In a decision dated July 29, 2014, the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) denied an appeal by a petitioner claiming that a comprehensive Business Plan was submitted. The AAO agreed with the original decision and the petitioner’s appeal was dismissed.

The petitioner’s investment was through an established Regional Center to support a New Commercial Enterprise (NCE) in a targeted employment area. The NCE was in the business of developing, producing, selling and manufacturing alcoholic gelatin shots. There were several issues that AAO addressed; however, this article will focus on the issue relevant to a comprehensive Business Plan.

The petitioner’s submission included a Business Plan and Economic Impact Analysis with the initial filing. One major issue highlighted in the RFE was that the petitioner did not source and itemize all pro forma financial data. The AAO stressed that according to Matter of Ho, 22 I&N Dec. at 213[1], detail is essential in order for a Business Plan to be credible (emphasis added). Furthermore, they noted that “(m)ere conclusory assertions do not enable USCIS to determine whether the job-creation projections are any more reliable than hopeful speculation.” On appeal, the petitioner still did not submit the missing data.

Additionally, the Request for Evidence (RFE) which was issued in the case stated that the sales projections and marketing costs were not shown as reasonable compared to industry standards (emphasis added). On appeal, the petitioner argued that the sales projections and marketing costs were prepared by the president of the company who has actual industry experience. Furthermore, the petitioner argued that Matter of Ho did not require an independent entity’s projections and analysis. However, the AAO indicated that was not the issue but that the petitioner did not submit any evidence that showed who provided the projections. Furthermore, the petitioner did not submit copies of contracts to show any agreement(s) to distribute the gelatin shots.

There were many other issues most of which involved insufficient evidence that was not resolved upon appeal. In conclusion, it is clear that documentary evidence is necessary to support a credible Business Plan. In order to prevent RFEs and denials and to ensure that a credible Business Plan is submitted at the outset, the proper team of professionals needs to be consulted.

To find out about professional, well-researched, articulate, expository narrative Visa Business Plans, whether for EB-5 or any other business-related Visa, as well as a variety of ancillary services, all of which are designed to specifically address USCIS’s concerns, contact e-Council at

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