The E2 visa is a great way for foreign nationals to live and work in the United States (without any family or employment connections) by owning and operating their own business. To be eligible, you must meet certain requirements, one of which is that the investment must be in a real business; that is, not an enterprise that would be considered marginal, such as a multi-level marketing company. To meet this requirement, a growing number of E2 visa candidates are investing in U.S.-based franchises. But which type of franchise is best for a foreign national to invest in?
Before discussing specific industries to start a franchise business in, it is important to understand the rest of the requirements to be approved for an E2 visa. In addition to investing in a real enterprise, foreign nationals must also do the following:
Invest a substantial amount in their E2 visa business; the USCIS has no specific definition of “substantial”, but to be safe, it is best to plan on investing somewhere between $100,000 and $150,000 USD at a minimum.
Own at least 50% of the business you are investing in.
Show that you obtained your funding for the franchise legally.
Be directly involved in the operation of your business.
Your new business must create a minimum of two new jobs for U.S. workers.
Because of these requirements, there are certain types of franchises that are successful business models, but would never qualify for an E2 visa. Examples include home-based sales franchises, vending franchises, and generally any franchise opportunity with a required investment of under $100,000. Also, you will need to own a business that requires a minimum of two employees to operate – this would also preclude home businesses and one-man operations.
Though there are some franchise business opportunities E2 investors cannot take advantage of, there are still hundreds across a wide range of industries that can qualify. When deciding which is the right type of franchise to invest in with your E2 visa, it is best to start by thinking about which industries best fit your skills and passion.
For example, if you have experience managing a McDonalds, you may be a great fit for a restaurant or fast food franchise. On the other hand, if you have a background in nursing or the health care field in general, a senior care franchise might be a better fit. Maid and cleaning franchises, children’s services, pet care, health and fitness, and automotive are also growing industries that could provide great business models for the right E2 visa candidate.
Aside from finding a franchise opportunity in an industry you know and are passionate about, it is important to work with a well-established brand in that industry. Remember, you are making a very large investment, and moving yourself and your family to a new country. With so much on the line, it is best to be sure you are dealing with a company that offers the training and support to ensure you are well-positioned to be successful.
At Franchise City, we provide access to free, unlimited franchise consulting for E2 visa candidates. With nearly 600 franchise brands to choose from, we are most often able to place investors in the ideal business based on their passion, skills and budget. For further information on how we can help fulfill your dream of business ownership in the U.S., fill out the contact form at the bottom of this page.