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How to buy or start a business overseas

Do your research before you start a new business venture abroad.

Creating a new enterprise out of the gate, acquiring an existing company, finding a buyer for your successful endeavor — it’s all part of the adventure of international entrepreneurship. Get started growing, scaling or selling within this dynamic market.

What will I sell?

Maybe you have a business opportunity overseas that you can’t pass up, or maybe it’s wanderlust that is motivating you to open a new business. Whatever the motivation, you’ve got to nail down what you plan to sell.


You could start an e-commerce store, and with dropshipping you’d never have to spend capital upfront to store inventory. Or, you may decide to go bigger and start an import or export business.

Find out how some of the top imports and exports are traded and the forms you need to get started.

Real estate

Buying and selling homes overseas can get complicated. Whether it’s for office space, storage, or an investment, familiarize yourself with the market and process before jumping into overseas real estate.


Depending on your business, you may need a boat to transport your product internationally. A money transfer provider can offer an affordable option for purchasing a boat in another country.

Where will I sell?

Changing political climates, currency values and the global price of goods and services are a few things that can affect your choice for international business. Online stores offer more flexibility about where you can do business, but watch out for taxes and large transfers in other countries. If you buy and sell goods overseas, explore the economic landscape and laws before you decide where to do business.

Get the import / export guide

View our country import/export guides:

Online sellers

Planning to sell your product on the Internet? Research how to leverage international business payments to make the most profit.

What should I consider before starting a business overseas?

Starting a business overseas is more than getting your visa and moving your business.

Not all international visas entitle you to start a business abroad. Instead, many come with stipulations limiting business activity of people from other countries. For instance, some visas require you to partner with a local business owner to run at least a portion of your endeavor, while others limit the percentage of the business that can be owned by a foreigner. Others ban people from other countries from starting a business altogether.

Because every country’s laws are different, thoroughly review the stipulations of your visa before drawing up that business plan.

Requirements for doing business overseas by country

Should I consider investing in a franchise?

If you’ve been bitten by the travel bug and can’t wait to become an entrepreneur abroad, franchising is an alternative to starting a new business. Because most franchises offer initial training, marketing assistance and information on a country’s business laws and taxes, they can be useful if you’re not familiar with the local economy or regulations. Franchises can simplify opening a business abroad.

However, even with a franchise, understand where the franchisor will help and the market saturation for that particular business.

How do I choose a payment service?

After establishing your business, you’ll need to work out the logistics of paying your vendors and employees. As an international business owner, consider exchange rates and any fees you’ll pay when making overseas payments.

While your local bank may seem like an obvious choice, major US banks simply can’t compete with an international money transfer specialist when it comes to strong rates and low fees. Many specialists also offer the convenience of scheduling recurring payments in foreign currencies to settle ongoing invoices.

Fund an overseas business with an OFX transfer

OFX has no maximum limit transfers, with competitive exchange rates for 45+ currencies.

  • Support for 55+ major and exotic currencies
  • Competitive rates and no transfer fees
  • Multiple transfer options include forward contracts and limit orders

By comparing the fees, exchange rates and payment options of an independent provider, you can find a partner with the expert guidance to safely manage your international business payments.

Setting up my payments

You have a couple of options to pay for your products. Your vendors may ask for payment through a bank wire transfer — not your cheapest option — or use a money transfer specialist to save on fees and get a strong exchange rate.

With a specialist, you can also set up recurring weekly, monthly or quarterly payments to get the best exchange rates and lowest fees.

Compare international money transfer services to businesses overseas

Our table lets you compare the services you can use to send money abroad. Compare services on transfer speeds and fees, then click Go to site when you're ready to send.
Name Product Filter Values Fastest Transfer Speed Fees (Pay by Bank Transfer) Learn More
OFX International Money Transfers (Business)
24 hours

View details
Business customers: Send safe, no-limit transfers with no fees and competitive exchange rates.
Wise (TransferWise) International Money Transfers Business
Within an hour
From $8.16

View details
Enjoy high maximum transfers into more than 20 currencies, while saving up to 90% over local banks.
Dunbridge Financial
Dunbridge Financial
24 hours

View details
Dunbridge Financial offers competitive exchange rates and zero fees on transfers to more than 120 countries.

Compare up to 4 providers

What should I consider if I’m buying a business overseas?

Analyze the specifics of a business you’re considering purchasing to ensure you’re getting exactly what you pay for. It’s the buyer’s responsibility to verify the seller’s claims, which can be difficult across international borders. Consider hiring a lawyer that’s familiar with US finances and the country you’re making the purchase.

A lawyer can help you examine the business’s financial records to determine its debt. You could be responsible for any debt once you purchase the business.

Assess the market status of the business and determine the reason the business is for sale. While there’s nothing wrong with optimism over the potential of a business that’s struggled in the past, protect your investment by reviewing its market share and financial standing before committing to a purchase.

A lawyer can help you outline what’s involved in the sale during negotiations. This means any furniture, sales racks or special equipment. After all, there’s nothing worse than assuming the beautiful restaurant you’re buying comes with Victorian-era tables, only to find the dining room completely empty once the deed is in your hand.

Can I use my US business credit card abroad?

If you need to make a series of business purchases abroad, you shouldn’t have a problem using your business credit card assuming it’s a Visa or Mastercard. American Express cards aren’t as widely accepted abroad as the former two networks.

You’ll want to make sure you have a travel business credit card with no foreign transaction fees. Otherwise, you might incur a charge of up to 3% on purchases made outside of the United States. This can add up quick, especially if you’re using your credit card for large investments.

Can I sell my overseas business with a money transfer?

While it’s tempting to seek the help of a local bank to sell a business, using a money transfer specialist could give you a bigger profit.

If you’re interested in selling your successful housewares business in Spain that’s worth 300,000 euros, you need to repatriate those funds back to the US.

Here’s what you’d get with your local bank verses a money transfer specialist when repatriating your money.

Local US bankMoney transfer specialist
Exchange rate1 EUR = 1.004 USD1 USD = 1.087 USD
Transfer fee$150$0
Transfer speedUp to 7 business days2 business days
Transfer optionsIn person, online, by phoneOnline
Total USD received$301,200$326,100

With a money transfer specialist, you’d save $150 on the transfer fee alone and get nearly $25,000 more on the exchange rate. You’ll also see your money up to five days faster.

Bottom line

Though it requires considerable time and effort, owning your own business and managing money overseas is an adventure like no other. With research and planning — and the help of a few professionals — you can get the ball rolling toward success.

Compare money transfer services now

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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    DakotaApril 21, 2018

    Hello, I am american citizen interested in securing a loan for about 900,000 euros in order to purchase a working profitable buisness. What financing is available to me and how much would i be required to put down?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaApril 23, 2018Staff

      Hi Dakota,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder.

      It’s nice to hear about your business endeavor, Dakota. :)

      To help you start, you might want to choose the right business loans for you.

      On that page, you will see a table that allows you to conveniently compare your options. Once you find the right one for you, click on the “Go to site” green button to learn more or initiate your application.

      Once you got your money, you may then convert them to Euros.

      Required down payments vary for business loans depending on the type of loan, purpose, and borrower profile for which they’re paid. However, you can expect to pay between 10% to 20% of your loan amount.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!


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