For some foreign nationals looking to make it in the dynamic American economy, it can be difficult to find a solution that provides a strong opportunity to succeed without requiring a massive upfront investment. Difficult…but not impossible. One of the best paths to immigrating to the U.S. and bringing your family along with you is the E-2 Visa Franchise.
The E-2 Visa Summarized
An E-2 Visa is known as the “Treaty Investor” Visa, because it allows foreign nationals from countries that hold trade treaties with the USA to come in and invest their money in an American-based business. The basic qualifications are as follows:
- You need a passport from any of a long list of countries that have a trade treaty with the US. This includes most of the countries in the world, but excludes some major players such as Brazil, Israel, Russia, and China. A full listing of E2 visa-qualifying countries is available here.
- You have to invest “a substantial amount.” Yes, that’s the legal term, and no, it is not defined any further than that — the business plan and your rationale behind investing are used to determine whether your investment is “substantial” enough. In general, however, if you are investing $100,000 USD or more, this should qualify as “substantial”. Exception: If your investment makes up less than 50% of a business’ startup funds, you will not qualify.
- You have to be personally involved in the day-to-day operations of the business — no “absentee ownership” allowed.
- You have to be investing in a real business. That might seem obvious, but there are those business opportunities that are non-viable on their face (which don’t qualify) or simply don’t actually exist (because they’re being offered by a scam artist).
- You have to show that your investment will generate a “non-marginal” standard of living for yourself and any family members you’re bringing along.
Why the Right Franchise is Perfect for Obtaining an E-2 Visa
- They’re Real: It’s pretty easy to convince the government that your chosen business is real when they order lunch from one of the existing fast food franchises you are investing in every week. Even if you choose a more obscure franchise (such as senior care, cleaning, or sales-based), there tends to be a lot of information available about any given (even-modestly-successful) franchise, which makes it easy to make your case.
- They’re Well-Documented: If you want to show the immigration officers exactly what you plan to spend, all you need to do is show them the franchisee contract and business plan from the franchisor you are partnering with. They tend to give a precise number for exactly how much your minimum investment will be, and the business plan is built-in, so there will be no question about how “substantial” your investment is. In addition, they will usually provide documentation of reasonable earnings you can expect, so you can show that your lifestyle won’t be “marginal” if you follow the plan.
- They Provide Training: This is important, because it means you don’t have to be an expert in the field already in order to make the business plan work. Coming over as an entrepreneur in a field you’re not proven in will often get you turned away — but coming over as an investor in a franchise that will give you all the tools you need for success is a much easier sell.
Are there ways to get an E-2 Visa and get into the country without starting a franchise? Absolutely. But an E-2 franchise is quite possibly the easiest way to get in and do so with the greatest chance for long-term success.
Choosing the best E2 visa franchise to invest in can be challenging. With literally hundreds of brands to choose from across a wide range of industries, it can take countless hours to pour through all the information and find the franchise opportunity that is right for you. At National Franchise Business Solutions, we provide unlimited free consulting and a unique multi-step process to help you find the ideal business to fit your needs. We also work with top immigration attorneys that can help ensure your application is successful.
For further information on E2 visa franchise opportunities, the requirements for E2 visa approval, and how we can help find the ideal franchise for your specific needs, fill out our contact form below. A consultant will be back in touch with you within 24-48 business hours.