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Unrealistic Requests from USCIS That EB-5 Direct Investment Applicants Have to Deal With

Unrealistic Requests from USCIS That EB-5 Direct Investment Applicants Have to Deal With

We have said it before and we’ll say it again: many times, immigration expectations and business realities do not align and are like oil and vinegar—they don't mix. Our extensive experience in the business immigration industry has given us a front-row seat to some of the most unrealistic expectations from immigration authorities, particularly in the context of EB-5 direct investment applications. Here are a few examples of these challenging demands often made via Requests for Evidence (RFEs):

1. Competitor Details in EB-5 Business Plans

Understanding the Requirement: One of the most daunting requests from USCIS involves providing detailed analyses of competitors. Typically, business plans must include information about competitors, which often consist of small, privately held companies. These companies do not disclose their financials or pricing structures, making it extremely challenging to elaborate on specific details such as yearly revenues and annual sales.

Common RFE Issue: This expectation from USCIS puts applicants in a difficult position as they are required to present data that is not publicly accessible, thereby complicating the application process.

2. Total Investment Required by Third-Party Industry Players

Understanding the Requirement: Another common yet unrealistic request involves the total investment required by third-party industry players to start their business. Generally, this type of financial information is private and not available from public sources.

Common RFE Issue: Expecting applicants to provide detailed investment figures from competitors or industry peers is impractical and often impossible. This demand highlights a disconnect between immigration authorities’ expectations and the realities of obtaining proprietary business information.

3. Analysis of the Local Market

Understanding the Requirement: USCIS often requires a comprehensive analysis of the local market, including specifics about market demand, local competitors, and customer demographics. However, this type of in-depth market research is not readily available and typically requires a more profound study at a substantial cost.

Common RFE Issue: Most businesses do not conduct such detailed market analysis for internal purposes, let alone for visa applications. This expectation can place an undue financial burden on applicants who must commission expensive studies to meet these demands.

Addressing the Challenges

Despite these unrealistic requests, it is essential for EB-5 applicants to navigate these challenges effectively to avoid delays and potential denials. At Visa Business Plans, our extensive experience and industry knowledge equip us to tackle these hurdles. We help our clients by:

  • Developing creative strategies to provide the required competitor analyses using available data and industry insights.

  • Sourcing reliable third-party reports and expert opinions to estimate total investment requirements and market conditions.

  • Utilizing our network of industry experts to gather as much relevant information as possible, ensuring our business plans meet USCIS expectations.

The disconnect between USCIS expectations and business realities can be frustrating for EB-5 applicants. However, with the right support and expertise, it is possible to navigate these challenges effectively. If you are preparing an EB-5 direct investment application and need help addressing these unrealistic requests made via RFEs, contact us at Visa Business Plans. Our team of experienced professionals is here to support you with comprehensive and compliant business plans that stand up to USCIS scrutiny.

The information provided in this blog is intended solely for informational purposes. While we strive to offer accurate and up-to-date content, it should not be considered legal advice. Immigration laws and regulations are subject to change, and individual circumstances can vary widely. For personalized guidance and legal advice regarding your specific immigration situation, we strongly recommend consulting with a qualified immigration attorney who can provide you with tailored assistance and ensure compliance with current laws and regulations.

Visa Business Plans is led by Marco Scanu, a certified coach from the University of Miami with a globally-based practice coaching Fortune 1000 company executives, entrepreneurs, as well as professionals in four different continents. Mr. Scanu advises clients on turnaround strategies and crisis management.

Mr. Scanu received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (Cum Laude) from the University of Florida and an MBA in Management from Bocconi University in Milan, Italy. Mr. Scanu was also a Visiting Scholar at Michigan State University under the prestigious H. Humphrey Fellowship (Fulbright program) with a focus on Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital, and high-growth enterprises.

At present, Mr. Scanu is the managing partner and CEO at Visa Business Plans, a Miami-based boutique consulting firm providing attorneys and investors with business planning services in the areas of U.S. and Canadian immigration, SBA loans, and others.

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