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Buying a Business in Florida for an E2 Visa: A Play-by-Play

  1. Figuring out your search criteria: The preliminary diagnosis

Before you start touring businesses, you’ve gotta nail down a few key points:

  • What are your skills and how can they be used in the project?
  • Your family’s composition and foreseeable financial needs
  • The financial resources you’re allocating to the project
  • When do you want to make the move?
  • Which geographic areas are you into, and which ones are you totally not?
  • What activities get you jazzed, and which ones are a definite no-go?
Buying a Business in Florida for an E2 Visa: A Play-by-Play
  1. Mulling over the project and giving Florida a whirl

After that initial diagnosis, take some time to think it over. Visit Florida with fresh eyes, do your research, meet people, and read as much as you can! Are buying a business, getting an E2 visa, moving to Florida the right choice for you?

  1. Picking a handful of businesses

With those criteria you set earlier, E2 Visa Consulting (we’re here to help!) guides you to select target businesses on the BBF site (sometimes others too, but there’s often overlap) that meet:

  • Your personal criteria
  • The E2 visa eligibility criteria

Ideally, we’ll whittle the list down to 5 businesses max to work with at once.

E2 Visa Consulting hands you a Business Listing Information (BLI) for each company.

  1. Meeting with the immigration attorney

E2 Visa Consulting provides you with a list of immigration attorneys they’ve worked with and takes care of connecting you and setting up appointments.

E2 Visa Consulting never sits in on these meetings because some stuff discussed is all lawyer-client confidential, and we don’t need to know all the details.

All E2 Visa Consulting wants to know is if there’s nothing standing in the way of you applying for an E2 visa.

  1. Getting in touch with the brokers of businesses for sale

After signing a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) for each business, E2 Visa Consulting reaches out to the brokers handling the sales, introducing your profile and asking for additional info. At this stage, E2 Visa Consulting will ask you to provide proof that you’ve got the funds – as a member of BBF, they’ve gotta make sure you can afford the business you’re inquiring about.

  1. Examining the received documents

E2 Visa Consulting reviews the documents you received for each business with you, explaining them, so you can form your own opinion, and asking the brokers for more info if needed.

  1. Touring the businesses

E2 Visa Consulting sets up visits to the businesses for you, with the seller and their broker present. During these visits, you can ask all the questions your heart desires. And don’t worry – E2 Visa Consulting has their own list of questions to make sure no stone is left unturned and that the E2 visa process has the best shot at success.

  1. Choosing a business

After debriefing from the visits, discussing the answers to your questions, and addressing any lingering concerns, E2 Visa Consulting helps you pick the business that’s the perfect fit for you, based on a “strengths” and “weaknesses” matrix.

  1. Making an offer

E2 Visa Consulting provides you with the tools to determine your offer amount (transaction history, valuation methods, etc.), as well as all the important points: training period, due diligence, E2 visa condition, and drafts the offer. This offer will cover around 60 points, all customized to protect you.

The offer is sent to the seller’s broker on the same day and is valid for 3 to 7 days.

  1. Negotiation time

Upon receiving your offer, the seller can:

  • Accept it right away (rare)
  • Flat-out reject it (rare)
  • Make a counteroffer

In the last scenario, E2 Visa Consulting advises you on how to respond, whether it’s accepting the counteroffer or making a revised offer.

Negotiations are in writing and precise, usually taking less than 8 days.

  1. Offer accepted: We have a contract!

Both parties have agreed to the offer, and all aspects of the sale are covered. This contract is crucial because even after the sale is finalized with the Closing Attorney, the contract terms still apply.

  1. Sending the escrow to the Escrow Attorney

At this stage, the buyer needs to put funds in escrow to show they’re serious about their offer. For the upcoming E2 visa application, these funds need to be substantial, which is why we generally recommend a minimum amount of around $100,000. If the contract is canceled during the due diligence period, these funds will be returned immediately. After this period, canceling the contract would be much more uncertain, as the seller could request liquidated damages.

13 The Due Diligence Period

Alright, so once we’ve gotten past the initial review of the company, we’re moving into the due diligence period. This is when we really get down to business and take a closer look at everything. It usually lasts about 30 days, and E2 Visa Consulting’s got your back with a customized, detailed list of documents to request for each type of business. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) will tag along in this process, making sure everything’s on the up-and-up.

14 Reflecting on the Business Plan

Now, let’s talk business plan. E2 Visa Consulting’s gonna hook you up with a questionnaire and some pointers to help you start gathering all the important info needed for drafting the E2 visa business plan. So, put on your thinking cap and get ready to dive into the details!

15 Lease Negotiations with the Landlord

This step usually happens after the due diligence, but E2 Visa Consulting tries to get the ball rolling during that time to save some precious minutes. Your experience and financial stability will be under the microscope here. Landlords can be a bit “tricky” with visa applicants, but don’t worry – E2 Visa Consulting’s negotiation skills will make sure you get a fair deal.

16 CPA’s Due Diligence Report

After going through all the nitty-gritty details and documents provided by the seller, the CPA will work their magic and piece together the financial puzzle. They’ll double-check that everything’s on the level and that the info you based your decision on is accurate. Then they’ll whip up a thorough report for you.

Now, here’s the thing – in about 20% of cases, buyers might change their minds or just not feel satisfied with the info they’ve got during this period. If that happens, no worries! They can still cancel the deal and get their funds from the escrow account back ASAP.

17 End of the Due Diligence Period

Before the end of the Due Diligence period, E2 Visa Consulting checks in with you to make sure you feel “reassured” about all the questions you had regarding this acquisition, because after that, it won’t be possible to cancel. In some cases, Objective USA will request an extension of the period if we haven’t been able to get all the answers to our questions.

18 Drafting the Business Plan

Based on all the information you provided earlier, the insights gathered about the company, your plans, and exchanges with your attorney, Objective USA writes a business plan that will make a case for obtaining an E2 visa at the embassy.

19 Finalizing your file with the attorney

Throughout the process, you’ll have been in touch with your immigration attorney and provided them with all the requested documents. Objective USA, on its end, will have supplied the available information, often via a shared Dropbox.

Now it’s time to finalize the file for submission.

20 Submission of the visa application

With the file complete, the attorney sends the visa application to the US embassy in your country. This application has been digital since 2016; on the same day it’s submitted, the embassy has everything it needs to review your case.

21 Scheduling the Embassy Appointment

After a more or less lengthy review period, depending on the embassy’s workload, you’ll receive an email inviting you to log onto a website to set the appointment date yourself. The wait time for the appointment also depends on the embassy’s workload. Sometimes, the embassy may request additional information before scheduling the appointment.

22 Interview Preparation

In the week leading up to the interview, E2 Visa Consulting will go over your entire file with you to discuss it and prepare you for possible questions. Generally, the immigration attorney does the same thing: two preparations are better than one!

23 Embassy Interview

It’s the big day; you’re in Paris, and you’re stressed out – which is completely normal. Keep in mind that the officer is there to grant you your visa, not to refuse it. You’re bringing capital to the US, you’ll be creating jobs, and you meet the criteria: all the indicators are green!

24 Returning to the US: Settling In

You’re back in the US with your visa in hand. Ideally, having about ten days before the acquisition signing (when possible) allows you to tackle a lot of administrative tasks: the priority is finding housing, since that affects everything else. As E2 Visa Consulting is also a Real Estate Broker, we can assist you with this aspect too.

25 Receiving Closing Documents

The Closing Attorney prepares the final sale and sends us a set of documents that we review together to ensure everything is in order.

26 Signing the Sale

All parties meet at the Closing Attorney’s office. The attorney reviews the procedure, reads the documents, ensures everyone understands the implications of the documents, and has buyers, sellers, and brokers (as witnesses) sign. Everything is usually validated by a Notary Public present on site. Time for champagne!

27 First Days in Your Business and Follow-up

Now it’s getting real; you’re in your new business. The seller stays with you during the training period negotiated in the contract. They’re there to pass on knowledge and train you, not to work on your behalf. E2 Visa Consulting is still there to help you with any necessary adjustments. We’ll contact you regularly during the initial days and months to ensure everything is going well.

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Sylvain Perret

Sylvain Perret is a business professional who has been living in the United States since 2010. Along with his wife Daphnee, he has established several businesses in the country, including Integrity International Brokers, an agency based in Orlando where he works as a business broker, real estate broker, business consultant, and business plan writer. Over the years, he has helped numerous clients from around the world achieve success in their projects to create or take over a company in the United States with an E2 visa. He is highly knowledgeable about U.S. immigration issues and is the author of the book "S'expatrier aux USA grâce aux visas d'entrepreneurs", which is soon to be translated into English. Sylvain is also a Certified Business Intermediary (CBI) by the International Business Brokers Association and is regularly consulted on issues related to this field. At the age of 50, Sylvain chose to enhance his expertise in finance and strategy by pursuing a Master of Business Administration from the University of Central Florida. He successfully graduated in May 2023, adding a valuable finishing touch to his knowledge. He is active on LinkedIn and Twitter, where he shares his insights and experiences with a wider audience.


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