The appeals panel of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has clarified the definition of “doing business” for purposes of immigrant petitions for a multinational manager or executive.

An employer does not have to prove that it has been “doing business” with an unaffiliated third party, and may establish eligibility through proof of provision of goods and/or services to related companies within its multinational organization, the Administrative Appeals Office ruled in a precedential case yesterday.

Under regulations, the U.S. employer must establish that it has been doing business for at least one year.

In this case, the petitioning company, a U.S. subsidiary of a Chinese clothing company, provided extensive evidence of its provision of services to its foreign affiliate. USCIS denied the petition on grounds that the petitioner had not provided evidence of “‘doing business’ with independent corporations or entities.”

However, on appeal, the AAO concluded that USCIS imposed a stricter definition of “doing business” than the regulation requires.

The “definition of “‘doing business’ … contains no requirement that a petitioner for a multinational manager or executive must provide goods or services to an unaffiliated third party,” the AAO said, adding that a “petitioner may establish that it is ‘doing business’ by demonstrating that it is providing goods and/or services in a regular, systematic, and continuous manner to related companies within its multinational organization.”

The case is Matter of Leacheng International, Inc., 26 I & N Dec. 532 (AAO 2015).

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