We at Visa Franchise have helped numerous clients from countries all around the world find and analyze the best franchise investments for them and their family. We often receive similar immigration questions in our initial and ongoing conversations with clients. We are not authorized nor licensed to provide legal advice and our practice is solely limited to franchise and business consulting. However, we have a growing network of trusted immigration attorneys who are available to support our clients’ visa petitions. Based on questions related to immigration, attorneys in our network have contributed to the Frequently Asked Questions for Investor Visas:
1. What Is The Minimum Franchise Investment Needed For An L-1 Or E-2 Visa?
There are no set minimums for either visa category but we recommend a total investment of at least $150,000 for the E-2 and L-1 visa.
2. What Are The Requirements For An E-2 Visa?
E-2 Treaty Investor Visa: Allows a national of a “treaty country” – a country with which the U.S. maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation – to be admitted to the United States when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business;
The U.S. E-2 business must be majority owned by nationals of the treaty country
Examples of treaty countries: Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain & United Kingdom (complete list: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/fees/treaty.html);
Although Brazil and Venezuela, are not treaty countries, many investors qualify for the E-2 visa through dual-nationality with countries like Italy, Spain and Grenada;
The investment must be substantial in relation to the type and size of the business often times a minimum of $150,000;
The E-2 business must be an enterprise with sufficient profits to support the investor’s family.
3. What Are The Benefits Of The E-2 Investor Visa?
• May be extended indefinitely
• May sponsor other essential employers that have same nationality
• Short processing time often less than one month
• Minors under 21 can attend school and spouse can obtain work authorization
4. My Ancestors Are From An E-2 Treaty Country And I Think I Might Be Eligible For Citizenship. Does Visa Franchise Help In Obtaining Spanish, Italian, French, Or Other Country Citizenships?
Visa Franchise works with firms who have helped thousands of people obtain their European citizenship. Contact us if you are interested in exploring this option.
5. How Do I Know Which Investor Visa Is The Right One For Me?
The overview of investor visas can be found here. BUT note this is just an overview. It is always advised to seek immigration advice ONLY from licensed immigration attorneys.
6. What Is A U.S. Green Card, How Can I Become An American Citizen?
A green card is a permanent residence card in the US that can be obtained through employment, investment, or family. Depending on how you obtain the green card, you may be eligible to apply for US citizenship in 5 years or before.
7. EB-5 Investment Must Be “At Risk” For A Period Of No Less Than 5 Years: How Can An Investment At Risk Be Identified?
An investment that is “at risk” is one that does not have any guarantees that you will receive a return of your investment. The reason that the investment must be at risk is to ensure a larger commitment from the investor to create jobs and stimulate revenue.
8. Which Visa Should I Get If I Want To Become A U.S. Citizen?
Among other visas, the EB-5 and L-1 visas have a direct path to U.S. citizen.
9. Which Visa Should I Get If I Don’t Want To Become A U.S. Citizen?
Although the E-2 visa may have indirect paths into obtaining a green card for those interested (see Forbes article), it does not have a direct path to obtaining the green card nor US citizenship.
10. What If My Franchise Fails, Will I Be Kicked Out Of The Country?
This largely depends on the visa class that you apply for. Keep in mind that after 10 years, 90% of franchises are still in operation. For the E-2 investor visa, your visa is no longer valid if you close your business (voluntarily or involuntarily).
11. Do I Need To Be Handling The Day To Day Operations Of My Franchise?
Most of the investor visas require you to direct and develop the business so it’s important to seek the guidance of an immigration lawyer to best understand this requirement. We do work with franchises where you can hire a general manager in which the role of the franchise investor will vary. Additionally, many franchises can be run semi-absentee after being established for a year or so. Frequently, our clients plan to open multiple units and take on more of an executive role.
12. Would I Be Able To Sell My Franchise If I Want To? What If I Want To Sell My Franchise Before My Visa Expires, Will I Be Kicked Out Of The Country?
This is largely depend on the visa that you hold and the corporate structure that you establish with your attorney. At times, you can sell one investment you might have done and reinvest into another franchise opportunity and keep your visa.
13. What Are The Benefits To An E-2 Compared To An EB-5 Visa?
14. Are There A Minimum Amount Of Jobs That The E-2 Visa Must Create?
The E-2 visa category does not stipulate a job creation amount; however, every immigration attorney recommends at least 2 jobs to be created.
15. Instead Of Investing In A Franchise, Can I Invest In My Own Business And Obtain The E-2 Visa?
It is possible to obtain an E-2 visa through creating your own business in the United States, though it adds much more risk. We would recommend obtaining an E-2 visa through investing in a franchise because you gain support from your franchisor, use an established business model, and have economies of scale. More information about the benefits can be found here.
16. I Am Worried About The Fiscal And Tax Implication Of Moving To The US With An Investor Visa. Does Visa Franchise Help With This?
Visa Franchise is not licensed to provide any legal or accounting advice, however we do have a network of accountants and tax attorneys who can provide support to our clients.
*This information is meant as a reference and it is always advised to consult with an immigration attorney