E-2 Visa d’Investisseur

E2 Visa | Most Popular Investor Visa (USA)

The Preferred U.S. Investment Immigration Path for 200 years and Counting
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By Patrick Findaro, Managing Partner of Visa Franchise

What is E-2 Investor Visa?

The E-2 Investor Visa allows an individual to enter and work in the United States based on an investment in a U.S. business.

E2 visa investors are required to show how they will start (or buy) a U.S. business, hire Americans, and grow a profitable enterprise in five years.

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Since 2015, we have grown significantly, having supported 400+ E2 visa clients from over +58 countries.


 

Having worked with 100+ immigration attorneys, we have accumulated incredible knowledge regarding the E2 visa requirements, business options, path to a green card as well as selecting your E2 visa professional team. In the blog, you will find unique E2 visa case studies to further illustrate how you can successfully move to the U.S. through the E2 visa.

Empower through data

Here at Visa Franchise you can learn about the E-2 visa and figure out if it fits your goals.

Over the past 10 years, E2 visa issuances have increased 80%, to more than 43,000 in 2019 alone.

With an overall approval rate of 89%, the E2 visa has one of the highest approval rates for all U.S. visas.

In the case of E2 visa denial

In the case of E2 visa denial, the consulate officer is required to indicate what E2 visa requirement was not met. If this happens, then your immigration attorney can work on a plan to modify your application for future approval.

E2 Visa Requirements

Here you’ll find the highlights:

The requirements provided by the U.S. government are quite clear but there is some room for interpretation by the U.S. consulate office.

 

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E2 Visa Investor

Which one are you?

Now that you know the requirements for the E2 visa, find out what type of investor you are.

We tend to see two types of E2 visa investors:

Strategic/Financial Investor

Foreign corporations and individuals seeking to enter new markets and/or expand the product offering
Initial investment from $80,000 to $1,000,000+
Beyond visa eligibility, there is a major focus on return on investment
Aims to expand the business through opening new locations, acquiring competitors or other means
Location is important but often secondary to strong earnings and potential growth

Lifestyle Investor

Foreign individuals generally with a net worth above $1,000,000
Prioritize working less hours over gaining more income from the business
Initial investment from $150,000 to $350,000
School district is very important for the children
Longevity of the business is more important than high profits
Potential to sell the business after 2-4 years if they return to their home country or decide to pursue a green card

Depending on what type of investor you are, we recommend you explore one of three E2 visa business models.

Are you interested in the E2 Visa to move to the U.S.? 

Download our free brochure to see if it is a strong option for your U.S. investment immigration goals!

 

Depending on what type of investor you are, we recommend you explore one of three E2 visa business models:

E2 Visa Business Options

Option 1: Buy Existing Business

Pros:

Business is already operational and often profitable
Historical financials to better determine success of business
Easier to finance (through seller or possibly bank)
Wider array of businesses and industries available

Cons:

Financial/ legal due diligence by professionals ($$$)
Successful businesses may have a high asking price
Seller training and ongoing support often limited historical financial figures

Option 2: Buy A Franchise

Pros:

Initial & ongoing support from Franchisor
Established business model built to scale
Business functions provided by Franchisor (negotiating with suppliers, research & development, etc.)

Cons:

Costs associated with gaining franchise rights
Time it takes to open the business and break even
Restrictions imposed by Franchisor

Option 3: Start Up

Pros:

Unlimited upside to the Business
No franchise fees or high cost to pay for a customer base
Wide range of industries and geographies to operate the business

Cons:

U.S. is one of the most competitive markets in the world especially for small businesses
20% of businesses with employees fail in the first year (50% first five years). Harder to benchmark success for your start up than for franchises and businesses for sale.
Many startups will not meet the substantial investment requirement for the E2 visa

Visa Franchise is available to advise you on what might be the best option given your investment immigration objectives. You may apply to be a Visa Franchise client by clicking here.

 

If eligible, there’s a 100% money-back guarantee U.S. business consultation.

 

We will provide you with the advisory support resources to start up, buy, or franchise an E2 visa business.

E2 Visa Case Study: Buy A Business, Convert To A Franchise

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 investors have constant questions about operating a business in the U.S. and appreciate the support of the franchisor and community of franchisees.

E2 Visa Business For Sale Process

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 E2 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 date to move to the U.S., the below seven step process can take three to six months.

The foreign franchisee goes through the 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 date to move to the U.S., the process generally take 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 E2 visa approval. There are select franchisors who may be willing to refund the majority of the franchise fee should your E2 visa be denied after the second attempt.

Additional E2 Visa Resources

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:

  • Set date for moving to the U.S.
  • Has engaged an immigration attorney
  • Timely responses to emails and calls
  • Accountant/consultant to support with business/franchise due diligence
  • Owns U.S. property or has lived in the U.S. before (shows it is not a distant dream)
  • 100% of business asking price is liquid (i.e. cash)

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.

First, we can examine the ways you as the E2 visa investor can obtain a green card. Here are a few different options to consider together with your immigration attorney:

EB-1A Green Card

Do you have an extraordinary ability? Perhaps you are at the top of your field and have been featured in numerous publications? Throughout your career abroad and now in the U.S., it is worth exploring with an attorney the possibility of building your professional portfolio to qualify for EB-1A green card.

EB-1C Green Card

Do you own a company overseas with 10+ employees and $1M+ in revenue? You might be eligible to apply for a green card based on the EB-1C green card category.  You most likely have to invest additional capital in the E2 visa business and build up your organizational structure. The good news is that EB-1C visas are processed in less than a year!

EB-5 Visa Green Card

Do you have a spare $900,000 to invest in a U.S. real estate project? Although current waits are 2+ years, based on a $900,000 investment and 10 Americans jobs created, you might be eligible for the EB-5 green card. It is in theory possible to apply for the EB-5 based on your E2 visa investment if you have invested over $900,000 (in a qualifying zone) and employed 10+ Americans. However, there is a lengthy bureaucratic process and simpler, easier ways to obtain a green card for E2 visa holders.

How your spouse can obtain a green card

There are additional green card options involving company sponsorship of your spouse. The E2 visa spouse is eligible for work authorization and may receive sponsorship from a U.S. company for his/her green card. Here are a couple options to consider:

EB-2 Green Card

Does your spouse hold an advanced degree or its equivalent? How about an exceptional ability? Many employers are willing to sponsor green cards for exemplary employees under this category. There are even ways to self-sponsor a petition for eligible applicants. Visit the official U.S. government site to learn more about this option.

EB-3 Green Card

Does your spouse NOT meet the requirements for the EB-2 green card? Then it is worth considering the EB-3 visa. This would require a labor certification and a permanent, full-time job offer. Visit the USCIS site to learn more about this option.

Family Green Card Option

Is your sibling an American citizen? How about your adult children? If so, you should explore with your attorney the possibility of an American citizen family member sponsoring your green card.

After all this discussion on the E2 visa, it is important to see if you qualify. Below is the current list of E2 visa-eligible countries as well as the reciprocity schedule. No matter the nationality, E2 visa holders are eligible to reside legally in the U.S. for two-year periods. It is important to understand the difference between status (granted when you enter the U.S.) and visa expiration (granted by the U.S. consulate abroad). For more information on visa length vs. legal status, visit our article.

Perhaps you have an E2 visa treaty that is only three months or one year. Or maybe you have not finalized your green card strategy.

There is a good chance that you will have to renew your E2 visa to continue residing legally in the U.S. If the business is not profitable or does not have 5+ American workers, it might be difficult to renew the E2 visa. Learn about eight tips to improve your chances of renewing your E2 visa here.

There are 10,000+ immigration attorneys currently practicing law in the U.S. As many as 5,000 of them have an established E2 visa practice. How do you go about choosing the right immigration attorney? It is important to consider their track record of success. Ask what their approval rate is especially for nationals from your same country.

Choosing the right attorney

Do you want to work with an attorney who takes on any case that comes across his desk? Be wary, as many immigration attorneys do not have the proper experience to support your E2 visa petition. U.S. immigration is constantly fluctuating and as the E2 visa can be processed by the U.S. consulate or USCIS, it is important for your immigration attorney to have ‘market color’. ‘Market color’ questions might be: “What type of businesses are being denied at so-and-so consulate?”

“If Rome is taking four months for a visa interview, are there other consulates to consider applying for the visa? “

Understand how other E2 visa applicants have approved or disapproved of the attorney is vital to know. There are Facebook, Google, and website reviews to consider. Also, many attorneys focus on a specific immigrant community and you can find out about the attorney through online networks and past clients directly. How fast does the attorney respond to your initial inquiries? That might be a sign of how the client relationship will be.

Also, you should ask who will be responsible for the E2 visa case and who is your principal point of contact. Some E2 visa investors are willing to pay $15,000+ to have direct access to a leading E2 visa attorney throughout the entire case.

Franchise Consultant/Business Broker

Supports with the franchise/business search and analysis. The broker/consultant works with the business seller/franchisor and all the other advisors often acting as the quarterback.

Corporate or Franchise Attorney

As most immigration attorneys limit their practice to immigration law, you will need an attorney for company formation documents, operating agreements, franchise agreements and more. Most likely this attorney will be your go-to attorney on an ongoing basis for any potential business disputes or legal questions.

Accountant

Essential for opening your entity and deciding the business type (LLC , C-Corp, etc). Important on an ongoing basis for tax planning and tax preparation.

Business Plan Writer

Hundreds of U.S. consulates process E2 visa applications and they all have different requirements. Many consulates limit the page length of the business plan and/or application. Working with a business plan writer who has processed thousands of E2 visa applications is an important ally to your immigration attorney to ensure a smooth E2 visa approval .

Similar to making the decision to marry your spouse, making the decision to move to the U.S. with your family can be a pivotal life choice. It is important to surround yourself with the best advisors to avoid mistakes such as visa denials or business failures.

We ensure our clients only spend time reviewing successful franchise concepts. As well as work with E2 visa focused attorneys and other key advisors. We limit your risk of business failure and visa denial so you and your family can have a smooth transition to the US. To learn more about our services, apply to be a Visa Franchise client today!

Are you interested in the E2 Visa to move to the U.S.? 

Download our free brochure to see if it is a strong option for your U.S. investment immigration goals!