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New Sarasota Business Opportunity for Immigrants

Posted: October 22nd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Investor Visas | Tags: , , , | No Comments » recently heard about a new business opportunity for immigrant investors.  The business is a liquor store located in the Sarasota Crossings shopping center at the intersection of Fruitville Rd. and Honore Ave.  The shopping center includes a Publix, an hhgregg, a CVS and a Starbucks.  The upper-middle class Meadows neighborhood is less than a mile away.

The liquor store is already established and profitable, sales have been increasing yearly, it would come with $549,000 worth of inventory and it is one of the few liquor stores in town that delivers.

Address: 5411 Fruitville Rd., Sarasota, FL 34232

Square Footage: 191,148

Number of neighboring tenants: 35

Year Built: 1990

Last Renovation: 2009

Parking Spaces: 956

Immigrants who are interested in obtaining an E-2 investor visa may be able to do so by buying this business.  Please contact the business broker, Nicole Christodoulou, of Commodore Realty (305-365-2600) for more information.  Contact Chris Jaensch of Jaensch Immigration Law Firm (941-366-9841) to see if the business could qualify for an E-2.

2013.1021.Liquor Story for Sale1

2013.1021.Liquor Story for Sale2

For information on more ways to qualify for an investor visa, please see the video below of Chris Jaensch speaking about using commercial property to qualify for an E-2 or EB-4 investor visa.

Guest Post: Do Investor Visa Petitions Require Business Plans?

Posted: August 22nd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Immigration Reform, Investor Visas | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

The source of this information is E-Council, Inc:

e-Council’s team of licensed professionals designs business plans for business owners and entrepreneurs seeking U.S. visas, establishing U.S. operations, seeking investors and/or expanding their businessesall at the right price. Our team is comprised of attorneys, MBA’s, CPA’s, PhD’s and other professionals that know what USCIS wants and we know how to deliver!  We have a stellar success rate and pride ourselves on consistently high-quality work.  

Lauren Cohen, Founder and President of eCouncil, is an attorney licensed in both the U.S. and Canada and an active AILA member and speaker.  Having immigrated from Canada, Lauren has first-hand knowledge of the visa process.  She developed e-Council to focus on designing professional Business Plans for all types of business visas, ranging from E-1 and E-2 to H-1B and L-1A, with a special focus on EB-5 projects for direct investments and regional centers. e-Council not only creates the right business plans to complement visa applications, but also works closely with business owners to develop their business models and strategies in the process.

E-2 and EB-5 Investor Visas Resources

Whether required or not, Investor Visa Petitions are all incomplete and risk a Request for Evidence (RFE) or, even worse, a denial without a Business Plan.  A Business Plan provides supporting evidence necessary for USCIS or the Consular Officer to determine if the business is viable, has a likely chance of success, will contribute to the U.S. economy in a meaningful way, and if the beneficiary(ies), employer(s) and/or the business itself satisfy the specific requirements of the applicable Visa.  Therefore, even though not specifically mandated, business Visa petitions benefit tremendously from a professional Business Plan that demonstrates and details the business model, structure, and goals.  As noted, without a Business Plan, the Visa risks processing delays due to Requests for Evidence that are likely to be issued, or denials which are extremely challenging and costly to overcome.

EB-5 Visas

An EB-5 petition is the only Visa petition to expressly require a Business Plan.  USCIS, through the body of laws regulating business immigration to the U.S., further requires proof of job creation for an EB-5 Visa petition, which is to be evidenced in the mandated Business Plan.  As stated:

The job creation analysis for each economic activity must be supported by a copy of a Business Plan for an actual or exemplar capital investment project for that category.  Note: A Business Plan provided in support of a regional center application should contain sufficient detail to provide valid and reasoned inputs into the economic forecasting tools and must demonstrate that the proposed project is feasible under the current market and economic conditions.  The form of the EB-5 investment from the commercial enterprise into the job-creating project (equity, loan, or some other financial arrangement) should be identified.

The Business Plan should also identify any and all fees profits, surcharges, or other like remittances that will be paid to the regional center or any of its principals or agents through EB-5 capital investment activities.  (Department of Homeland Security, USCIS, OMB No. 1615-0061, Instructions for Form I-924, Application for Regional Center Under the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program, at p. 2.)

In the Regional Center context, a Business Plan is used to support, “in verifiable detail,” that the EB-5 investment for the new business enterprise will not be in conflict with the Regional Center’s Business Plan.  Notably, “When we approve a regional center, we acknowledge that the econometric models and Business Plans appear to be feasible and that jobs should be directly or indirectly created through investment in the approved industry categories.”  (United States Citizenship & Immigration Services Webpage, EB-5 Regional Centers, located at

In 1998, the Associate Commissioner made a determination in the case of In re Ho.  This decision was and continues to be significant, explicitly detailing that EB-5’s require “a comprehensive Business Plan” (emphasis in original) that should contain the following elements:

1. a description of the business,
2. the business structure,
3. a marketing plan with target market analysis,
4. personnel experience,
5. a competitive analysis,
6. required licenses and permits,
7. staffing timetable for hiring, job descriptions, and
8. a budget and financial projections.

Significantly, it was noted that: “Most importantly, the Business Plan must be credible.”  (In re Ho, at p 213 – commonly referred to as MATTER OF HO).  Thus, the credibility of the Business Plan has become the pivotal factor, and EB-5 professionals are generally cognizant of this fact and will not prepare or submit Business Plans that they do not deem to be credible on their face.

This Matter of Ho decision set the standard for all future EB-5 Business Plans, and remains for the most part intact, with minor modifications and variations in interpretation depending on the specifics of the case and the type of EB-5 (ie: direct investment vs. regional center project).  Drafting an all-encompassing Business Plan is a complicated, time-consuming process that requires extensive research, industry marketing information, cognizance of the business structure and model, and an understanding of the key factors and evidence sought by USCIS.  While the business owner is often the best person to provide information about the business, (s)he is often constrained by time, lack of writing talent, and an absence of understanding of the Visa petition process and the requisite components of an EB=5 Business Plan.  Thus, the most prudent step that those pursing the EB-5 route can take is to retain a professional team to write the Business Plan incorporating the information supplied them in compliance with the requirements.

E-1, E-2 and L-1 Visas

E-2 and EB-5 Investor Visas

A Business Plan is equally critical to all non-immigrant business Visa petitions.  Increasingly, the reviewing agencies submit Requests for Evidence asking for a comprehensive Business Plan as support for the feasibility of the business and its contribution to the U.S. economy.  More often than not, Business Plans prepared by the petitioner are similarly kicked back as falling short.

In an E-Visa context, demonstrating that the investment (E-2) or trade (E-1) will be substantial or sufficient to satisfy the applicable treaty standards while showing that a successful business is planned is essential for approval.  What better way to show that the trade between the treaty countries (the U.S. and the home country of the beneficiary) is sufficient to meet the E-1 Visa requirements, or that the investment amount is “not marginal” so as to satisfy the E-2 Visa’s “substantial investment” threshold, than through a professionally-written Business Plan.

Similarly, establishing the intercompany transferee’s executive/managerial role in both the foreign country and proposed role in the U.S. is essential to satisfy the L-1A Visa requirements, among a growing list of other L-1A criteria that is changing on an almost-daily basis.  Proving that an intercompany transferee for an L-1B Visa has specialized knowledge and clearly delineating that knowledge is crucial for a successful petition in this area.  In both cases, a detailed analysis of the proposed beneficiary’s background and intended role with the petitioning company will offer evidentiary support that the beneficiary has specialized knowledge or is suited for an executive or supervisory position in applicable situations.

A professional Business Plan will not only include the nature of the business and the business model, the business’s mission, goals and objectives and a general marketing plan, but also details the structure of the business, its personnel, and the financial projections for the business. It will also outline how the business will positively impact the U.S. economy from various perspectives, and often will include a variety of charts, graphs and visuals so as to increase the appeal to the reviewing officials.  Outlining the nuts and bolts of the specific business in question along with the start-up and reasonable, fact-based projections with explanatory assumptions will clarify to the USCIS the viability of the business and, if an E-2 Visa, the reasonableness and risk factor of the “substantial investment”.  The detail with which a Business Plan should be composed creates evidentiary proof of the necessary factors needed for application approval.

National Interest Waivers (NIW’s)

A National Interest Waiver (NIW) petition is a part of the EB-2 category of second preference, employment-based immigration which leads directly to a Green Card.  Normally, a permanent job offer and an approved labor certification are pre-requisites to filing an employment-based, second preference immigration petition.  However, the NIW petition requests that the labor certification requirement be waived for the sake of the “national interest of the United States”.  In an NIW case, the burden of proof is on the applicant to establish that exemption from the labor certification will be in the national interest of the U.S.

Because of the nature of NIW petitions, it is vitally important that the petitioner show detailed and tangible evidence of past valuable contributions by the petitioner.  This evidence can be documented by showing the petitioner’s successful role in past business or academic projects.  In such cases, a business plan outlining the petitioner’s past accomplishments as well as present and future goals that is organized in a manner to highlight the petitioner’s significant and unique contributions can be a persuasive tool to present to the USCIS examiner.  For example, a business plan can document, in a form that USCIS examiners are used to reading, that the petitioner has already turned around a business, improved the economy, and created jobs in a way that would be vital to national interests.  The more evidence that the petitioner can present in the NIW context, the better chance of a favorable ruling.  Retro-oriented business plans can be a valuable part of that evidence.

Proposed changes to immigration laws contained in the Senate bill passed this summer would create two new types of visas: the temporary X visa, for entrepreneurs who don’t plan on staying in the U.S. permanently, and the EB-6 visa, which can lead to residency.  In each case, visas are available to entrepreneurs who hit thresholds for investment capital raised, jobs created, and revenue earned.  The EB-6 visa petition would specifically require the submittal of a business plan, which we can assume will follow EB-5 business plan requirements relating to detail and mandated elements.  The proposed X visa has investment threshold and job creation requirements that are also well-suited to documentation through a business plan.

A Business Plan is generally a roadmap for the business, designed to pave the way to its short- and long-term success.  However, as is the case in a Visa petition, the Business Plan can also be used to tell the story, provide an explanation, and give evidence and even a record of past accomplishments to further support the application.  A Visa petition lacking a sound, well-composed, and analytical Business Plan will likely face challenges at every turn, and will almost certainly be delayed by the USCIS seeking further evidence.

To find out more about professional, well-researched, articulate, expository narrative Business Plans, crafted specifically to address USCIS’s concerns, contact e-Council for further information at

Sarasota Immigrant Calls on Extensive International Experience

Posted: June 28th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Investor Visas, Sarasota Immigrants | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Sarasota Immigrant and Senior Sales Associate John Gough with Waugh & Co. Inc, Business Brokers Calls on Long and Successful Career in International Business

Sarasota Immigrant and Business Broker John Gough

John Gough

It doesn’t take long, upon meeting Sarasota immigrant and experienced sales associate John Gough (pronounced like “cough”), to realize that underneath his unassuming British modesty is an honest and intelligent man with an impressive career in international business behind him.  Mr. Gough worked for 40 years in the reinsurance market of the prestigious Lloyds of London as a broker and underwriting member.  When he retired he decided to move to Florida, “because of the weather.”  In addition there was the extremely reasonable cost of living and the fact that Mr. Gough is married to an American, a big advantage when it comes to navigating the US immigration system.

That’s not to say that foreigners with non-American spouses can’t successfully relocate to the US.  They most definitely can, and Mr. Gough is here to help.

Mr. Gough negotiates the sale and purchase of the assets of businesses.  Because of his background he specializes in helping UK buyers find a new life in Florida.  A UK citizen, with the money made from selling their house and/or business, can usually afford a modest house AND a business in the US.  Buying a business is the key, not only to a steady income in a new country, but also to the ability to stay in the US long-term.  Buying a business in the US can allow immigrants to obtain investor visas such as the E-2 and EB-5.

Mr. Gough reports, anecdotally, that the majority of foreigners looking to buy a business in Florida are British.  The biggest difference, he says, between foreign buyers and American buyers is that foreign buyers are more committed and often come with cash.  The British tend to buy businesses in the $100-$500K price range that are relatively simple to manage such as franchises, cleaning services, landscaping, and pool service companies.

Usually, a foreign buyer finds a business in Florida through a listing service.  The buyer contacts Mr. Gough for more information and an initial conversation ensues over the phone and/or via email.  Next, the buyer visits Florida to look at the business.  At this point Mr. Gough has the buyer sign a non-disclosure agreement – confidentiality is very important in brokering the sale of a business.  Mr. Gough then looks into the buyer’s background and takes them to meet with the seller of the business(es) that most suit the buyer’s needs.   Once the buyer makes an offer the money is put in escrow while the buyer receives in-depth financial information about the business and performs the due diligence.  When both parties close the money is released to the seller.

Mr. Gough has brokered many successful sales in this manner over the years.

One of the stories Mr. Gough often tells is of the time he was contacted by Sky TV.  The British channel was producing a program that followed a UK couple through the process of buying a business in Florida.  Sky TV wanted to show a business that Mr. Gough had listed; a kayaking business.  So Mr. Gough took everyone out kayaking on Sarasota Bay, TV crew and all.  Another young couple who saw the program contacted Mr. Gough, purchased the business, and have been running it successfully ever since.

Mr. Gough’s most important piece of advice for would-be business owners and sellers is keep good books.

Mr. Gough can be contacted via his cell phone: 941-685-1516 or email: or through his company’s website:  When you talk to him be sure to ask him about his adventures setting up the Chinese reinsurance industry in 1975.

EB-5 Cut-off Date May Have to be Established for China

Posted: November 13th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Investor Visas, National News | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

The latest Department of State Visa Bulletin warns that a cut-off date for EB-5 Visas for Chinese citizens may have to be established.  This is not surprising due to the overwhelming number of Chinese citizens who apply for the EB-5 Investor Visa.  70% of current applicants are Chinese.

Approximately 10,000 EB-5 Visas are allocated each year for investors from around the world.  However, when the number of applicants from a particular country reaches a certain level, the Department of State establishes a cut-off date for that country.  When this happens, applicants can submit their green card petitions, but an immigrant visa or green card will not be issued to the applicant until his or her place is reached on a waiting list. 

Residents of countries that send many immigrants to America such as China, Mexico, India and the Philippines, often experience cut-off dates.  In some cases, waiting times develop only for family sponsored green card applications and in other cases it is for employment based green card applications. 

The EB-5 Investor Visa is awarded to foreigners who invest a minimum of $500,000 in a qualified, job-creating project in the United States.  The funds must have been lawfully gained.  To read more about the EB-5 Visa and other investor visas check out