E-2 Visa for Purchase of Frozen Yogurt Franchise Granted at U.S. Embassy
Our immigration law firm successfully secured an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa for an Australian citizen and E-2 dependent visas for her husband and children. The family was residing in the United Kingdom and applied for the E-2 visas at the U.S. Embassy in Prague, Czech Republic.
E-2 Treaty Investor Visas are available to persons from a qualifying treaty country who are entering the United States solely to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which he/she has invested, or is actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital. In the case of our client, capital was being invested for the purchase of the business and assets of a frozen yogurt store of a prominent national franchise.
In order to qualify for the E-2 visa our client met the following the requirements of 9 FAM 41.51 as follows:
1) A requisite treaty existed: A treaty of Freedom, Commerce and Navigation (FCN) existed between the United States and the country of our client’s nationality. Our client’s country was listed on the treaty country list of Exhibit 1 of 9 FAM 41.51 and therefore met the requirement.
2) The individual and/or business must possess the nationality of the treaty country which was documented by providing our client’s Australian passport;
3) Our client paid $60,000 to purchase the franchise and the funds were held in escrow pending issuance of the visa. Our client also had $40,000 available in her corporate bank account to use in furtherance of the business once issued the E-2 visa. Our client had thus irrevocably committed the investment funds for the purchase of the franchise. The investment funds had come from our client’s personal savings.
4) The enterprise was a real and operating commercial enterprise as evidenced by an Asset Purchase Agreement, Lease Assumption, Franchise Documents, and Financial Documentation of the existing business which were included with the E-2 visa petition package.
5) Our client’s investment was substantial: While “substantial” is not defined by any particular dollar amount, both USCIS and the State Department use one of two tests to determine if this requirement is met. They require either that the amount invested is proportional to the total value of the business, or that it be an amount typically considered necessary to establish a viable business in the field. In this case our client invested 100% of the funds needed for purchase of the business and additional operating costs.
6) The investment was more than a marginal one solely for earning a living: The State Department evaluated whether the investment was expected to generate more funds than just enough for our client to make a living and whether the investment would create jobs which was the case here as the investment will provide employment for four additional U.S workers. In order to prove the investment was not a marginal one, a 5 year business plan detailing the financial projections of the company was included with the application, showing the investment clearly had the capacity to generate more than enough income to provide more than a minimal living for our client.
7) Our client was in a position to develop and direct the enterprise. The ability to develop and direct the enterprise was established by showing ownership of at least 50% of the treaty business. In this case our client was the 100% sole owner and managing member of her corporation which purchased the franchise business. This proved control of the enterprise.
Our Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers submitted the E-2 visa application to the U.S. Embassy in advance of our client’s visa interview. Following the interview our client was granted a maximum validity E-2 investor visa and her husband and children were granted dependent E-2 visas.