SUCCESSFUL EB-1A CASE

  • Applicant: Researcher in Gerentology

  • Nationality: Taiwanese (Republic of China)

  • Degree: Ph.D in Comparative and International Education

  • Awards: 3

  • Memberships: 14

  • Scholarly Works: 27 scholarly articles

  • Articles: 10

  • Sat on the Editorial Board of Many Journals

  • Challenges:

    • Have not graduated Ph.D program

    • County Government worker

    • Average Salary

    • Overall weak EB-1A case

    • Few letter of recommendation to demonstrate contribution

    • Lack of clear focus on what the applicant was going to do in the U.S.

When she came knocking on our door, Dr. Chung was at the edge of a cliff. She faced daunting professional obstacles and a potentially life-altering ticking clock.

The first flaming hoop; Dr. Chung’s daughter was approaching the green card-disqualifying age threshold (21 years old), so Dr. Chung could not continue to wait for her EB-5 Investment application to go through, so she needed a second option. Consequently, Dr. Chung’s only viable option to keep her family together was to reach for the EB-1A Extraordinary ability visa to obtain the I-140 permanent residency approval within a few months. This is the only way she would be able to immigrate to the U.S. with her children. She didn’t plan for this as she was already waiting for the EB-5 investment but the backlog caused a significant delay and now she needed a plan B. Despite the advice she received from numerous lawyers – in China and in the US – that there was no way she could get approval in two months time, Dr. Chung had no choice but to try to prevent her family from being broken apart.

Nearly overwhelmed by this maddening circumstance, Dr. Chung reached out to her trusted friend, Mr. Rosella*, the General Manager at a San Francisco-based Fortune 100 company. Mr. Rosella steered Dr. Chung to Tsang & Associates praying we would be up for the challenge. Both Mr. Rosella and Dr. Chung flew from China to Los Angeles and explained her dire situation to us. We appraised the difficult mountain she had to climb and felt we possessed the necessary expertise to thread this needle. With the window rapidly closing, we agreed to take on Dr. Chung’s case and this gave her a glimmer of hope.

For two straight weeks, Dr. Chung and Mr. Rosella travelled back and forth between China, San Francisco, and our offices and gathered what they could for the EB-1A application. For days they stayed in our office and worked tirelessly with our team to prepare the 1000-page application we filed to prove her extraordinary ability in the field of gerontology. But this was not the only complication.

The second flaming hoop; while Dr. Chung is highly respected among her peer and is the recipient of two Fulbright scholarships, when we were preparing this application, she was still in the middle of finishing her Ph.D thesis. And while getting the Ph.D. from a top tier U.S. university was admirable, it could be viewed as a strike against her. How could she possibly be the best of the best if she hasn’t even graduated yet? To make matters worse, she had virtually no letters of recommendation to bolster her cause (these are critical), her peer-reviewed published work spanned a variety of disciplines thus diluting any singular focus that would cement her reputation as one of the top progressive education researches in the world, and her numerous awards had indistinct criteria. Plus, her government functionary salary was by no means commensurate with an academic all-star. To top it all off, we were all very unclear about what she intended to do in the U.S. with her government background in Asia. What possible contribution could she bring to the U.S. senior population when she herself needed help in speaking English? Like we said, a nightmare case.

Not to be deterred by these hurdles, we decided to get creative (because that is where we excel). As the sands in the hourglass trickled downward, we assigned three of our top lawyers—in Los Angeles and in China—and we were able to find the single common thread that summarized her life achievement. 

She was the pioneer of e-learning for senior citizens. Her contributions in her many years as a government official helped senior citizens learn better. Her concentration was on education. Her plan to come to the U.S. was to partner with other top companies in Silicon Valley to create better e-learning materials for the aging population. She is an entrepreneur, government official, scholar, and she is the best equipped in the senior aging industry to tackle the problem of senior education.

The first task was to translate documents from Mandarin to English, to request letters of recommendations from specific Chinese peers, and to develop a viable business plan that clearly pointed out how Dr. Chung’s work connected to and addressed the broken education pattern present in U.S. seniors, further supporting the impact her work will have in the United States.

Tension mounted, nerves frayed, and more coffee was consumed, as our legal team compiled over 1,000 pages of relevant and directed documentation for Dr. Chung’s petition.

Approval

Within a week the EB-1A case was approved. The client said it was a dream come true. The entire family was able to secure the green card and immigrate to the United States and get stationed in San Francisco.

SUCCESSFUL REENTRY INTO THE U.S. CASE

Applicant: Mr. Khatri*

Nationality: India

Applying for: Reentry Permit & Reissuance of Permanent Resident Card/Status

Agency: Custom Border Patrol (CBP)

Challenges: Danger of Abandoning Permanent Residency Status

Out of the United States for over 2 years

Never resided in the United States

Did not even know he was permanent resident

Background

Mr. Khatri had applied for lawful permanent resident status through his wife, from whom he subsequently became estranged while on an extended, eight-year stay in a foreign country for an employment opportunity. Unbeknownst to Mr. Khatri, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had approved his application and granted permanent resident status, while he was abroad; unfortunately, due to a breakdown in communication with his estranged wife, Mr. Khatri was not aware of his newly-granted legal status back in the United States, and, as more than a year had passed since his approval as a lawful permanent resident, he was considered by USCIS to have abandoned his permanent resident status.

While abroad, Mr. Khatri consulted with many immigration attorneys, who all wrote him off and turned him away as a hopeless and lost case, assuring him that, if he attempted to fly into the United States, his encounter with immigration officers at the airport would only serve to validate the revocation of his lawful permanent resident status, and he would be immediately sent back to the country from which his flight originated. In 2017, Mr. Khatri was able to obtain a visitor visa to make a trip to the U.S., yet oblivious to the fact that he was an approved lawful permanent resident of the U.S. and that his permanent resident card would have sufficed to gain entry into the country.

One of the circumstances surrounding his case that complicated matters for Mr. Khatri most was that his marriage had fallen apart while he was employed abroad for eight years, and his now-estranged wife, who was living in the U.S., withheld critical information relevant to Mr. Khatri’s lawful resident status. Given that Mr. Khatri had been residing outside of the country for so many years, and without having established domicile in the U.S., according to the law, he was considered to have forfeited his status as a lawful permanent resident. Finding himself in this legal predicament but clinging onto the last hint of hope that there could still be a satisfactory legal resolution to his case, Mr. Khatri conducted some bit of research online to find an attorney that could take on his case and give substance to his hope. It was then that he landed on the page of Tsang and Associates and decided to contact the office for a consultation on his case.

Keys to Success

Tsang and Associates recognizes that there is always more to a case than meets the eye and more to the facts of a case than what is presented at face value. This case was no different.

After discussing the case with Mr. Khatri over the phone for a number of hours, and upon further review (including checking with the USCIS system), it was then discovered that Mr. Khatri had, in fact, received his permanent resident card through his estranged wife years before, at which point in time she kept the card from him – and, with it, knowledge about Mr. Khatri’s approved status as a lawful permanent resident – and never so much as attempted to communicate with Mr. Khatri about the newest developments in the application process for lawful permanent resident status.

The goal for Mr. Khatri, now, was to return to the U.S. and petition to have his permanent resident card reissued and replaced. To accomplish this, we had to conduct extensive and exhaustive research on all relevant aspects of Mr. Khatri’s life, in order to compile a comprehensive package that demonstrated with strong proof, among other things: that his intention was not to relinquish his status as a lawful permanent resident of the U.S.; that his lack of knowledge regarding his approved status as a lawful permanent resident was directly due to the lack of communication that resulted from conflicts with his wife and an ensuant breakdown in his marriage; that he had solid, unequivocal, and irrefutable ties to the U.S., including having laid the financial and administrative groundwork for himself as part of his plans to make contributions to the U.S. as a dutiful, law-abiding, productive member of American society; that chief among his various ties to the U.S. were his family ties (given that his sister, an American citizen, and his parents, both lawful permanent residents, all were long-time residents of the U.S.) and his employment ties with Motel 6, having held a position as manager for the motel chain once before.

In addition to putting together this detailed case package, we also prepared Mr. Khatri for his one-way trip back to the U.S. from the country in which he had been temporarily employed. We scheduled many sessions over the phone, in order to practice how he should present himself to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers upon arrival at the airport. With the package we compiled, we provided Mr. Khatri with the pertinent documents demonstrating, in no uncertain terms, his full intention to remain in the U.S., along with a keenly persuasive letter that he was to hand over to CBP officers, explaining that his reentry into the U.S. and reinstatement of his Green Card should not be denied due to having suffered a personal, marital conflict, and that penalizing him would jeopardize his ability to fulfill his dream and would sacrifice his best intentions.

Outcome

Upon his arrival at the airport, Mr. Khatri was questioned in a meeting with a CBP officer for three hours. There was so much at stake for Mr. Khatri in this one meeting held not in a courtroom but in a small dark room in an airport, one meeting held not before a judge or in front of a panel of decision-makers, and not with a lawyer present, but only with one CBP officer, getting ready to make a decision that would prove to be life-changing for Mr. Khatri. Along with all the heartache and hope that hung in the balance, if his reentry was not approved and lawful permanent resident status not reinstated, he risked having left his prior country of residence and quit his job of eight years in that country all in vain, and he would have simply slipped through the cracks of justice, with no chance for an appeal.

Once the officer thoroughly reviewed the package that we had prepared for Mr. Khatri and after rigorously questioning Mr. Khatri, who answered the officer’s questions to his satisfaction, the officer made the decision to approve Mr. Khatri’s reentry into the U.S., putting him on the path to regain his card, designating him a lawful permanent resident.

Conclusion

We, here at Tsang and Associates, recognize that cases like this particular one are rare; but we have also seen how it is too often the case that individuals who find themselves in the same predicament as Mr. Khatri found himself in are turned away by many attorneys who declare cases like Mr. Khatri’s to be sure losses, hopeless cases, or, simply put, cases that are dead on arrival. Nonetheless, we also fully understand that it is the essence of good lawyering, a genuine interest in helping individuals who slip through the cracks tell their stories, and the discipline of advocating for these individuals in order to produce the best results that truly brings cases like Mr. Khatri’s case back to life, finding their peace in a positive, satisfactory resolution.

 

*Name has been changed to protect client identity.

SUCCESSFUL H-1B RFE CASE

·         Year: 2014

·         Nationality: Spain

·         Adjudicated By: USICS

·         Industry: Engineering

·         Company: Multimillion dollar corporation with hundreds of employees

·         Position: Engineer

·         Case: H-1B Petition

·         Challenge:

    • The position being filled was a corporate strategy analyst, which did not involve any management or supervision of any lower-level employees.

    • The position of corporate strategy analyst did not show up in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2013-2014 Edition, a handbook that USCIS uses to determine if the proposed position meets the requirements of an H-1B visa.

    • The Beneficiary had a professional background that lacked any clear specialization or specific area of expertise, as he held merely a bachelor’s in business administration

Strong legal advice and an impeccable command of the law can be the difference between H-1B approval and denial.  However, even with the strongest, most experienced, and most dedicated team, challenges can arise because of weaknesses in the case. A longtime client who was a multimillion dollar engineering company in southern California came to our firm with a new beneficiary, a Spanish national who had only a standard business background. Certainly, Mr. Martinez had no engineering background. The engineering firm waned to hire him as a “corporate strategy analyst”.  To make matters more difficult, this category did not appear in the Occupational Outlook Handbook for the relevant year. This handbook is used by USCIS to determine whether someone qualifies for an H-1B position. Furthermore, the beneficiary was not managing any other personnel, despite having a business management background. Still, we were confidant that we could win the case

KEYS TO SUCCESS

First, with respect to his lack of managerial experience, we highlighted the fact that the requirements of H-1B do not specifically require any managerial or executive duties. The requirements are that an H-1B position should demonstrate the necessity of “specialized knowledge”, as demonstrated by the requirement of a higher education degree. In order to demonstrate this fact, we broke down what is job entailed, which specifically involved the following details:

  • Develops and manages annual operational plans

  • Assists the President/CEO in developing corporate strategic plans

  • Supports the Board of Directors conducting financial analysis

  • Assists Mergers & Acquisition team with search and evaluation

  • Participates in the review of corporate agreements, such as NDAs, LTAs, joint ventures, licensing, purchase agreements and acquisitions

  • Participates in special business planning projects

  • Supports Board activities and projects as required

 

 

Additionally, while the job designation did not appear I the Occupational Outlook Handbook, we were able to demonstrate that the position is included in a supplementary database called O*Net, which confirmed the job tasks listed above, as well as the stipulation that a college education is a requirement for this kind of position. Further, while the job title of corporate strategy analyst did not appear in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, USCIS cares more for the description of the job functions and responsibilities more than the job title itself. With this in mind we demonstrated that the position that Mr. Martinez was being assigned to was very similar to that of Management Analyst, which is listed in the Occupational Outlook Handbook. In the handbook Management Analyst is described as requiring at least a bachelor’s degree, and often as much as an MBA, as was the case for Mr. Martinez’ new job. It also described job duties that were almost identical to those of Mr. Martinez. We were therefore able to use this as evidence that his job both required an advanced university degree, as well as to corroborate the extensive and complicated nature

“When the RFE came in, I thought my case was done for.  Thankfully, Joseph and Chen- Cho were able to find why USCIS was in the wrong and helped me win my case”- Mr. Martinez

OUTCOME

Despite the fact that this was a completely new kind of RFE, our firm was able to secure a favorable response and we won the H-1B case. The case was ultimately approved on December 3, 2017. Our client was overwhelmingly happy about the outcome, as well as thrilled and relieved on account of the fact that he expected the case to be denied, much like similar cases.

Moreover, most of the cases that had received this form of RFE were denied. Months later they were overturned by the Administrative Appeals Office on much the same grounds that our case had argued for this client. With hard work and common sense, we were able to avoid a denial in this case.

 

*Name has been changed to protect client identity.

SUCCESSFUL L-1B RFE CASE

  • Petitioner: LCD Electronics manufacturing

  • Industry: Electronics

  • Beneficiary: Mr. Mamat

  • Position: Field Applications Engineer

  • Nationality: Malaysian

  • Age: 26

  • Applying for: L-1B Intracompany Transfer (Specialized Skill Workers)

Challenge:

·         Because of political considerations, new Administration had increased L-1B denial rate.

·         Client was only 26 years old and had graduated college only three years previously.

·         Had limited work experience of only about two years, with all of his work history at the petitioning company.

·         Regulations require that the Beneficiary was filling a position that an American citizen could not easily fill. However, his work experience was similar to that of a standard engineer.

An Electronics Company enthusiastically sought to bring Mr. Mamat* to their American branch office through an intracompany transfer for an L-1B visa, specifically a worker with “specialized knowledge”. New Trump administration policies had brought increased challenges to L-1B category, with a significantly higher standard to meet in order to prove the beneficiary possesses specialized knowledge. Indeed, the standard for L-1B had always been high, and cases were now being denied that were otherwise quite strong. Recognizing the difficulty and growing denial rate of L-1B petitions, especially after the policy changes implemented by the new administration, the petitioner came to Tsang & Associates for assistance in putting together a winning application on behalf of Mr. Mamat.

This case was not particularly straightforward, as Mr. Mamat was only 26 years old and had graduated from college no more than three years previously. With such a short resume it would be difficult to demonstrate that he possessed specialized knowledge. Additionally, his training and proposed job duties were merely in line with that of a standard engineer. However, it is critical to demonstrate that an L-1 beneficiary is filling a position that a US citizen could not fill on their own. We filed the L-1B application in July 2017 with a persuasive presentation of his credentials as an intracompany transferee of specialized knowledge. Our challenge here was to prove that Mr. Mamat possessed specialized engineering knowledge that was essential to the company. In order to overcome these challenges, we needed to show that what he had learned in his position at the overseas company was vital to the success of the US subsidiary petitioning him.

KEYS TO SUCCESS

In order to ensure success, it was important for Tsang & Associates to be as detailed as possible. It was especially important to demonstrate Mr. Mamat’s qualifications, especially in respect to his importance to the company. This was critical because the regulations require demonstrating why his work could not easily be performed by an American citizen. This entailed meeting two goals. The first is to explain Mr. Mamat’s work history and value to the company, the second was to explain why only he could perform this job in the United States. Mr. Mamat has been with the foreign entity in Hong Kong for six years, joining the Hong Kong office in July of 2011 in the Department of LCM Design and Development as an Engineer, before being promoted to Senior Engineer with the RFQ Engineering Department. In order to prove that he held specialized knowledge, we produced and explained documents demonstrating that Mr. Mamat worked extensively on many large-scale projects, with tasks ranging from preparing the important Bill of Materials for quotation, to managing projects on the factory floor to ensure the product’s strict adherence to the client’s needs. We assisted in the drafting of company letters from both the Hong Kong and US companies detailing that Mr. Mamat had been tasked with handling a large number of important European and American automotive clients, working closely with both the client and the company engineers to design solutions for client demands. Accordingly, we were able to argue that his transfer came as a natural progression of his steady and expanding range of responsibilities and expertise, and that as a talented engineer for the company he had attained an unrivaled familiarity with the company product line.

We used company documents to demonstrate that any adjustments to be made to the products in the United States needed to adhere to US quality standards, while maintaining industry low costs, and that Mr. Mamat was the only person who was in a position to oversee this for the company. We were able to demonstrate this for two reasons; first was that his special knowledge could only be attained through prior experience in the company, that it was of a highly technical nature, that it could not be easily transferred or taught without significant inconvenience, and that he had been employed in a capacity involving assignments that had significantly enhanced the employers competitiveness, and that he had knowledge of a foreign operating conditions that was of significant value to US operations. We broke down each one of these categories and painstakingly demonstrated how he met each one. Just as importantly, is was important to argue why his knowledge and skill was not readily available in the job market. We were able to establish this by drafting letters from the company arguing that his knowledge was company-specific, and therefore was not available outside the company. Additionally, in order to strengthen the point, we argued the Mr. Mamat’s work period at the foreign company was necessary for attaining his specialized knowledge of the company products, and that to hire another person for the US position would take another year of training. We argued and demonstrated that obviously, this would be a massive burden to the US corporation

Secondly, we had to prove that the company structure qualified for the transfer, and that there was a qualifying relationship between the US company and the Hong Kong company. We produced documents, and developed a new organizational chart and company letters, that detailed that each of the two entities were in turn owned by septate entities which were in turn owned by one common owner, therefore establishing that Mr. Mamat qualified for the transfer.

OUTCOME

The USCIS deemed our submission to be beyond satisfactory and approved the case within a month. Today, Mr. Mamat happily works in the US as an engineer of specialized knowledge. We filed the petition in December 2017, and we received an approval about a month later after answering a request for evidence. Mr. Mamat and his employer were ecstatic at the approval of his case. They felt that the challenges in this case may have been insurmountable. With the approval, they have decided to retain Tsang and Associates for all future immigration petitions.

*Name has been changed to protect client identity.

 

Successful E-2 Case

●       Applicant: Mr. Kuan

●       Nationality: Taiwan

●       Industry: Bicycle Distribution

●       Position: General Manager

●       Year Incorporated: 2015

●       Number of Employees: 1

●       Number of Dependents: 1

●       Investment Amount: $130,000

●       Challenges:

o   No customers in the U.S. (US Company cannot engage in sales)

o   Consulting Business based in San Francisco (Consulting is always hard for E2)

o   The applicant has prior immigration violation.

o   Ownership Structure of US business was questionable because family ownership

o   Applicant’s limited English proficiency called for countless hours of interview preparation to confidently communicate all aspects of the U.S. business plan

 

Mr. Kuan came to Tsang & Associates by recommendation from a friend who had a difficult yet successful E-2 case with the firm. Kuan faced several challenges but also had all the needed resources to persuade his case to be granted an E-2 visa. He came from a business background in large-scale management due to his family-run business of bicycle manufacturing in Taiwan. Kuan intended to start a U.S. branch in San Francisco that would not create competition with its international manufacturing distributors, yet prove the branch viable to the parent Taiwanese company. Kuan came to Tsang & Associates with no U.S. business plan, broken English, existing USCIS suspicion, and a dream to operate and live in San Francisco with his family.

 

Keys to Success

In order for one to be successful in their E-2 visa application, there are several requirements that are necessary according to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations:

1)      The treaty investor must possess the nationality of the treaty country

2)      The corporation must be a bona fide U.S. Corporation, a real operating enterprise and not a fictitious paper organization

3)      Capital invested must be substantial and irrevocably committed to the enterprise

4)      The investment cannot be marginal

5)      Investor must have ability to develop and direct the enterprise

6)      Investor must have intent to depart following the end of E-2 status

More than Marginal Revenue

For an E-2 visa, the annual business revenue cannot be marginal, meaning that Kuan’s business needed to produce $170,000 - $200,000. However, the San Francisco branch could not engage the public due to the Taiwan manufacturer’s international contracts, which is where the challenge arose in proving above marginal revenue. Tsang & Associates looked at Kuan’s biggest customer: the Taiwan manufacturer, of which Kuan owned significant shares. The focus shifted onto the manufacturer acting as a fiscal sponsor able to consistently provide funds to sustain the U.S. operation. In order to prove sponsorship, Tsang & Associates created a thorough and clear business plan with production lines and outlines of services that the branch would provide to the parent Taiwan company. Afterward, Tsang & Associates created a contract with a Memorandum of Understanding to show partnership between the two companies. All of these key documents were able to be obtained through Kuan’s partial ownership of the Taiwan factory.

 

Real and Operating Enterprise

Kuan’s brother was already in the United States operating a small version of the San Francisco branch. The applicant’s case became suspicious to USCIS with clear immigrant intent because Kuan’s brother transferred shares of the U.S. branch over to him, suggesting that his brother was helping him immigrate. Part of the detailed business plan Tsang & Associates cultivated had thoroughly outlined the partnership between Kuan and his brother with the parent Taiwanese manufacturer being a family-run business. The branch would hire high-end employees such as designers and technicians in Silicon Valley to generate ideas, portfolios, apps, and designs. Tsang & Associates set everything up so that all Kuan needed to do was set foot in the U.S., lead his team, create products, and share final concepts with the Taiwan manufacturer to materialize and distribute worldwide.

 

USCIS Interview Preparation

The consulting business Kuan was building in San Francisco is usually frowned upon by USCIS because it has no customer interaction or storefront shop. Having no customer-based services made the operation somewhat intangible due to its legal existence solely through paperwork. Another challenge Kuan faced was being able to effectively communicate his intent to depart and dismiss concern for clear immigrant intent. Tsang & Associates helped Kuan prepare to answer all questions confidently after multiple practice interviews, business plan walkthroughs, and copious amounts of English coaching.

APPROVAL

 

With the brand of a global company behind him and all the external resources and credentials he needed, Kuan was granted the E-2 visa and his family was able to legally enter the United States. The E-2 visa was approved within three days. Everyone was very happy with the giant success and the attorney later bought a top of the line bicycle for his triathlons.

SUCCESSFUL R-1 EXTENSION Paul Yang

·         Applicant: Chinese Christian

·         Nationality: China

·         Role: Apostle of Revival

·         Applying for: R-1 Religious Workers Visa, Extension

·         Challenges:

o   Petitioning organization was not a church, but was a Christian conglomerate

o   Mr. Ying‘s position provided little income, only $36,000 per year for a man with a family.

o   We needed to demonstrate that the organization

o   Mr. Ying belonged to a church in China was only a home church involving informal meetings, not a Chinese government-sanctioned church.

o   Mr. Ying was not paid with paystubs at his role back in China, as it was not an officially state sanctioned church.

o   Mr. Ying’s religious position was not as a Pastor, but rather as a “Apostle of Revival”

o   We had to prove that Mr. Ying’s Christian organization in China was of the same denomination as his new petitioner in the United States.

Looking for a law firm who would successfully represent an R-1 extension case, Mr. Ying came to us at Tsang and Associates in hopes that we would be able to help file a Petition for a religious worker extension with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). We had previously helped Mr. Ying obtain approval his original R-1 two years prior. Now in order for Mr. Ying and his family to be able to remain in the United States, they needed to file an extended R-1 petition with a Christian network as the petitioner. Otherwise, Mr. Ying and his family would be forced to return to China. Mr. Ying was extremely eager to have his R-1 petition approved. As such, he came to us again and we helped him file the petition in February 2018.

Keys to Success

However, we strongly believed that we would be able to form a petition that would garner approval for Mr. Ying a second time under an extension. However, there were some challenges. Pastor Yang was not at all wealthy and there was limited documentation for his previous ministry in China.

How we proved the Petitioner’s Nonprofit Status and Religious Mission

According to USCIS regulation, the petitioner must be a nonprofit organization with a religious mission in order to qualify to petition on behalf of a beneficiary for an R-1 visa. Generally, speaking, in most R-1 cases the petitioning organization would be a church. The challenge was in the fact that this organization was not a church, but rather an organization with relatively few employees. The organization was oriented around organizing events for other churches. In the vast majority of circumstances, the petitioning organization in an R-1 case is indeed a church. However, we were able to demonstrate that the organization was a 501(c)(3) nonprofit religious organization, and thus qualified as a petitioner in the case.

In order to prove that Christian Network was a nonprofit organization, we provided the tax exemption letter given by the IRS indicating tax exempt status. We then presented the Articles of Incorporation from its start in 2004, establishing that Christian Network was a revival focused ministry focused on helping small to mid-sized churches achieve its full potential by providing resources, training, and connections for Protestant churches, missionaries, disciples, and seekers. The fact that the organization was small with few employees also posed a challenge to the case. In order to overcome this problem, we focused on proving the groups non-profit status, as well as stressing the employer’s religious mission. We produced evidence of the organization’s Christian events, one of which involved the petitioner leading 37 agencies and 37 churches in an event stressing the love of Christianity.

Moreover, we detailed its outreach events and its wide scope spanning all across the United States. We were able to present the organization’s history by showing a calendar of events and the organization website. Furthermore, we provided pictures of events hosted by Christian Network and brought attention to its social media pages in order to broaden the religious nature of Christian Network. Therefore, despite the distinction in this case of the petitioner not being a church, we were still able to establish that it nevertheless met the letter of the law.

How we proved the Beneficiary’s Religious Background

One of the vital components of Mr. Ying’s application for R-1 classification was detailing his religious background and spiritual growth over the course of his life. We explained that though Mr. Ying had attained for himself a lucrative career in finance, he determined that there was something more to his life; in turn, he began to pursue God to find a spiritual strength. He attended the International School of Ministry and graduated with his diploma in Biblical Studies.

We then showed that after his time at the International School of Ministry, he started a house church in China where he had been ordained as a pastor and has served the congregation for over ten years. Further, we highlighted that Mr. Ying was an internationally renowned speaker, pastor, and minister. We proved this using various flyers and invitations demonstrating that he had been invited to Israel, Hong Kong, mainland China, and the United States to speak to congregations, lead worship services, give sermons, and discuss Christianity in China. Despite the fact that Mr. Ying was the pastor of a house church, meaning that there were limited documents available due to China’s suppression of religion, we were able to establish Mr. Ying’s deeply rooted faith and continuous labor over the past 10 years.

How we proved the Beneficiary’s Qualifications and Duties as a Pastor

Next, we had to demonstrate Mr. Ying’s duties as a pastor. This involved showing that he was fully trained according to the denomination’s standards to conduct religious worship, was not a mere lay teacher or performing duties merely performed by the clergy, performed activities with a rational relationship to the religious calling of the pastor, and worked solely as a pastor in the US, which may include administrative duties. In order to establish this, we produced his diploma in biblical studies, and his certificates in ordination, and evidence that he had served as a pastor for 10 years in China.

We then had to establish that the duties that Mr. Ying would be performing could not be done by anyone without his qualifications and experience. We were able to provide a calendar of activities which included responsibilities such as training pastors and ministers to spread the Word of God, training church staff to support Pastors in their work, organizing and executing discipleship programs and leadership seminars, and preparing and performing sermons. We noted that these duties could only be performed by those who were well versed in the denomination’s religious beliefs.

How we proved the Beneficiary’s Sufficient Salary and Compensation

One of the requirements for approval of the R-1 visa is that the beneficiary must be sufficiently compensated by the petitioner or else be able to self-support as to not become a burden to society. This was a major challenge because the Pastor was not earning a high salary. Mr. Ying would receive a salary of $36,000 from Christian Network. This was a challenge because he was not paid with paystubs. Therefore, we needed to prove that he was paid by the organization through other means. We produced Mr. Ying’s W-2 form and Bank of America statements that proved that he was indeed compensated. Further, we were able to prove through Christian Network’s bank statements and tax returns that it was indeed capable of compensating Mr. Ying. In order to further overcome the issue of low salary, Mr. Ying’s bank statements also proved that he did have personal savings that would ensure that his financial needs would indeed be met despite the fact that he had a large family. The Pastor’s compensation was low, but we were able to partially mitigate this problem by helping the petitioning organization draft a statement establishing that they would provide the client with room and board, thus mitigating his financial obligations.

How we proved the Beneficiary’s Two-Year Membership in the Same Denomination as Nonprofit Foundation

We then had to demonstrate that both Mr. Ying and Nonprofit Foundation had a common set of beliefs, form of worship, and common doctrine for at least 2 years prior to fulfill the standards for a denomination as falling under the Code of Federal Regulations.

We proved that both Mr. Ying’s home church and Christian Network were of the denomination of Protestant Christianity. We acquired the by-laws and statement of faith for both organizations and compared them focusing on some main components of Christianity: the Trinity, the Bible, and Salvation. We noted that both organizations believed the there is only one God existing in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Result

When the decision came in, Pastor Yang was ecstatic. He was concerned that the challenges in his case would provide unsurmountable problems. When the case was approved, he began another stint as the pastor for his petitioning organization. The case was filed on February 21, 2018. We received the approval notice on March 15, 2018 with the case coming in without a Request for Evidence. What normally would have been a difficult case was approved in short order.

Successful L-1A

·         Client: Mr. Chao

·         Applying for: L-1A

·         Industry: Import and Export

·         Business: Rubber and Tire Manufacturing

·         Nationality: China

·         Position: General Manager

·         Year Incorporated: 2013

·         Gross Sales: $11 Million

·         Number of Employees: 5

·         Challenges:

o   Two prior Denials from other firms

o   Only 5 employees

o   Import and Export Company (Always hard to prove Executive Duties)

o   Client does not speak English (Always hard during the interview)

 

 

Challenge

 

As the CEO of a startup company with just five employees, Mr. Chao came to us in the midst of an uphill battle in his quest for an L-1A Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager visa. His initial application for an L-1A extension had been denied in August 2014 and he was facing the very real possibility of losing his job as well as the entire company. But when he approached us shortly after his denial, in the hopes of applying again, we were confident that even up against difficult odds, we could provide him a path forward based on our experience and expertise.

 

As the head of a company with so few employees, Mr. Chao’s responsibilities often crisscrossed the line between executive managerial duties and day-to-day functions of product production. As the L-1A demands that an employee solely perform the functions of an executive or manager—proof of which was not met by Mr. Chao’s previous attorney in the initial filing—we knew that fully immersing ourselves in the history and operations of the company, as well as becoming experts in his field, would be the best way to make a persuasive case for Mr. Chao.

 

Keys to Success

 

We needed to prove that Mr. Chao’s responsibilities to his company were solely executive and managerial. For us, this began with a deep dive into the company’s background. Rather than rely on the industry-standard checklist that failed Mr. Chao earlier in the process because it fails to consider differences in various businesses and business structures, we wanted to tell the full story of his role in the organization. That meant painting a picture of how the parent company in China operates, the business practices of similar companies across the country, and the future business plan for this particular company. 

 

We presented a clear breakdown of how he managed his time, from simply providing time estimates, such as 35 percent managerial duties, 15 percent establishing departments, 10 percent operational duties, to firmly establishing and delineating Mr. Chao’s management role from his day-to-day employees. We dove into industry reports—how this company works in tandem with the Chinese parent company, and how it relates to the industry as a whole. We provided flow charts of the company’s structure, contracts between Mr. Chao and his employees, proof of managers reporting to him, and a full breakdown of his place as executive of the company. And in doing so, we illustrated exactly why the company’s future plans necessitated that Mr. Chao stay in his executive role. All of this together provided the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services officer a clear understanding of why Mr. Chao’s situation demanded approval of an L-1A.

 

To further strengthen the application, we also solicited a letter of recommendation from an industry expert, who was able to independently confirm Mr. Chao’s role as an international executive.

 

Through these collective efforts to build a complete narrative, we were able to downplay the fact that this company had just five employees—a major reason for the initial application being denied. We told the story of Mr. Chao, a strong and capable executive of a small but successful company, providing stabilizing management and a clear vision of guidance into the future.

 

Outcome

 

By going well beyond numbers and figures, we were able to illustrate beyond a doubt that Mr. Chao’s responsibilities were indeed entirely managerial and executive in nature. After filing for the L-1A extension in October 2014, we gained approval within just two months.

 

Now, not only is Mr. Chao successfully leading his company here in the United States, we have been able to help them successfully apply for and receive L-1A visas for two additional executives. With the company thriving, we are proud to have played our part in Mr. Chao’s story.