Investor Visas

Investor Visas

Investor Visas

Owning a business could be your ticket to the American dream

The American story was written by immigrants, and people from other lands continue to shape our country today. Investor visas encourage people from other nations to invest in the American economy by starting businesses and creating jobs. These visas allow foreign nationals who have invested in US businesses to enter the country for work.

Before applying for an investor visa, choose your business investment wisely. A trustworthy business broker can help you find or start a successful business you will be proud to own.

A business plan is not a required part of the visa application process, but it can help prove to immigration officials that you know how to run a business that successfully contributes to the economy.

Both the visa application process and the process of buying a business can be overwhelming. Enlist the help of an immigration attorney and a business broker to make the entire experience go smoothly.

Find Your Franchise

Search for Businesses for Sale Instead »

Frequently Asked Questions About Investor Visas

E2 Treaty Investor Visa

The E2 is a nonimmigrant visa. That means it is not a path to citizenship or a green card. It can be renewed every two years, with no limit on the number of renewals, but is not supposed to lead to permanent residency.

E2 visas are available to citizens of specific countries who make a substantial investment in a legitimate U.S. business.

How do I qualify as an E2 Treaty Investor?

To qualify, you must

  • be a citizen of one of the approximately 80 countries with which the United States has a treaty of commerce and navigation,
  • invest a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide U.S. enterprise, and
  • enter the United States for the express purpose of developing that enterprise.

As an E2 investor, you own at least 50 percent of the investment business or you are an executive who has control of the business’s operations. While your visa is active, you cannot work for any company other than the one you invested in.

What does the E2 visa mean by ‘a substantial investment?’

The law does not put a dollar amount on what is a “substantial investment.” It says only the investment must represent a significant part of what it would cost to start or buy the business.

A significant investment is generally in the six-figure range. This amount is certainly a substantial investment if the business you are starting is a franchise.

What kind of businesses qualify for an E2 investor visa?

To qualify for an investment visa, the business must create job opportunities and stimulate the economy. The owner is required to be actively involved in the operations of the business.

Speculative investments – investing in land, real estate, or stock without any intention of managing the business – do not qualify.

What does the E2 visa mean by a ‘bona fide enterprise?’

A “bona fide enterprise” is a real, active, and legally operating business that produces goods or services for a profit. You have to provide a real product or service to be a bona fide enterprise; you can’t get a visa on an idea.

The business must be able to show projections for generating a real profit within 5 years. This is easiest when investing in a franchise since the parent company has historical data for similar stores.

A business that barely makes enough for the investor and their family to live on is considered a “marginal enterprise” and does not qualify for the visa.

Can my family come with me to the United States if I get an E2 visa?

An E2 treaty investor can bring their spouse and unmarried children younger than 21 with them into the United States. Your spouse and children do not have to be citizens of a treaty country to come with you.

Spouses of E2 treaty investors can apply for a permit that allows them to work legally for any business in the United States. Children can attend American schools, colleges, or universities without applying for a separate student visa.

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa

An EB-5 visa offers a path to citizenship with a green card for foreign nationals who make a very significant investment in the US economy. The purpose of the EB-5 visa is to attract larger investors who want to move permanently to the US and encourage economic development and job creation.

How do I qualify for an EB-5 Investor Visa?

To qualify, you must invest at least $1 million (US) in a qualifying commercial enterprise. If the business is in a rural area or an area with high unemployment, the qualifying investment is only $500,000. The investment can be in the form of cash, equipment, inventory, tangible assets, or cash equivalents.

Within the first two years your investment must create at least 10 full-time jobs for people other than your spouse or children.

Can my family enter the country with me if I get an EB-5 visa?

If your petition for an EB-5 visa is approved, your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 can also apply for immigrant visas. Paperwork and fees must be collected for each person applying for a visa.

How do I move from an EB-5 investor visa to a green card?

The immigration process has many layers and steps. An EB-5 visa is just one of them. You should work with an immigration attorney to help you navigate the system and make sure you are meeting all the conditions each step of the way.

Take our quiz
Get a free quiz to get personalized franchise suggestions based on your lifestyle, interests, and budget.