By: Elizabeth Tran, Business Development Associate at Visa Franchise
On November 21, 2019, the minimum investment amount for the EB-5 visa rose from $500,000 to $900,000.
While we anticipate changes in demand for the EB-5 market, currently, there are many EB-5 applicants from backlogged countries like China and Vietnam that are waiting as long as 15 years to get their visa approved. The majority of those waiting for their green card would like to move to the U.S. sooner, and could consider other options such as the E-2 visa.
The E-2 Visa
The E-2 visa is a renewable nonimmigrant visa that allows entrepreneurs from a treaty country to invest in a business and move to the U.S. Unlike the EB-5 visa, there is no minimum investment amount for the E-2 visa, but rather depends on the type of the business. Many immigration attorneys recommend an investment of $200,000 or more to increase the chance of approval as to satisfy the substantial investment requirement for the E-2 visa. Furthermore, the E-2 visa does not require a set number of American jobs created or maintained.
With the E-2 visa, the spouse can work in the U.S. and children are able to reside and study in the U.S. until they are 21. The E-2 visa can be renewed indefinitely so long as the business is doing well. At Visa Franchise we focus on finding the right business for our E-2 clients often prioritizing security and longevity of the business.
The E-2 Visa Approval Rate
*The Adjusted Approval Rate Equals [ Minus [[Refusals Minus Overcomes] Divided By [Issuances Plus Refusals Minus Overcomes]]]
In 2018, the E-2 visa success rate was 89%. Despite a minor decrease from 2017, it may be due to stricter requirements for the E-2 visa to be obtained through solid business investments.
The E-2 visa’s approval rate is higher compared to other nonimmigrant visas. The nonimmigrant visa approval rate from 2014 to 2017 decreased from 85% to 78%. The E-2 visa approval rate decreased from 93% to 89% from 2014-2017. The Department of State believes this to be due to the large amount of complex paperwork, that will discourage unqualified applicant from applying.
Based on the U.S. Government Accountability Office report, the top reasons for E-2 visa denials were either because the business was not real and operating or the investment amount was not considered substantial.
E-2 Visa Denial Rate and Business Fraud
In 2018, the E-2 Visa denial rate was 11%. Unfortunately, there have been more fraudulent businesses falsely claiming they will be E-2 visa approved. The USCIS has identified E-2 fraud as a priority after conducting their site visit pilot project in 2018 on fraud risk.
After 252 E-2 site visits, the USCIS confirmed 63 of those businesses (25%) were fraudulent. Majority of the businesses visited were associated with E-2 status extension and certain eligibility criteria.
Of those 63 businesses, 67% were not located where the petition stated and 22% of these enterprises provided mispresented information or fraudulent documents. For example, one E-2 investor submitted a petition in May 2015 for a discount store that was out of business in January 2013.
According to USCIS officials, the most common fraud issues were businesses that were not operational, not engaged in business activities, or were not operating as they claimed in the petition. USCIS will continue their E-2 site visit pilot project into 2020.
Visa Franchise goes through a due diligence process to make sure the businesses we find for our E-2 clients are proven successful while the immigration attorney analyzes the E-2 visa viability.
Countries with the Most E-2 Visas in 2018
The top two countries that had the most E-2 Visa issuances in 2018 are Japan and Germany. Many of the Japanese and German E-2 visa approvals are for the manager category for major corporations like Siemens. The majority of these E-2 visas are for E-2 managers that are transferred to work in the E-2 company in the U.S. Through discussions with many immigration attorneys, the other countries mostly represent investor visas applied by individual entrepreneurs that plan to actively run small U.S. businesses.
Some applicants also have dual-nationality with an E-2 country through citizenship by investment or citizenship by ancestry. For example, many Italian E-2 visa holders are also Brazilian.
By continents, 82% of E-2 Visas issued came from Asia and Europe. Although North America is only 12% of the total visa issuances, Canada had the 3rd most visa issuances and Mexico had the 8th most visa issuances in the world. The 12 countries with the most E-2 Visa issuances in 2018 also came from the top three continents Asia, Europe, and North America.
Where do they move?
The majority of our E-2 clients move to Florida, Texas, and California. Often our European and Canadian clients move to southern states to avoid the winter weather. These states may provide greater educational and economic opportunities for children with an overall better quality of life.
How Non-E-2 Treaty Countries Can Obtain an E-2 Passport
China and Vietnam are not E-2 countries, but foreign nationals from these countries can consider the E-2 visa as a faster and cheaper option from the EB-5 through citizenship by investment with E-2 countries like Grenada. Visa Franchise has advised several Chinese Grenadian clients’ on businesses for their E-2 visa application.
The E-2 Visa has a higher approval rate relative to other nonimmigrant visas. The majority of E-2 Visa applicants come from Asia, Europe, and North America. Under the Trump administration, immigration has become stricter. It is more important now than ever to find a strong business for the E-2 Visa, especially one that will meet the renewal requirements when extending the E-2 visa after the initial term. Therefore, it is imperative to work with professionals that will support you throughout the entire E-2 process such as immigration attorneys and business advisors like Visa Franchise.
If you are interested in owning a franchise or business for your E-2 Visa, please reach out to email@example.com or call +1-888-550-7556
Who is Visa Franchise
Visa Franchise is the leading advisor for identifying and analyzing U.S. businesses for the E2 visa
At Visa Franchise, our goal is to simplify the process for entrepreneurs to reside legally in the U.S. We do this by analyzing the best businesses for our clients and their families based on their own unique profile. Franchises time after time prove to be the best option for most of our clients who prioritize business longevity and consistency over short-term profits.
We understand each entrepreneur’s investment goals, desired location, and industries of interest, among a variety of important factors, in order to find the best U.S. business opportunities for them and their family. We coordinate with their immigration and corporate attorneys to ensure their U.S. immigration and investment objectives are met. Although most of our clients apply for the E2 visa, a licensed U.S. immigration lawyer should be consulted to understand the best investor or employment visa for each person’s case.
We have advised 300+ entrepreneurs from over 50 countries around the world achieve their dream of owning a business and moving to the U.S.
Note: It is always advised to consult with a licensed immigration attorney regarding immigration matters