At Visa Franchise, we advise many clients who invest in U.S. franchises, qualifying for the E-2 Investor Visa. Most of our clients both experience success after the initial set up of their franchise and love living in the U.S.
However, they remain concerned with how their children can continue residing in the U.S. And how the entire family can eventually gain a green card. Because of these client concerns, Visa Franchise strongly supports proposed E-2 visa legislation. These provide a prescribed path to permanent residence and eventually U.S. citizenship.
On July 18, 2017, Congressman John Rutherford of FL introduced legislation to facilitate E-2 visa holders’ green card applications. The bill, H.R. 3265, would allow the children of E-2 visa holders to remain in the United States until they are 26. And apply for work authorization. Also, after 10 years of running a successful U.S. business or franchise, they are eligible to apply for a green card.
Currently, E-2 visa holders have 5+ possibilities to obtain U.S. permanent residence but none of these options provide a direct, prescribed path to permanent residence.
Congressman Rutherford proclaimed: “E-2 visa holders are entrepreneurs bringing their abilities, resources, and jobs to the United States. They pay taxes and invest their livelihood into the communities they serve. They deserve to be able to plan for their businesses, employees. And especially their families. I want to change this outdated law. So they can continue to create jobs. And be fully integrated into the communities they have invested so much”.
This bipartisan legislation is a much-needed update to current immigration laws that will provide opportunities for entrepreneurs to establish small businesses and roots in our communities.
Under the E-2 investor visa program, many successful U.S. immigrants reside legally in the U.S. To date, Visa Franchise has advised nearly 100 foreign nationals from over 20 countries on franchises. They qualify for investor visas. Such as the E-2 investor visa. Franchises, like the ones Visa Franchise collaborates with, employ 5-10+ American workers. And have ripple effects throughout the U.S. economy on a local, state, and national basis.
In 2016, E-2 Investor Visa issuances increased from 41,162 to 44,243, representing a 7% increase year over year. This represents four times as many EB-5 visas issued in 2016 (just under 10,000).
The approval rates for the E-2 visa are much higher than other employment or investor visas. Like H1-B, L-1, and EB-5. In 2016, the approval rate remained high at 92% according to State Department figures. This includes E-2 visa holders who are reapplying for their visa after ~5 years. This suggests that their E-2 visa businesses have a high rate of success as they would not be able to extend their visa otherwise.
|Year||E-2 Visa Approval Rate|
Our clients continue to invest in and operate franchises in different industries. Like healthcare, real estate, pet care, and ice cream, amongst others. The U.S. economy benefits from these E-2 franchise investments and Congressmen like John Rutherford are noticing. For example, these franchise businesses employ U.S. workers (who might otherwise be jobless) and contribute to the profits of U.S. suppliers and manufacturers.
Franchises in industries like fitness and health & beauty provide increased well-being to many Americans by helping improve their mental and physical state. Moreover, U.S. franchisors continue to welcome partner with, foreign nationals to expand their businesses across the United States. Moreover, U.S. franchisors constantly applaud our client’s entrepreneurial spirit and the positive impact they have on the wider franchise system.
For those eager to know the exact proposed changes to the law, we had a legislative analyst review the key differences between the currently existing law and proposed amendments:
(ii) in which such alien has invested (after the date of the enactment of the Immigration Act of
1990) or, is active in the process of investing, capital in an amount not less than the amount
specified in subparagraph (C), and
(ii) except as provided in subparagraph (E) (i), in which such alien has invested (after the date of the enactment of the Immigration Act of 1990). Or is active in the process of investing, capital in an amount not less than the amount specified in subparagraph (C), and
(E) SPECIAL RULES FOR CERTAIN E–2 NONIMMIGRANT INVESTORS.—
‘‘(i) IN GENERAL.—In the case of an alien who has been present in the United States in the status of an alien described in section 101(a)(15)(E)(ii) for at least 10 years the alien is deemed as satisfying the requirement of subparagraph (A)(ii) if the enterprise has created full-time employment for not fewer than two individuals described in such subparagraph (A)(ii).
‘‘(ii) LIMITATION.—Not more than 10,000 visas may be made available under this paragraph to principal aliens described in clause (i) in any fiscal year, except that such visas shall not be included in the number in subparagraph (A) and shall not count towards that limitation on the total visas made available under this paragraph.’’.
Aliens Not Subject to Direct Numerical Limitations. – Aliens described in this subsection, who are not subject to the worldwide levels or numerical limitations of subsection (a), are as follows:
(1) (A) Special immigrants described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of section 101(a)(27).
(B) Aliens who are admitted under section 207 or whose status is adjusted under section 209.
(C) Aliens whose status is adjusted to permanent residence under section 210, or 245A.
(D) Aliens whose removal is canceled under section 240A(a).
(E) Aliens provided permanent resident status under section 249.
(F) Aliens who receive an immigrant visa 11 under section 203(b)(5)(E).
(15) The term “immigrant” means every alien. Except for an alien who is within one of the following classes of nonimmigrant aliens
(A)(i) an ambassador, public minister, or career diplomatic or consular officer who has been accredited by a foreign government recognized de jure by the United States and who is accepted by the President or by the Secretary of State, and the members of the alien’s immediate family;
(ii) upon a basis of reciprocity, other officials and employees who have been accredited by a foreign government recognized de jure by the United States, who are accepted by the
Secretary of State, and the members of their immediate families; and
(iii) upon a basis of reciprocity, attendants, servants, personal employees, and members of their immediate families
‘‘(s) CERTAIN CHILDREN OF NONIMMIGRANT INVESTORS.—In the case of an alien seeking or that has status under section 101(a)(15)(E)(ii), notwithstanding section
101(b)(1), if the son or daughter of that alien is 26 years of age or younger, that son or daughter shall be deemed a child of the alien accompanying or following to join him. The Secretary of Homeland Security may provide employment authorization to such a son or daughter who is 18 years of age or older and 26 years of age or younger. And who applies for such authorization. If the alien’s status is terminated, such authorization shall also terminate on the same date.’’.
(d) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendments made by subsections (a) and (b) shall take effect on the date of the enactment of this Act. Periods of presence in the United States. In the status of an alien described in section 101(a)(15)(E)(ii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(E)(ii)) before such date shall be counted towards satisfying the time requirement specified in subparagraph (E) of section 203(b)(5) of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1153(b)(5)) (as added by paragraph (3) of subsection (a)).
(e) IMMEDIATE ELIGIBILITY FOR ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS OF CERTAIN LONG-TERM E–2 NONIMMIGRANT INVESTORS.—An alien who has been present in the United States. In the status of an alien described in section 101(a)(15)(E)(ii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act for not less than 10 years may be immediately eligible to adjust status to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence under the amendment made by subsection (a).
E-2 visa holders positively impact the economic and social state of U.S. citizens. Politicians in Washington D.C. are taking notice. To echo Congressmen Rutherford’s statement, Visa Franchise believes foreign investors deserve to stay in the U.S. on a permanent solution. Based on their business and social impact. We will continue to monitor this bill. And hope it will be passed by the U.S. Congress and Senate so that our E-2 visa clients can stay and continue to thrive in the U.S. indefinitely!