· 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
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)
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.
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.