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Purchasing an Existing Business for Your L-1A Visa Application: What You Need to Know

Purchasing an Existing Business for Your L-1A Visa Application: What You Need to Know

The L-1A visa is an excellent option for executives and managers seeking to transfer to a U.S. branch, affiliate, or subsidiary of a foreign company. While many applicants establish new businesses for their L-1A petitions, there's a lesser-known path—purchasing an existing business. In this blog, we'll explore the possibilities of acquiring an established business for your L-1A application and the considerations you should keep in mind.

Purchasing an Existing Business for L-1A: Is It Possible?

Yes, it is possible to purchase an existing business and use it as part of your L-1A visa application. This can be a strategic move, as it allows you to take over the management of a business that is already staffed and operational. However, there are some important nuances to consider.

Understanding the Implications

  1. New Office vs. Established Business: When you apply for an L-1A visa to direct or manage a start-up, the requirements and expectations differ from those for managing an existing business. The nature of your business venture can affect the way your application is reviewed.

  2. Business Plan Considerations: If you purchase an existing business, your business plan may need to be crafted differently. It should reflect the purchase and transition of management, detailing how you plan to maintain, expand, change, or improve the business operations.

  3. Impact on Your Petition: The USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) may not treat a purchased business as a "new office." This has implications for the amount of time your L-1A visa is initially approved for and whether you need to demonstrate the viability of a new office.

  4. Maintaining the Core L-1A Criteria: Whether you establish a new office or purchase an existing business, you must still meet the core criteria for an L-1A visa, including being an executive or manager and maintaining a qualifying relationship with the foreign company.

  5. Consult an Immigration Attorney: Given the complexities and potential impact on your petition, it's highly advisable to consult with an experienced immigration attorney. They can help you navigate the nuances of your situation and ensure your application aligns with the specific requirements.

Why Consider Purchasing an Existing Business?

Purchasing an existing business for your L-1A application can have several advantages:

  1. Immediate Operations: An established business is up and running, which can be advantageous in terms of generating revenue and maintaining the continuity of operations.

  2. Existing Workforce: You inherit an existing staff, which can save time and effort in recruiting and training employees.

  3. Proven Track Record: An established business likely has a track record of success, making it easier to demonstrate the viability of your enterprise to the USCIS.

  4. Market Presence: The business may already have a presence in the market, reducing the time and effort needed to establish your brand.

Purchasing an existing business as part of your L-1A visa application is a viable option. However, it's crucial to understand the implications, potential differences in how your application is processed, and the importance of crafting a business plan that reflects the purchase and transition. Consulting with an immigration attorney is key to navigating this path successfully, ensuring that your business venture aligns with the specific requirements of the L-1A visa program. If you're considering this approach, seek professional guidance to help you achieve your goals in the United States.

The information provided in this blog is intended solely for informational purposes. While we strive to offer accurate and up-to-date content, it should not be considered legal advice. Immigration laws and regulations are subject to change, and individual circumstances can vary widely. For personalized guidance and legal advice regarding your specific immigration situation, we strongly recommend consulting with a qualified immigration attorney who can provide you with tailored assistance and ensure compliance with current laws and regulations.

Visa Business Plans is led by Marco Scanu, a certified coach from the University of Miami with a globally-based practice coaching Fortune 1000 company executives, entrepreneurs, as well as professionals in four different continents. Mr. Scanu advises clients on turnaround strategies and crisis management.

Mr. Scanu received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (Cum Laude) from the University of Florida and an MBA in Management from Bocconi University in Milan, Italy. Mr. Scanu was also a Visiting Scholar at Michigan State University under the prestigious H. Humphrey Fellowship (Fulbright program) with a focus on Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital, and high-growth enterprises.

At present, Mr. Scanu is the managing partner and CEO at Visa Business Plans, a Miami-based boutique consulting firm providing attorneys and investors with business planning services in the areas of U.S. and Canadian immigration, SBA loans, and others.

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