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Immigrating in the US and investing in a franchise

Immigrating in the US and investing in a franchise is a way to get an E2 or an EB-5 visa.

You have the American dream, you want to move to the US and start a business ? Then you want to read this.

If you have the entrepreneur’s bug and you feel constricted in your own country, the US is still top of the list of the places to do business. There are a lot of great resources in the US to help start, run and sell a business, like for example Score or SBDC. Some states are more business friendly than others.

If you do not know what business to start, but you have the motivation and some capital, you might want to look at acquiring a franchise. Franchising was born in the US and it is a key pillar in the US economy. Franchises represent 18 million jobs or 14% of the private sector employment. The GDP growth in franchising has been consistently about the double than the nation GDP growth.

So what are the options for visas ?

The first one is a non immigrant type of visa, an E2. Non immigrant means that it does not open a path to citizenship. It is available for certain countries that have signed a trade and friendship treaty, with the US, at this time we have Italy, France, Greece, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Colombia, Mexico, Taiwan and many more, you can find the whole list here. Note that neither China nor Brazil are part of the E2 program.

The investment has to be substantial and the investor has to be personally invested in the venture. It has to be a real business. This is why a franchise applies perfectly to this situation. Typically the minimum investment level is around $100,000. But it is not the investment level that it is important here. What is important is that the investment is viable, because the visa will have to be renewed and there will be checks against the business plan. Many great franchise concepts qualify for this visa and have shown great success.

The second option is an EB-5. This is an immigrant type of visa as it opens the path for citizenship. The investment level starts at a minimum of $500,000 with some conditions, and the business needs to employ 10 full time employees. It is a much safer option to invest in a franchise versus other type of investments. This is typically the only option for people that come from a non E2 treaty nation like Brazil or China.

If you want to know more about immigrating in the US and investing in a franchise, contact us for a free consultation.

(Photo by Werner Kunz)

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