Jacob: Hello everybody, this is Jacob Sapochnick. You ask, we answer, simple. Here’s another episode of Ask an Immigration Lawyer.
I’m actually recording it now here from Washington D.C. at the National American Immigration Lawyers Association Conference. So much content to share but I’m going to do this episode with a friend and a live guest here, Mark Deal. We’re going to talk about e-Visas and the importance of business plans because a lot have been talking about e-Visa approvals and how we can improve that with a sole business plan.
Mark, how are you today?
Mark: I am doing great. Thank you for having me on, Jacob.
Why don’t you tell our listeners – in 30 seconds – more about yourself and your experience with e-Visa and business plans?
Well, my name is Mark Deal. I co-founded Foreign Investor Resource Group and now I am the Content Director for US Immigration Media and the US Immigration Podcast.
During my time at Foreign Investor Resource Group, I’ve done hundreds of business plans for E2’s and L1’s and EB-5. I’ve really got to learn the difference between the regular business plan and what the immigration authorities are looking for in those business plans for their petitions. And how, honestly, foreign nationals, with the right advice can do it themselves and save some money.
People are listening right now and they want to do an e-Visa, we had some episodes about e-Visas. Why don’t you tell us a bit what is the importance of a business plan and e-Visa case first of all.
Mike: Well, for new e-Visa what the adjudicator is going to want to look for is is this a real business? Is this a viable business and a mature idea? And a good business plan is going to communicate that to the immigration law officer and show that this person, this treaty trader, treaty investor is legit and they have a good business idea and a plan to execute on it.
As well as there is a few things on the I-129 form that you, as an immigration attorney would prepare, that needs to tie up with the business plan and having that substantiation for the document and the petition really helps the e-Visa come together.
Otherwise you may get a denial or – I think is a pretty bad scenario – is you get a one year e-Visa. Basically go out and try and come back.
That’s honestly not enough time to get your business off the ground and get it running, get it profitable, and then to come back 12 months later to show an immigration attorney – the USCIS, yeah, my business is running. You want e-Visa up to five years and a good business plan is going to help you get that visa for a long period of time.
Jacob: Right. Why don’t you give us three points that are essential to be in the business plan to win any e-Visa case that you can think of?
Mike: That’s a great question because it’s different for bankers and venture capitalist but let’s focus on what immigration authorities are looking for for the e-Visa. They’re going to want to see who owns the company and how much of it they own. Do they own 50% or a 100%? Also, they want to see how much money is being invested in the company.
Now, there is no hard fast rule. You have to invest at least $100,000 for e-Visa approval. It has to be substantial enough such that you don’t have to continuously fund the business. If you have a small startup with a lot of bootstrap stuff; maybe 50, 100, 150 grand. If you want to do real estate investing you got to put a lot more so it’s industry specific. They want to see who is investing, how much of the company they own, and the amount of money of investment.
They also want to see source of funds and that’s something that typically isn’t shown in like a bank or venture capital business plan. But the immigration officer wants to see the source of funds. Where did it come from? Is it coming from your personal bank account? How did you get that money? Was it inherited or did you have a job or you saved up for ten years? In the business plan, have a simple flow diagram that somebody can follow in half a page format where the money is coming from and then have the documents, the bank records to back up and support that.
I’d say those are three of the most important things that make an immigration business plan stand out from a regular business plan.
Jacob: Excellent. Thank you so much, Mark, for this great information and thank you guys for listening. You ask, we answer, simple. We’ll see you at our next episode. This is Jacob, your host, live here from Washington D.C.