Overcoming Multiple Requests for Evidence to Obtain a Successful Multinational Executive Green Card Approval
An owner of a group of Vietnamese restaurants in the metro-Atlanta area reached out to us to assist with bringing the potential CEO of their company to work in the U.S. The goal was to transfer the CEO from Vietnam to the U.S. as quickly as possible and eventually have her reside here permanently. We prepared and filed the L-1A Intracompany Transferee petition, which allowed us to transfer the CEO from the affiliated company in Vietnam to the petitioning company in the U.S. After the CEO entered the U.S. in L-1A status, we prepared the Employment-based first category multinational executive green card on her behalf.
Challenges in this Case
There were several challenges throughout this client’s permanent residence (green card) process, mostly in the form of multiple Requests for Evidence (RFE). We handled each RFE successfully and fought for our client all the way until the end.
1. Ability to Pay
The first RFE we received requested additional evidence to show that the Company had the ability to pay the proffered wage to the CEO. We responded with the Company’s 2021 Corporate tax return as soon as it was available. The Tax Return had sufficient net income to satisfy the ability to pay requirement and the I-140 petition was approved shortly after.
2. Covid-19 Pandemic Closed Country Borders
The Covid-19 global pandemic erupted worldwide in early 2020. Our client traveled to Vietnam during that summer but was unable to return to the U.S. as planned because Vietnam closed its borders due to rising Covid cases. Initially, this was not an issue because she had a valid advance parole and employment authorization card. Advance parole would allow her to reenter the U.S. while her adjustment of status application was pending.
However, the CEO was stuck in Vietnam for a long period of time, and as we entered 2021, we realized that her advance parole/employment authorization card was about to expire. We had no choice but to file the renewal for the advance parole/employment authorization card and hope that she could return before her current card expired.
3. Expedite Request for Advance Parole renewal and RFE for Medical Exam
Unfortunately, by the time the CEO was able to travel after Vietnam’s borders reopened, her advance parole/employment authorization card had already expired. Her biometrics appointment was scheduled, and she was not able to attend. To make matters worse, the USCIS issued another RFE requesting her medical exam, but she could not provide the required medical exam from a U.S. civil surgeon because she was stuck outside the country. Since she was unable to complete her biometrics, USCIS could not approve her employment authorization renewal, and as a result, they could not issue her advance parole/employment authorization card (a joint card at the time).
Nevertheless, we persisted and submitted a request to USCIS to expedite the advance parole/employment authorization card. We also submitted senator inquiries to get assistance with the expedite. We explained the situation and stated that the U.S. company would suffer significant financial hardship if its CEO was not able to return. After 6 months and several emails, phone calls, and follow ups, the advance parole/employment authorization card was finally approved, and the Company’s CEO was able to return to the U.S. She was able to complete her biometrics and obtain her medical exam from a U.S. civil surgeon. We submitted the medical to the USCIS thus finally responding to their RFE.
4. One More RFE
Shortly after submitting the medical exam, the CEO attended her Adjustment of Status interview. We thought we were finally at the end of this process. However, the USCIS had one more RFE up their sleeve. The final RFE indicated that the CEO was outside the U.S. for over a year, between 2020 and 2021. The RFE further indicated that her 2020 W-2 showed a certain income, so they then requested evidence to prove that the CEO was in fact working and getting paid while she was outside the U.S.
In response, we confirmed that the CEO was indeed paid in full for both 2020 and 2021. We also indicated that even though the CEO was outside the U.S. for a long period, she was still working and performing her duties in the executive capacity as CEO of the Company. Like many others in the world during this time, she worked remotely for that period. She was able to direct the management of the company, to make corporate decisions, and to enter into agreements on behalf of the company by working virtually. We provided documentation to support our argument, which included corporate emails to the company’s management and employees, corporate purchases, copies of business contracts, and agreements and payment authorizations signed in her executive capacity as CEO of the company, all while she was in Vietnam.
After we responded to the USCIS with this argument, we received a notice from the USCIS a few weeks later – the green card was finally approved! Our clients were happy … and relieved!
This blog post is provided as an educational service and is not legal advice. Please consult with an attorney for your specific circumstances.
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