This article was updated on November 23, 2023

E2 Visa: Do Your Due Diligence Homework with a CPA When Buying a Florida Business

Purchasing an existing business in the United States can be an exciting prospect for foreign entrepreneurs interested in obtaining an E2 investor visa. This visa allows qualified individuals to enter and work in the U.S. by investing in a legitimate business. However, for those unfamiliar with U.S. business practices, buying a business in Florida comes with some key considerations.

E2 visa due diligence CPA

Understand the Business Model and Market

One of the most important steps is conducting thorough due diligence on the business opportunity. As a foreign buyer, you may not be accustomed to reviewing typical U.S. business documents like financial statements, tax records, and bank statements. It's essential to engage a certified public accountant (CPA) to analyze these materials. A competent CPA can determine if the documents accurately portray the business’s finances and operations.

Verify Finances and Operations

Even with a CPA on your team, you must educate yourself on the target business. Take time to fully understand the business model, products/services offered, strengths, weaknesses, and risks involved before moving forward. A CPA can confirm whether documents are valid, but it's up to you to determine if it's a worthwhile investment that aligns with your goals and E2 visa application.

Align with E2 Visa Requirements

Remember that you bear the consequences of any rushed or uninformed decisions. Thorough due diligence takes time, but is crucial to avoid costly mistakes when buying a Florida business. Partnering with a knowledgeable business broker can also help navigate this complex process. With persistence and the right support, foreign entrepreneurs can successfully purchase Florida businesses – like those in Orlando, Tampa or elsewhere – to obtain an E2 visa. Just be sure to do your homework every step of the way.

The due diligence process will likely require reviewing and analyzing documentation such as:

  • Financial statements (past 3-5 years)
  • Tax returns (past 3-5 years)
  • Profit and loss statements
  • Balance sheets
  • Bank statements and accounts
  • Business licenses and registrations
  • Lease/rental agreements
  • Contracts and agreements
  • Inventory records
  • Equipment/asset lists
  • Insurance policies
  • Payroll documentation
  • Seller disclosures
  • And any other materials relevant to understanding current business operations and finances

Having a comprehensive list of requested documents will help you conduct thorough due diligence and avoid overlooking critical information when buying a Florida business as a foreign investor seeking an E2 visa.

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