E-2 change of status to F-1
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
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.
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.