For many Filipinos, living and working in the United States is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. The challenge is there are very few avenues for those who want to immigrate to America. Usually, you have to have a family connection – such as a spouse, parent, child or sibling – that is willing to sponsor your application. Another way is through a work visa, but in this case, you need an employer that will hire you and sponsor your application. If you are school age and have enough money, a student visa is also an option, but it is only valid for as long as you are studying in the U.S.
There is one option that Filipinos can use to come to America that does not require family connections or years of waiting for your number to come up – the E2 Investor Visa. An E2 visa can be used to immigrate from the Philippines to the U.S. if you meet all the qualifications for approval. If you are considering going this route, here are some of the criteria you will have to meet:
Your Investment in a U.S.-based Business Must Be Substantial
While the USCIS does not provide a clear definition of “substantial”, experience has shown that a successful E2 visa candidate should have at least $100,000 USD (roughly 4.5 million Philippine Pesos) to invest in their business. There have been exceptions to this rule in the past, but it is usually best to stick with these guidelines.
You Must Own at Least 50% of the Business you are Investing In
The person applying for the E2 visa has to become at least half owner in the business they are investing in – being a minority partner is not sufficient. The good news here is you can partner with a relative already living in the States, and many E2 investors do this, because it allows them to bring someone on board who has already settled in the U.S., knows the area you will live in, understands the culture, etc.
The E2 Business You Invest in must Create a Minimum of Two American Jobs
The whole point of the E2 Investor Visa program is to bring in foreign investors who can help bolster the U.S. economy. Toward that end, you will be expected to create at least two jobs for American workers. So your business, though it can be small, must be large enough to hire at least a couple of employees.
The Business You Invest in Must Be Legitimate and Not Marginal
The USCIS will not approve an E2 visa if it is for a business that is sketchy and/or not likely to be successful. Examples include multi-level marketing (MLM) businesses, upstart home-based businesses, and any other type of business of which the U.S. Embassy is likely to question its legitimacy.
Why Franchises are an Ideal Fit for the E2 Visa
Finding a legitimate business to start in the U.S. can be difficult. But there is one way to vastly increase your likelihood of approval – by investing in an E2 visa franchise. The approval rates for franchises are higher than non-franchise businesses, and it’s easy to see why. Franchise brands are already known the USCIS officers, so they already know the business is legitimate. Your franchisor also provides two other elements that the Embassy will want to see – a detailed business plan and comprehensive training. The reputation of the franchisor is on the line, after all, so they have a vested interest in ensuring you are successful.
Some Filipinos may not think they can afford an E2 visa franchise. If you are looking strictly at traditional industries such as fast food, financing may be a challenge, since the investment will likely be upwards of $500,000 USD. But there are other industries and business models that are highly profitable and don’t require this kind of upfront investment.
Two very lucrative industries are senior care and cleaning. In home senior care is an especially hot business model because of the aging population in the U.S., and it will continue to be this way for at least the next couple of decades. And many of these elder care franchises provide non-medical care (such as companionship, meals, light housekeeping, etc.), which means you don’t necessarily need a medical background to make the business work.
So can an E2 visa from the Philippines to the U.S. be successful? Absolutely. But you need to make sure you meet all the criteria – particularly the requirement that your business be legitimate. If you are considering an E2 Investor Visa but you’re not sure which business you want to invest in, we invite you to take advantage of Franchise City’s free unlimited consulting. Through a multi-step process, we work directly with you to find the E2 franchise business that best suits your passion, skills and budget. To learn more, fill out the contact form on the bottom of the page.