Can I Get an E-2 Visa if I Buy a Franchise? E-2 Visas for Franchises

Can I Get an E-2 Visa if I Buy a Franchise? E-2 Visas for Franchises

An E-2 visa is a visa option available to certain foreign nationals who would like to start or buy a business in the U.S..  The visa requires that the applicant invest money in the United States and also hire a certain number of U.S. workers over time.

A full set of E-2 visa requirements can be viewed by clicking here.

One excellent E-2 visa option is to buy a franchise license or an existing franchise.  This article summarizes some of the considerations when deciding to use a franchise to get an E-2 visa.

What is a Franchise?

A franchise is an arrangement where an organization (Franchisor) owns the rights to a particular brand and sells licenses of that brand to others (Franchisee).  The arrangement allows for the brand to be set up as stores or distribution channels around the country and the Franchisor usually exerts a fair amount of influence and control over the franchisee. Many household names are franchises including Subway, 7 Eleven, Pizza Hut, KFC and of course McDonald’s.

Advantages of Using a Franchise for an E-2 Visa

  • Consular officers generally have the perception that a franchise is a “real” business so even though the franchise can be a start-up, an examiner may find it less speculative. This is particularly the case if the brand is well known.
  • Franchisors provide an extensive amount of financial information that can be used in the business plan and as the data is from a third party (rather than self-generated) an examiner may give the data more weight.
  • A franchise is the middle road between buying a business and starting one so provides a middle ground. As such, when buying a franchise, you are supported (in terms of training and direction) so do not have to go it alone.  This provides an added benefit also of not requiring that the applicant be an expert in the field.   In addition, a franchise provides a proven path for success. Starting a business can be difficult and this is particularly the case when you are in a new country.
  • Entry costs can be reasonable compared to buying an existing business.  As the franchise license represents a right to use the brand, the cost of entry is far less than if you were buying an existing business. The entire franchise fee can be included as an E-2 investment expenditure and this expenditure represents a very solid E-2 visa expenditure.  Some franchises can sell for as little as $50,000 which provides an entry point for an E-2 visa.

Are There Any Problems with Using a Franchise for an E-2 Visa?

  • E-2 Visa Applicant Control. One problem that comes up when selecting a franchise centers around the E-2 visa requirement that the applicant must be coming to the U.S. to direct and control the organization. While this requirement is usually addressed by the applicant owing 50% of the company, USCIS has at times questioned whether an applicant can direct and control the operations when there is significant control exerted by the franchisor.  A careful review of the franchise agreement must be conducted and a strategy developed prior to filing a franchise E-2 application with USCIS.
  • Franchise may not Sell to E-2 Visa Applicant. Some Franchisors will only sell franchise licenses to Green Card holders or U.S. Citizens. This should be the first question you ask a Franchisor. For example, the Subway franchise is an example of a franchise that will not sell to E-2 visa applicants.
  • Franchise may not Create Many Jobs. Some Franchises will not create many U.S. jobs. If selecting a franchise, you should select one where the business model will create employment for U.S. workers.

All in all, a Franchise can be an excellent E-2 visa option.  Contact us today to find out more about how a franchise can be your route to an E-2 visa and small business ownership.

To find out more about the new rules or other investor visas, contact Scott Legal, P.C.


Ian E. Scott, Esq. is the Founder of Scott Legal, P.C. He can be reached at 212-223-2964 or by email at

This website and blog constitutes attorney advertising.  Do not consider anything in this website or blog legal advice and nothing in this website constitutes an attorney-client relationship being formed.  Set up a one-hour consultation with us before acting on anything you read here. Past results are no guarantee of future results and prior results do not imply or predict future results.  Each case is different and must be judged on its own merits.

May 2nd, 2017|6 Comments


  1. Sami Al-Dujaili December 3, 2018 at 3:04 am - Reply

    Hi, Where and how can I find a good franchise that accept a non US citizen? I am willing to invest up to $500,000 in a franchise to get the E2 visa, but I never found a good franchise.

    • IanScott December 8, 2018 at 11:57 am - Reply

      Thank you for contacting us. Please find attached our credit card link to make your $250 consultation payment for a one hour consultation. If you end up hiring the firm and your bill is greater than $2,500, we will apply this consultation fee to your final bill. Once we receive the payment, we can schedule and confirm your appointment. Please reach out if you have any questions.

      Kind regards,

  2. Sabrina November 11, 2018 at 8:06 pm - Reply

    Hello, i want to invest in a franchise un USA, but we are 4 adults. So i don’t know if i have this posibility…i have $150000 to Buy a franchise, i don’t know if that is enough for the 4 of us to have E2 visa. Can you tell me if i have the posibility?

    • IanScott November 18, 2018 at 6:29 pm - Reply

      It would need discussion. Please contact us to set up a consultation.

  3. REHAN ANSARI September 10, 2018 at 10:26 pm - Reply

    Can I buy a franchise for 60000 and qualify for E2

    • IanScott September 13, 2018 at 7:49 am - Reply

      Yes, this is a low investment amount but possible.

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