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          Gainesville, FL is a destination for High Tech Professionals, Medical Doctors, Hospital Personnel, Research Scientists, Entrepreneurs, Foreign Residents, Eco-Tourists, and Retirees.   International Investors are expanding their presence here.
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U.S. Dollar is LOW. Buy NOW.

         Foreign Nationals, Foreigners, Non US Citizens, Potential Immigrants, International, Overseas, Global, Offshore, Alien, and Worldwide Investors, or Vacationers who are interested in Buying (Purchasing) or Selling any kind of Real Estate Property in Florida, especially in North - Central FL, The Heart of Florida, Nature Coast Florida, First Coast Florida, or Northeast FL  CONTACT EYEMARK REALTY NOW.

            Now is a great time to buy property in the United States, especially in Florida.  Prices are still down considerably from a few years ago and the U.S. Dollar is low against many other currencies.  That means your money buys more, much more.  

            Interest rates are historically low, but very few U.S. banks, mortgage originators, or private lenders might have loan programs that could work for you.  Mortgage loan availablity depends on economic conditions, your individual situation, and your financial ability.   

            The choice of residential and commercial properties of every kind and type is excellent.  There is a huge selection of properties on the market now.  There is something to satisfy your needs and desires. 

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Federal Government


Requirements & VISAS
  


Federal Taxation

 
 
Reporting and Compliance
  

Buying With Cash

 


Financing and Credit
  

Property Taxes and Insurance


 

EB-5 VISA Information

          Florida is a Destination for Foreign Investors.  Florida has the Business Climate, and the Natural Climate, a Large Economy, Diverse Population, Recreational Resources, Vibrant Construction and Agriculture Industries, and the Entertainment and Resorts that attract people from all over the World.

          Gainesville, FL has the Educational Institutions (University of Florida and Santa Fe College), Major state-of-the art Hospitals and Medical Centers, Technology and BioTech Industries, Recreational Choices, and Entrepreneurial Opportunities that attract
Innovators and Professionals from all over the Globe.
 

A.  Federal Government Requirements
      In the United States there are very few restrictions on international real estate investors, buyers, or sellers.  The only exceptions concern national security, hostile countries, purchase or control of federal lands, and purchasing a business in a sensitive category.

      As an international investor (foreign national)
you may take title (ownership) to real estate in your own name, in the name of a domestic corporation, foreign corporation, a limited partnership, a limited liability company, a joint venture, a real estate investment trust (REIT), or a foreign pension plan.

      As a foreign national investor purchasing property in the United States you may acquire, transfer, or be involved in a real estate transaction without the permission or approval from any federal, state, or local governmental entity.  You just need to comply with the following three issues.


      1. Visitors VISAS & Immigration Laws:  Title 8 of the United States Code details all U.S. Immigration Laws.  Every non-U.S. citizen who wants or needs to enter the United States must have a VISA.  There are over 40 kinds of non-immigrant visas so you should consult an immigration attorney and a U.S. Embassy or Consulate to find out which type of visa is appropriate to your situation.  

      Most foreign nationals who want to own property or live permanently in the United States commonly use the following types of visas.

B-1 (Business Visitor):  This visa allows you, as a foreign citizen, to incorporate in the United States, acquire property, sign contracts, and perform other specific business activities.  However, it doesn't permit you to directly manage a U.S. based business or receive U.S. sourced wages (income from employment).

L-1 (Intra-Company Transferee):  This visa pertains to foreign individuals who own or work for a foreign corporation that is directly related to a U.S. corporation.  It allows you to enter the U.S. if you are employed in an executive, managerial, or special-knowledge capacity for that corporation.

E-1 (Treaty Trader):  This visa is available for foreigners from nations that have a trade treaty and commerce with the United States.  It permits you, your spouse, and your minor dependants to live in the U.S. for an indefinite number of years.

E-2 (Treaty Investor):  This visa allows a foreign person to live in the U.S. while actively investing in, operating, and managing a United States based business.

EB-5 (Half-Million Dollar Investor):  This visa is available for non-U.S. citizens who plan to make a capital contribution of Five-hundred-thousand Dollars ($500,000) or more to a U.S. Based enterprise that creates at least 10 full-time jobs.  In certain cases $1,000,000 is required.  See more information at 
EB-5 VISA Information for Foreign Business Buyers.

H1-B (Temporary Professional Worker): This visa allows a foreign person with a bachelor's (4-year college or university) degree or higher to remain in the US for up to 6 years while employed in a professional position with a United States employer.

O and P (Extraordinary):
These visas are available for aliens of "extraordinary" ability in the sciences, education, business, or athletics to live and work in the United States.

      Non-Immigrants (Temporary Residents) who already own real estate property in the United States can enter as short- term visitors for a vacation, to study as a full-time student, to conduct special projects, or to be temporarily employed, as well as other reasons.  Some types of Visas for Non-Immigrants are
B-1 & B-2 (Business Visas), E-1 & E-2 (Treaty Trader & Investor Visas), F-1 (Full-Time Student Visa), L-1 (Inter-Company Transfer Visa), Investment Visas, and the Visa Waiver Pilot Program.


Official United States Government information about visiting, immigration, visas, transferring money, and taxation can be found at the following sites:

http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis

USA Visas
 

http://www.irs.gov/ 

      2. Federal Taxation:  Non-immigrants or non-residents must pay taxes on the income that they make from their investments in the United States.  You are not taxed on income made outside the United States unless you overstay your visit.   If you overstay your visit you can become classified as a "Tax Resident" which can result in all of your income from all sources worldwide being subject to U.S. tax.  You are considered to be a U.S. resident for tax purposes if you meet the substantial presence test for the calendar year of your visit.  Therefore it is essential that you keep track of the number of days spent in the United States each year.     
  
      However, there are exemptions to the specific time limits on stays for medical conditions and when you have specific connections to another country.  You should consult an accountant (CPA) who specializes in these matters to find out about U.S. taxation law.  Information can also be obtained from an immigration attorney or at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

      Most probably you won't be eligible to receive a U.S. Social Security Number (SSN), which is also a U.S. citizen's Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN).  Instead you are required to obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).  A ITIN can be issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or by a Certified Professional Accountant (CPA) approved by the IRS.  You will have to fill out a Form W-7 (in English language) or a Form W-7(SP) (in Spanish language) in order to request your ITIN.  On the W-7 form you will be required to give a valid reason for your application.

ITIN Guidance for Foreign Property
Buyers and Sellers


http://www.irs.gov/

      3. Reporting and Compliance:  If you have income from any source in the United States, including real estate, you are required to file a federal income tax return for the year in which your income was received.  Also, some states and cities collect income tax and require a return to be filed.  

      The federal government also requires all foreign buyers of agricultural land to report their purchase within 45 days of closing the transaction.  

      Real estate agents, brokers, attorneys, and escrow (closing) agents, must report all cash transactions over $10,000 no matter the type of property or reason for the transaction.  That includes binder (escrow) deposits and escrow payments.  Cash transactions less than $10,000 made at near intervals that add up to more than $10,000 are considered to be one transaction.  Therefore, if you pay cash for property, expect that you might be questioned about its source.  IRS Form 8300 is used to report cash binders and transactions.

      In Florida it is illegal to pay a commission or fee to any person or company that does not have an active real estate license unless there is no licensing law in that person or company's state or country (nation).  All payments of referral fees or commissions to bona fide foreign real estate brokers (persons or companies) are subject to a 30% federal withholding tax.  You should consult an accountant  (CPA) for details.

      There are other laws that may pertain to your particular situation so it is always important to consult with the appropriate professionals and government agency officials before entering into a contract to buy or sell real estate in the United States.

B.  Transaction Requirements 
 
         1.
Buying With Cash Brought into the United States:  Although cash or its equivalent is almost always acceptable, there can be issues concerning the amount, its transfer into the United States, and how it was obtained.

         
U.S. law provides that all cash transactions over $10,000 will be reported to the federal government. The requirement for reporting involves everyone connected to the transaction including real estate agents and brokers, attorneys (lawyers), title companies, closing agents, and lenders. They may want to know how you earned the money and where it comes from in order to determine that it was legally obtained.

         
If you finance your real estate or business purchase with a loan from a foreign lender (bank or private) it might be considered a cash transaction because the loan is closed overseas before the property closing. Then the borrowed money is transferred into the United States to be available for the property purchase closing.

         2. Financing and Credit for Foreign Buyers:  Foreign buyers of real estate in the United States have the option of taking out a loan to make a real estate purchase. In rising real estate markets and usual economic conditions, there are numerous lenders (banks and mortgage brokers) that will lend money to non-United States citizens to buy real estate. In times of crisis or unusual economic conditions many of these funding sources tighten up and restrict or discontinue such loans.

         NOTE:  At this time in 2014, financing in the United States is tight and difficult to get.  Lender programs for foreigners are hard to find.  There are a few "asset lenders" and "private money lenders" who still make loans to non-U.S. citizens for property in the United States, but their interest rates are high and terms are restrictive.
        You should try to obtain funding in your country with a lender who is willing to work with you.  Then make arrangements to transfer and "season" your money by keeping it in a U.S. account for a specified length of time.  Then you can pay cash for your real estate purchase.
       
 Eyemark Realty, Inc. is NOT a private lender, bank, or mortgage originator.

         It is important that you line up or obtain a commitment for financing BEFORE placing an offer on property to make sure that your loan can be approved and funded before the contract period expires. Each lender will have their particular requirements, application forms, and timing for approval. Most lenders will have different loan programs to choose from depending on your qualifications, the amount to be borrowed, and the terms of the loan. Interest rates, down payments, fees, and credit standards can vary greatly among lenders so it pays to shop for the best loan.

         
Foreign buyers who have no established credit history in the United States won't be known to the three credit scoring services:  Equifax, Experian, and Trans-Union. Without a credit score most lenders won't be able to process your loan, so alternative forms of credit will be needed to prove that you are a good risk.  Alternative credit can be letters or statements from previous lenders or other providers of services stating that you have a history of making monthly payments on-time and paying off loan balances when due. Letters or statements can be from banks, other types of lenders, utility companies, telephone companies, cable television providers, retail stores, or any place that you bought a product or used a service in advance of paying for it.

         
Most United States based lenders will also want to have proof of your income and ability to make payments on the loan. Salary or wage statements from an employer for the current year, income tax returns for the previous 2 or 3 years, and proof of stock dividends or interest earnings will be requested.

        Almost all banks and other lenders will require that the money (funds) you use for your down payment and closing costs be deposited in a United States bank for a specified length of time.  This is known as "seasoning the money."  If your money is not deposited in the lender's account they will ask for proof, in the form of bank statements, from the other bank where the money is located.  Sometimes it takes a few weeks to get this verification of deposit.  It is not unusual for a lender to require that your funds be seasoned for 2 to 3 months.  

         An appraisal of the property you are purchasing will be required by the lender to make sure that the real estate or business is worth more than the amount you are borrowing. The past and existing title (ownership) will also be investigated to find out if there are any liens or claims against the property. In the case of real estate purchases an up-to-date survey of the property will also required.

         3. Escrow Account for
Property Taxes and Insurance:  If your down payment for the purchase of a home is not over 20% of the purchase price your lender will almost always require you to have an escrow account. Along with your monthly payment of principal and interest on your loan, you will pay 1/12 (one-twelfth) of the yearly (annual) cost of property taxes and homeowner's insurance. This account will accumulate the tax and insurance payments until the end of the year when the lender will forward the full payments to the appropriate local tax collector and your insurance company.

         Also, a lender may require a monthly payment of Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) if your down payment is less than 20% of the purchase price.  In case of a land purchase, no insurance will be necessary unless there is a liability risk.

         If you buy a condominium, the exterior building maintenance and insurance is included in the monthly association fee.  It is still wise to purchase liability insurance and personal property insurance to cover the interior and your personal possessions.

Own Your Business in America

 EB-5 VISA Information 

 for Foreigner Investors 

           Are YOU Interested in Becoming a Permanent Resident and eventually a Citizen of the United States?  Are YOU financially able to invest in or buy a Business, Enterprise, Company, Corporation, or Venture?

A foreigner interested in becoming a Permanent Resident and eventaully a Citizen of the United States, who is willing to invest a specific amount of wealth in a commercial for-profit enterprise, can obtain this status relatively quickly via an EB-5 Visa.

As with every U.S. Government program there are numerous details and nuances to consider.  The following is a general summary of the requirements and procedures and is subject to change at any time by Congressional action. 
It is highly recommended that all applicants contact consultants and attorneys who are up-to-date experts on immigration visa law before investing any funds.


The EB-5 Visa was created by the Immigration Act of 1990.  An EB-5 Visa permits a foreign entrepreneur (applicant, investor) and his or her family to reside in the United States while starting, managing, growing, or investing in a large scale business enterprise.  The investor must demonstrate that the investment will benefit the United States economy.  This federal program currently provides for 10,000 immigrant visas each year.

There are several advantages to obtaining an EB-5 Visa instead of other options that may lead to Permanent Residency (Green Card).  It doesn't require the applicant to maintain an existing home country address.  Another is the entrepreneurial person doesn't have to prove extraordinary business skills and abilities.  A third advantage is no labor certification process is needed to determine a shortage of U.S. workers in the potential field or for specific jobs.

To qualify for an EB-5 Visa, the entrepreneur applicant must invest a minimum of $500,000 USD in a designated Regional Center or Targeted Employment Area (TEA - high unemployment area) or a minimum of $1,000,000 USD anywhere in the United States.  In either case, the investment must create full-time employment for at least 10 workers, not including the applicant and dependents, and must be a For-Profit business entity.

The EB-5 investment can be cash, inventory, equipment, secured indebtedness, tangible property, or cash equivalents.  They must have values based on U.S. Dollar fair market value at the time of the application.

EB-5 Visa applicants can invest in the following types of business structures:  Corporations, Limited or General Partnerships, Sole Proprietorships, Business Trusts, or other privately or publicly owned enterprises.

In a designated
Regional Center, the applicant invests the money into a public or private third party-managed investment vehicle or enterprise that actually creates the jobs.  There are usually management fees involved in this type of investment but the applicant doesn't have hands on responsibility to run the business.  The commercial enterprise is already set up and operating.  The 10 full-time jobs usually must exist directly within the enterprise, but sometimes can be indirect jobs created in other businesses that supply goods or services to the EB-5 project or induced jobs created within the community as a result of income spent by the EB-5 project employees.

In a Targeted Employment Area, the applicant can either create a new (original) business (commercial enterprise) from scratch, invest in an existing business that is troubled or in danger of closing and restructure or reorganize it, or invest in an existing business for the purpose of expanding it.  In this case the investor must set up the business independently.  The 10 full-time jobs must exist directly within the enterprise.

The entrepreneur must begin by selecting a Regional Program or Targeted Employment Area, paying fees, and transferring the investment funds.  Each Regional Center has different procedures for getting started when an applicant is approved and refunding monies if an applicant is denied.


After the program requirements and payments made, the applicant will submit a Form I-526 to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.  Approval can take between 9 and 15 months.  Then the investor must undergo a review of his or her medical, criminal, and immigration history.  This takes place in the U.S. Embassy in the applicant's home country.

EB-5 Visas are granted to investors, their spouses, and their dependents on a 2 year conditional basis.  The applicant must enter the United States within 180 days of issuance of the visa.  The 10 full-time job requirement must be accomplished within this 2 year window.

After 2 years, a determination is made to confirm that the investment has met the criteria and has been properly documented.  Extensive evidence is required to prove compliance for the commercial enterprise, proper capital (funds) were invested (risked), the business earned money legally, at least 10 full-time jobs were created, the investor intends to remain in the U.S., and the investor will stay involved and engaged in the management of the business or investment vehicle.  Then a Permanent Residency (Green Card) is granted.  An additional 5 years must pass before the applicant can apply for U.S. Citizenship.

As with all investments there is risk involved.  Not all businesses thrive and survive.  The foreigner must be able to accept the fact that an EB-5 Visa is only viable for those who have the wealth to risk and the motivation to succeed.

 Information on this website is NOT intended to be advice. 
 Every person's situation is unique. 

Canadian Buyer Information

          The following Books provide information specific to Canadians (citizens and residents of Canada) who are interested in buying homes, condominiums, townhouses, land, lots, acreage, business investments, rental income properties, or vacation property in the United States.
          I usually can direct you to a lender (bank or mortgage company) that is willing to make home or condominium mortgage loans or commercial loans to Canadians.

          The Canadian Snowbird in America: Professional Tax and Financial Insights into a Temporary U.S. Lifestyle (Paperback)   Canadian Snowbird in America

          Border Guide: A Canadian's Guide to Living, Working, and Investing in the United States (Paperback)   Canadian's Guide to the United States

          The Canadian in America: Real-Life Tax and Financial Insights into Moving and Living in the U.S. (Paperback)   Canadian in America

          These books and many other media about buying and selling real estate, mortgage loan financing, credit, and owning property can be purchased at Amazon.com and other online booksellers.

           Detailed information about owning real estate property in Florida is at Florida Buyers Property Owner Information.   For Gainesville and North Florida Area real estate opportunities see our Listing Pages and Search Page and click our MLS Links.

          There are tax issues when you sell your home or property that should be addressed up front before you make a purchase.  The IRS will require a TIN (Taxpayer Identification Number) and could also require 10% of your gain from a sale to be withheld.  Details can be explained by an accountant, CPA, or tax attorney. 

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Mark Cohen, Realtor® - Broker
 EYEMARK  REALTY,  INC.
6121 Northwest 30th Terrace
Gainesville, FL  32653      USA 

Florida Licensed Real Estate Broker
352-373-3783  Office
352-222-5609  Cell, Mobile

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Information on this website is NOT intended to be advice.
Every person's situation is unique.


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