Victor Obaika Obtains L-1A Visa

By Oakhurst Legal Group

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Obaika Racing, LLC President and CEO Approved for Three-Year Visa

The United States’ L-1A visas allow international companies to transfer employees in managerial or executive positions to the United States. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services says that to qualify, the employer must:

  • Have an established, eligible relationship with a foreign company
  • Do business, or will soon be doing business, as an employer within the United States as well as at least one other country, either as a branch of their own or an affiliate, etc. and continue business as such for the L-1A applicant’s stay in the country

In addition to the employer requirements, the USCIS holds certain standards for employees seeking L-1A visas. Employees must:

  • Have been employed by the associated foreign company continually for at least one year of the past three
  • Fill a managerial or executive role

We are glad to report a successful L-1A petition. We effectively petitioned for a three-year approval for Obaika Racing, LLC superstar Victor Obaika’s L-1A status. Victor is the President and Chief Executive Officer at Obaika Racing, LLC, the first African-owned team in a major NASCAR series.

Obaika Racing, LLC is an African professional stock car racing team that came to Mooresville, North Carolina – 30 minutes away from Charlotte Motor Speedway – in 2015. In 2018, the team took the leap into the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Obaika Racing competed in the final three Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races of 2018 and full-time in both the Cup and Xfinity Series in 2019.

Victor Obaika’s L-1A Petition Process

We began our response to the request for evidence by explaining to USCIS that Mr. Obaika will primarily perform executive and managerial duties in the United States. As Managing Partner of Obaika and Company in Nigeria and concurrently Chief of the Executive Strategic Planning Team of the foreign affiliate, Obaika Racing, LLC, in the United States, Mr. Obaika will be responsible for managing and directing the strategic long- and short-term goals of both the American company as well as the foreign parent company in Nigeria. He will carry out a number of high-level corporate executive functions while directing the management of the two entities as a whole.

Victor will consistently meet with the executive and managerial staff of the Nigerian affiliate to ensure the goals of the corporation as a whole are met and will manage the continued growth of Obaika Racing, LLC. He will provide directional support for the focused development of the American market sponsorship base for the NASCAR race team that is absolutely crucial for the growth and sustainability of Obaika Racing, LLC.

Mr. Obaika has been carrying out the above functions while in Nigeria since 2015, hence the survival of the Obaika Racing, LLC team operations over the years. The L-1A visa removes the challenge of doing so from such a great distance.

Goal Setting and Decision Making

As President of Obaika Racing, LLC and as Chief of the Executive Strategic Planning Team, Mr. Obaika has overall responsibility for the operations of both Obaika & Company in Nigeria and Obaika Racing, LLC here in the US.

Mr. Obaika is charged with the task of establishing the business’ goals and policies in collaboration with other top managers of the Nigerian affiliate. He will be responsible for:

  • directing the development of the company’s marketing and public relations program to ensure services are properly developed and marketed both in Nigeria and the United States
  • directing the long-term and mid-term strategic plans, market development, development of the client base, and overseas operations of the company
  • marketing the existence of Obaika Racing, LLC to the African and US marketplaces as the first African-owned NASCAR team
  • ensuring that the technical viability of the Obaika Racing, LLC operations is sustained and grown in conjunction with the key personnel that have been hired in the United States
  • approving or vetoing any managerial decision by the managerial staff of the Company in the United States as he is the sole founder and alter ego of the Obaika Racing, LLC race team

Mr. Obaika will exercise all his substantial discretionary powers as CEO and President of Obaika Racing, LLC in establishing and actualizing the business goals of the Race Team, inclusive of the determination of the strategic planning necessary for the future technology development and deployment of the Obaika Racing, LLC proposition as the first African-owned NASCAR race team within the NASCAR requirements universe.

Victor is involved in the long-term corporate budgeting of the Obaika Racing, LLC race team, inclusive of the corporate growth strategy development and corporate capacity in the procurement of enhanced racing technology to enable the Obaika Racing, LLC meets and then thereafter keep up with the rapidly changing rules package within NASCAR.

Acting Executive

Mr. Obaika is wholly and solely responsible for his actions and duties in his roles. He has similar authority thresholds at the parent company, Obaika & Company in Nigeria. While Mr. Obaika has full authority and discretion in the running of Obaika Racing, LLC, he consults extensively with the leadership team that he has developed at the Nigeria affiliate, as substantial resources and support has emanated and still emanates from the Nigeria parent Company to the sole benefit of the Obaika Racing, LLC NASCAR race team here in the United States.

His leadership has already resulted in international contacts and services significantly benefiting Obaika Racing, LLC with the procurement of several sponsorship opportunities from companies in Africa, Europe, and Canada.

Once Victor is able to remain in the United States for an extended period, he will use his substantial leadership experience and qualifications in various areas of entrepreneurship in addition to his detailed intimate knowledge of the race team’s current operations to perform his executive duties of CEO and President of Obaika Racing, LLC to the fullest extent and capacity possible.

Clarifying the Structure of USCIS

We responded to USCIS’ RFE to explain the role of the Crew Chief and Victor’s role in relieving the beneficiary of his non-managerial duties.

In terms of structure, at a base level, all NASCAR Race teams are typically composed of Team Owner/CEO, Crew Chief/General Manager, Office Manager, and Other Team Members.

The team owner sets up the team and is responsible for the overall strategic planning and direction of the team. They are the face of the team and typically the main financier of the team’s participation in the various races the team takes part in. Obaika Racing, LLC hires the services of the following persons:

  • Crew Chief/General Manager: The crew chief is essentially the coach of the race team. They are predominantly responsible for ensuring that all technical aspects of the team are put together, preferably within budget, to ensure that the team participates in all races the team enters with the best equipment possible. The crew chief reports directly to the team owner/CEO.
  • Office Public Relations Manager: The office manager is responsible for all administrative, logistical, and clerical tasks for the team. The office manager serves as a point of communication between all third parties and team management. The office manager reports to the team owner/CEO and works in conjunction with the crew chief.
  • Team Members: The team members are mechanics, fabricators, body hangers, paint and body personnel, tire and shock specialists, and pit crew. They are involved with the day-to-day preparation of the racecar and race day activities of the team. The team members report to the crew chief.

Team Dynamics

Mr. Obaika has discretion over the managerial staff of both the American and foreign operations. In his primary role as functional manager over Obaika Racing, LLC Business Development, and Marketing, he has the ultimate authority to hire, terminate, and discipline all other employees of the American entity. Likewise, in his role as Managing Partner of Obaika & Company, he has the authority to hire, terminate, and discipline all the other employees at the Nigerian affiliate.

The job duties of the multinational manager or executive must be assessed in light of a comprehensive analysis of other relevant factors that are an integral composite of the whole. These factors include the overall organizational structure, as well as the beneficiary’s position with respect to others within the department or function they manage. Mr. Obaika’s role in the American entity of Obaika Racing, LLC cannot be completely separated from his role as managing partner of Nigerian affiliate Obaika & Company. Both organizations are so closely affiliated financially, to the tune of several millions of dollars between them, that without the Nigerian Affiliate, the United States entity would completely cease to exist.

A review of Mr. Obaika’s responsibilities and duties clearly showed that he will not perform day-to-day operational tasks and duties necessary to produce the products or provide the services of the organization per se. In fact, in his capacity as the executive of Obaika Racing, LLC, he holds the highest level of authority possible within the organization.

For more information on L-1A visas for international intracompany transfers of managers and executives, call our office: 704-243-8178 or contact us online.