What you need to know about the E-2 VISA.
If you are an international investor who has interest in moving into the US, the E-2 VISA might be a good way to achieve your dreams. In addition, when choosing the right investment for your E-2 VISA application, there are many benefits to consider for the franchise business model. This article will go over the E-2 VISA requirements and the franchise fit for this option.
The E-2 VISA: what it is and main requirements
The E-2 VISA allows that international entrepreneurs live in the US through the start of a new business, which should qualify according to a series of requirements. Once granted an E-2 VISA, the investor as well as his/her direct family members (spouse and children under 21 years old) can live in the US. The VISA generally has a duration of 2 to 5 years, and can be continuously renewed, as long as the business keeps operating.
To be eligible for this VISA you must be a citizen of one of the countries that have established agreement with the US, called treaty countries. There are about 80 countries that are part of this list. Some examples are: Italy, Argentina, Chile, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Switzerland, England, and others. Click here to see the complete list of treaty countries.
Minimum investment for an E-2 VISA: There is no set rule for what the minimum investment for an E-2 VISA should be, and in theory what matters most is that the investment proposed be compatible with the type of business expected to be established. That said, as a general guideline, typically investments in the range of U$100,000 or higher tend to be more likely to be accepted in E-2 VISA processes.
Other requirements to qualify: some other requirements that need to be met for an E2 VISA process are that the investor owns at least 50% of the business, the business revenues should be enough to sustain the family that will immigrate, and at least 2 employees should be hired. In addition home-businesses usually do not qualify, being expected that the owner will open a bricks and mortar type of business.
Franchises are a category of business that tend to work very well for E-2 VISA processes, here is why:
The reason why franchises tend to be well qualified for E2 VISA processes is because they have well established and already proven business models and brands, which tend to indicate a higher chance the new business will succeed. In addition, franchisors do share a lot of information with prospect new franchisees prior to them making an investment decision. The information includes a lot of data on initiation and operating costs, as well as information about revenue performance of the franchises currently in their network. All that information helps the E-2 VISA applicant develop a robust business plan, with reliable data to back up their assumptions, which increases the chance the plan will be accepted during the VISA application process.
There are hundreds of different franchise options to choose from, with investment range going from as little as U$25,000 all the way to U$1 million or more. Many franchises require an investment right in the range of U$100,000 to a few hundred thousand dollars. A franchise consultant can be a good resource to help outlay the different options available within the different industries, and find the concepts that not only meet the E2 VISA requirements, as well as your business and lifestyle goals.
To apply for an E-2 VISA, the process can be started both in the country of origin (through the US consulate) or in the US. There are many attorneys specialized in helping international investors, and many specifically very knowledgeable on E-2 VISA as well as the franchise industry and franchise related legal documentation. The E-2 VISA process typically takes about 3 months.
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