How to get a USA Investor Visa or Green Card by investing in a Vivafit Fitness Franchise:
I) EB-5 Immigrant Investor (EB5 Green Card)
USCIS administers the Immigrant Investor Program, also known as “EB-5,” created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. Under a pilot immigration program first enacted in 1992 and regularly reauthorized since, certain EB-5 visas also are set aside for investors in Regional Centers designated by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth.
All EB-5 investors must invest in a new commercial enterprise, which is a commercial enterprise:
- Established after Nov. 29, 1990, or
- Established on or before Nov. 29, 1990, that is:
1. Purchased and the existing business is restructured or reorganized in such a way that a new commercial enterprise results, or
2. Expanded through the investment so that a 40-percent increase in the net worth or number of employees occurs
Commercial enterprise means any for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of lawful business including, but not limited to:
- A sole proprietorship
- Partnership (whether limited or general)
- Holding company
- Joint venture
- Business trust or other entity, which may be publicly or privately owned
This definition includes a commercial enterprise consisting of a holding company and its wholly owned subsidiaries, provided that each such subsidiary is engaged in a for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of a lawful business.
Note: This definition does not include noncommercial activity such as owning and operating a personal residence.
Job Creation Requirements
- Create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers within two years (or under certain circumstances, within a reasonable time after the two-year period) of the immigrant investor’s admission to the United States as a Conditional Permanent Resident.
- Create or preserve either direct or indirect jobs:
- Direct jobs are actual identifiable jobs for qualified employees located within the commercial enterprise into which the EB-5 investor has directly invested his or her capital.
- Indirect jobs are those jobs shown to have been created collaterally or as a result of capital invested in a commercial enterprise affiliated with a regional center by an EB-5 investor. A foreign investor may only use the indirect job calculation if affiliated with a regional center.
Note: Investors may only be credited with preserving jobs in a troubled business.
A troubled business is an enterprise that has been in existence for at least two years and has incurred a net loss during the 12- or 24-month period prior to the priority date on the immigrant investor’s Form I-526. The loss for this period must be at least 20 percent of the troubled business’ net worth prior to the loss. For purposes of determining whether the troubled business has been in existence for two years, successors in interest to the troubled business will be deemed to have been in existence for the same period of time as the business they succeeded.
A qualified employee is a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or other immigrant authorized to work in the United States. The individual may be a conditional resident, an asylee, a refugee, or a person residing in the United States under suspension of deportation. This definition does not include the immigrant investor; his or her spouse, sons, or daughters; or any foreign national in any nonimmigrant status (such as an H-1B visa holder) or who is not authorized to work in the United States.
Full-time employment means employment of a qualifying employee by the new commercial enterprise in a position that requires a minimum of 35 working hours per week. In the case of the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program, "full-time employment" also means employment of a qualifying employee in a position that has been created indirectly from investments associated with the Pilot Program.
A job-sharing arrangement whereby two or more qualifying employees share a full-time position will count as full-time employment provided the hourly requirement per week is met. This definition does not include combinations of part-time positions or full-time equivalents even if, when combined, the positions meet the hourly requirement per week. The position must be permanent, full-time and constant. The two qualified employees sharing the job must be permanent and share the associated benefits normally related to any permanent, full-time position, including payment of both workman’s compensation and unemployment premiums for the position by the employer.
Capital Investment Requirements
Capital means cash, equipment, inventory, other tangible property, cash equivalents and indebtedness secured by assets owned by the alien entrepreneur, provided that the alien entrepreneur is personally and primarily liable and that the assets of the new commercial enterprise upon which the petition is based are not used to secure any of the indebtedness. All capital shall be valued at fair-market value in United States dollars. Assets acquired, directly or indirectly, by unlawful means (such as criminal activities) shall not be considered capital for the purposes of section 203(b)(5) of the Act.
Note: Investment capital cannot be borrowed.
Required minimum investments are:
- General. The minimum qualifying investment in the United States is $1 million.
- Targeted Employment Area (High Unemployment or Rural Area). The minimum qualifying investment either within a high-unemployment area or rural area in the United States is $500,000.
A targeted employment area is an area that, at the time of investment, is a rural area or an area experiencing unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average rate.
A rural area is any area outside a metropolitan statistical area (as designated by the Office of Management and Budget) or outside the boundary of any city or town having a population of 20,000 or more according to the decennial census.
Last Reviewed/Updated: 07/03/2012
Other USCIS Links
II) E2 Investor Visa for Entrepreneurs and Start Up Companies (E2 Green Card)
Foreign Investors/Entrepreneurs who make a “substantial Investment” in an existing US business or Start Up company, and who wish to enter the United States to develop and operate the business, may apply for the E2 Investor Visa. Foreign companies whose owners are nationals of a treaty country and “E2 Visa eligible” themselves may also petition their “Essential Employees” for the E2 visa.
- Must be a national of an E2 treaty country. (list of E-2 treaty countries );
- Must be coming to the U.S. to develop and direct the business;
- If the applicant is not the Investor, he or she must be employed in a supervisory, executive, or highly specialized skill capacity. Ordinary skilled and unskilled workers do not qualify.
The investment must be “Substantial” in relation to the overall value of the business. No specific dollar amount is mentioned in the department regulations, but it must at least be sufficient to ensure the business’s successful operation.
The percentage of investment for a low-cost business must be higher than the percentage of investment in a high-cost business.
At Risk Investment
- Idle, passive Investments do not qualify.
- The Investor or Entrepreneur must have already invested or be in the process of investing his or her capital or property in the U.S. business prior to his or her pursuit of the E2 visa.
Business must be more than marginal
- The E2 Visa petition should include a business plan that provides either historic or projected revenue figures that show it will generate significantly more income than solely to provide an individual living to the investor or Entrepreneur.
E2 Investor/Entrepreneur must have Control
- The Investor/Entrepreneur must demonstrate that he or she has ownership of at least 50 percent of the business and possesses operational control over the enterprise.
Non immigrant Intent
- Means the E2 Investor must intend to depart the United States when the E2 status expires.
- Nevertheless, E2 visa holders are permitted to renew their visas indefinitely so long as they continue to operate and maintain majority ownership of their E2 business, or those who continue to be employed by a qualifying E2 business in the case of an employe
Below are some key requirements you must fulfill to apply for a E-2 Visa. For each requirement, we have included forms of evidence that you may submit to meet the requirement and other tips to help you prepare your petition.
Requirement 1 - As a treaty investor, you must be coming to the United States to invest in a new or existing enterprise.
USCIS defines an E-2 investment as the investor’s placing of capital, including funds and other assets, at risk in the commercial sense with the objective of generating a profit. Your investment may be for the purpose of establishing a new business venture, or purchasing a pre-existing business. In either scenario, you must demonstrate that the capital you are investing is substantial.
Requirement 2 - Your investment must be in a bona fide enterprise and may not be marginal.
A bona fide enterprise is one that is a real, active commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking which produces services or goods for profit. The enterprise cannot be an idle investment held for potential appreciation in value, such as undeveloped land or stocks held by an investor who has no intent to direct the enterprise.
A marginal enterprise is one that will not generate more than enough income to provide a minimal living for you and your family or to make a significant economic contribution.
+ How do I demonstrate that my business is bona fide?
Some of the evidence you may submit to demonstrate that your business is bona fide includes:
- Notice of assigment of an Employer Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
- Tax returns
- Financial statements
- Quarterly wage reports or payroll summaries (i.e., W-2s and W-3)
- Business organizational chart
- Business licenses
- Bank statements, utility bills, and advertisements/telephone directory listings
- Contracts or customer/vendor agreements
- Escrow documents
- Lease agreement
+ How do I demonstrate that my business is not marginal?
Some of the evidence you may submit to demonstrate that your business is not marginal includes:
- Detailed business plan or executive summary showing that your business will produce more than a minimal living for you and your family or will create a significant economic contribution, along with any evidence that you believe will support the statements in your business plan.
- U.S. or foreign individual tax returns
- Financial statements
- Payroll summaries (i.e., W-2s and W-3)
Requirement 3 - You must be in possession of the funds you will invest and the funds must be committed to your business.
You must demonstrate that the capital you invest is irrevocably committed to the enterprise and subject to partial or total loss in the event that the entity fails. The funds you invest must also be your own. Additionally, the invested funds must be substantial in relationship to the total cost of either purchasing an established enterprise or creating the type of enterprise you are considering.
+ How do I demonstrate that my investment is substantial and irrevocably committed?
Some of the evidence you may submit to demonstrate that your investment is substantial and irrevocably committed to the enterprise includes:
- Canceled money orders and/or checks
- Corresponding personal and/or business bank statements
- Itemized list of goods and materials purchased for the start-up
- Corresponding financial accounting documentation
- Lease agreement
- Term Sheet, Letter of Intent, or Memorandum of Understanding
- Bill of sale
- Escrow documents
- Loan and/or mortgage agreements
- Capitalization table
- Valuation analysis of business assets
- Purchase agreement for business assets
- Valuation analysis of stock
- Stock purchase agreement, accompanied by:
- Meeting minutes
- Stock ledger
- Stock certificate
- Corresponding forms of payment for stock
Requirement 4 - You must be able to provide the source of your funding.
You must show a clear and legitimate path regarding the source of the capital you will be investing. You must also demonstrate that the funds you are investing have not been obtained through criminal means.
+ How do I demonstrate the source of my capital?
Some of the evidence you may submit to demonstrate the source of your capital includes:
- Wire transfers, money orders, and/or canceled checks
- Foreign and domestic bank statements
- Foreign tax returns
- Pay records
- Property records
- Loan and/or mortgage agreements
Requirement 5 - You must be coming to the United States to develop and direct the enterprise.
You must show that you will develop and direct the investment enterprise by demonstrating ownership of at least 50 percent of the enterprise, or by possessing operational control through a managerial position or other corporate devices.
+ How do I demonstrate that I have the capacity to develop and direct my business?
Some of the evidence you may submit to demonstrate your capacity to develop and direct your business venture includes:
- A detailed list of all owners and their percentage of ownership. If you are one of two 50 percent owners, or own less than 50 percent of the enterprise, the documentation should be signed by all owners in order to evidence that you possess a controlling interest
- Capitalization table
- Stock purchase agreement, term sheet, letter of intent, or memorandum of understanding
- Meeting minutes
- Stock certificates or stock ledger
- Articles of incorporation/organization
- Annual report or U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Form 10-K
- Partnership agreement
- Franchise agreement
I’m ready to apply, what’s next?
Once you have determined that the E-2 visa classification is the best pathway for you and you are ready to apply, you can find the full application process and legal requirements outlined on USCIS’s website.
1) The spouses of E-2 nonimmigrants are authorized to engage in employment upon application to USCIS and receipt of an employment authorization document (EAD).
2) When submitting evidence to USCIS, it is important to fully and clearly explain how the submitted evidence establishes eligibility for petition approval. The more clearly the petitioner can articulate eligibility, the more efficiently and consistently USCIS can review and process the petition and determine eligibility for the benefit sought.
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