SUCCESSFUL E-2 VISA CASE

  • Nationality: Taiwanese
  • Industry: Marketing Firm
  • Position: CEO, Owner
  • Year Incorporated: 2016
  • Number of Employees: 3, including Ms. Chen
  • Number of Dependents: 1 child, U.S. citizen
  • Investment Amount: $250,000
  • Challenges:
    • Applicant/CEO has prior CBP record showing frequent visits to the United States
    • Applicant/CEO’s child is a U.S. citizen showing immigrant intent
    • Applicant had no experience running a business

Ms. Chen* came to Tsang and Associates seeking assistance in forming her E-2 Treaty Investor visa application. She had a child in the U.S. and was looking to stay for an extended amount of time. Previously, Ms. Chen would visit and stay on Taiwanese visa waivers, but was warned by a CBP officer at the airport that her frequency of visitation would be a cause for concern. She came to us to help her incorporate her business and help with the initial startup for her E-2 qualifying business. Her business specialized in marketing Taiwan based imports, focusing on marketing consultation for Taiwanese companies looking to sell in the United States by providing them the resources and the connections to sell internationally that they would otherwise be lacking. This was Ms. Chen’s first business venture, as many of her previous jobs involved consulting companies on marketing strategies and teaching as a professor. After much revision and hard work, Ms. Chen formally became the owner of her very own marketing firm. Once she began business, she sought our help in filing an E-2 Treaty Investor visa application. We filed her petition on July 19, 2016 and received approval on the same day.

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 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

Nationality of Treaty Country

When Ms. Chen first came to us, we strongly felt that we could get her E-2 visa approved. First off, Ms. Chen was a Taiwanese national, automatically qualifying her as a treaty investor. Expounding upon this, we showed with the Articles of Incorporation and Share Certificates that Ms. Chen was indeed 100% owner of the company and thus the company completely met the foreign ownership requirement.

Proof of Real and Operating Enterprise

In addition, we had to show that the company was a bona fide U.S. Corporation. This was challenging at first because the company had only recently been incorporated in the United States. We began this process when she first retained us. We helped Ms. Chen formally incorporate her business and helped her obtain the appropriate business licenses and sellers permits. We also helped her establish purchase agreements and contracts with Taiwanese companies looking to expand into the U.S., and we even created a CPA-certified business plan for her company, detailing her company’s projected growth and marketing strategies. We helped her list job openings for her company online, which resulted in the hire of two part-time employees, both of with whom she has become very close. We also helped her create an e-commerce website on which she had already sold numerous products, even before her visa was approved. Using all of this, we fully proved Ms. Chen’s company as “a real operating enterprise and not a fictitious paper organization”.

Substantial, Irrevocably Committed Investment

We also proved that Ms. Chen’s investment was substantial and irrevocable due to USCIS fears that the investment is simply just a “risky undertaking”. We first established Ms. Chen’s total investment by referring to her financial statements. To help fund her company, Ms. Chen sold her house in Taiwan. In combination with her savings, she made an initial investment of $150,000 and eventually added another $100,000. By the proportionality test of federal regulation, because Ms. Chen owned 100% of the company, her investment of $250,000 was indeed substantial. In order to further the irrevocability of the investment, we noted that Ms. Chen had already incurred numerous expenses such as investing in equipment, design, accounting, and legal costs. She had also already signed purchase agreements and bought thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise to begin her enterprise. In addition, she had already signed a 1 year lease for the operating location of the business and hired 2 employees, thus demonstrating her full commitment to the endeavor.

More than Marginal Investment

A business submitted with an E-2 application must prove to return more than marginal revenue. Ms. Chen’s business is based in the San Francisco area, which posed a problem in terms of profit. In such a big city, the cost of living is relatively high compared with the rest of the state. In addition, Ms. Chen’s company must have high enough sales to compensate for the cost of operating, payroll, and eventual expansion. We helped Ms. Chen modify her business plan to expand her company’s offerings and earn a profit in the first year of operation. We helped her create multiple streams of revenue by increasing her company’s brand offerings and adding a marketing consulting service as requested service. Now, Ms. Chen’s company not only serves as a channel for Taiwanese companies to branch into the U.S., but it also sells American sporting goods to companies in Taiwan and offers marketing counseling. We proved Ms. Chen’s company is more than marginal by presenting her purchase agreements with Taiwanese companies, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in product.

Ability to Develop and Direct the Business Enterprise

A key part of the E-2 Visa is that the applicant possesses the ability to direct and develop their business. Although she had no business experience to begin with, we proved that Ms. Chen was more than qualified to start and manage a business by providing copies of over sixty certifications and awards that she had earned throughout her marketing career. Included among these were her Ph.D. in Marketing and her Master of Arts degree in Economics. With such high achievements, we showed that Ms. Chen was fit to direct the operations of her business. Even though she did not have business experience, Ms. Chen displays a solid background in her business’s industry. With vast experience, we proved that Ms. Chen was, if possible, overqualified to run her marketing company.

Intent to Depart

An equally important part of the E-2 visa is that the applicant plans to return to their home country. There were many obstacles to overcome in proving Ms. Chen’s intent to return. She had sold her house in Taiwan to create investment capital, currently had U.S. citizen child, and had previously visited the United States with a high frequency. However, we were able to prove her intent to return by sharing a portion of Ms. Chen’s long-term business plan— she plans to help Taiwanese companies market their products to Taiwanese consumers. To do this, she would return to Taiwan to work closely with companies and their target markets.

Interview Preparation

Beyond the paperwork, we also helped Ms. Chen prepare for her E-2 Application interview. Ms. Chen began the E-2 Application process a bit timidly, as she had never attempted such an enterprise before. She feared her business plan would not be strong enough to impress the Taiwanese immigration officers. We helped her prepare for any and all questions that might be asked of her and her company, requiring her to answer as detailed as possible. She worked through over ten hours of practice interviews, answering a seemingly endless line of questioning. On Wednesday, July 27, 2016, Ms. Chen went for her interview. After her hours of preparation, she looked and felt substantially more confident than she had when she first began. After the interview had been completed, Ms. Chen was extremely grateful that we had prepared her for the exact questions that the officer asked, allowing her to pass smoothly.

Outcome

On Wednesday, July 27, 2016, Ms. Chen’s E-2 Visa was approved.

*Name has been changed to protect client identity.