Do I have to be a citizen in order to qualify for a liquor license?

Another frequent question we hear often from potential clients is whether or not one has to be a citizen of the United States before you can qualify for a liquor license.  The short answer is no.

The most important criteria for immigrant applicants to consider is work permit status.  Non-citizens must have the legal right to work inside the U.S. before they can consider applying for a liquor license.  There are many forms of legal residency that can be granted to foreign persons residing inside the United States, but they don’t always come with a work permit.

All applicants applying for a business liquor license from the TABC are scrutinized as to the legal status of their residency.  Most applicants are native born citizens and their citizenship is evident from the criminal background check conducted by the Texas Dept. of Public Safety in relation to their liquor license application.

When applying for a liquor license, Non-citizen applicants are asked for their immigration status.  Naturalized citizens must submit their alien registration “A” number on their TABC application, which number is located on the naturalization certificate they were presented with.  Unfortunately, most naturalized citizens received their certificates years prior to submitting an application with the TABC and cannot produce their “A” number. In cases like this, it’s possible to use the number from their U.S. passport.

One of the most popular methods for business entrepreneurs to immigrate to the U.S. is by way of the E2 VISA.  The E2 VISA requires a significant investment be made by the immigrant applicant into a new business to be located inside the U.S. and grants the applicant legal residency and the right to work. In lieu of opening a new business, you can also purchase an existing business.

The E2 VISA is relatively easy to apply for, especially when the application is made in the immigrant’s home country through the local U.S. Consulate office.  In most cases, the application has a 30 day processing time prior to the VISA being issued. When issued, the VISA gives the immigrant the right to reside inside the U.S. and to work specifically at the new business.

Once issued, the immigrant can apply for a liquor license from the TABC in the name of the company to which the E2 VISA is connected. You cannot hold an E2 VISA related to a cell phone store, for example, then buy a restaurant as a side business and obtain a liquor license for it.  The new side business must also be owned and operated by the business for which the E2 VISA was issued.

Texas Liquor License has been a pioneer in assisting immigrant applicants with obtaining liquor licenses for their businesses. If you or your client will be pursuing an E2 VISA or if you have a work permit and will need a liquor license for your business, please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about the application process.

We are excited to work with immigrant entrepreneurs that are committed to opening a successful business in Texas and want to be a permanent part of your team to insure your success in the longterm.

(c) 2015, Texas Liquor License.


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