Just received my gold card today. I probably hold the record for the longest application process time. Thought I’d provide a timeline and summary as it may help some others.
Background: Co-founder of a small/mid sized company in the travel industry. Was unsure which category to apply under. There was a category for founders of companies which have been acquired, and also science and technology, as my educational background is computer science and mathematics. I applied under the economy category, as it seemed to require the least amount of documentation.
November 15th: Initial application under economy category.
December 3rd: Request for additional information, due to not accepting the supplied tax form. Called contact person referred to in the message. She was kind enough to list all the acceptable tax forms, one of which I had. Resubmitted with explanation in mandarin.
December 17th: Request for additional information, as letter from my company wasn’t considered an acceptable proof of employment. Resubmitted additional pages of my tax return which showed the company name.
February 3rd: Informed that my application did not qualify under the economic criteria, as my employment is in a company related to travel. Called the same contact person. She gave some suggestions regarding additional documentation that could make a case under the economic category, and I asked about changing categories to the founder of an acquired company. I got off the call feeling uneasy, not only since getting this documentation would be very time-consuming, but also I was confused as to what exactly said documents needed to say. Having already had two rejections due to documentation didn’t help my confidence either.
February 10th: Changed category to Science & Technology, provided my resume. Crossed fingers and submitted with explanation in mandarin.
March 26th: Received passport inspection notification.
April 2nd: Passport delivered via mail (walk-in drop offs not allowed) to TECO Los Angeles. Included paid return envelope.
April 6th: Received congratulations approval email.
May 5th: Passport and Gold Card arrived in the mail.