What might seem a very small insignificant piece of paper when you first emigrate to your new home in USA is the tiny white piece of paper that gets stamped as you walk through immigration on your way to your American dream... It's called an I94 and this piece of paper determines when you have to leave the country to a  "meaningful" destination 2 years from the date that you arrive no matter how long your visa is granted for. You can apply for an extension but this can take up to six months it is easier to leave and have your passport issued with a new I94 giving another 2 years. You can not just pop out to the Caribbean or Mexico it has to be to a different hemisphere.  Make sure that this is valid for all members of the family even if the date is not written in the children's I94 the are still under the same rules. An overstay of just one day is frowned upon greatly by the immigration department and with prohibit travel into the country for four years... we nearly got caught out on our children's that weren't stamped with a date... just a word of warning

Thank you for the tips Pennie! :)


hi, thank you for this information i am gathering as much as possible as we are waiting for our e2 visa at this moment.  is this how you got out to florida?  can you give us any tips the whole process has been a nightmare lots of promises and nothing delivered especially the amount of time it has taken to get this far.  it all seems to be about how much money can be made from you, we are buying a business and they would have us buy everything web page etc even though we dont have the visa this your experience?  everything is extra and complicated, buying a house is a minefield especially as we cant be there all the time.  any experiences please let me know, thank you, tania.

Hi Yes its a long process this is our second E2 visa after having to fly back to the UK due to the London bombings (we both work for Scotland Yard)
Our first E2 we were advised to buy a franchise which we did but like you are finding with buying a business they wanted us to buy everything, it was a scam just  like 90% of the businesses out here.
Be VERY careful no one sells a successful business, if you think that the UK is in a mess you have no idea here its 100 times worse.  Thats not to say this is a bad place to live quiet the opposite but in the world of business its not good economically so just be careful as it seams you you already are.
first thing to do is get a good immigration lawyer in the UK one you can meet face to face, not one that is going to sell you franchises or business in the us they work hand in hand with these people and get a huge kickback by selling you something to just get you in the door of the US, that's fine which s what happened to us the first time around if we hadn't of had to come back to the uk anyway then there is no way that the embassy would have granted us another 2 years and to be honest thats what happens to most people they are sold a lemon then can not make the visa requirements and get sent back.  Be aware that the E2 will not lead you to a green card its the only visa that wont.  We are lucky enough to have skills that no one else can do so can sponsor ourselves for it.  If you have children they can only stay on your E2 until 21.  We built up a business in the UK  whilst still working for the police and successfully brought it out here on the advise of our lawyer.  He is a great guy and although he is not taking on individual cases I can ask if he knows of any reputable ones. 

We take home about $120 K its a shame that you are already buying a business as we are franchising and at least you know this works and its very successful it also is a proven history with the embassy, which means its fast tracked.

Just  don't be taken for a ride they will sell there own grandmother here, if you want us to check out the company from this side we don't mind i only wish we had known someone.
What is the business please dont say anything to do with cleaning pool cleaning or landscaping.  The "owner needs to retire or due to health reasons is a common scam of failing business, they can also make up the tax returns 70% of people dont fill returns its not like the UK

Anything you need we've been where you are please ask
this is our website and numbers are on there is=f you want any info
Its worth it in the end but its an expensive 2 year holiday if you get scammed
Pennie and Darryl Payne

dear pennie and daryl and family, how lovely to hear from you have looked at your web site how strange we are all doggie people!! i have just read your message to my husband who is getting quite fed up with everything, we have a attorney in sarasota and did due dilligence etc on a grooming business which would be a start as we would like to add a small kennels where we find a house, funny we have put a offer on a short sale in myakka city.  we have found everybody real estate who happens to be expat dont even no the zoning of areas we have had to do a lot of the work and they get 2.5 percent makes you laugh or not. we went over in feb this year good job they were taking so long to do the file for the embassy and we really had to kick butt we had to open a bank account run around getting info, it was completely wrong as they said oh yes we can do it all in 3 weeks, yes the grooming business did not deliver all the documents she required quickly and then she was off sick so more time went on.  what they dont think about or care is that we sold our house in october and are renting in meopham nr gravesend now which is costing a lot of money especially as we are coming up to the six months and will have to do a rolling contract.  then it will be all headless chickens if we get the visa pressure is on for closing on the business as well as packing up this place and we have a dog too!!!!  sorry must sound a bit stressed - please tell me is it worth the hassle?  do you live north of orlando?  yes is will ring you it is such a relief to find someone who you can talk to and not hand over money for it!  we have two children alix is 17 next month and yes we are aware that we will have to buy her a business to stay in the us. zak is 7.   anyway if we can do anything for you let me know.   tania cliff alix and zak

Great to hear from you, it sounds like you are really getting the run around on this if you give us your land line number I'll give you a call this evening to hopefully clear the mist a little for you and ensure you don't throw money away on a lemon. This is one of the most important decisions you will ever make and we would love to give you the benefit of our experiences. It is hard work getting out here but even harder staying (which is why only the most determined make it) Sadly Florida is the Capital of scams and scammers and there are only too many people waiting to empty your bank account for you, leaving you with what amounts to a 3 year very expensive holiday and then a return to the UK with less than you started with.

hello, thank you for replying.  our number is xxx. i suppose we are at the point of waiting for the embassy call and making that decision is very hard, as we have lost the excitment and hope that we started out with.  tania.

Hi Tania I did try and call this morning but the call wouldnt go through for some reason.

We had a chat last night and a few things that you mentioned on your last post made us a bit concerned as we dont think that your being given the whole truth. 
Firstly has it been explained to you about Zoning a realtor british or american wont even know about it unless they know all about the business that you want to do its very complicated but in a nut shell you wont be able to add kennels to your house no matter what they try and tell you we've been down that road and its very clear.
  In Florida the state will only allow for zoning of kennels in whats described as an industrial area due to waste. It is very complicated but no matter where you live the permits to allow it are impossible to obtain on a domestic house, unless it has grandfather rights and kennels were already there.  The reason for this new change is because of the hardship here everyone turned to anything they could and so a couple of kennels on the side and bingo a new business.
Have you been told about licenses and permits for your grooming mobile or not you will have to be certified here in the state and you will not get a license without going to school here first, again this is because people were just setting up and causing all sorts of damage to dogs.
Your Daughter Alex will have to back to school she wont be able to do anything without a high school diploma.
You can not buy a business for your daughter at 21 the embassy has strict guidlines on this and you should have been told from the beginning.
Have you been told about property tax its a killer our property tax bill was $11,000 for the year which as most people do they divide it by the pound and think its not too bad but when you live here its all relative you earn in dollars and so $11,000 is the same as 11,000 gbp
cost of living bread $3.29 normal loaf again its the same as gbp so a loaf would be 3.29p
the rest of the prices are in gb but i dont have a pound sign on my laptop
milk gallon 4.20
baked beans 2.99
potatoes 4.99 2 lb
our car insurance for six months was  $2000 because you cant carry over your uk credit score you have to start again so for the first two years you are treated no better than a 15 year old.
we had to put down $1500 with at&t to get phones and our contract is $260 a month for three phones nothing special.
Electricity $380 month
water $170
gas is better than uk but you use more of it because you drive more and the cars take more.
Tania im not trying to put you off or frighten you but i just want you to have the facts not ripped off by people who all stand to make money out of you and will tell you what you want to hear.
Im so sorry if this makes grim reading it is a great life, but i have never worked so hard just to keep in a country on top of our business we still have an income from the uk and two police wages  which is just about enough to get by.

People will try and take every penny off you and tell you everything you want to hear.  I wish we had of been told stuff in the beginning it wouldn't have made us not do it but being warned would have been half the battle.


hi pennie, took in your advise, have emailed my people and asked the questions that you brought up.  lets see what they say? are there any good points in living there, and would you ever want to come back to the uk?  i have just said to my daughter that she will have to come back here...not impressed. i will try and phone you dont know what happened with your call.  tania.

just confirm the number again and ill call you or give me a ring and ill call you right back not sure whats gone on with the phone theres so much to tell you that doesnt convay our home no is xxx

Hi there, I was reading your posts re moving to the US, they were very informative thanks. Based on what you said, how would you recommend, going about getting a suitable business to purchase for an E2 visa. I am planning on going through the motions this year and my plan is to buy an existing coffee shop/cafe or else buying a restaurant, if my Brother plans to come on board too. I have any existing business (Office Supplies) in Ireland and am currently training someone in, to take over the running of this company. My house will be rented out, so I have something in Ireland, should things not work out. I plan to rent a house in the US, until I know what the long term options are. I have an Uncle and Aunt in Florida, so that would be our preferred destination. I am aware that neither I, nor my family will be able to gain permanent residency, under the current rules. Any advice gratefully received................

Be careful what you buy people dont  give up good businesses it is a scam state and it is much worse than the uk for economics.  You have probably read most of my advise but the most important is don't go with a lawyer in the us who then try to sell you a business they have loads on their books and make a fortune selling them to brits.  They will get you a visa for 2-3 years maybe but you have to prove to the embassy that it is a successful business when you go back to ask for an extension to you visa 2 years later.  Plan for the future make sure what you buy is not a lemon and it isn't just a very expensive 2 year holiday.  If you have children make sure its in a good AAA school area you will have to invest a minimum of 150k for them to take you seriously.  also consider that this is the worse economic time in American history with people living out of cars coffee shops need a spin on them to make them different to survive as there are so many.
We are Franchising our business at the end of the year and doing it so that we can go to the trade shows in the UK to give people th opportunity to live here hold their hands on the whole process from moving finding airlines for pets and most of all knowing that they are not buying a lemon but a very successful business they can grow and stay in the country with. There should be more opportunities like this
Good Luck

Hi Pennie and Darryl

Thanks for the information. Had a look at your website. AWESOME. You both look very happy and content. Maybe one day I'll look the same way :)

All the best.

Kevin Perkins
Johannesburg, South Africa

bonjour ,
je n'ai pas tout compris ,mais j'ai cru comprendre que le "formulaire 194 " était très important ..mais ils s'adressent à qui ? est ce que moi en France je pourrais l'utiliser ?

Thanks Kevin we are ... It took a lot of planning and work but doesn't everything if your in it for the long haul

[at]Patrick, as you are on the Anglophone forum, could you please post in English?

Harmonie ;)

I completely understand certain things that you have included in your comments, but please do not tar us all with the same brush!!
We came here on an E2 seven years ago, after buying a landscaping business. And yes, we were scammed in that most of the equipment we purchased was 'on it's last legs' and so we had to replace almost everything. That is why we would NOT to the same to anyone else!
We are now In a position where we are selling half our business in order for my husband to reduce his workload. That is the only reason and yes, it is a successful business with good solid contracts!
I know there are a great many people who would sell their own grandmother, but please be aware that not everyone is like that. We have always treated people the way we want to be treated ourselves and having gone through the ordeal of moving here, knowing very little, we always offer people help and advice whenever we can.
I can honestly say that in seven years here, we have met some really wonderful friends and customers and would not wish to return to England ever!

Gillsfancy  as you quiet rightly said you too were scammed you are the one in a million but there are more scammers here per capita than the whole of the world I think.  Every single brit I've met has a similar story to yours, I'm tainting everyone with the same brush, however you too bought a business that wasn't  sold as advertised.   I'm sure that whoever buys you business will have a good deal.  We did what no one has done before and started our own brand new business on an E2.  we wanted to be able to sponsor ourselves after the E2  and owning a pool or landscaping company would not fulfill the requirements as you have to be able to say that you are the only one with the qualifications and depth of knowledge to own and operate the company.  The argument immigration has if it is a job any American can do then they won't allow you to sponsor yourself. Ie cleaning company tea rooms etc  We are in the middle of this process at the moment. We have children and didn't want the hassle of E2 worry.  we are franchising at the end of the year and currently have 11 employee's and a dog boarding daycare training centre in partnership with a vetinary an hospital.  franchises are a lot safer option for people (unless they are buying your business)as the owners have a growing concern for the company and need to make it successful for all who buy it as its still their name  going out there.  I think McDonald Burger King Starbucks etc don't seem to be doing too bad.
as you originally said you too were scammed its so easy they are selling to someone 4500 miles away and can show what they like they know you can't just drop b y to see if its true.  we were promised all sorts of things from dog daycare companies and grooming palours our lawyer was the one who pushed us so glad he did we know all the companies that tried to sell to us and funny enough they have all gone under.



I'm thinking about applying for an E2 visa, but looking to start my own business in Sarasota. I have been in real estate all over he world for the last 16 years and I'm shocked at how bad the property management companies are in Sarasota/Siesta Key.  I have done a lot of research and have visited many times on the ESTA visa, in fact i even took my cats once and now the neighbours look after them, it was amazing how easy the animals got visa!!!! I have found a couple of employees but now I think I just need to go for it, I have over 100 contacts of clients that want to use me/my company to rent their properties.  I even have a broker that I currently send referrals.

My daughter is only 3 but I could be a single mum if I move there as my partner would not come.  I already own a home on Siesta Key, and have many friends's where my heart lies. 

Would love to know anybodys experience with the embassy, only come across the consulate in Valencia when I bought my house and they were lovely.  I would look to franchise my model one day, or should I start a lettings business in uk, and then maybe L1, I have created a cold start lettings business in Spain, which was highly successful and then I sold, so I do have experience of a start up.

Anybody applied as a start up, any advice would be greatly appreciated, by the way I have some friend who have a kennels in Sarasota, just4paws, i'm sure i can put you in touch about their experiences, by the way I know many things about zoning and the way local government is set up in Sarasota, had many fun and games remodelling my home, so many things I learnt that nobody warned me about, especially FEMA and how to get cheaper home insurance

longing for Sarasota.....

wow huge move for you as a single mum.
We are one of the only people that we can find that set their own business up on an E2 not buying a franchise.
Firstly there are more realtors here than people in the recession everyone became a realtor so the market is hard to get into even if you do have a good business idea a franchise of this nature just wouldnt work not with the realtor business.  You have to have a license to be a realtor here and to get that you have to have a green card so im not sure how that would work.  The will not give you a green card for a realtor business.  L1 would not work again because it needs a license and you need to go back to school to get it again you need a green card to work.  I hope this makes sense.  Bottom line try a different business buy a franchise and start from there they really have sewn up the real estate business here due mainly to the crash.  It is getting better but you would need to really know your stuff about short sales etc 
Speak to five people here and four will be realtors. is there something else that you could do ?

i want to set up the property management company as I have at least 100 clients( i have actually properties and people's names and contact no's)  that would want me to manage their propertes, from what I understand i could come on e2 if it's approved, as i will be directing the company, i will be employing 2 members of staff that work under their own licences and their licence is under te broker.

I have already studied for the florida real estate licence and even paid the fee to the school, I haven't taken the exam as i need the social security no.  The school was happy to take my money even though i had no social security no, which is something you need for tallahasee to sign you off.

If i do get an e2 visa would i get a social security no, because surely i will be paying taxes.  I managed to get a mortgage in the USA 2 years ago as a foreign national when most nationals couldn't get one, and I've had a bank account and credit card with wells fargo for 2 years, they advised me to get the credit card to improve my credit score as i was getting hassle form utility and phone compnaies and I had to ive them huge deposits.

I'm already paying high property taxes, I don't want to buy a franchise model, when I know my business plan is very sound.

I'm currently putting the business plan together, and it is currently 340 pages, I feel there's not one stone i haven't over turned in my business model.

I could go down the eb5 route but I don't want that amount of money tied up.  I have a friend who did that and has still not got their money back, and there are no guarantees from the gov that you will get the money back.

I'm not your usual realtor, I'm passionate about the subject.  I advised many people to buy in Sarasota just before the robo scandal happened, those clients are so grateful now as they are seeing min 50% return on their money.  All of those clients want me to manage their properties as they are not happy with their current property management company.

When I project managed the remodel on my home through the summer of 2011, the county were so impresed with what I achieved that one of the inspectors asked me to project manage his remodel!!!!!i was very flattered, but didn't take him up on it as i explained i could not work in the usa, i just go on holiday there.

I would love to hear anybodies experience with London and timescales and if anybody has submitted a start up, and can you get a social security card with an e2.

Everything is in place, I have the staff, the office, website, stock, just need to flick the switch.

if anybody has submitted a start up what type of business was it?

By the way loving this website


you need to go on to the main forum and ask this question although i did post this question about 6 months agao and found that we were the first people to do a start up business on an E2 with our own concept.  The embassy only took us seriously because it was completely different and told us so, we also have the most amazing lawyer in the UK. From start to finish with processing time it takes about 2 years at the moment for the visa with your circumstances as there is a lot more to validate its not like buying an established business or a franchise. There are no short cuts unfortunately.
Good Luck


I need some information about health insurance in Florida. Can I purchase good health insurance as an E2 visa holder? How much it would be for a couple 55 years old?

Really depends on previous conditions etc and age Florida Blue is the best one to go for, around $600 -$1500 a month depending on circumstances

Do you know if our credit history in US affects the price of health insurance or just our health condition in general?
I' m asking this question because we do have a good credit score in US, and maybe we could have a better quote because of that... I don't know, just a curiosity.

ill be really honest and say i dont know best contact Florida Blue they will advise hope this helps

Ok thanks

Hubby and I moved to Kissimmee in October 2011 on an E2 visa.

His passport is up for renewal in November 2014.  How do you go about getting your visa moved from the old passport to the new?

Any advice would be gratefully received.


you dont move it you keep the old passport and travel with both our children have done this now they have new passpposts and the visas in their old.  This also goes for any trips take both passports new and old containing the visa especially on cruises.
Hope this helps

Hi Kim
I'd like to ask you some info about Kissimmee. We're Canadians thinking about moving out to Central Florida with an E2 visa. How do you like Kissimmee? Is it good and safe for kids? Schools,.... Safety...
What about demographics, is it a good area to open an after school activity for kids?

Hi Maria
Don't be blinkered into one area  have a look around at others too clermont very up and coming winter garden if you want to live in the touristy area but kisseemee is very transient and not so much a community as winter park or Windermere Longwood lake Mary to name but a few.  it is very very transient but it might be  just for your info but that maybe what your looking for.  Also high volume of traffic and people not any floridians would ever choose to live in kisseemee .  most British people live there because its the only place they know why not look further north ?  Ask everyone in Florida they will tell you the same all the brit live in kisseemee or celebration :(


Have you thought about Sarasota, on the gulf coast, some of the best schools in Florida, with Pine View one of the top schools in the USA, very family orientated and a safe area with a lot of culture.  I'm looking to move there with my little girl.  I have lived all over the world, including Switzerland, and hve never felt as safe any where, than when I'm there.

My dream is just around the corner. PM me if you want some advice on areas, depends what your budget s for a home, I have many friends with young kids.

Would love to share with you my experiences.


Please do not advise on areas that you don't live in full time it might be a nice area but again you don't live here you live in the UK until you have that visa stamped in your passport and live here every day I think leave it those of us that already live here not just visit for extended stays its very different.   Know you are self promoting your business but please start your own thread, this is not intended for self promoting of real estate business or I will be forced to report you.  One day you will be able to comment like the rest of us who have visas who live work send our children to school here and know the good and the bad.

Hi, i just joined this forum as i saw your post about moving to myakka city. I have lived in bradenton for the past 8 years on an e2 visa, i know the area really well.
I dont know what type of area you are looking for but myakka is a "less desirable" place to live. It is very rural and  a place where you feel like you have gone back in time. ( thats a polite way of saying it) .
Im not sure if you would be bradenton or sarasota side but schooling would be better in these areas, not myakka / i am familiar with all areas of lakewood ranch, myakka,sarasota and bradenton as i do alot in the community ( so not just hear say )
Any questions you may have about the area i would be more than happy to help .

Hi Pennie

I have read through your posts I am looking at the E2 visa.
It is refreshing when an honest opinion is given instead sugar coating everything then bang people are hit with reality.

I have sent you a PM.....hope to hear from you.

My E2 visa is up for renewal at the end of August, I have another two years on my I94. My E2 was done in London two years ago. I wanted to know if anyone has renewed their E2 in another country other than England. I have heard it might be possible to get it done in Mexico or Barbados which would be a lot cheaper for flights with the exchange rate. Please advise.

we have just got ours renewed a few weeks ago in the Dominican and got 5 years, we could not afford to go back to the uk. Before that we got renewed in Nogales Mexico but really i would not suggest going there as it is very dangerous.

Thank you. I have been told that Mexico could be dangerous. How did you set up your appointment with the embassy in the Dominican Republic?

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