Franchising is a method of distributing products or services. Each franchise system typically includes the franchisor, who lends the brand and business system; and the franchisee, who pays a royalty and often an initial franchise fee for the right to do business under the franchisor’s name and system.
Foreign franchises can be quite successful in the U.S. but generally after several adjustments to their business model. We prefer to work with foreign franchisor brands that have atleast few units operating in the U.S. and a track record of success.
Investment requirements range greatly depending on the franchise, location and industry. Total start-up costs can range from $20,000 to over $1,000,000, depending on the franchise selected.
For 99% of franchises, the franchise fee, ad-fund, and royalties are non-negotiable. Even for investments in multiple units there usually prearranged discounts on the franchise fee. Other minor terms might be negotiated with the help of a qualified franchise attorneys.
Visa Franchise has spent a few years analyzing and reviewing countless franchises on behalf of our clients. This has enabled us to find the best opportunities that are available to foreign nationals and have territory availability throughout the United States. We have reviewed over 1200 businesses and only about 90 have passed our stringent criteria to be offered to clients. There are other franchise consultant sites, which publish the 500-600 franchises that they work with. Regularly, we review their portfolio and might only overlap on 5-7 franchises from their entire 500+ franchise list. There are many franchises but they are not all created equal.
Starting your own business in the United States is possible, but very difficult. There are numerous obstacles that a foreign national faces with starting their own business. More information can be found here.
Visa Franchise does research and analysis of franchise investments on a continuous bases. So far we have analysed more than 1200 franchises, yet we are only working with roughly 90 that we are comfortable presenting to clients. The criteria we use with the support of the franchisors decreases risk for our clients.
The cost associated with franchising enable the franchisee to receive all the support and benefits of the franchise. These benefits include: site selections, development support, training, marketing, and ongoing operational support. Additionally, the cost allows the franchisee the right to use a brand with a well-established business model and name.
We do have relations with a number of global franchise brands with units around the world. However, the bigger and more established brands typically require a minimum development of three or more units which raises the investment value to well over $1,000,000. Also, brands like Dunkin Donuts, do not accept investors that do not already have a green card or citizenship. As for Starbucks, it is not a franchisor within the United States.
That’s a great question that we receive all the time. That answer depends on a variety of factors e.g. location, industry, how many hours you are willing to work, and if your spouse works with you. The variability of factors is too high for us to give a concrete answer. We general don’t recommend franchises that would have net profits of less than $5,000 for an owner operator.
The Ad-fund is a fee on franchisees that adds to a company advertising fund. This fee is a payment on the advertising and marketing that the corporate company provides to all of the franchises.
Royalties are percentage or fixed payments paid to the corporate company on a regular basis. This fee is the ongoing payment for the right to use a company’s brand name.
The FDD, Franchise Disclosure Document, is the legal document given to potential franchise buyers in order to promise their disclosure of private corporate information.
For other franchise terms like these see our glossary terms article.
It is advised to start small if this is your first investment in a real business (non-financial market investment) in the US. After operating the first unit, you can always open up more franchises in the same brand. That being said, there are many U.S. franchises that require a commitment of atleast 3 franchises over a certain time frame (generally 2-3 years).
Visa Franchise has completed research and analysis on over 1200 franchises on behalf of our clients. Unfortunately, roughly 30% of franchises do not accept franchisees who are not already Americans or green card holders. Typically, the franchises with these restrictions are the more established and well-known companies, such as Subway, Dunkin Donuts, and Baskin Robbins. However, Visa Franchise specializes in working with franchises that are more than willing to accept franchisees that are foreign nationals pursuing an investor visa.
The franchisor will support you with training and depending on the franchise, they help with recruiting employees as well.
Some franchises are much more stringent than other franchises, and will vet your previous work experience, net worth, liquid cash, as well as other criteria. In general, the franchises want someone that is entrepreneurial and willing to roll up ‘their sleeves’ to get the job done!
At Visa Franchise, we have advised clients who are opening up multiple franchises given their experience in the U.S. or their past jobs in management that surmount to well over $1 million.
Visa Franchise works with many franchises within a diverse range of industries. We are always adding franchises in new industries to our portfolio based off our research and analysis work we do for our clients.
Some of these industries include:
Visa Franchise works with franchises with territory availability throughout the US. Many of our clients choose to reside in Florida, Texas, California and New York but we’ve worked with clients throughout the U.S. and regularly travel on-site.
Many franchisors do require that the franchisee speaks professional level English. We have some clients who will have another partner as a franchisee that will facilitate the English requirement. Also, Visa Franchise has franchisors who speak many different languages, including: English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Turkish, Chinese, Italian and many other languages.
If you have any questions regarding these terms or franchising in general, please feel free to call (+1-888-550-7556) or email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) at Visa Franchise anytime!
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.
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.
• 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
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.
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.
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.
Among other visas, the EB-5 and L-1 visas have a direct path to U.S. citizen.
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).
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.
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.
The E-2 visa category does not stipulate a job creation amount; however, every immigration attorney recommends at least 2 jobs to be created.
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.
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