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Citizens of over 30 treaty countries can obtain a visa to run a business in the United States under the E-2 classification. E-2 visa investors can run a business of any size in the USA, if they start a business or buy an existing business which satisfies the requirements established by US law. An E-2 business broker can help you locate the right opportunity.

This visa is explained in some depth in The E-2 Visa – A small investment to live your American Dream!

  • Buying an E-2 business should be no different than buying a business without the pursuit of an immigration benefit. 
  • Seek the advice of an immigration lawyer before buying a business via an E-2 visa, or any other visa.
Warning! Proceeding further in the reading of this article can change the course of your life, hopefully for the better. Ready to start? 

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), an average of over 627,000 small business are registered in the USA each year. however, an average 595,000 small businesses close each year. Diligence about the business endeavor allows you as the E-2 visa applicant to plan for your business accordingly, and to increase your likelihood of success. 

Realtors can access a database of businesses for sale, and some have their own listings. Elizabeth Alderete, president of Miami-based Brazilian Business Group, and a commercial realtor, is a member of the One Click Advisor Referral Network. Elizabeth maintains current information on businesses available for sale. She has worked with dozens of E-2 visa applicants in their search for an E-2 suitable business, and as an E-2 business broker, offers some insight.

Elizabeth’s recommendations

1. Look at all the lifestyle choices you, the E-2 visa applicant, want to adopt to your life and that of your family. If you do not want to work on weekends, buying a restaurant is a no-no. If you do not like pets, no matter profitable, buying a pet shop will be miserable for you. Be realistic about what you like and dislike. 

2. Numbers tell a story. Often, individuals looking to move to the USA through an investment visa, such as an E-2, make decisions based on speculation and ignore the numbers. The mere existence of thousands of gas stations across the U.S.A. doesn’t mean all of them are profitable, that they are a good business, and that owning one is the right fit for you. 

3. A business consultant is your best friend. A business broker, whether an E-2 business broker or not, helps you locate business options. An immigration attorney will give you legal advice related to the viability of your visa application. A business consultant will discuss numbers and viability of the actual business, and help you with a plan. 

After consulting over 3,000 business owners, James Chittenden , founder of One Click Advisor agrees and adds:

4. DO NOT RUSH! Take your time to learn about different business options. They include franchises, existing businesses, startups and new businesses. They all have pros and cons. Be realistic about what you can handle in the early stages of your business.

5. A business plan is essential! Immigration officials – whether you are pursuing a visa through an American Consulate or Embassy abroad, or a change of status filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) – have a different use for the business plan that is submitted in support of your E-2 visa application. They are government employees, and guess what? Their goal is NOT to run a successful business. It is your responsibility to have a game plan in place geared towards increasing the likelihood of success of your business. 

6. Keep learning!  Over the years, I have seen many business owners make mistakes merely because they were not learning from the mistakes (or the knowledge) of others. Oneclickadvisor.com has several free resources such as calculators, educational videos, financial statement generators, and of course, the Business Builder. Countless startup owners have used the Business Builder to create business plans.  Oneclickadvisor.com also offers several low-cost courses. Business Planning Simplified is my first recommendation for someone starting out. An investment of $5.95 can be the best investment you make in the long run, allowing you to increase your knowledge base in principles such as market strategy, SWOT analysis, and other key elements of planning for a successful business. 

Whether you are purchasing an existing business, a franchise, or starting a new business, the assistance of an immigration attorney is important. Renata Castro, Esq., founder of USA4ALL, formerly known as Castro Legal Group, recommends that prospective E-2 investors consider the following factors when deciding on an E-2 immigration attorney:

7. Your immigration attorney is NOT your business broker! Watch out for conflicts of interest. Moreover, immigration attorneys are skilled in the law; rarely are they skilled in business. I have a business degree, and an MBA in Project Management. Despite that, I do not give my clients business advice. My role in the ecosystem of an E-2 visa application is to prepare a petition which will increase the chances of my client’s case being approved. I always recommend that my client work with a business consultant, even if the E-2 visa applicant has business experience in their home country. Consult an E-2 business broker. The American market presents different opportunities, as well as threats. I believe that by planning accordingly and seeking the advice of a business consultant, my client will be better equipped for success. 

8. Listen to the positive and to the negative advice you receive from your mentors. When I wrote 99 Questions to Ask BEFORE Starting a Business in the U.S. with James Chittenden, we wanted to make sure we invited people like you to uncover answers to questions you most likely do not want to ask yourself. You probably do not want to ask those questions because you do not want to face the answers. But those answers are the ones you must listen to in order to increase your chances of success.

Do you have a question related to an E-2 visa, or any other visa which would allow you and your family to live your American Dream? Send it to us on our Instagram Account, and Immigration Attorney Renata Castro could be responding your question next! 

And finally…

Welcome to One Click Advisor! We would be remiss if we didn’t give you a brief tour of the site and what it can do for you, as an owner of a startup or small business. Your challenges and opportunities can be sorted into one of three areas.

Marketing, because it brings in the customers. Start or continue that plan here.

Operations, because it keeps your customers. Start or continue that plan here.

Finance, because it is the scoreboard. Change the “score” and explore financing here.

The One Click Advisor Business Builder connects you with all the fundamentals. Skip the hours of research and costly mistakes…we have done the work for you.

DISCLAIMER: This article does not constitute endorsement by the attorney of any of the services listed, nor does the attorney earn any income derived from affiliate links. Attorney-client relationship is not established with the readers of this article, and is no substitute for legal representation.