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

By May 2, 2017October 2nd, 2020E-2 Visa, Immigration, Investor Visas
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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.


  • James Todd says:

    As a foreign national Is there a minimum Franchise investment amount when applying for an E-2 visa. Is the initial franchise purchase price the only consideration when considering initial investment?

    • Jenny Zhan says:

      Hello and thank you very much for contacting us. We know that the decision to start a business in the U.S. is one that brings many questions to the forefront and we are here to help. This firm was founded on an E-2 visa so we understand much of what you are concerned with. Our goal is to assist you so that you can realize the dream of growing a business in the U.S.. I have attached a link to our E-2 visa brochure below that describes our services and fees and you can see from the brochure that we can also help you with your business plan and your business entity set-up.

      E-2 Visa Brochure

      Click Here for E-2 Visa Brochure

      We would like the opportunity to help you and welcome the chance to set up a one hour consultation with one of our lawyers who regularly processes E-2 visas. This lawyer will be able to answer all of your questions and can give you valuable information so that you can make informed decisions. Our consultations can be arranged based on your convenience and can be done over the telephone, via Skype, or in person.

      Our consultation fee of $250 will be refunded to you if you end up hiring us and I have attached the link to set up a consultation below.

      We hope you decide to give us the opportunity to assist you and please let us know if you would like to set up a consultation.

      Kind regards,

      Laura Lobe
      Scott Legal, P.C. | Immigration & Business Law
      2 Park Avenue, Floor 20| New York, NY 10016
      Tel. 917-671-0330| Toll-Free 1-888-LAW-2964 |

  • Sami Al-Dujaili says:

    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.

  • Sabrina says:

    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?

  • REHAN ANSARI says:

    Can I buy a franchise for 60000 and qualify for E2

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