Many thanks to Lauren Cohen, President and Founder of e-Council Inc., for today’s guest post!
What is the status of a business immigration visa application without a Business Plan?
While not a formally mandatory component of most non-immigrant business visa applications (EB-5’s are the exception, but they are IMMIGRANT business visa applications since a successful EB-5 application leads to conditional permanent residence for the beneficiary), there is no doubt that failing to submit a Business Plan, or submitting a substandard Business Plan, renders a non-immigrant business visa application as incomplete.
The incidence of Requests for Evidence (RFE’s), which are similar to appeals in the visa application process, that have been on this very point has been on the rise of late. US Citizenship & Immigration Services and consular officers are continually seeking new ways to determine if the petitioning entity (i.e.: the proposed business) passes the “smell test”, and a Business Plan is one of the key elements allowing them to accomplish this task.
Business visas are granted to companies that are able to demonstrate:
- Business viability
- Satisfaction of the applicable visa requirements (eg: “substantial” investment for an E-2, “substantial” trade for an E-1, L-1A intracompany transfer, or L1-B specialized knowledge)
- The need to establish a US presence, and
- The intention to hire “US persons” in appropriate numbers (the number will vary based on the type of business and the type of visa being sought)
It is easy to see how a duly-researched, well-written, analytical and generally professional Business Plan can play a major role in proving these elements to USCIS. Business Plans in general are developed to clearly set out the company’s path – they are designed to serve as the roadmap to the company’s success.
Visa-oriented Business Plans are no exception to this standard. Indeed, they go a step further by conveying a story regarding the reasoning behind the petitioning company’s claim that it needs a presence on US soil, and the why’s and how’s of same.
Business owners seeking entrée to the US market should seriously consider the multi-faceted purposes offered by way of a professional Business Plan. Not only will it be a catalyst to the success of the visa application that is critical to developing full-scale US operations, but it will certainly be the impetus to the company’s short- and long-term success. The relatively nominal up-front cost factor will quickly be overcome and returned many times over as the company is rolled out and the Business Plan is implemented.
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Lauren Cohen, President and Founder of e-Council Inc., is a licensed attorney both in Canada and the US. Combining her legal background with her interest in business, e-Council Inc. designs professional business plans to complement immigration visa applications and works with business owners to develop their business models and strategies. e-Council Inc. has enjoyed a stellar success rate in this important area, and has become a well-respected resource for both immigration attorneys and clients.