Successful Fitness Club Partners Obtain L-1 Visas after Initial Denial

Two partners running a chain of multi-million pound fitness clubs in the UK wanted to enter the US to expand their business. The partners were both 50% owners, each specializing in a different management skill that complemented one another nicely. They were hoping to obtain an L-1 visa – a one-year work authorization designed for intracompany transfers for employees with offices both in the US and internationally.

The partners’ plan was to start small, by entering the US and establishing a small office and bank account. Once based in the US, they hoped to expand by identifying good locations for new clubs, finding equipment suppliers and hiring architects – eventually spending as much as $1 million per location. NNU carefully prepared and submitted the partners’ applications; much to our surprise, one partner was approved while the other was not. We considered whether to reapply for an investor visa for the partner whose L-1 petition was denied. This was a viable option but would require a large up-front investment, which they were not prepared to make at that time. We made the decision to reapply for the L-1 visa, hoping that by bolstering our client’s application with additional supporting information, and being assigned a different case worker, the visa would this time be approved. This decision turned out to be the right choice, as the second partner was approved and they were able to move to the US shortly thereafter. The partners will eventually seek an E-2 visa to facilitate long-term growth once their first club is up and running.