Advice on Money and E2 Visa

Old Jun 13th 2019, 10:42 am
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Default Advice on Money and E2 Visa

Hello everyone, I have only just registered and this is my first post, please be kind :0)

My husband and I are both UK Citizens and our dream has always been to live in the USA.

We are now in a financial position that we would be able to buy a franchise (albeit on the lower end of the franchise scale) and were considering finding an immigration lawyer to speak to, so that we could find out our options including the E2 Visa.

However, I came across this forum and the Pulaski's Ways Post, which stated you would need at least a minimum of $350k (including business minimum value & 2 years living money as back up). This seems to contradict what I had read elsewhere.

So my questions are what was your experience of trying to move from the UK to the US via buying a franchise? How did you go about it? Is the $350k minimum correct?

Thanks everyone, I look forward to hearing your advice :0)
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Old Jun 13th 2019, 11:19 am
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Default Re: Advice on Money and E2 Visa

There aren't that many on here that did what you are thinking about, and it is common on here for us to refer to the E2 as 'the visa from hell'

No direct route to a green card, and if USCIS denies your renewal you have to pack up and leave pronto.
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Old Jun 13th 2019, 1:08 pm
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Default Re: Advice on Money and E2 Visa

Originally Posted by civilservant View Post
There aren't that many on here that did what you are thinking about, and it is common on here for us to refer to the E2 as 'the visa from hell'

No direct route to a green card, and if USCIS denies your renewal you have to pack up and leave pronto.

Thank you for letting me know. I did notice that a lot of people on here have called the E2 visa that!
I gather that most people on the E2 Visa are then employees via a company that have offices in UK and US?
I did see that there is no direct route to a green card in the research I did do.

I think I will speak to a immigration lawyer and see what they say.

Thanks :0)
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Old Jun 13th 2019, 3:06 pm
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Default Re: Advice on Money and E2 Visa

The $350k minimum isn't set in stone, but it should not be a sustenance business, you must be able to show growth, ideally profit, and the continued employment of US citizens. Edit: Or permanent residents.

Over the years a lot of folks bought "pool cleaning" businesses in Florida for lower values and used these to live off of, as a general trend we've seen USCIS pushing back on business like these as being merely sustenance.

What kind of franchise were you looking at? Again, $350k+ is general guidance, for those with more than $500k to invest, EB5 visas are traditionally far more appealing than E2.
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Old Jun 13th 2019, 3:09 pm
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Default Re: Advice on Money and E2 Visa

Originally Posted by Samantha001 View Post
So my questions are what was your experience of trying to move from the UK to the US via buying a franchise? How did you go about it? Is the $350k minimum correct?
Note that's not the amount required for the visa, it's simply a suggested amount for the first couple of years given you won't have much income to start with and will have huge expenses when moving abroad. You can get the visa with less than that though. What sort of amount would you be investing?
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Old Jun 13th 2019, 5:19 pm
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Default Re: Advice on Money and E2 Visa

Well it depends, there was somebody who got an E2 with a small investment but it was in support of a very large contract.

I think that was just a round ish figure as so many seem to think they can do it for not very much.
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Old Jun 14th 2019, 2:56 pm
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Default Re: Advice on Money and E2 Visa

Most E-2 businesses require about $50k-100k to meet an irrevocable investment of suitable value. This normally comes in the form of some sort of lease agreement. The extra money suggested on top of that is just to ensure survival.
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Old Jun 14th 2019, 3:03 pm
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Default Re: Advice on Money and E2 Visa

Originally Posted by shiversaint View Post
Most E-2 businesses require about $50k-100k to meet an irrevocable investment of suitable value. This normally comes in the form of some sort of lease agreement. The extra money suggested on top of that is just to ensure survival.
Franchise agreements often require much more by way of capital investment - for well known fast food franchises the capital investment by the franchisee can easily be well into six figure sums per location.

Rent on commercial premises for the business might be $10,000- $20,000/mth, or more, especially for a retail or restaurant business that needs a location in a high traffic area, so you can easily burn through $100,000 in the first year funding the rent while you build up the business. Marketing your business, whether through traditional print media and junk mail, or using online marketing techniques, can also cost $'000's/ month to establish and grow a fledgling business.

Which ever way you look at it, nobody should expect to start a business, including a franchise business, open the doors on Day 1 and start raking in the money, that isn't how starting a new business works. Many businesses fail in their first year, and the most common reason is "inadequate capital", basically running out of money before the business gets established. So my question to Samantha is "Do you have experience of starting and running your own business?"

Last edited by Pulaski; Jun 14th 2019 at 3:14 pm.
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Old Jun 14th 2019, 3:06 pm
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Default Re: Advice on Money and E2 Visa

Agree with MrP, that sum sounds very low, important to remember this is not to get you a job but an investment.
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Old Jun 15th 2019, 8:11 pm
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Default Re: Advice on Money and E2 Visa

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
Franchise agreements often require much more by way of capital investment - for well known fast food franchises the capital investment by the franchisee can easily be well into six figure sums per location.

Rent on commercial premises for the business might be $10,000- $20,000/mth, or more, especially for a retail or restaurant business that needs a location in a high traffic area, so you can easily burn through $100,000 in the first year funding the rent while you build up the business. Marketing your business, whether through traditional print media and junk mail, or using online marketing techniques, can also cost $'000's/ month to establish and grow a fledgling business.

Which ever way you look at it, nobody should expect to start a business, including a franchise business, open the doors on Day 1 and start raking in the money, that isn't how starting a new business works. Many businesses fail in their first year, and the most common reason is "inadequate capital", basically running out of money before the business gets established. So my question to Samantha is "Do you have experience of starting and running your own business?"
We're talking about two different things. Me - the minimum general amounts that a business plan could be assembled to meet the application test of a suitable irrevocable investment. You, the amounts required to successfully operate a specific kind of business (and I can guess what specific kind of franchise you have in mind).

Neither of us are necessarily wrong on our overall points, but the question was if the $350k minimum is correct. I appreciate you wrote the post referred to by OP, but that is an excessive amount only applicable to certain types of business. Perfectly possible to do it on $100k - the org I am associated with did using our lease agreement and we got 5 years with barely a whiff of query. I know quite a few E-2 holders that have done it with that sort of money, and a couple with $50k in LCOL areas.
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Old Jun 15th 2019, 8:44 pm
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Default Re: Advice on Money and E2 Visa

Originally Posted by shiversaint View Post
We're talking about two different things. Me - the minimum general amounts that a business plan could be assembled to meet the application test of a suitable irrevocable investment. You, the amounts required to successfully operate a specific kind of business (and I can guess what specific kind of franchise you have in mind). ....
No you can't, mostly because I didn't have any specific business sector in mind.
... Neither of us are necessarily wrong on our overall points, but the question was if the $350k minimum is correct. I appreciate you wrote the post referred to by OP, but that is an excessive amount only applicable to certain types of business. Perfectly possible to do it on $100k - the org I am associated with did using our lease agreement and we got 5 years with barely a whiff of query. I know quite a few E-2 holders that have done it with that sort of money, and a couple with $50k in LCOL areas.
I fully appreciate that you can start a business with much less capital, but are you talking about a start up that supported an E-2 visa? Are you talking about a business that generated enough income from day one to support a couple/family, and generating enough surplus funds to grow the business?

Many businesses start as a side line, a part time operation, perhaps by a couple, and runs in the evening or weekends, then one goes "full time", then maybe they hire an assistant, but the other continues working, bringing in income, and perhaps critically, gets medical insurance through their employment, so it maybe several years, or never, before the other half of the couple gives up regular employment, and the security of health insurance.

Conversely, moving to another country with no back-up plan or safety net, no second income, no employer-linked health insurance, no credit record, no pay slips to show a landlord, or car dealer, no trading history to show a commerical landlord and commercial vehicle lessor, is a very different kettle of fish.

And while you might have interpreted my post as sector-specific, it certainly wasn't intended to be, it has much broader applicability. In truth many businesses fold within a year or two, and often due to basically running out of cash. Granted, restaurants do it very publically, and in larger numbers than most, but to rock up in than the US and start a new business, taking on local businesses that are already established, is a very tough proposition unless you have stumbled on a new sector that nobody else has thought of.

I'll give you one "out there" example of what happens. A few years ago someone decided that the Asian gambling market was an undeveloped sector in Las Vegas, so they built a decent size, but by Las Vegas standards, fairly modest sized casino. Before the doors had even opened on the new casino, every other major casino on The Strip had added an area with tables and games popular with Asians, and the result was that the Asian-themed casino never drew much business and folded within a couple of years. That's what happens in business, whether you are running a restaurant, a print shop, mowing yards, or cleaning pools, the established businesses have an advantage and deeper pockets than most newbies. There are some interesting videos on YouTube about failed restaurant chains in the US and time and again the resin for failure is that the competition has deeper pockets and can afford to spend more on advertising and marketing, thereby squeezing out "the little guy", which has often been restaurants with hundreds of locations, just steamrollered by the few national chains that remain.

Last edited by Pulaski; Jun 15th 2019 at 8:51 pm.
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