The E-2 Visa (Treaty Investor)
The E-2 Visa is the non-immigrant visa for persons wishing to invest (purchase) a Business in the United States. If you are a British citizen, and resident in the U.K., you are eligible to apply for an E-2 visa. If you are a citizen of another country you may be eligible if your country has an appropriate treaty with the U.S. For more information, please visit Department of State Link Here.
Key Requirements to qualify for an E-2 Visa:
1. Investment must be substantial: The term substantial is not defined in exact dollar terms. To be approved for E-2 visas, substantial usually means an investment in excess of $100,000. Some Seller or Bank Financing is possible, but, we do not normally recommend more than 15% - 25% of the purchase price be financed for investments in the range $100,000 -$500,000.
2. Business must be an operating enterprise: Speculation or Passive investments are not permitted.
3. Investment must not be "marginal": The business in which you are buying must generate more than enough income to support you and your family, contribute to the U.S. economy, and employ U.S. workers.
4. Buyer must be the source of funds: The buyer must be the source of the funds to buy the business. Personal loans from others can be considered part of your investment as long as the business is not the collateral for the loan. Gifts of funds for the investment are permitted.
5. Business must be an Active Investment: The buyer must be coming to the U.S. to expand and direct the enterprise. You must operate the business. Passive investments do not qualify.
So What does this all this mean?
How much do I need to invest in a business to qualify?
There is no minimum investment amount required for an E-2 visa. However, it is difficult to obtain an E-2 visa with an investment of less than $100,000. Businesses that are purchased for $100,000 require an almost full cash purchase. As the businesses get larger, some financing is allowed. A rule of thumb is that financing should not be more than 15%-25% of the purchase price for a business between $100,000 and $500,000 with the business assets as collateral. The seller may be willing to finance more, but that will not be accepted when the visa application is adjudicated. Many deals have been lost because of too much financing.
How much profit does the business have to make to “Qualify” – Watch Out for “Marginal Investments”
How to prove profit:
The business in which you are buying must produce more than enough income to support you and your family. In Florida, the median income for a family of four is $56,824 and so a business should generate an operating income that is greater than that amount.
The business tax return and other financial statements are the basis for proving that the business is not “Marginal”. Sellers do not always declare all their income and accountants may try to find ways to reduce the seller's tax liability, by reducing profits shown on their taxes and financial statements. This can be a problem for you in trying to find a business that will qualify. When you identify a business that you want to buy, one of the first steps in your process is to confirm that the Business Income meets the requirements.
How to Prove Business Income & What is Owners Benefit?
Tax Returns and other Financial Statements do not always show the economic "earnings" of a company. Further study and analysis can reveal the actual "owner's benefit".
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Special information for visa applicants: Since this is a U.S. Government program, not all of the add-back described above will be accepted. We will help guide you through this complex process and help you find a business that will qualify for the E-2 Visa.
How many Employees are required?
In general, the more employees the better, but there should not be less that 2 full time employees. Remember, you are supposed to develop and grow you business through employees.
How to find a Qualifying Business.
The process of buying a business is complicated. Adding a Visa Application further complicates the process. It is critical to your success that you have advisors that are experienced and will help you accomplish your dreams. You need to develop a team of Professionals. That team should include a Business Broker, a Visa Services Firm, an Accountant, and an Attorney.
We understand the requirements and the pitfalls for the E2 Visa
We have access to sellers throughout Florida and the United States. Our network database is the only one of its kind with hundreds of business listings. We have cooperative relationships with all of the major brokerage firms in the state and have the ability to match buyers and sellers of businesses.
We will work proactively with you to find the right business for you, one that will qualify for an E-2 Visa.