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Advice Required for Moving to USA and buying a business

Advice Required for Moving to USA and buying a business

Old Jul 13th 2020, 1:21 pm
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Smile Advice Required for Moving to USA and buying a business

Bare with me this is a long thread but appreciate the help....

My wife, myself and two teenager sons (one in secondary and one at college in the UK) are planning to sell our house in the UK next year, use the profit to buy a business in Florida and relocate permanently using what I believe will be the E-2 Visa. We are aware of the business requirements to fulfill the Visa requirements and will have enough in the kitty to finance a rental house and schooling for my sons.

I am looking for contacts to discuss 'how to actually purchase a business' which will include information on fees, taxes, things to look out for etc so we can get an idea of actual cost to buy. I would think a business broker but if anyone out there has done this I would be really keen to speak to them to discuss as knowing this information will redcue my concern with the move. of course the business would be there to allow us to live and we understand the US way of life having been there for holidays for 15 years.

Other queries I have are applying for an E-2 Visa and the duration of how long in advance of selling in the UK which will allow us to have available cash to purchase said business in the USA. With that I think we'd need to rent in the UK first in order to have cash in pocket

I'm looking to chat with people that have actually done this to gain real life issues regarding this process

Many Thanks
Doug
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Old Jul 13th 2020, 1:30 pm
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Default Re: Advice Required for Moving to USA and buying a business

Hi, welcome to BE.

I posted a long response but somehow in my attempt to remove your poll (not really relevant to your thread) I've edited my own reply!

You mention 'relocate permanently', but presumably you're aware that isn't possible on the E-2 visa? It's only a temporary visa, no direct route to a green card so not ideal for families if you want to stay permanently. Is a L-1 not an option instead maybe just in case you did want to stay permanently?

There are quite a lot of threads with an overview of the process, if you have a hunt you should find some useful info.

Best of luck.
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Old Jul 13th 2020, 1:50 pm
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Default Re: Advice Required for Moving to USA and buying a business

Hi, thankyou for getting back to me. I have no idea how I have managed to set a poll up, I will look into removing it. We are under the impression the e2 visa is renewable every 2 years as long as business still running. Our boys would get a student visa, and once they have finished their education the choice is theirs as either purchasing a business, moving back to UK or travelling etc. My wife especially loves florida and the way of life. I have looked at the L1 visa and did not see it as an option as we can not set a business up here then relocate it which was my understanding. Later on in life, we would be in a position for the visa which allows you to apply for a green card through the $1,000,00.00 option and we fully understand that our children will be adults then so not be included, if the move was to become permanent for my wife and I. Our eldest son is about to start his final college year here is about to start the process of applying for uni's in florida which really has given us the push that we need to get this going.
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Old Jul 13th 2020, 2:35 pm
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Default Re: Advice Required for Moving to USA and buying a business

The E-2 visa is commonly referred to here on BE as "the visa from hell", so prepare yourself for some fairly frank comments.

Originally Posted by DougieP View Post
Bare with me
Please excuse me if I don't.
.... I am looking for contacts to discuss 'how to actually purchase a business' which will include information on fees, taxes, things to look out for etc so we can get an idea of actual cost to buy. I would think a business broker but if anyone out there has done this I would be really keen to speak to them to discuss as knowing this information will reduce my concern with the move. ....
There aren't many E-2 visa holders here on BE, and those there are, are mostly AFAICT running "stable" businesses, not ones that are growing rapidly enough to ever meet the $1million EB-5 theshold, but they seem to know that and are planning to sell-up when they retire. ...... BTW if that's what you're talking about, it sounds like you aren't aware that the old $1million "invest anywhere you like" EB-5 visa requirement has gone up to $1.8million. ...... There is a lesser $900k (previously $500k) EB-5 tier, but that is restricted to economic backwaters (poor areas, or sparsely populated rural areas), as defined by the Federal government.
.... of course the business would be there to allow us to live and we understand the US way of life having been there for holidays for 15 years.
Please excuse me for disagreeing with you but you absolutely don't "understand the US way of life", you have no idea! Trust me, living here is a totally different game from visiting on holiday, totally, and utterly. Not least because as a holidaymaker, especially in Florida, you get to enjoy and experience all the things that are cheap, the cheap hotels, the cheap restaurants, the cheap rental cars, and of course the cheap petrol, which is fun, but when you get to live here, you find that many things, are nowhere near as cheap as you might expect.

Contrary to the popular belief, apparently popularized by Brits who spend their holidays in Florida, the US is not a cheap place to live. Sure, many Americans "get by" on pretty low income, but it isn't fun, in fact it is down right miserable for them. IMO the threshold for someone in employment to transition from "having to carefully watch their money", to being able to enjoy things a little (eat out more often than occasionally, buy new cars, not used ones, afford a vacation in a hotel or resort, etc.), is around $100k household annual gross income, but per advice on medical insurance below, I would increase that to about $125k for a household where the income is derived from self-employment.

Let's start off with medical insurance, which is tolerable for most Americans because it is heavily subsidized by their employer, but when you are self employed you get to carry the whole cost. I would start with an estimate of around $2,500/mth for insurance and out of pocket medical expenses for you and your family, and I wouldn't be surprised if it is even more.

Then there's car insurance - with no US history, consider yourself lucky if you can find insurance for less than $2k for the first year.

Then you have no credit history, so buying vehicles will be a challenge, and paying cash would take a huge bite out of your capital available for investment. Your best bet will probably be vehicles that are 5-8 years old and have around 150,000 miles on them, which by US standards is "barely run in" - until recently I was driving an Accord that finally died when it had reached 360,000 miles!

And then there's the cost of running AC almost year round. Even for a small home I would recommend budgetting a minimum $200/mth for electricity, and it could be more, certainly if you live in more than a modest size home.

Groceries? They're expensive in the US. The federal government produces statistics on that, and depending on your age and your location the typical grocery bill in America is between about $200/person/mth and $350/person/mth. And while we are far from extravagant, we are probably running around the $300/person/mth mark this year, for groceries and household consumables (the stuff you would typically buy at a supermarket). Most of our meat is either chicken or ground beef, with steaks a couple of times a month, but only when it is discounted - ditto fish, which we like, but we look for deals on shrimp or salmon, and rarely pay the full price.

Oh, and the cheap petrol is wholly an illusion, as you will drive more, a lot more, than you did in the UK . Consider yourself very lucky if you can keep your monthly petrol expenditure down to the same as you spent in the UK, because unless you live in one of a handful of US cities with even vaguely useful public transport (none of which to the best of my knowledge are in Florida), you will likely be spending more on petrol than you did in the UK.

Oh, and plan on bugeting for one vehicle per family member - so in your case, four vehicles, as you will probably find that it is impractical to leave the development where you live without a vehicle. It is common to find that even if you live in an apartment, that it is dangerously impractical to even cross the main road outside the apartments to reach the strip mall across the highway, because there are no pavements and no pedestrian crossings. If you live in a subdivision you may well find there are are no pavements within the estate (subdivision) and no provision at all to walk out of the estate even to nearby shops.
.... Other queries I have are applying for an E-2 Visa and the duration of how long in advance of selling in the UK which will allow us to have available cash to purchase said business in the USA. With that I think we'd need to rent in the UK first in order to have cash in pocket
If you're needing to sell your home in the UK to raise the capital to buy a business, then IMO you are already dangerously over-extending yourself.

I hardly dare ask (i) have you ever run your own business in the UK? (ii) what sector are you looking to buy a business in? ..... Please tell us it isn't a restaurant.

At the moment I think you are about to walk straight into a minefield, as there are a lot of small businesses in the US, and Florida, that are teetering on the brink, and there are many owners who I am sure will be willing to sell out at a "bargain" price, because the business is at best operating very marginally, if not already tipping over the edge.

Last edited by Pulaski; Jul 13th 2020 at 3:57 pm.
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Old Jul 13th 2020, 3:28 pm
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Default Re: Advice Required for Moving to USA and buying a business

and we understand the US way of life having been there for holidays for 15 years.
A contender for post of the year from someones first post!

(No you don't BTW, but anyway....)

I will not repeat what Pulaski said, except to say that I concur with him in all regards.

I also cannot believe that you would willingly throw your children to the wolves here. You realize that at 21 they have no recourse to staying in the US without getting a visa of their own, clearly, so one wonders why you are considering this at this stage? After they were already at Uni I could understand it, but you appear willing to allow your oldest to pay the fees of a foreign student, and rack up huge amounts of personal debt, for the sole dubious privilege of living in Florida.

I would not consider this in your situation, because if you can't afford the EB-5 now you won't be able to in future. You also do not mention what business you are thinking of buying. Pool service? Landscaping?

Last edited by civilservant; Jul 13th 2020 at 3:30 pm.
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Old Jul 13th 2020, 4:52 pm
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Default Re: Advice Required for Moving to USA and buying a business

I find it odd that your son is applying to universities based on the location where his mother thinks she wants to live, rather than the universities that has the best results in the field he wants to study, best equipment, etc. When I applied to university it was a career path for me, not a dream move for my mother. I studied a science-based degree and for me the criteria were lab and research facilities, previous results, works written by the teaching staff, specialist fields offered, connections to local businesses that may offer work experience-type placements, options for further study, etc. I narrowed it down to Manchester and Edinburgh based on that. Weather was never a consideration.
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Old Jul 13th 2020, 5:42 pm
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Default Re: Advice Required for Moving to USA and buying a business

Originally Posted by steph0scope View Post
I narrowed it down to Manchester and Edinburgh based on that. Weather was never a consideration.
Having said that, both are places with better weather than Florida...
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Old Jul 13th 2020, 6:05 pm
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Default Re: Advice Required for Moving to USA and buying a business

Originally Posted by robin1234 View Post
Having said that, both are places with better weather than Florida...
And, from what I can gather, they are neither populated (BE members excepted!) or governed by people who appear to have a death wish. Why would anyone want to move there under current circumstances—which are unlikely to change any time soon, making the possibility of a visa moot.
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Old Jul 13th 2020, 10:19 pm
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Default Re: Advice Required for Moving to USA and buying a business

EB5 would get all of you Green Cads.
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Old Jul 13th 2020, 10:22 pm
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Default Re: Advice Required for Moving to USA and buying a business

Originally Posted by Boiler View Post
EB5 would get all of you Green Cads.
But only if he has $900k, or $1.8million, now, or at least before his sons reach their 21st birthday, and he doesn't appear to currently have that much.
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Old Jul 13th 2020, 10:44 pm
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Default Re: Advice Required for Moving to USA and buying a business

They are relying on a house sale in the UK to finance the purchase of the business, living in the US and the capital needed to qualify for the visa. What is your plan, OP, if the desired sale price is not reached or not reached in time? You are under time pressure due to the ages of your children.

Also, is this a business in an industry in which you currently work? Have you ever run a business before?
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Old Jul 14th 2020, 1:15 am
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Default Re: Advice Required for Moving to USA and buying a business

Originally Posted by Nutmegger View Post
And, from what I can gather, they are neither populated (BE members excepted!) or governed by people who appear to have a death wish. Why would anyone want to move there under current circumstances—which are unlikely to change any time soon, making the possibility of a visa moot.
That's exactly what I was thinking? Who the hell would even considering moving to Florida! Madness!!
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Old Jul 14th 2020, 1:25 am
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Default Re: Advice Required for Moving to USA and buying a business

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
But only if he has $900k, or $1.8million, now, or at least before his sons reach their 21st birthday, and he doesn't appear to currently have that much.
A lot depends on how much the house is worth.
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Old Jul 14th 2020, 11:04 am
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Default Re: Advice Required for Moving to USA and buying a business

It would seem that the OP might have 'seen the light' and went off to rethink their plans.
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Old Jul 14th 2020, 11:16 am
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Default Re: Advice Required for Moving to USA and buying a business

Originally Posted by civilservant View Post
It would seem that the OP might have 'seen the light' and went off to rethink their plans.
Not necessarily. He may be thinking we're all crazy and wondering what we're concerned about!

Different strokes for different folks and all that. I personally wouldn't consider selling my house and putting the money in to a business in a country I'm not familiar with. But most of my money is in my house, we have little else for later in life and I wouldn't be prepared to risk it, perhaps the OP has a ton of investments so doesn't need to worry about that. I personally wouldn't consider moving to a country with my children that I'd know they couldn't stay in. Even if they may well end up moving abroad anyway, I'd still want the option for them to live close to us if they wanted to. But perhaps the OP is happy to just see them for holidays. I personally wouldn't move a secondary age child to a country that they'd get settled in to just in time for them to be kicked out. But perhaps the OP has discussed it with his son/daughter and they think it's a life experience. I personally would rather eat my own head than live in Florida, but the OP clearly thinks differently.

So whilst I can't understand why anybody would move to Florida on a temp visa with teenage kids, the OP may still think it's the best idea he's ever had. Hopefully he'll come back and let us know what they've decided, I still think there's other options to look at if he does, if they do have business experience and can maybe set it up in the UK first. But hopefully the forum pros can help him work out a better plan.

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