Icing the Fishing Industry

An investor earned a substantial sum of money supplying ice to the fishing and seafood industry in the South China Sea. USCIS questioned the investor’s ability to earn an income and profit sufficient to fund an EB-5 investment through the sale of ice.

To document her ability to earn money from the sale of ice, the investor was only able to provide documents showing her lease of freezers and some hand-written invoices. Because the transactions occurred years before the I-526 petition was filed, and the investor’s business was largely a cash business, the investor was not able to provide any bank documents evidencing the receipt of the funds as listed on invoices to her customers.

Our EB-5 Team realized that the crux of the issue was that USCIS did not believe that a sole proprietor selling something as small and seemingly insubstantial as ice could generate large profits. Without detailed audited financials that would generally be available for a large company or bank statements from over a decade prior to the filing, we knew we had to be creative in proving the investor’s source of funds.

Our team scoured the internet, familiarized themselves with the fishing industry in the South China Sea, and drafted a response explaining the following:

  • Geographical landscape and marine life in the South China Sea to document the varied array of aquatic resources in the location;
  • Annual temperature ranges in the South China Sea and the resultant need for proper fish handling methods;
  • Proper fish handling methods in the South China Sea and need for ice as a necessary raw material to preserve fish for trade or delivery to local and international fish markets;
  • Common trade routes for the fishing and seafood industry from the South China Sea and proximity to international routes for shipment of marine life around the world.

Because of our team’s ability to prove how valuable ice was for the fishing industry in the South China Sea, we obtained a successful outcome for the investor.