E-2 INVESTOR VISA
To become an owner of a business in the United States in order to obtain the visa E-2, the first thing a foreign citizen should do is contact an immigration lawyer who is authorized to solve visa issues with the consulate. This must be done to minimize the risk of refusal of the E-2 visa as each consulate has its own peculiarities in making decisions on granting visas.
Before buying a business you need to consider a number of requirements for obtaining the E-2 visa. The main factors are the cost of the project, its self-sufficiency, and the potential for generating employment. Now let’s take a closer look at these issues.
Price. The minimum amount to be invested isn’t legally defined. But for reasons of simplicity some lawyers voice the sum of $100,000. If assets are acquired, the seller and the buyer must fill out a 8594 form for the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
Self-sufficiency. This figure is determined by conducting a pre-investment audit, including the analysis of financial and tax reports for the last 3 years, for a company that already exists or evaluation of a prepared business plan for a company to be launched.
Generating employment. When considering an application for obtaining a visa, the consulate wants to see the potential of a business in generating employment for people who have a permission to work in the United States. To do this, the buyer must request personnel data summary from the seller of a business for 2 or 3 years. A business plan for 3-5 years of a business to be newly opened must fully justify the potential of generating employment.
After that when it is defined that the purchased business meets all the requirements for obtaining the E-2 visa, the buyer should consider other factors, the way a U.S. citizen would act when buying a business.
FORM OF PURCHASE
A foreign citizen can purchase securities of a company or its assets (furniture, supplies, equipment). According to the experts, it is safer to buy the business assets as it is possible to considerably avoid hidden liabilities. When buying a legal entity, the buyer assumes hidden liabilities that, despite all the thoroughness of a pre-investment audit, often remain undetected.
When buying a business in the U.S.A., a foreign citizen is entitled to act directly on his/her own behalf or through a legal entity created by him/her – a corporation or a limited liablity company. In most cases, it is recommended to use a legal entity as this will help protect the buyer from personal liability for the company’s obligations, including its debts.
When acquiring a business in South Florida, it is necessary to cooperate with a broker or a commercial lawyer, as well as an immigration lawyer. In this case, business brokers can be either independent or be partners of major brokerage houses. Note that in Miami brokerage commissions are paid by the seller, that is why there’s no reason in declining the broker services. In addition, many brokers speak Russian.
Agreement of sale and purchase of assets or securities that is to be signed by the buyer and sent to the seller as a proposal should be prepared by lawyers. The laywers also carry out detailed due diligence (validity of a license, payment of taxes and the absence of lawsuits against the seller). For security reasons, the best way to do this is to hire a lawyer with experience in conducting transactions for the purchase of a business.
Certified public accountant, who are always contacted by cautious buyers, assist in checking the financial reports of a business, because the financial reports can not always be trusted.
The auditor checks the condition of the equipment. If it isn’t satisfactory, the buyer may reduce the price or claim equipment repair from the seller. Otherwise, the transaction may not take place at the initiative of the buyer.
According to Florida law, the renter of an office (the buyer) must obtain insurance, hence, when signing rental agreement (part of the procedure of acquiring a business), the render must contact an insurance agent who will determine the amount of insurance.