The E2 Visa Process
The process of buying or investing in a business in the United States is easier than you think. Here’s a step-by-step look at how to find a business to buy and get approved for an E2 Visa, with links to additional information.
01 Get Qualified Help
You will need the assistance of two types of professionals in the E2 Visa process. The first is a Business Broker. Business Brokers help with finding you a business that suits your goals and then they assist you throughout the business buying process. The other type of professional you will need is an Immigration Attorney. An Immigration Attorney will package your Visa, assist you with getting your Visa approved through the consulate and help you with the closing process. When you choose a Business Broker and an Immigration Attorney, you will want qualified professionals who have experience with the E2 Visa process.
You can find a list of experienced and qualified professionals by area of the United States by clicking here.
02 Discovery Process
During the discovery process, your Business Broker and your Immigration Attorney will ask you questions like: What type of Visa are you interested in? What type of business would you like to buy? What part(s) of the United States are you interested in? How much money are you looking to invest in a business? What members of your family would you like to bring with you when you move to the United States? The answers to these questions will help your Business Broker and Immigration Attorney find the right business and the right Visa to help you reach your goals for business investment. For most entrepreneurs, the E2 Visa will be the Visa of choice.
Would you like to read more about the kinds of questions your Broker or Attorney may ask you? Click here.
Would you like to see more about the E2 Visa and other Entrepreneur Pathways available to business investors? Click here to visit the United States Department of Homeland Security U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.
Click here to see the regulations for the E2 Visa from the U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual.
03 Guided Search
Not all businesses for sale in the United States qualify for the E2 Visa. Once your Business Broker knows what your goals are, they can refine your search to E2 Visa qualifying businesses in the geographic area, price range, industry and size that would work for you. This way you won’t waste your time looking at businesses that will not fit with your goals.
Would you like to search businesses currently for sale in Florida? Click here.
04 Offer To Purchase
Once you find a business you would like to buy, you will work with both your Business Broker and your Immigration Attorney to put together an Offer to Purchase. In this document, you will specify the amount you want to pay. This document also serves as the guideline you’ll use to buy the business, so it will include: the timeline of the purchase, how much the down payment will be, when the closing date will be, what type of training period you would like from the seller of the business, the length of time you would like for due diligence, what assets will be included or not included in the sale and other aspects like lease terms and licensing requirements. Once the seller receives your initial Offer to Purchase, they will have the choice to accept the offer as-is, or they can negotiate with you to change the terms. Most business transactions involve a bit of back-and-forth negotiation, but once both parties arrive at an agreement, the seller of the business will accept your Offer to Purchase.
05 Due Diligence
When a business seller accepts an Offer to Purchase, the business transaction moves to the next step – Due Diligence. During Due Diligence, the buyer will have a chance to thoroughly review the business. You will have access to the financial records, contracts, leases – you will be able to get a complete look at what you are buying. If, at the end of Due Diligence, you decide you do not want to move forward with the sale, you will have the chance to walk away from the deal. If you still want to proceed with the purchase, but you found something that you think changes the amount you are willing to pay for the business, you will have an opportunity to amend your offer and renegotiate the terms of the purchase agreement. Once you are satisfied with the terms for purchasing the business, you will move ahead to the next phase of the process.
Would you like to know more about Due Diligence? Click here.
06 Package Visa
At the end of Due Diligence, your Immigration Attorney with package your Visa and send it to the consulate for review. The package for your E2 Visa will consist of all necessary forms, applications and a business plan.
07 Wait For Consulate
Once the consulate receives the package for your Visa, you will wait for a meeting with the United States consulate in your home country. This waiting period varies by country, but is usually anywhere from 2 to 12 weeks.
08 Meet With Consulate
The meeting at the consulate will consist of an interview. You, your spouse and any children over the age of 14 who will be moving with you to the United States will be required to attend. Your interview will likely consist of questions about why you want to apply for the E2 Visa, questions about your business plan, the names and duties of current employees, questions about your source of funds, how many jobs you will be creating, why you chose this type of business, why you chose a business in that part of the United States, questions about how you found the business, who your Business Broker and Immigration Attorney are, questions about why you will be successful in this particular business, what your plans are for business growth and perhaps even questions about your personal life.
Find the U.S. Consulate near you by visiting the United States Department of State: Embassies, Consulates and Diplomatic Missions website.
09 Visa Approval
Upon approval of your Visa, you will typically receive the Visa in 2 weeks, after which you will travel to the United States to proceed with closing.
Once you have returned to the United States, you will review and sign the closing documents. Once the closing documents are signed, the escrow agent will release the funds to the seller and you will become the owner of the business. In almost all cases, the purchase agreement will include a training period where you will work with the seller and learn how to run the business.
You may also need to apply for a United States Social Security Number (SSN) and a driver’s license. Ask your Immigration Attorney if these apply to you and your Visa status.
11 Visa Renewal
In most cases, you will need to renew your E2 Visa every 2 or 5 years. However, there is no limit to the number of times you can renew. Ask your Immigration Attorney about the timeline for renewing your Visa.