To obtain an L-1 intracompany transferee visa for an employee you wish to transfer to the United States, you will need to submit your company’s business plan to the USCIS during the application process (unless you have already submitted one for a previous L-1 visa application). The plan must be thorough and well thought out. US immigration authorities have provided some guidance on what constitutes a good business plan, at least for EB-5 immigration status.
Necessary Documents to Gather
To create your company’s business plan, you will need to gather at least the following documents:
- Foundational documents (articles of incorporation or articles of organization, for example).
- Proof that you own or lease your business premises (a lease or a deed, for example).
- Complete financial statements of the foreign company for each of the past 3 years including balance sheets; income statements; cash flow statements; and shareholders’ equity statements.
- Foreign company’s organizational chart.
- Resume of the L-1 visa applicant.
- Resumes of employees who occupy your company’s management positions
- List of capital invested, expenses already incurred and remaining working capital.
- Documentation of the relationship between the US company and the foreign company (parent/subsidiary, for example).
- Other documents are required in your particular case.
A good rule of thumb is that the business plan you submit to the USCIS should run at least 25 pages. It should include:
- A complete executive summary. Your executive summary should introduce your company, its industry, its operations and its objectives over the next five years. It should also emphasize the company’s ability to create jobs. Remember, your executive summary is a sales pitch, and it could make or break your application.
- Financial projections for at least the next five years of the company’ operations. These projections should include a start-up table (for a new company), a profit & loss statement and a balance sheet.
- Personnel expansion plan, including minimum educational requirements and proposed salaries.
- Thorough market and industry analyses.
- A complete marketing plan.
- Job descriptions for each employee or (for a large company) each position.
- Action plan for the next year of the company’s operations.
- Other information that is specific to your company and to the reason you are seeking to sponsor an L-1 employee.
In addition to the foregoing content, your business plan should:
- Provide enough detail to persuade the USCIS that your company can create jobs in the United States. This one factor has the potential to generate quite a bit of traction with the USCIS.
- Describe in detail your company’s industry, market position, organizational structure, personnel (including job responsibilities and the experience level of key employees) and labor costs.
- List the exact amount of capital that has been invested (or will be invested) in the company, and describe in detail the source of this capital. You will need to prove that the capital invested in your company comes from a legal source, and show how the invested capital is at risk if the business fails.
- Include a well-documented, well-researched market or industry analysis that describes your company’s target market and customers.
- A detailed analysis of the US company’s market competitors, including potential competitors.
- A detailed sales and marketing strategy.
- A clear explanation of how your business operates and how your company’s products are monetized.
Avoid making any claims that you cannot back up with independent evidence — pretend, for example, that you are making an SEC filing. None of the information you provide should be in any way inconsistent with other information contained anywhere in the L-1 visa application. Ideally your business plan should be prepared by a professional who understands the requirements, and reviewed by a competent immigration lawyer with experience handling L-1 applications.