CLIENT: Kai Klopfleisch
BUSINESS: Music Production
TIMELINE: 8 Weeks
E-2 Case Study – IMKK Music
In the early months of 2017, Path Law Group was approached by Mr. Kai Klopfleisch, a music producer from Germany. Kai had just graduated from school and he approached us with a vision: he wanted to take his small-time music production company and expand it to the United States. Kai already had clients waiting, but needed a visa before he could officially begin operations.
Quickly after meeting Kai we realized that he was overwhelmed with the immigration process. He required a visa that would not only allow him to work, but also provide work authorization for his wife, Julia. Since Kai had already accomplished a great deal in his field he was eligible for an O-1 visa, an option for those with extraordinary ability in the arts. Though we could have easily secured this visa for him, the O-1 does not offer work authorization to the dependent spouse. Our next option was discussing the E-2, sometimes a more complex visa, but one that provided the coveted work authorization Julia needed.
Kai’s business – IMKK Music Productions (“IMKK”) – was intended to be a full-service music production company headquartered in Los Angeles, California. His vision was to provide music production services to artists and companies in all stages of the production process, from initial concept and writing to mixing and mastering to distribution and licensing consultation, particularly in the genres of Pop, R’n’B, Hip Hop, Electronic Dance Music and Jazz. Clients would include up-and-coming as well as established artists and musical groups, companies and studios. IMKK would work with music labels, publishers and music management companies both in the United States, as well as internationally.
Our legal strategy was designed to achieve the following objectives:
ESTABLISH THAT THE CLIENT HAS INVESTED SUBSTANTIALLY INTO HIS COMPANY
According to the E-2 visa regulations the business investment must be large enough to “ensure to a reasonable extent that the business invested in is not speculative but is, or soon will be, a successful enterprise” and that the investor is “unquestionably committed to the success of the business.” While these words seem unclear as to the amount of minimum investment, we have learned over time that what it takes for each business to satisfy the substantiality requirement. In the case of IMKK, we had to overcome some distinct challenges in this area. In Kai’s case, the majority of his investment was in the form of the equipment he had gradually brought over from Germany over the prior year. Aside from his equipment, the only other investments he had made included the lease for his workspace and marketing costs. In our support letter we explained the nature and significance of each piece of equipment IMKK has purchased. Our explanation was meant to prove that the investment was substantial as well as to show that IMKK was operational as a result of the investment in equipment that Mr. Klopfleisch made over time. In total we were able to claim a total investment of over $70,000 USD — substantial by all metrics.
- Grant his spouse work authorization in the United States: An unexpected hurdle we faced with Mr. Klopfleisch’s case was that of his wife. Getting a visa for him to work in the United States was one thing, but getting work authorization for his wife was another. When he approached us, Mr. Klopfleisch was on a J-1 waiver. Because he was an artist of outstanding ability, however, he qualified for an O-1 visa as well as an E-2. After careful deliberation, we recommended that Mr. Klopfleisch seek an E-2 visa — doing so would allow for his spouse to work in the United States, while an O-1 would not.
Within 2 months we were able to get Mr. Klopfleisch his visa. Using a detailed plan and working closely with IMKK, we made the process as easy as possible for them, allowing our client to focus on his business.
To date, IMKK has secured on-going collaborations with American recording artist Aaron Pfeiffer (The Voice), featured at H&M retail stores, Certified Platinum awarded Songwriter Meredith “Hope” Raney, and more.