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What issues might there be for an H-4 visa holder to purchase an EB-5 franchise business?

I am in the U.S. on an H-4 visa. I want to purchase a franchise business and use it as an EB-5 direct investment. Could there be any issues with this arrangement?

Answers

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    Julia Roussinova

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    We have done multiple successful direct EB-5s for H-4 investors who purchased franchises. If you have H-4 EAD, you can certainly do that, manage the business and hire requisite employees for a direct EB-5 business. If you do not have or are ineligible for H-4 EAD, then you can be in a passive investor/policy formulation, non-management role in a direct EB-5 enterprise as long as the business is properly structured.

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    Ed Beshara

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Even though you are in the U.S. under an H-4 status, you can file a direct EB-5 petition and continue to maintain your H-4 status. However, you will need employment authorization to manage the EB-5 business. Otherwise, you will have to have someone who is authorized to be employed in the U.S. to manage the U.S. business.

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Purchasing an EB-5 franchise business is possible, but as an H-4 visa holder, you would not be eligible to work. Therefore, you would have to hire a manager or have a business partner oversee and run the business until you receive some sort of employment authorization. It is possible, however, to obtain your EB-5 green card through such an arrangement, but you will need expert legal counsel to guide through the potential pitfalls.

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    Bernard P Wolfsdorf

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    If you do not have work authorization you must be careful not to engage in unauthorized employment or you might not be able to adjust status.

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    BoBi Ahn

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    As long as the franchise business qualifies as a commercial business capable of creating and maintaining the requisite minimum jobs and the rest of the EB-5 requirements, there is no issue that I can see based on it being a franchise or you being in H-4 status.

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    Stephen Berman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    I don't see any problem, unless you will be working on the project, which could constitute unauthorized employment.

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    That should be OK except that H-4s cannot work in the business without a work permit.

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    Marko Issever

    EB-5 Broker Dealer
    Answered on

    I don't see any immediate issues with your scheme. As long as you stay in status with your valid H-4 visa, there is no restriction for you to apply for the EB-5 through a direct investment. Assuming that you are not born in China or Vietnam, who are experiencing retrogression right now, once you get your I-526 approved you could proceed and file I-485 to adjust. In any case, direct EB-5 is quite complicated. You need to make sure whether you need a $500,000 or $1 million investment, a compliant business plan, ability to create 10 direct jobs, etc. Make sure to work with a team of EB-5 professionals to avoid unintended mishaps.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    As long as you could prove the source of funds for EB-5 and the business will create 10 jobs, a franchise could work as direct EB-5 route. The question would be whether you have a work authorization under H-4 to be able to earn an income, including business profit. If you do not have a work authorization, earning any income through your own business could be construed as unauthorized work that you must disclose at the I-485 and could complicate the adjustment. Thus, please consult with an experienced EB-5 immigration lawyer to review all your status documents as well as preparing the EB-5 case.

  • Avatar

    A Olusanjo Omoniyi

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You can certainly purchase an EB-5 franchise business. Also, if your H-4 lasts long enough and your I-526 is approved in time, you may be able to stay in the U.S. and adjust your status. However, if your H-4 were to expire prior to the approval of your I-526, you must leave the country unless you can either stay through an extension or another non-immigrant visa, and may end up going through consular processing.

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    Charles Foster

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    An H-4 visa holder could purchase a franchise that may qualify as a direct EB-5 investment, unless the H-4 visa holder has been able to obtain work authorization. He or she would not be eligible to work in the business but could be an owner as long as there were one or more key employees to actually run the business. Working in the business would cause the H-4 visa holder to violate his or her status.

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    Belma Chinchoy

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Do you have an EAD through the H-4? Purchasing a business on its own is not an issue on an H-4, but if you are not authorized to work then you're not authorized to run the business. You have to structure the direct deal carefully in order to meet the EB-5 without violating your current status.

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