The E2 Visa Business or Treaty Investor visa is a great option for entrepreneurs looking to invest in the United States. The E2 visa requires that the investor be from a country with which the US has signed a treaty. An investor must have invested or be actively in the process of investing substantial capital into an enterprise based in the U.S. and they must also have control over that business.
Over the past decade, many investors have purchased small independent businesses and rebranded them as franchises. Investors might benefit from instant vendor cost savings, increased brand recognition, as well as ease of customer acquisition. This strategy is currently being utilized in industries such as property management, landscaping, tax services, and insurance services.
Buying an existing business and rebranding as a franchise (or even a franchise resale) can be a great option for investors who prefer ongoing support. Many E2 visa business investors have constant questions about operating a business in the U.S. and appreciate the support of the franchisor and community of franchisees.
Compared to American business buyers, there is often greater urgency to close the business transaction in order for the investor to apply for the E2 visa. At the same time, the E-2 visa approval process depends on the local U.S. consulate or USCIS.
Generally, 10-20% of the purchase price is non-refundable, and the rest is held in an escrow account contingent on the E2 visa approval. Once the E2 visa is approved, the funds will be released to the seller and you will officially own the business. For investors who have the funds available and set a date to move to the USA, the below seven-step process can take three to six months.
The foreign franchisee goes through a similar process as an American franchisee. The main difference is applying for the visa and, in most cases, opening the franchise after the visa approval. Again, for prospective franchisees who have the funds available and set a date to move to the USA, the process generally takes three to six months.
The biggest variable is how long the consulate or embassy is taking to process the E2 visa interview. We have seen anywhere from one week to four months. Unlike the business for sale process, funds are generally not held in escrow contingent on the E-2 visa approval. There are select franchisors who may be willing to refund the majority of the franchise fee should your E2 visa business be denied after the second attempt.
Show you are serious to the franchisors and business brokers/seller. Franchisors and business brokers often look at the following items before allocating time to your inquiries:
Meeting all or most of the above qualities will greatly improve your chances of moving forward in a timely manner with a solid franchise or business opportunity.