From Vision to Reality: Ideal Siding’s Development Manager on E-2 Visa Success Strategies
Alberto Haddad knows the pitfalls of starting a business in the U.S. because he’s done it himself. Ten years ago, he went through all the tough steps of U.S. immigration to set up his own successful business. Now, he’s helping new entrepreneurs get started with their own Ideal Siding franchise.
Alberto is ready to share his insights about the E-2 visa journey and explain why Ideal Siding is the right choice for them.
- Hi, Alberto. It’s a pleasure to meet you. Let’s jump into our interview. Who exactly is eligible for the E-2 visa?
- Alberto Haddad (AH): The eligibility for an E-2 investor visa is determined by treaty agreements between the US and individual countries. Only residents from these treaty countries can apply. A list of these countries is available as “US Treaty Countries.”
- So, the duration of the E-2 visa varies by country?
- AH: Exactly. For instance, Mexico under the USMCA used to offer the visa for 1 year. After expiration, renewal required proof that the business was still active. For me, I had to renew annually, but that changed to four years now. Depending on the country, some visas last up to five years.
- What about the investment aspect?
- AH: An investment of around $100,000 is typically needed, meaning the funds should already be invested. For instance, one of our territories costs around $50,000. There’s also an option for two territories at $100,000 total.
- Can any significant investment in a business qualify for the E-2 visa?
- AH: Not just any business. You have to demonstrate that the business is operational and funds are at risk. It involves crafting a business plan and officially launching the business. Many applicants are worried because they invest, and then there’s a possibility the embassy may deny the visa. That leaves them with a US business they can’t operate.
- Is there a way to hold off on the investment until visa approval, especially when dealing with Ideal Siding?
- AH: Some potential franchisees suggest using a trust fund to hold the money until they get the visa. However, for visa approval, the funds need to be actively invested in the business.
- Is it necessary to engage a lawyer for this process?
- AH: While a lawyer isn’t mandatory, given the complexities, we recommend having one. They ensure the information provided is concise and compliant with requirements. Personally, my initial application involved a ton of paperwork. Good that everything has gone digital now.
- Do you have lawyer recommendations for those interested?
- AH: While we can’t claim responsibility, we do know two skilled lawyers with a track record of successful business visa acquisitions.
- If someone wants a business partner, are there any ownership stipulations?
- AH: The foreign investor should have at least a 50% stake. If, for example, your partner, a US citizen, holds 51%, you wouldn’t qualify for the visa.
- Even at 50% ownership, is the investment still around $100,000?
- AH: The E2 guidelines describe the required investment as a “significant amount”, which is somewhat open-ended. But most attorneys concur that it hovers around $100,000.
- Can family members accompany someone on an E-2 visa?
- AH: Direct family members can also get an E-2, though they’d be dependent on the main visa holder.
- Which types of businesses are most successful for this visa?
- AH: Getting approval for new, unknown businesses, like restaurants, can be challenging. You need to verify that the business is thriving. It’s often easier with existing franchise businesses, like Ideal Siding, which has 40 franchises in the US and Canada with 6 years in operation.
- Does Ideal Siding offer marketing support?
- AH: Absolutely. We provide a comprehensive marketing package, including landing pages, Google promotions, and offline materials. While we set up weekly client meetings, franchise owners need to secure their own projects.
- What do you mean by “secure their own projects”?
- AH: It involves meeting homeowners, discussing siding needs, and finalizing contracts. Our support and training help franchisees secure their first project quickly, and from there, growth becomes easier.
- Is providing proof of business operation essential for immigration?
- AH: Yes. It’s crucial to show that the business is active and at least one employee has been hired. Providing evidence, like photos from client meetings or images of your office, can be beneficial.
- I guess you also need a visitor visa to set everything up?
- AH: Correct. Being in the US simplifies company establishment and paperwork.
- What are other potential hurdles with the visa?
- AH: Post-visa expiration, if you don’t renew, you’ll need to verify the business’s operational status again. If renewal gets denied, you can’t stay in the US, even if your business continues.
- Do E-2 visa holders need to renew until they get a Green Card?
- AH: E-2 visas can’t directly transition to Green Cards. For permanent residency, the EB-5 is a potential path, but it demands a more substantial investment—around $900,000. The Ideal Siding franchise could potentially qualify, but purchasing additional territories would be necessary to meet that amount.
- Are there any challenges with visa candidates?
- AH: We’ve had a straightforward experience. Of the three cases I recall, each had the funds, and with our lawyer contacts, the process went smoothly.
- Thanks so much for this information.
- AH: You’re welcome. It was a pleasure. I hope this helps.
Interview with Alberto Haddad, Business Development Manager at Ideal Siding Franchising
November 10, 2023
Starting your E-2 visa journey can be a complex yet rewarding path toward establishing your own business in the U.S. If Alberto Haddad’s insights have inspired you to start this journey, Ideal Siding is here to guide and support you every step of the way.
With our extensive experience and resources, we can help you navigate the difficulties of the E-2 visa process and set you on the course to owning a successful franchise.