted nature of Mr. Wong’s managerial functions also meant that he would occasionally get involved in the day-to-day operations of the business (doing work that is normally handled by lower level managers).
To prove that he was not directly involved in most of the hands-on work, we laid out an intricate breakdown of the rather unconventional business model Mr. Wong’s operations were adhering to. Through an elaborate series of flowcharts, presentations, and thorough analyses, we explained that Mr. Wong had contracted three big companies to handle distribution of his products across three different regions of the US.
Then, having drawn up a picture of the overall operation, we proceeded to provide insight upon all of the finer details: we explained every step of the production process, from how the rubber products are manufactured to how Mr. Wong is training his contractors to sell them. We conducted interviews with every employee, manager and contractor all the way up the chain of command, gathering information to be able to convey the structure of this company as clearly and efficiently as possible. We also received letters of recommendation from his Chinese affiliates and co-executives, irrefutably affirming him as the indispensable executive of their US subdivision.
While we had successfully clarified Mr. Wong’s position as the executive and head manager of his company, his shaky first year of operations still left room to doubt the viability of his business venture. Fortunately, the interpretations of immigration laws are meant to be flexible—as to accommodate every person’s unique legal situation—and so we were confident that by providing a glimpse into the company’s future, we could make the presiding officer reconsider our client’s L-1A eligibility.
We collaborated with Mr. Wong to articulate his business plan for the next few years, to calculate his projected profits, and to define his expansion strategies now that his workforce had finally stabilized. All of this information compiled together painted a promising picture of the company’s trajectory—pending the approval of Mr. Wong’s visa renewal.
In the end, our relentless efforts were indeed enough to convince the immigrations officer to finally approve Mr. Wong’s L-1A extension. Against all odds, his previous denials were reversed—an almost unprecedented outcome for someone in his position. Mr. Wong was elated to be able to return to his US operations completely free of any legal burdens.
Our client’s L-1A application was accepted and approved within two weeks of the request for evidence.
*Name has been changed to protect client identity
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