Invest in the USA in 2022. The investor visa remains the preferred solution
This is because the approval rate for E-2 visas has remained the same year over year : the approval rate is 89%.
Approval ratings for E-2 visas are significantly higher than those for many nonimmigrant visas. The overall visa refusal rate for non-immigrants increased from 22% in 2018 to 26% in 2019, except for the E-2 visa.
The E-2 visa is thus one of the most popular visas used by investors to enter the United States. Whether buying an existing business or starting your own business. The essence of the visa is that the investor by starting an American business will either bring in an innovative idea, take over a business and create jobs for American workers. The investor must be a citizen of a country that has an investment treaty with the United States and he or she must own at least 50 percent of the business to be eligible. Many countries qualify, (notably France, Belgium, Switzerland, ...) although some important ones, such as India, China and most of the Middle Eastern countries except Israel, do not.
The investment must be in an active business (not passive like a purely real estate investment)
Usually, an E-2 visa is issued for five years and is renewable in five-year increments as long as the company is in activity: since 2019, the visa is issued for 25 months for French nationals, while it is always issued for 5 years for Belgian nationals and 4 years for Swiss nationals. There are methods to convert the E-2 visa into a green card if the investor meets certain criteria.
Obtaining an E-2 generally involves providing a five-year business plan providing for income and expenses, and also involves, in the case of a business takeover, providing a copy of the financial statements of the company or an appraisal of the value of such a business, or a set of franchise documents when a person invests in a franchise. The goal is to submit a file to the consulate which will demonstrate to the consular officer that it is a "bona fide" company and that the investor has the qualities to manage the company and that this company will generate jobs, in addition to allowing the investor to live with his family.
File processing time: you can consult the site:
Before the pandemic, E-2 work visas were issued fairly quickly. In most cases, the investor could enter the United States on an E-2 visa within a few months. However, as the pandemic struck and Covid-19 spread, most US consulates around the world closed and were only processing essential worker visas. This has resulted in a growing backlog of E-2 visa applicants. The backlog has grown significantly over time.
For the consulate in France, we were able to obtain appointments at the end of February, but the opening period for appointments is rather in May.
Below is a list of the companies most used by our investor clients. This list is by no means exhaustive but gives an idea of the investments that have been made successfully
The most used projects companies for foreign investors and entrepreneurs
Investment by SMEs and international companies
While large SMEs and international companies can use the L visa category to hire skilled or managerial team members in offices abroad, some companies find that hiring with the E-2 visa is simpler: Indeed, the L-1 visa is given for one year and the conditions are more drastic. E-2 petitions can be used for any employee who shares a nationality with the majority owner of the business (the owner must be from a treaty country). The company must be registered as an E visa company with the embassy of the owner's country of nationality - the embassy in turn will process all E-2 petitions. An E-2 employee should be hired as a manager, executive or as an employee with essential knowledge.
Franchises are popular choices for investor visas for several reasons. In many cases, they present turnkey business opportunities. Investors can access training and support from the franchise group. Franchise opportunities are also prevalent. On the other hand, the associated costs are often more important, there will be royalty fees.
Consulting practices have the advantage of leveraging the visa holder's professional experience to start a business with lower investment costs. The fact remains that it takes a substantial investment. This investment can be formalized by equipment, the rental of premises for a year, marketing costs, the transfer of intellectual property… and Consulting companies can encompass a wide range of skills - from IT and software development, in particular cybersecurity consultants, a growing sector but also architects, designers… - the most important factor for your application will be the detailed business which shows how you plan to support yourself and develop your business and ensure the hiring of employees.
Buy an existing business
Like franchise opportunities, buying an existing business gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to invest in a business that's ready to go and make money. With the company's financial history in hand, capital and operating costs are easy to determine and present with your visa application. Additionally, investors can begin to build on the company's existing customer base. You will still need to show in the business plan how you want the business to prosper in the future.
Restaurants and the catering sector
French investors often invest in this sector. However, it is not an easy sector. Having worked in the restaurant industry and managed a restaurant in your country of origin remains a real asset for managing a restaurant in the USA because it is a sector that remains difficult even if French restaurateurs are successful in the vast majority.