Elizabeth: Hi, everybody. Thank you so much for attending this webinar with the Visa Franchise and GETS Immigration. So, before we begin, I just want to say if you have any questions regarding the investor immigration process, please ask on the chat room and we’ll answer all the questions in the end, or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org You can find more information in the chat room. Visa Franchise is an immigrant investor advisor, so we help find the best franchises for foreign nationals, we’ve helped hundreds of clients from over 35 countries and we’ll actually start with Brian Getson who will be reviewing the types of immigration investor options out there. So, thank you so much, Brian, for being here and for being a part of it. If you could take it away. I will pull up your presentation.
Brian: Very good. Thank you so much for having me today, Elizabeth and Visa Franchise. So, my name is Brian Getson, I’m with the law firm of Getson & Schatz in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and we represent individuals seeking to apply for E-2 visas in the United States and immigration is federal law, so we can represent individuals anywhere in the United States, in any state where they are applying for an E-2 visa. And I have been practicing immigration law, I’m entering my 24th year of immigration practice and our firm has handled many E-2 visa cases for investors. So, there’s really only one way to start talking about immigration in the year 2018, and that is with President Trump, and, you know, what I find with a lot of prospective clients is there’s a lot of just fear and anxiety, and, you know, basically just rumors and misunderstanding about, you know, what is going on with U.S. immigration.
Certainly you’re constantly hearing about the President in the news with building walls and, you know, dealing with caravans and trying to deport criminal aliens and my message for everybody is that investors are welcome to the United States in 2018, that the legal process for E-2 visas has not changed and, you know, the laws are still the same and, you know, E-2 visas, they’re still being approved around the world by consular officers and the immigration service in the United States. So, if you would like to come and invest, and live, and work in the United States the E-2 is still an extremely viable option and, you know, the message is that investors are welcome in 2018.
So, to give an overview of what an E-2 visa is, it is to come to the United States to legally start, own or work for a company in the U.S. So, you know, this is not where you’re coming to work for a foreign company, if you’re opening a company in the United States that you’re going to have ownership interest in, and you are going to work for that company. And a franchise is an amazing way to do that. It is extremely straightforward to, you know, do an E-2 through a franchise. You’re allowed to travel without restrictions when you have an E-2 visa and the visa validity is different for different countries. Some have longer validity period than others, some have a limited amount of entries, so when we say travel with no restriction, for some countries there are restrictions on the nature of the business that you’re going to obtain, but generally speaking, most countries, you’re gonna have a five-year multiple entry visa.
You can bring employees of the same nationality to work for the company, and you can bring a spouse and children under 21 as your derivatives. E-2 is a non-immigrant intent visa to the extent that you have to have intent to return to your home country at the conclusion of the visa. But at the same time, as long as you’re running the business and, you know, you’re successful, you can remain in the U.S. indefinitely as long as you meet the E-2 requirements. You would simply need to maintain your status in the United States and extend your visa when necessary. And those terms, a visa is a travel path. It’s the right to enter in and out of the United States. And again, that’s normally a five-year validity period from both countries and then your status is how long you’re allowed to stay in the United States following an entry and for E-2 that is two years at a time. And that’s governed by what’s called an I-94 card. And an E-2 it’s a temporary work visa, it does not lead to a green card, but you could apply for a green card by other means if you were eligible.
So, for example, there’s an EB-5 investor visa where the investment amount is much higher, but an E-2 visa could lead to an EB-5. If you have a family member who could sponsor you for a green card that could go on simultaneously while you have an E-2 visa. If you could maybe apply for a green card through what’s called a national interest waiver. So, there’s, you know, different ways that you can apply for a green card while you hold the E-2 visa. But again, the point of the E-2 is to temporarily live and work in the U.S. So, I’m gonna go over the basic requirements now for obtaining an E-2 visa. So, the most basic one is that you have to be a national of a country that has a qualifying treaty with the U.S. And there’s a list of treaty countries on the U.S. Department of State website. And there are different treaties for E-2 which is the investor visa, and E-1, which is the trade visa.
So, you just wanna check the website to make sure that your country is on the list of E-2 treaty countries. If you have a dual nationality, you hold two passports, then you can choose which nationality you want to apply for the E-2 visa under and, you know, you wanna pick the one with the better reciprocity schedule and that’s what I was talking about earlier, the visa validity period, the number of entries allowed. If one country has a more favorable what’s called reciprocity schedule, then use that nationality to apply for the E-2 visa. However, if you’re applying for a change of status from within the United States, then you have to use the nationality of the passport that you used when you entered. So, again, that’s just something to keep in mind, we’re gonna talk about where to apply a little bit later, but if you are applying in the U.S. you can only apply based upon the passport that you used to enter. And while this is, you know, usually not common you can have multiple individuals of different nationalities apply for an E-2 visa under the same business ownership if they own at least 50% and develop and direct the business.
The second major point of applying for an E-2 visa is that the prospective business must sell commercial goods and services for a profit. And again, a franchise is an excellent way to invest in order to obtain an E-2 visa. A lot of clients come to me and they have a hard time finding a business to purchase in order to have the E-2 visa and, you know, Visa Franchise has really filled an important need in this market where they help to have you, you know, find a franchise that’s right for you and, you know, franchises all sell commercial goods and services for a profit. So, you know, I refer many of my clients to Visa Franchise in order to have Visa Franchise help them find a franchise. Because, you know, it’s just a real easy way to find a business that sells commercial goods and services. So, you know, when you’re presenting your case for E-2, you’re gonna explain, you know, what the business is that you want to come and run in the United States. So, you know, you’re gonna provide the franchise agreement, you’re gonna provide the financial disclosures that the franchisor is going to give to you, and you’re gonna give background information about the franchise to show the nature of the business.
And, you know, your E-2 visa can be in any geographic location and, you know, I had a case where Visa Franchise helped one of my clients and they wanted to live in Lancaster, PA. And, you know, that’s not really a very big, major metropolitan area, but Visa Franchise was able to help them find a franchise in Lancaster, PA. So, you know, wherever you wanna live in the United States, then, you know, you can find a franchise to be able to live in that area. And if you don’t really care where you live, then you would just look for the most suitable franchise that is going to interest you and that you’re gonna wanna run and manage, and then you can live anywhere. So, you know, sample types of businesses, you know, are a restaurant, a car wash, a dry cleaner, hair care, etc. Again, you know, nearly every franchise is going to qualify for commercial good and service and, you know, again you’re looking at geographic area and the type of business that you wanna run and making the decision what franchise to invest in, you know, along with working with the franchisor and making sure they’re going to accommodate the fact that you’re applying for an E-2 visa. And it can’t be a home-based business, in other words, you know, you can’t sell things on eBay and have an E-2 visa.
The third main point is that the investment has to be substantial in relation to the cost of purchasing and starting the E-2 business. So, you know, the most common question that, you know, prospective E-2 investors ask is, “How much money do I have to invest?” And the answer to that question is there is no answer under the law, the more you invest the better. So, again, the higher the amount of the investment, the greater the chance of you receiving the E-2 visa, because the consular officer is gonna believe that the business is real and legitimate, and is going to work if you’re investing more money. So, to determine what is substantial there’s something called a proportionality test, so you compare the total amount of the investment in relation to the total cost. So, I like to tell clients that $100,000 is a good investment amount and you can usually get a good franchise for that amount of initial investment and, you know, if you’re gonna invest for that amount you wanna be investing at least 75% to 100%. And the lower you go, the higher the amount of the investment.
So, with a $50,000 investment, you need, you know, 90% to 100%, if you were investing like a million dollars, you would probably only need to invest 60% of that…sorry, if the total investment were $1 million, then, you know, maybe a 60% investment will qualify. And then you could have other people investing the other amount. But, you know, in a franchise situation, usually you’re looking at this $100,000 investment. And the higher, you know, some are certainly higher, and the higher you go, the higher the chance of approval. And again, with most franchises, you’re the one investing the full amount 100%. So, it becomes very straightforward and, you know, you should look for a goal of $100,000 of an investment, the higher the better, but certainly, if it’s less than that it can still be feasible.
So, the next main point is that the funds have to be invested or you have to be actively in the process of investing in a U.S. business. So, you know, I, as a lawyer like to minimize risk for clients. So, if you go ahead and you invest the full amount in the franchise and the visa, the E-2 visa is denied, then you will have invested that money and you won’t have the visa and then you’re gonna have to turn around and sell the franchise. Because you would not have been allowed to come in and work in the United States. So, you know, a way to avoid that risk is to make the investment contingent on receiving the E-2 visa to avoid losing the investment if the visa is not approved. And that’s something that you have to talk about with the franchisor, you know, I think that most of them are amenable to that, you know, they’re interested in selling the franchise, you’re interested in, you know, being able to run the business to get the E-2 visa. And at the same time, you don’t wanna lose your money if the visa is not approved.
So, you know, the investment funds have to be what’s called at risk if the business fails. In other words, you can’t have a loan that is secured by the business, because then if the business fails, you do not personally lose your money. So, you have to show to the consular officer or the immigration service that if the business fails, your funds will be at risk. So, if you’ve already paid the money to the franchisor, then obviously the funds are at risk if the business fails. But the way to make the funds contingent is what’s called using an escrow agreement as a tool to commit the funds. So, you would have an agreement with the franchisor and it would say that as soon as…you’ll hold the money in what’s called an escrow bank account for the cost of the investment into the franchise. And as soon as the visa would be approved, the escrow agreement would call for the money to be automatically transferred to the franchisor and if the visa were denied, then the money would be refunded back to you, the investor. So, an escrow agreement is an excellent way to still have the funds at risk, but to protect yourself from a visa denial. And in addition to the actual purchase price of the franchise which goes towards the investment, you can keep funds in a bank account for expenses related to starting the franchise because, you know, every franchise you’re going to have to have some money that you have to invest in in addition to the franchise fee. You know, you might need to buy equipment, you might need to have a lease, you’re gonna need to do marketing, whatever it is.
So, if you have a certain amount of funds set aside in the company bank account, then those funds would count towards being at risk funds and you could also pre-pay rent and that would also count as at risk fund. And, you know, the franchise business, you have to show the consular officer that as soon as you get the visa, it’s ready to open, that you’re gonna be able to come to the U.S. and hit the ground running and start the business right away. And that would always be the case with a franchise. The next major point is that you have to improve the investment and the source of funds. So, the first thing is you have to possess and control the funds, you have to show that the funds, you know, they’re coming from your bank statements. There’s gonna be a wire transfer probably into the escrow account and all of the money has to be available.
The second thing is you have to prove that the funds come from legitimate sources. In other words, you’re not getting the funds for the investment through drug dealing, or an arm sale, or robbing a bank, or anything like that. So, you have to show where the funds come from. So, you know, in most cases the funds are coming from your career earnings, through your job, and your investments and savings. So, you could also get the funds through a gift, through an inheritance, through selling property, through having a mortgage, you know, or a loan on your property, etc. And, you know, you have to basically show the records of where the funds came from. You have to show immigration the tax return from your job, your payroll record, your earning statements, your investment statements, you know, if you had an inheritance the estate documents, things like that. So, it’s just a matter of being very well-documented. You know, that’s extremely important in all aspects of E-2 cases is to be well-documented about where your funds are coming from and the nature of the business that you’re purchasing. You wanna, you know, create a very well-prepared application, and that’s the role of an immigration lawyer in helping you do that. So that, you know, the consular officer, all the Is are dotted and all the Ts are crossed before you walk in to that interview.
The next main point is you have to develop and direct the business. And, you know, there’s really…there’s two ways to do that and the first is that you’re owning at least 50% of the business. And this is usually always the case with a franchise and in most cases, with a franchise, you’re owning 100% of the business. If you don’t have at least 50% ownership, you have to have managerial control. But, you know, again, you’re gonna own 50% of the business at least. And in most cases, with franchises, you’re gonna own 100% of the business. And from a legal standpoint, you’re not going to wanna own the business in your own name, you’re going to wanna form a U.S. corporation and then you will own 100% of the corporation. And the corporation will then enter into the agreement with the franchisor. And this provides liability protection, so that you’re not gonna be personally liable in case, you know, if you own a store and somebody slips and falls and gets hurt, then, you know, they could only go after the assets of the business and not you personally. So, having a corporation purchase the franchise is a good way to provide liability protection.
It’s helpful to have managerial skills when applying for the E-2 visa. It’s not absolutely necessary, you know, anybody with any background can qualify for an E-2 visa. But again, if you have some managerial skills that, you know, it’s helpful to show the consular officer that you’re in a position to develop and direct the business. When you’re in E-2 status you can only work for the E-2 business, you’re not allowed to work anywhere else. But your derivative or spouse can obtain an open market work authorization, which is called an EAD. And your spouse can then work anywhere.
So, this is a really important part of E-2 visas, the next main header, which is that the investment must be more than marginal. And this is, you know, one of the main reasons why E-2 visa cases may be denied. And what this means is that you have to earn more than just enough income for you and your family. So, there’s no real way to know what that means, you know, there’s no definition of it. It’s just you kind of know it when you see it. If you’re gonna be having a business and you’re only projected to earn a salary of $15,000 to $20,000 a year, you’re probably not gonna get the E-2 visa because that’s not providing for more than just an income for you or your family. So, the business has to generate more than enough income to support you. And, you know, when you’re buying a franchise, you know, there’s projections of the finances, the growth of the franchise, etc., and they have a history of how other franchises performed, and you would show all of that information to the consular officer.
Another way to prove that your investment is more than marginal is that the business has the ability to make a significant economic contribution to the community within five years. But again, you know, you’re gonna have the highest chance of approval if you show that the business is generating more than enough income to support you and your family. So, every E-2 visa application has to be accompanied by a business plan with five-year financial prediction. And, you know, our law firm works closely with a E-2 visa business plan writer and, you know, the business plan talks about the franchise, it talks about what you’re gonna do to run it and grow it. And then it talks about your salary, your financial projections, job growth, etc. So, you know, if I could say, what’s the number one most important part of an E-2 visa application is the business plan.
You don’t have to hire U.S. workers initially. But, you know, you have to have employees and projected employee growth. And that’s a major consideration in an E-2 visa application and a plan to hire U.S. employees to show the business is more than marginal. Again, the consular officer wants to see your business plan, they wanna see growth, they wanna see that you’re gonna hire U.S. workers. If there’s no plan to hire anybody and to grow the business, you’re probably not gonna get the visa. You know, that’s one of the things that is important to the Trump administration, there’s this memo called Buy American, Hire American. So, if you can show that you’re going to, you know, employ U.S. workers, then, you know, that’s almost a must, at this point in order to show the investment is going to be more than marginal. And, you know, during the course of the initial period of stay, you wanna be able to maintain financial records of the business, because when you have to go back for the renewal you wanna show the consular officer that the business plan you gave them has actually been followed through on, that, you know, you’re not in the same place you were when you first started the franchise.
So, in any event, you know, to run a franchise business you’re gonna need employees anyways, so that’s not something that you usually do by yourself. So as an E-2 investor, you can bring employees of nationals of your home country to work for the business and they have to be in an executive or a supervisory role or they have to possess what’s called specialized skills. And generally, those are our short term specialized skills. So, if you’re looking to just bring in all employees of your home country and no U.S. workers, that’s not going to sit well with the consular officers, so, you know, there’s certainly a role for employees of the same nationality if necessary but, you know, you also wanna keep in mind U.S. worker employment. Okay, so what’s the logistics of applying for E-2 status? So, you know, it’s strongly recommended that you apply at the U.S. Embassy abroad to obtain an E-2 visa and any dependent visa. So, again, you can apply from the embassy abroad or you can apply if you’re already in the U.S. and another status. But the strong recommendation is that you apply for this at the embassy abroad. It’s best to apply in your home country, but you don’t have to apply in your home country. You know, for example, I had somebody who was a citizen of the U.K. and the wait time to get the visa interview in the U.K. was longer than this person wanted to wait for. So, they went to Belgium and applied for the visa there. And it was not a problem.
And again, the procedure and processing time depends on the embassy, it’s usually a few weeks, you know, each embassy has their own procedures to apply for the E-2 visa, the documents they want, the order they want them in, how you get them the application package, and this is all set forth in the website of each embassy and, you know, normally you’re sending the entire E-2 visa application to the embassy before you go for the interview and they’ve had the opportunity to look it over. And, you know, the main advice I give people when they go to the interview itself is two things. Number one, be completely honest at all times. And, you know, just know the details of your application. Everything about the business, the franchise, the business plan, you should know it inside out when you walk in to that interview. So, you can apply for a visa in the U.S., but there’s a lot of factors that go into that. There’s a new rule under the Trump administration, it’s called the 90-day rule where if you enter into the United States in one status, you should not do anything contrary to that status within 90 days of your entry. So, you know, if you’re coming into the U.S. as a visitor, for example, I would wanna wait at least 90 days after your entry before applying to change status. But, you know, if you’re gonna apply in the U.S. and you need to travel then when you travel, you’re gonna need to apply for a whole brand new application at the U.S. Embassy anyway to obtain a visa.
So, for that reason, you know, it usually makes a lot of sense to just apply for the visa initially at the U.S. Embassy, there’s a lot of pitfalls that can come your way, if you try and apply for a change of status in the U.S. Again, it’s possible, it’s really client specific as to whether to do that or not. But the recommendation is to apply at the embassy. And if you are applying in the U.S., you can use something called premium processing so your case is decided in 15 days or less. And that would be recommended if you were applying in the U.S. because otherwise it can take a few months. So, if you remember earlier I said the visa is the travel pass, and then your status is governed in the U.S. by an I-94 card. So, every time you enter the U.S., you’re given a new two years of status in the I-94 card. So, you know, if you’re traveling frequently, and you have a five-year multiple entry visa, every time you come in, you’re gonna get two new years of status until your visa runs out and then you have to apply for a new visa.
So, you wanna monitor your status, you know, you absolutely cannot let that I-94 card expire and, you know, to get an extension you can either apply at the U.S. Embassy or if you didn’t need a visa then you could apply for an extension of status for another two years from within the United States. It’s certainly okay to visit the U.S. beforehand to investigate the prospective business, you know, you could come into the U.S. as a visitor, you could, you know, look at locations for your franchise, you could, you know, meet with the franchisor if possible…possibly, so, you know, that’s perfectly fine to come and investigate the business. And, you know, you can’t appeal a denial of an E-2 visa, but you can resubmit it. So, if the consular officer said you know, “Hey, you know, I didn’t really think that the business plan was detailed enough then,” or that, you know, “I want more information about the financials of the franchise,” then you could resubmit the application with what the consular officer was looking for.
So, you know, there’s essentially four professionals that you need to assist with the E-2 visa process. The first one is Visa Franchise to help you find the franchise. The second is a corporate lawyer and the corporate lawyer assists with incorporating the business that you’re gonna have in the United States to purchase the franchise, and that might be set up as an LLC, it might be set up as an S corporation, that really would depend on the state you’re living in and, you know, the nature of the business and that’s what the corporate lawyer helps to do. And then the corporate lawyer reviews the franchise agreement and, you know, drafts the escrow agreement for the investment funds. And then, you know, you need an immigration lawyer and, you know, what I tell people as my role is kind of the quarterback of the process. You know. I am the liaison with Visa Franchise, I liaison with the corporate lawyer, I liaison with the business plan writer. I make your that everything is done properly. And then I, you know, provide you advice on what documents you need and, you know, give you guidance on the business plan and, you know, how to present the case and then I will actually draft the entire application package and supporting documents and then submit it to the embassy.
And then the fourth professional that you need is a business plan writer, and again, we normally work with the company called JDC Consultancy, I’ve been working with them for many years and, you know, I think they do an amazing job in putting together a business plan. So, that’s an overview of the E-2 process, and, you know, my website is click4immigration.com. You can find out more information about me on that website, my email is there also which is, email@example.com. And, you know, if you have any questions legally about an E-2 visa, feel free to either call or email. So, now, I’m gonna turn it back over to Elizabeth.
Patrick: Hello, this is Patrick Findaro [SP]. I’m the business development director with Visa Franchise. Thanks again Brian, Elizabeth, for commencing the presentation today. So Brian already went through the investor visa focus on the E-2 Visa, so which the majority of our clients apply for. Let’s talk a little bit about Visa Franchise, the US franchise opportunities, why we believe that investing franchises is the best opportunity for the majority of our nationals. And thn criteria when evaluating businesses and a little bit more about our process and how we work.
So first, a little bit about Visa Franchise. We’re based here in Miami, Florida, with offices across the US and Latin America, as well as Turkey. We have a portfolio of about 90 franchises that we feel comfortable with presenting to clients. We’ve already looked at about 1200 different franchises that includes reviewing the franchise exposure document, franchise agreement. We advised clients to date from 35 different countries, and we speak within our team Portuguese, Spanish, Turkish, and Cantonese. Our team has a lot of background in the financial markets. Myself, I worked at JP Morgan, and worked at a small fund that did franchise investments. And then my brother and business partner Jack Findaro worked for the parent company of Burger King, Restaurant Brands International, which also owns Tim Horton’s and [inaudible 00:01:40].
So we have deep experience in finance, and the franchise industry, and that bodes well for the only thing that we do, finding and analyzing franchises that qualify for investor visas. For the rest we work with the top immigration attorneys [inaudible 00:01:58] as well as [inaudible 00:02:00] corporate attorneys, etc. that also helps with the process of investing in a franchise, and then of course obtaining an investor.
As I mentioned, our clients come from all over the world, [inaudible 00:02:15] nationalities. [inaudible 00:02:25] So why we advocate on our clients investing in our franchise? We have all the support from the franchise or it’s an established business model that’s already been proven in the United States. Existing business, there is some appeal because it’s already operational, and you have a higher customer base. But you have to ask why would someone sell a business that’s going well? Or if they are selling that business, what is the multiple owned profit that they’re gonna be selling at? Many perspective clients come to us and say hey, you know, I have this business. It could be an existing franchise for sale. It’s a great deal. It’s gonna be sold at one and a half, two times profit. And if someone is selling a business for a relatively low valuation like that, there’s usually something wrong with it. They might be manipulating some of the numbers or there’s something that you don’t know, and you definitely need to hire a forensic accountant to do due diligence on the business.
New business, we often see in Florida clients from…or companies from Europe, Latin America establishing businesses here. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, and investing oftentimes millions of dollars to bring their concept from abroad to the US, and fail in adapting to the US consumer. Also supply chain etc. here. And then in California we see a lot of Asian companies coming over to the US and oftentimes closing up their US operations. So it’s definitely more entrepreneurial in that regard, potentially a higher return. But you’re entering the most competitive and largest market in the world. So in general it’s better when the businesses has grown here and it’s been open for 5, 10, 15+ years, and you’re not the first one to open a business [inaudible 00:04:17].
So again franchising, why we like it. You have all the training, choice of location, development, opening, relationships with suppliers, marketing operational support. It’s easy to expand. You can open up multiple units. Establish a business model with a recognized brand.
The franchise industry has grown quite a lot over the past few years. There’s over 5,000 brands for franchises and licenses in the United States, with nearly 800,000 units that contribute 8.1 million US jobs. Most people think about franchising as food related, but that is true half the time. But as we’ll talk about later today, there are many other franchises that our clients invest in.
Here’s are the major markets that our clients are investing in moving to the United States. These might not always be the best markets in terms of growth, but we [inaudible 00:05:20] statistics for California, and Texas, and Florida in terms of growth. You can see low single digit growth. Employment numbers are increasing all over. And then you can see some of these figures that are increasing more [inaudible 00:05:39].
So searching for a franchise, you have a few different options. A lot of our clients start with an independent [inaudible 00:05:50] but feel quite overwhelmed [inaudible 00:05:53] some franchise and become discouraged because, you know, maybe out of the top 10, 5 of them do not allow foreign national ownership. You already have to have a green card or US citizenship. Some of our clients speak to franchise brokers. They’re just generally solely compensated just by the franchise owner, and they might have 400 franchises that they’re selling to you. And they receive compensation solely from the franchise owner when the transaction happens. And then you have us where you have many, many more options. We can work with any franchise, or we’ll analyze any franchise, or as mentioned [inaudible 00:06:35].
The number one thing that we look at when analyzing franchises is the profitability. We also wanna see ongoing revenue, renewable revenue. So that could be a barber shop, a nail salon that you retain the same clients that come every four weeks, or every six weeks. A high margin business also, you know, could [inaudible 00:06:35] where the barber [inaudible 00:07:08] 50% and then the franchise would keep stable at about 50% as well. That’s a bulkhead margin. Management team is very important. How is the franchise or who is behind them? How are they gonna be supporting you? Industry and brand growth. There are many industries that are in decline, whether that be frozen yogurt, automotive related franchises, gas stations, those are industries that we would not recommend our clients investing in. Availability of territory. Many clients wanna live in southern California or south Florida. And oftentimes many franchises are…you don’t have the availability in those territories. The ones that are affecting your profit in an entire territory for that brand, [inaudible 00:07:56]. And then accept foreign nationals. By our studies, about 30% of franchises do not allow foreign national ownership. You would have already had to receive a green card or have a US citizen to own that franchise.
Some options in the food space are quite attractive. Again, things that have renewable revenue or have margins. So gelato is more high margin. Coffee would be more renewable revenue and could be high margin as well. Pet care, beauty, cleaning, real estate, education, fitness and health. For many of these concepts, and we received a question about providing management support. If you’re looking to invest 100-150K, really anything less than 200,000 in the business, there’s not enough margin for you to have a manager fulltime. Our clients that are investing in real estate property and management, commercial cleaning, you need…even fitness most of the time, you need to work 40-50 hours a week at least for the first 12-18 months to get the business started, and them perhaps promote someone internally, or from outside, that could act more in a day to day management capacity. But less from 200,000 is very difficult to have a business that has sufficient margin for the owner, the financial [inaudible 00:09:28] investor that’s not going to the business every day and start as a fulltime capacity. So although we do not provide management support, there are some franchise [inaudible 00:09:38] that provide ongoing management support of a franchise.
Here are some examples. You can see anywhere from 100-500K plus. We have had approvals as low as 80-90K. But generally those interviews are quite difficult, a consulate, and it puts out a lot of extra work for everyone involved. Where if you tend to invest more money, say 200-300K, the whole process is easier.
So here you have Visa Franchise [inaudible 00:10:19] the franchise or the tax consultant, and potentially also a franchise attorney or corporate attorney that would support you as you go through the investment process [inaudible 00:10:30].
And here is really specifically for Visa Franchise. And then Brian. And he would work together with a corporate attorney or franchise attorney where we would have initial consultation. We can send you some industry examples of [inaudible 00:10:46] profile. Then you would engage our services to conduct the personalized franchise and business search. That takes place over a three to four week period to identify the best options that fit your needs. And then we present you with the best four or five franchises, and then parallel the attorney or attorneys are supporting the legal documentation, visa [inaudible 00:11:07], etc. And generally it’s a three month process, but it depends a lot on the client how long it takes to make a decision on the franchise.
As I mentioned, we present the best four or five franchises, business valuation, pros and cons, analysis, overview. Summary of the key financial information from the franchise disclosure document. This is a federally regulated document that includes the estimated initial startup cost. It sometimes includes sales figures, profitability. There’s a lot of very useful information. But if you don’t know what you’re looking at when analyzing the document, it can be quite cumbersome as oftentimes it’s over 200 pages. And then we provide introductions in the franchise [inaudible 00:11:48] and also coaching. And you definitely should talk to some franchisees. We provide coaching on what questions to ask existing franchisees.
Our clients have invested in all different types of concepts like I mentioned. Frozen desserts, barber shops, property management, and they obtain all different types of visas with a big major focus on the entities.
One second while I play a video from one of our clients.
[no audible dialogue]
Vanessa: Hi, my name is Vanessa.
Braner: Hi, my name is Braner.
Together: And this is our American story.
Vanessa: We are husband and wife and we always work at multinational companies in sales and marketing positions. And we decided to move to US because we see a real opportunity in real estate. We want to raise our family in a better place, and provide the best education. And also because deep down we want to own our own business.
Braner: So about a year and a half ago, we started seeking some business opportunities in the US. And we started actually buying houses and testing the real estate market. And then it was the point that my wife and I, we started discussing to see what the best route would take. And then she mentioned that she wouldn’t be too comfortable about opening a new business in a new market. That’s when she decided to have a franchise, right?
Vanessa: Right. Because I felt more comfortable in moving to another country with franchise, and not to start everything alone.
Braner: We start talking to an immigration attorney to check what the best route would be. He advised that the E-2 visa would be a great option.
We went to this workshop that talk about like E-2 visa investment in the US, and that was the time that we actually met Visa Franchise, and we started a conversation right then and there.
So after deciding on the E-2 visa that would be a good route to take, we started a discussion with Visa Franchise, and they understood our profile, and our business goals and objectives. And they selected a few franchises that we should talk to.
It was a great experience moving to the US. The country is easy to do business with. The rules are clear and there’s much less bureaucracy than we were used to.
Okay, I think the fist is find the right partner that’s gonna help you. We had a really good experience with Visa Franchise because not only they helped us with the franchise agreement and finding the right franchise, they put us in touch with great attorneys that have experience with franchise agreements and all those processes. And also finding the right structure that’s gonna support you. I think they’re able to point you out on that direction.
Vanessa: I also think that it was so much important to come here, sometimes before, to see the region, and the place where we wanna live, and also the office. And now the adaptation is so much easier.
Together: Thank you, Visa Franchise. [inaudible 00:16:33] Visa Franchise.
[no audible dialogue]
Patrick: Okay, well thanks. That was a video from our clients that invested in property management franchise in Florida, and successfully obtained the [inaudible 00:17:08]. So for questions, I’ll go through a few and then I’ll turn it back over to Brian. And as mentioned, for [inaudible 00:17:20] issues, support, there are options available, but generally it would warrant a higher investment amount and a separate arrangement directly with the franchisor. One second.
And then yeah, a question that we frequently receive is what is the best franchise for me? And it really depends on your profile. No two clients are the same. Over the past 10 or so clients, I’d say 8 invested in a different franchise concept. So there was minimal overlap. So we really need to do a thorough search and understand a lot more about your family goals, career background, where you wanna live to present the best opportunities. And it might vary depending on what state you’re interested in moving to, industry opportunities in California would vary a lot from Texas, Florida, or New York, or the Chicago area. So it really depends a lot on your profile, and then also the location of the business.
At this time, I’ll turn it over to Brian as there were some questions that were more visa related. And Elizabeth can [inaudible 00:18:52].
Brian: Thank you, Patrick. So the questions that were asked, there were two questions. Considering I will not live in the US, just have a franchise there and travel from time to time to administer the franchise, is it possible to have someone be responsible for the daily issues of my franchise, your enterprise do this job? So the answer to that questions is no, you know? The purpose of an E-2 visa is for you to come to the US to develop and direct the business. So if you’re, you know, not living in the US and working in the business, and just there from time to time, then you would not be developing and directing the business.
The second question is I’m originally from Argentina, which is a treaty country, and I’m planning to run my business with an individual from Brazil. Not a family member and currently and living in Brazil. Can I hire and sponsor an individual from Brazil and grant a visa to him and his family to come and work for my business in the US? So the answer to that question is no. You know, you can only hire employees that are the same national as the investor. So if you’re from Argentina, you can only hire Argentinian employees. So you know, this is only about E-2, not EB-5. That’s another question and, you know, EB-5 would be a whole different topic. Certainly as I indicated earlier, E-2 can lead to an EB-5.
What are the options for non-treaty country people? You know, that’s really on a case by case basis. It gets beyond an E-2 visa, it’s possibly an L-1 visa, which is you know, you have a company in your home country, and then you would start that company, you would start a branch or a subsidiary of that company in the United States, and then you could transfer as an executive, or manager, or a specialized knowledge worker. That’s the most common option done by people looking to start businesses in non-treaty countries. There’s also green card routes known as extraordinary ability alien, and national interest waiver, and those are different topics.
So you know, that’s the answer to the question. You know, I just wanted to conclude by talking about what are some red flags for [inaudible 00:21:18] or officers in E visa cases, and I just wanna go over a list of them just to keep in mind as you’re doing this.
Number one is overly complicated company structure. So again, if you’re purchasing a franchise, you’re gonna have a simple business corporation that’s gonna own the frnachise. Number two is obscure money trails and acute financial arrangements. So you know, again you wanna show the consular officer where the money came from that you’re using to invest in the franchise.
Number three, investment amounts are too small, and you know, Patrick really talked about that very well. The higher the amount of the investment, the less complicated it is, you know, so everything we talked about and the higher the investments, the higher of likelihood you’re going to get the E-2 visa.
Number four is no job creation. Again, you know, you wanna be looking to create jobs and grow your franchise. Number five is no storefront. So you know again, even if you’re in a real estate business, it’s helpful to have some type of leased business property, etc. And obviously you’re gonna have that if you’re in a store situation with a franchise.
Next is if you’re doing an E visa renewal and there’ve been no changes to your initial business plan. Number seven is again, if you’re changing your status in the United States, you know consular officers generally feel that they are the best ones to decide an E visa. So if you had the immigration service in the United States approve your E status, and you know, you’re still gonna have to go back to the consular officer if you need a visa and make an entirely new case. So it’s better just to do it at the embassy from the beginning.
And number eight is if you have had an extended prior stay in the US and they feel like you’re just looking to stay further in the US, and you’re not really looking to have a business. For example, you were in the US in H-1B status for six years, and now they might say you’re just looking to stay here, or if you were a student for a long time. This certainly does not preclude you being an E-2 investor in those circumstances, but it’s just something that you’re gonna have to show the legitimacy of the business.
So there’s one more question where one of the associated from a treaty country under other individual is not only the treaty country person will be available to receive the E-2 visa. Yes, that is correct. You have to be a member of a treaty country to apply for the E-2 visa.
Okay, so thank you all. And I’m gonna turn it back over to Patrick.
Elizabeth: All right, thank you very much Brian. If anybody has any other questions, you know, feel free to ask via email, firstname.lastname@example.org. What we’ll do now is we’ll put this recording on our YouTube channel and send it to everybody who has attended this webinar, as well as the presentations. So if you have any more questions and would like to schedule a consultation call, please let us know at email@example.com. Thank you so much everybody for watching, and very special thanks to Brian for taking the time to be here today, and for really sharing a lot of information regarding the E-2 visa and investor visa. Thank you everybody. Have a wonderful day.