CFO of Foreign Trade Company Regains L-1 Visa After 4 Years

CFO of Foreign Trade Company Regains L-1 Visa After 4 Years

Year: 2018
Nationality: Chinese
Beneficiary: Ms. Shen
Company Industry: Foreign Trade Company
China Company: Established in 2013, 30 employees
US company: founded in California in August 2017 with 0 employees
Beneficiary Position: Finance Director of China Company

BACKGROUND
Ms. Shen had set up a New York company to apply for an L-1 in 2014 and was successful in obtaining a one-year visa, but the extension failed; and then applied for an L-1 with another U.S. company when the first company was not closed, and was questioned about the purpose of opening the company.

• Ms. Shen’s B1/B2 visa expired in 2014 and has not been able to get renewed, so she cannot travel to the United States to rent an office or open a bank account, and funds from her Chinese company cannot be remitted to her California company.

• Due to the complex relationship between the New York, California and domestic companies, USCIS determined that the California company was not a “New Office” new company and requested information on the employees and operations of the U.S. company.

• Ms. Shen was the CFO of a Chinese company and came to the U.S. to serve as the Chairman of the Board. The USCIS considered that she was only a department manager not an executive of a Chinese company, and that coming to the U.S. was not sufficient for the position of Chairman.

Ms. Shen opened a company in China to do export trade and set up a subsidiary company in New York in 2014 and applied for L-1 and received a one-year visa. Due to the company’s development is not as expected, the renewal visa was rejected, and then returned to China to continue operating the parent company. In January 2018, through a friend’s introduction, Ms. Shen approached Tsang & Associates, hoping we could help her regain her L-1 visa. We carefully prepared the application documents for her and submitted them to USCIS in June 2018. However, because Ms. Shen had applied for L-1 and her old company had not closed, the immigration officer questioned her purpose of reopening the company and issued a supplemental notice in July, requesting proof of Ms. Shen’s managerial/executive position and an explanation of the need to establish a new company when the original company had not closed, asking for operational and employee data of the original company.


KEYS TO SUCCESS

– Different positioning.
In response to the immigration officer’s question about the need for the new company, Tsang & Associates began by describing the differences between the business models of the old and new companies. While the original company focused solely on building a wholesale and retail pipeline in the U.S., the new company will focus more on the design of the products themselves, in addition to expanding the sales market, in an attempt to set trends through innovation. If the original company was set up to be more of a logistics warehouse, the new company is focused on brand design. Therefore, it was necessary for Ms. Shen to set up a brand new office in California and recruit new people as a way to execute the new business development strategy.

– Different starting points.
Then, Ms. Zang’s team also provided a reasonable explanation for Ms. Shen in the application materials. 4 years ago, when she first came to the U.S. to set up a new company, she did not have enough experience and did not understand the environment, which caused the company’s development to be bumpy and the L-1 could not be successfully extended. For the re-establishment of the U.S. branch, Ms. Shen had accumulated 5 years of experience, learned the lessons from the original failure, and put a lot of effort into the planning and preparation. To prove this to USCIS, we also assisted Ms. Shen in drafting a complete business plan covering all aspects of the company’s operations, including detailed three-year development goals and programs. In addition to this, our experienced attorney Zang also guided Ms. Shen to successfully close the old company. This way, the immigration office could no longer use the existence of the old company as an excuse to deny her application.

– The original company’s situation.
At the same time, Ms. Zang’s team combed through the situation of the original New York company, proving that it was currently in a state of stagnation and could no longer continue to operate, and asked Ms. Shen’s local New York attorney to liquidate and close the original company, eventually closing it completely before the RFE deadline. Finally, the USCIS agreed that the California company was a newly established company.

Mr. Tsang commented: The definition of old and new companies in L-1 petitions is very important. In this case, the USCIS determined that the California company was not a “New Office” new company. If this could not be overturned, the company’s operations and employee data would have to be provided under the standards of the existing company, and neither the original New York company nor the California company could be provided. We therefore spent a great deal of effort in arguing that the California company was a “New Office”.

Definition of CFO.
In response to the immigration officer’s question about Ms. Shen’s misconception that she was only responsible for finance at the parent company in China, which is equivalent to a department manager and not an executive of the company and not good at overall management of the company, Tsang & Associates assisted her in submitting several reports on the work of the employees from the Chinese company. Both employees in the finance department and employees in other departments are required to report to Ms. Shen on a regular basis, and Ms. Shen provides guidance and responses based on the reports. As you can see, finance is involved in all aspects of the company, and it is like a circulation pipeline that integrates all departments together. Not only that, the clerical team also further argued that the job of the CFO is not only to create financial reports and budget statements, but also to keep track of product sales revenue, develop marketing strategies, and even improve customer service so as to minimize product return rates, etc. Thus, Ms. Shen does hold an executive position in the domestic company, overseeing all aspects of the company’s operations, both financially and managerially, and her qualifications and abilities are perfectly suited to the requirements of the chairman of the U.S. branch.

Comment by Mr. Tsang: USCIS often questions the managerial/executive position of the applicant, believing that the domestic job does not meet the L-1 executive standard, and that the position applied for by the U.S. company does not belong. The previous practice of providing only the basic documents such as employment certificate, labor contract, business card, payroll, and tax statement can no longer meet the current USCIS audit standards. This is why many L-1s fail at this point.

OUTCOME
After thorough preparation, Tsang & Associates submitted the supplemental documents in September 2018 and received the approval notice from the USCIS a week later. Ms. Shen received the good news and thanked us for all the efforts we had made in her application, allowing her to finally return to the U.S. after a 3-year absence. in October, Ms. Shen went to the Guangzhou Consulate for her visa, and because she was well prepared, the interview process went smoothly and she received her visa a week later. Next, Ms. Shen will take her son to the United States to develop a new career. With Tsang & Associates’ rich experience and professional application strategy, Ms. Shen’s case was approved without any risk.

For many people who have previously received an L-1 visa but, for various reasons, need to resubmit their petition, the second petition will be more complicated than the first. This is because USCIS will most likely thoroughly investigate the reasons why the initial visa was not extended and more carefully weigh the need to approve the second petition. If you are interested in reapplying for L-1, it is advisable to consult with an attorney to discuss your application options and feasibility. A team of professional and competent attorneys will be able to provide reasonable explanations and strong and persuasive materials to make your application successful.

*To protect customer privacy, customer names are pseudonyms.

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