What’s up! In one of the previous post,I described my experience with renting a car in LA. Honestly, it wasn’t bad to drive a new Ford Mustang and feel like a king (if you have Mustang here, you are not king here though… :D) but I still try to stay humble here when it comes to my personal expenses and I’m trying to keep expenses as low as possible. Even I am financially supported by my Czech business, I feel I should invest money into my business instead of renting or buying expensive cars. When you see your first business in the U.S brings enough money, then you can always buy something better. Another reason is that if you come to America as a newcomer without previous history in banks and insurance companies, then your interests and fees will be very high. It is generally called here credit or credit history. We have a similar system in Europe and I have excellent credit in Czech but unfortunately, the system in Europe and in the US is not connected. You start here as a baby with no credit history. This is gonna be my favorite topic and I am going to share with you my experience on how to build the best credit as soon as possible. But let’s back to the cars!
So I decided to buy some cheap used car for the start in the US. My budget was max $10.000. I am the type of person who plans a lot all my future steps and I remember when I was yet in the Czech Republic I had been checking LA Craiglist very often in order to select some cars, I would possibly buy. You can forget about all your plans unless you see how it works here and how’s the market is aggressive and buying a used car is stressful!
You have generally two options how to buy used, cheap car:
Buying a car from some dealer – It has probably the biggest plus that the dealer will help you transfer the title on your name (register car on you), help you with smog test, and obtain insurance for you. The disadvantage on the other hand is price. You will pay probably the standard market price.
Buying car in private sales I like to learn new things and experience plus I have pretty close to the car business so I decided to choose this harder way. To be honest it is absolutely stressful because in LA Metro Area live almost 20M people so if someone post some nice car with a good price on the Craiglist you must be first, have cash in hand, and better call/text him/her that you want to come immediately to see the car. Trust me! The first time found nice Ford Focus nearby with low miles, first owner around $7.000. The car looked amazing and very well maintained. I texted the guy (it was Friday evening) We had a deal I would come the next morning around 9 AM. I went to get cash to ATM in order to be prepared just in case I would buy the car the next day. On Saturday I was just to leave my house and got a message: Sorry dude, I just sold the car to some guy who came with cash. I was angry but then I had similar stories with other people. You should always check for a clean title (the car was not involved in a serious crash) Another problem is that many people will write to the post the car is in excellent condition. I went to check the old BMW 525i e39 to the Hollywood area (about one-hour driving from my place when it is traffic) I have to admit, that the car looked amazing in the photos in the post. When I arrived it was literally the piece of shit. I was kind of desperate because I spent the whole weekend with these horrible experiences. Finally one Saturday evening I found a nice 2003 Mercedes C-Classe 240 (V6 with 170hp) W203 with low miles (88.000 miles). The price was only $3.900 The post was on Craiglist for 4 minutes so I texted the guy: Hi! Is your car still available? If yes I have cash in hand and can come in 30 minutes! He said: Okay, come, come. When I arrived after 30 minutes he told me OMG: Other five people already called me, that they wanna come with cash in hand (you can see how the market here, especially in LA is aggressive) The car was extremely maintained, we had a short drive and I said alright we have a deal. The guy who sold me the car was in his 30s and from Romania. My English was far better than his, even he claimed to me he has been here for six months. Anyway, his wife was Romanian-American born in the U.S. so we solved the papers with her. Then I gave them cash and asked them if they could ride a car to my place (I was there with Mustang). The guy said: alright, but give me $4.000 😀 I was exhausted from all day searching for cars and driving around LA so I said okay! They took the Mercedes to my place and then left. Some of you may ask: Did you pay an extra $100 for taking the car to your place (around 30 minutes driving – one way) Well, the time is here really expensive and I think that UBER would cost something like $60 or so but it would be complicated. Honestly, I was happy they helped me, they said you are from Europe too, we know how you feel in the country, we’ll help you!
In the end, the car has some problems but nothing serious. I will write the next post about the first auto service (oil change + tires replacement ) + smog test.
Summary, I am pretty sure that I bought this car under market price. I am satisfied the car looks good and the interior is super clean! Then, no oil leaks, AC is cold, engine and gearbox runs smoothly + now new oil and tires from me. I will sell the car in the future for at least $5.000 😀 Well, we’ll see!
Very important advice for anyone who is seeking anything anywhere in the US. Visit the Craiglist! It is something like an online market where people can post anything they want to offer, sale or buy.
Let’s say you want to start a new business in California, for example, a restaurant. You will incorporate a new business (LLC or Corporation) in California and the business entity is considered domestic in California because your restaurant is located in California. After few years your restaurant is successful and you want to open another restaurant in Nevada. If you wish to use for that the same business entity (your LLC or Corporation incorporated in California) then you can but you will have to register this Californian company in the state of Nevada as a foreign business entity.
Basically, if you have an office, store, warehouse, business location, or employees in another state than your business is incorporated you will have to register this company in the new state as well.
Honestly, the paperwork and requirements are usually the same as for domestic companies so be sure before you choose some state for your new business. I wrote this article because I did this mistake couple of years ago when I formed my first LLC in the state of Wyoming but later started business in California and had to also register my Wyoming LLC in California as a foreign LLC. I could incorporate a completely new LLC in California but my E-2 visa is connected with Wyoming LLC. You can read about that here.
Renting a car could be tricky especially in the U.S. Always remember everything is the business in America and everyone looks and behaves like your best friend in order to sell you some additional services. When it comes to renting a car they will most likely force you to the most expensive additional insurance. Honestly, I still don’t clearly understand how the insurance works here so I always use some basics insurance. Personally, I think it is always better to book a car before your arrival. This time a booked some middle class like Toyota Camry because the price was slightly higher than some small cars. It was around $25/per day. When I finally got to the car rental Budget, I saw many people waiting for their rental cars. After 30 minutes of waiting in line, I was talking with a nice guy and he offered me Ford Mustang for $29/per day. I couldn’t refuse this offer because for a long time I had wanted to try the latest Mustang. I tried to get a GT version with an 8 cylinder engine but the price would be more than doubled. Even basic 2.3 EcoBoost with 310hp is not bad but honestly, after few days I felt more horsepower is needed. In the end, the car is funny and good for daily use. What I most liked was Apple CarPlay and definitely want this feature for the next new car I’m gonna buy.
I had the car for three weeks before I bought a used Mercedes C-Classe (the post coming soon) and in total paid around $1000. In summary, it was rent $29/per day + insurance $16/per day + some sales tax and you will get approximately $50/per day in total. I think it’s a good price for a funny car with insurance but it is not definitely the solution for a long time.
I was able to pay the car rental with my debit card issued in the Czech Republic (I forgot to apply for a credit card in time) For some reason I have heard many times it is not possible but thankfully this time my debit card worked.
I slightly scratched the passenger door and you can trust that if you would do this in Europe with a rental car you would pay for this damage hundreds of dollars. However, in the U.S., cars are like daily goods, and returning the rental car is something like: Car Rental Employee: “Did you have any problem with your car?” I: “No everything was perfect” Car Rental Employee: ” Cool, you can go!”
They only checked total miles and if you returned the car with a full tank of gas.
Don’t try drifts and slides with RWD without previous experience. Of course, I had been trying it every intersection and soon I had feeling it is easy peasy, a few days before returning the car I almost hit the curb when the car turned more than I wanted 🙂 I was lucky I stopped few inches before the curb. Who knows me is not surprised 😀 Always Drive Safe!
First of all, before you plan any trip always check official government requirements, bans, etc. We are still in this annoying COVID-19 age so it is important to check everything very carefully including transit coutries.
My flight was from Prague to Amsterdam in the early morning with KLM. I had to prove myself with two negative tests even I am fully vaccinated. The biggest surprise was the plane was almost full of travelers. Thanks to my car export business in Europe I am a client of Erste Premier – the biggest bank in the Czech Republic and have free access to their airport lounge. I had a quick breakfast but everything was limited thanks to COVID-19.
In Amsterdam, I had less than two hours for transfer. Amsterdam airport is quite small so you will always find your connected flight. I think this Boeing is for approximately 350 people and I would estimate there were around 30 people on this flight. There are currently hard times for airlines especially from the EU to the USA due to the travel ban for most of the travelers from the Schengen area. You might ask how could I travel to LA if I am not a US citizen or permanent resident? In a previous post, I was writing a story about my E-2 visa application and NIE (National Interest Exception). I got the NIE thanks to my business.
Honestly, I could probably effort to buy the business class already but I am still trying to stay humble. Next time though I seriously will consider the business class because the jet lag from this flight was one of the worst in my life. You know I am not the youngest… I am 29 already 🙂
Last year when I came to LA on B1/B2 visa that allows you to stay in the US as a tourist for 6 months I had really unpleasant talk the with border control officer. He asked me why I wanna stay in the US for 4 months as a tourist. We had about 20 minutes of discussion about my life, my business in Czech, and so on. In the end, he let me go to the US but I swore I am not going back to the US next time without an E-2 visa. The risk they would return me back to Europe was pretty high and if this happen you have serious problem.
Anyway this time I had E-2 Visa + NIE in my passport and everything was absolutely without any problem!
I took a shuttle bus to my rental company Budget directly from the international terminal. You only have to remember what car rental company you booked. The buses are completely free. If you don’t rent a car there are buses that will take you to the parking space where are taxis and all coming Uber drivers.
In the next post, you can look forward to the car rental experience!
I promised in a previous post from yesterday I am gonna write a new one about my E-2 visa + NIE (National Interest Exception)
Honestly, I personally think that E-2 Visas are one of the best work visas for those who want to start/buy a business in the U.S, and later if the visas are approved move to the US and work and manage the business there. Especially for people without millions of dollars. They are issued for 5 years and they can be extended as long as your business can financially support the applicant and his/her family. I would like to emphasize that the main E-2 visa applicant can only work and be employed in his/her business. The big advantage is the fact that the spouse of the main applicant is eligible for a work visa but can work anywhere.
There are many requirements for being able to get E-2 Visa. Below some most important from my view:
You must be a citizen of the treaty country. I mean your country and the USA has some agreement about this kind of visa. Most of the countries are treaty countries but google it if you can apply for E-2 visa from your country.
You must own at least 51% of some business entity such as a corporation or LLC. In my case, I own 100% of stocks.
You have to prove that you invested or you are currently in the process of investing a significant amount of money into your business. This is could be very tricky and if you will look for how much you should invest you usually get an answer of at least $50,000 or $100,000 or even more according to the type of your business. Especially lawyers and companies helping E-2 visa applicants recommend this minimum amount of investment.
You have to also prove how did you earn the money for the investment.
You will have to prepare the whole E-2 visa application including a detailed business plan. My application with all attachments had almost 150 pages. It took me let’s say a month to prepare and write everything. I did it completely by myself and of course whole in English.
If you think your application is ready for review you send it to the US embassy in your country, you pay a non-refundable fee for an e-2 visa. I think it was around $200.
Officers from the embassy can ask you for additional information. I personally did not receive additional questions.
You can finally apply for an appointment in person.
I talked in English with the very kind officer. He only asked me a few questions such a what is my business about and told me he believes that my business has big potential in the US. (my business is mail forwarding)
In two business days my visa was prepared and I could pick up my passport with visa at US Embassy in Prague.
Well, I did not include some important facts from my recent experience. I applied at the end of February. I waited one week for an email when I have been told that due to COVID-19 all applications are currently stoped and they most likely reopen processing in July 2021. I was shocked because I already had monthly commitments such as an office lease and so on. However, in a few days, I got another email. They allowed me to apply for the emergency process of my application and the first possible available date was on 9th March. I felt pretty confident because I thought something like ohh! They checked it again so I will definitely get my visa! Approximately one week before the appointment I got the last email that the government recently changed the condition for many travelers from the EU including E-2 visa applicants and holders and all applicants must be eligible for NIE (national interest exception). They sent me 5 questions that I should have prepared for the appointment in person. I was shocked again and totally hysteric because there was very little information on the internet about that. From what I read I had little chance to get NIE because my business from my view did not support the critical infrastructure of the US. However, I hoped and prepared something like: My business helps other businesses and I am the only employee at the moment and have to be physically in our office in Los Angeles. Universe probably wanted me in LA so I got both E-2 Visa and NIE! Remember that you have only 30 days to enter the US if you have NIE.
Hope you guys that the COVID-19 will not be here soon and you won’t need to apply for NIE as I had to. If you still have to though read this article.
You can find endless sources about E-2 visas on Google, YouTube. What I suggest before deciding on an E-2 visa. Study about the visa as much as you can. It is a serious decision and it will cost you energy, effort, time and money. Always follow officials’ requirements issued by the US government or embassy. I am Czech so I followed instructions placed on the official US embassy website in the Czech.
Finally, I have to say it wasn’t easy but it wasn’t that difficult, especially the appointment at the embassy. Let’s say I started work on my business in fall 2020 and in spring 2021 I had an E-2 visa! 3 weeks later I was in LA!
Hi guys! In 2016 I visited the U.S. for the first time as a tourist. It took me more than 5 years to moved finally to the U.S with an investor visa. First of all, I am here temporary on an E-2 visa for 5 years. E-2 visas are for investors who want to start or already own and manage a business in the United States. I promise I will write the process of getting an E-2 visa very soon. What I can tell that E-2 Visa is connected to your American company (business). I recently started offer mail forwarding services called Mail on Screen in Los Angeles. You can check our website! Mail on Screen is currently my main child in LA so you can expect many experiences on the blog here.
It’s have been a while I posted last article because I was really busy while preparing my visa application and at the same time working daily on Mail on Screen. I had also another reason. I wanted to dive into writing the after getting my visa because I personally belive that it’s more useful to share my personal experience with business and life in the USA than write theoretic articles without any experience, right?
I have been here for 3 weeks and I already have at least 10 ideas about next coming posts:
NIE – National Interest Exception (COVID-19) + flying to US when travel ban.
Renting Mustang at the airport
Buying first used car in US – horrible experience
First service for your car
Smog test and DMV – How to register your new car on your name
Los Angeles and COVID-19
Incorporation foreign LLC in California
Opening a bank account for your LLC without SSN
Applying for SSN while COVID-19
Searching for lease (apartment) – while still waiting for SSN
Mail on Screen
I am gonna try to write the posts mentioned above when I have some time! See ya!
Have you ever heard of SEO? When you have a website you want people coming there and see the content right? There are many ways how to do that. One of them is SEO. I personally think is the most important tool and the fun is the cheapest way how to achieve the goal that your website appears in the first page on Google.
This blog is built on the WP platform. I already mentioned in this article about hosting . I love WP because it allows people without web development experience to create nice websites and also completely managed it. You can also optimize your SEO with many free plugins and there are tons of videos and tutorials on YouTube on how to do that. One of them is the Yoast plugin. It’s probably the most popular plugin and I also use it on this website. Just recently set up according to this tutorial. below. Hopefully, we will see some results soon!
The answer is pretty short and simple. Undoubtebly!
In the beginning, I would like to tell you what I consider a website speed or loading time. For me, it means how quickly some website is loaded when you search for it in the browser. It sucks when you have to wait even a couple of seconds before the wanted page appears on the screen. It is really annoying when it takes so long to properly display content like images or videos.
I recently changed my hosting provider from Inmotion Hosting to SiteGround. Well guys I don’t wanna deeply review those two providers. However I just wanna admit that Inmotion works good when your website focus on visitors from US, then it’s fast and slightly cheaper compare to SiteGround. Another big advantage of Inmotion hosting is their customer’s support. I had been with them for two years and they had alwsays helped me with any problem in chat. On the other hand when you want to think more globally and focus on readers from whole world than SiteGround is definitely better choice.
I am currently in Europe and working on my first US business so I can really compare website speed and SiteGround works much faster even if their servers are in Iowa in the USA. I mentioned servers I hope you all of you know what server is and if not google it! Actually before you buy your webhosting you can choose the location of the server for your website. I decided to select that one in US primary because my business is mainly dedicated for Americans customers but i hope we can also offer good service for rest of the world. You might ask where Inmotions’s servers are? They are also in US but for some reason in Europe it works pretty bad. I guess is due to SiteGround has servers on many places and they are somehow connected so it’s faster but this is only my assumption 🙂 I am not IT expert but for me is important it works quickly everywhere on the Earth!
What I also want to say is fact that SiteGround is officially recommended as a hosting provider by WordPress and this whole website is built on the WP platform. If you don’t know WP just search it, read it, learn it! My little advice for you, don’t be lazy and try to use the internet as much as you can in order to get any information that will help you to search for something new and useful! There is a true example related to this article. I was not satisfied with the loading speed of this website so I went on Google and search something like Best hosting for WP 2021 or Fastest WP hosting. Then did some research, read some articles, and watched some videos on YouTube for this topis and the result is I bought this new hosting and I am truly satisfied.
If you are considering change hosting provider but already have an existing WP site and don’t wanna lose it, SiteGround offers a free migrator and works perfectly! I have personal experience just a couple of days before and it works perfectly!
Recently I described how to open a business bank account in the US. Today I will show you a fast and cheap way to send money from your country to your bank account in the US. Let’s imagine that you are starting for instance an online business from abroad. I mean you are not present in America yet but you already incorporated business and opened a bank account. You need to pay some business expenses and sometimes you have to add money to that bank account. Or even you can be already in US but you need more money so you send and transfer your savings from your currency.
I use service TransferWise and I can tell you it works perfectly. It is cheap, fast and I would say secure. I have never had any problems. It is completely online!
It is easy to sign up and there is no monthly fee. You only pay when you send the money.
How do they work? I guess that TransferWise has bank account almost in every country. So you can conveniently send money to them from your currency. Let’s imagine that you are from Germany and your currency is the euro. You wanna get exactly $1000 to your American bank account so you set up that amount of money in your account. At this moment it is approximately 853 euro and the fee is less than $6 for this transaction. I guarantee you it’s far cheaper than using a standard bank transfer from german bank to the US bank. So you set up the amount of money, then add recipient (can be you) and decide wheater you send a standard bank wire or pay with credit or debit card (it is slightly more expensive but faster) Finish transaction and save or print screen the transaction (just for your safety) Usually during 2-3 business days you can expect money on your US bank account.
Just be careful when you are adding an account and routing numbers.
I hope there are plenty of similar services but I believe that TransferWise is one of the famous ones and it works properly.
Remember this is not only for the business you can always use it as a person. You can send money to your friend, to your family, whatever.
Hope it helped you guys and ask me in comments below!