Investing in a Restaurant Business with an E2 Visa
If you are considering purchasing a business in the United States as part of the process of applying for an E-2 investment visa, you may want to look at the opportunities available in the restaurant industry. There are always a large number of restaurants for sale at any time in most of the larger towns and cities across the country. Some of these are franchises, which are basically run under the banner of a well known brand, such as Subway or McDonalds. Many others are independently run businesses.
It’s generally far easier to purchase an existing restaurant but you are also eligible for an E-2 visa by starting up a new business, even though the process is a little more complicated.
The first stage of setting up a start-up business is that the investor must spend all the money required to initiate the business and also provide evidence of the source of the money. You have to be able to prove that the money has been "irrevocably committed." In the case of a restaurant you will have to demonstrate you have already leased or purchased suitable premises and you have already bought the kitchen equipment and furniture, and any refurbishment and fitting out has been completed. Many existing restaurants will of course already have these facilities already in place, which makes the job of finding a suitable business a little easier.
When equipping a restaurant there are certain state regulations which have to be followed and that includes separate sinks for different purposes such as the cleaning of mops and the preparation of vegetables. You can’t open a restaurant without having adhered to a list of requirements and many of these may substantially differ from your country of origin.
There are many skills in running a successful restaurant and a potential E-2 investor investing in a new start up must be able to demonstrate his or her ability to direct and develop the business through prior business experience, even down to having some sort of certification. Any investor who has not run a business before may find it hard to get an E-2 visa for a start-up business.
Before the restaurant can open its doors it has to be inspected and a license issued. Once this has been done and it is ready to serve its first meal there are many regulations to consider particularly in relation to the sourcing of food, food preparation and storage. Some of these regulations include: washing thoroughly all items that have been involved in the meal preparation; smoking is not permitted in restaurants and employees have to be screened for communicable diseases such as E. coli infections and hepatitis A.
If you are an E2 investor starting up a restaurant in DC for the first time you should ensure that you are aware of current regulations particularly if they weren’t so important in your own country. You will be employing staff too and you will be expected to adhere to minimum wage regulations and ensure that they are covered for workers compensation.
If you fail to follow the required regulations then your license could be revoked and you will be unable to stay in the country on an E2 visa. What should not be forgotten whether you open a business for the first time or buy an existing business you must be able to offer employment and you must be actively running the business yourself. While there is no defined number of employees specified for the E-2 visa good rule of thumb is a minimum of 2, preferably more.