L-1 RFE Guidance for Overseas Firm
- Applicant: Ms. Liu
- Nationality: Taiwanese
- Applying For: L-1 Executive Transfer Visa
- Time: 2 days
- Other firm did not do an adequate filing the initial attempt
- Shortened time to respond to RFE
- Needing to guide the second firm on process
- Working with client and firm from overseas
- Ms. Liu was stressed about USCIS questioning whether she qualified for this Visa
We often get consultation work from all over the world, and Ms. Liu’s L-1 case was one of those situations. The United States is a great place to visit, work, and live in, but our immigration rules are strict and demanding, and not every lawyer around the world is going to know how to file properly on behalf of their clients. The best-case scenario is when we get a consolation call before another office files a brief on behalf of their client. When they do call us before they file, we can review their intended filing for all the mistakes or tricky situations that might apply to their filing and let them know how to make changes ahead of time. Once something is submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), there’s no taking it back. It is always easier, and thus faster and cheaper, to have a good filing from the beginning rather than to fix a bad filing later down the road. Unfortunately, not every case is the best-case scenario, and when another firm in Taiwan called us after receiving a Request for Evidence (RFE) from USCIS, we found ourselves trying to play catch-up under a deadline.
KEYS TO SUCCESS
Thankfully for the Overseas Firm and our shared client, Ms. Liu, this is something that we have become accustomed to doing. The overseas firm was surprised they had received an RFE in the first place. They knew Ms. Liu’s documentation for the L-1 visa was actually very, very strong. She had very thorough and robust documentation for all the different parts of an L-1 visa that a case officer must consider. L-1 visas are for people in executive or managerial positions with companies that are either sending that person to the United States to continue business in the U.S. or to establish a new branch of that company in the U.S. From what we saw of Ms. Liu’s documentation, there was little doubt that she qualified for an L-1 visa, which is probably why the Overseas Firm was so confident about taking on her case.
However, when the RFE came, they became extremely nervous, for it challenged whether or not Ms. Liu was an executive or manager with her company. They were confused and Ms. Liu was upset.
“She was saying things like, ‘I made plans in America, I had plans for the business and now you’re telling me I won’t be accepted?’ She was rightfully upset, because the Overseas Firm had told her that her case was strong. When we reviewed the case, the documentation was right, but there was no argumentative support for them. They were not presented properly. That was simply inexperience on the Overseas Firm’s part. Officers won’t argue for you, you have to make the argument. We worked with an Overseas Firm to provide the argument, key strategies for the future, and even recommended other arguments and documentation they could provide for the client.” – Joseph Tsang
Ultimately, it was the inexperience of dealing with USCIS that led the Overseas Firm astray. It is one thing to know what to submit, it’s another to know how to submit it, argue it, and present it. We were able to put together an outline for the Overseas Firm on how to argue for all the documentation that they already have submitted. A case officer is never going to argue for you. In some ways, it’s their job to look for arguments against you. You have to know how to argue for your client, and we showed the Overseas Office how to do so, both for this case and for future cases.
We also had to make sure that Ms. Liu was reassured. Our reputation is sterling regarding immigration issues, and we wanted her to know that despite the RFE, despite the nervousness, that in every likely scenario she was going to be approved for an L-1 visa. We don’t feel like we can claim that our jobs have been done well if we don’t ensure that our client is unnecessarily stressed out or worried, and we wrote a letter to Ms. Liu detailing the work that we were doing with Overseas Firm and why we were so confident we could get her case on track. The bones of the case were solid, the meat of the case was the argument, and we knew exactly how to teach an Overseas Firm how to make the argument.
The final step of the process was to show the Overseas Firm other ways that they could help Ms. Liu and their future clients with these types of cases. We have regularly done things like creating workflow charts and organizational charts to help explain the inner workings of companies for USCIS case officers. We have also helped clients with the creation of paper trails in regards to purchasing and inventory and other types of official business documentation that USCIS case officers look for but our clients didn’t necessarily have to give over. The creation of these documents is a step above and beyond what other firms tend to do, but we find that they shorten cases and reduce RFE’s, so we know that they are more than worth it.
With the outlines of arguments, plans for excess documentation, and a becalmed client, Overseas Firm was in prime position to respond to the RFE. Once they filed the response, it didn’t take long for USCIS to get back to them with approval for Ms. Liu, and she was free to come to the U.S. just as she planned. Ms. Liu could not be more grateful that she was given a chance to come to America, and would not have been possible without Tsang & Associates help.
*Name has been changed for client privacy.