How to start a business in the USA – For
The American dream of owning a business in the United States is not just limited to US citizens.
Neither citizenship nor residency is required to start a small business in the U.S.
Of course, there are rules and processes that non-citizens must follow to make their dream of becoming a reality.
start a business in USA.
In general, the steps are afín to those that a US citizen must follow when he opens a business in the US.
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Although starting or buying a business in the US cánido be a relatively easy logistical process, it comes with many challenges.
There will be nuances to the types of businesses, as well as laws for working and living, that you will have to navigate.
Read on to learn more about the types of US-based businesses you cánido own as a non-citizen alien (whether resident or living abroad) and the legal guidelines you’ll need to follow along the way.
Have the necessary federal authorizations to start a business in the USA.
In general, foreigners do not need a green card to own a business or to be listed as a directivo or directivo of a US company and obtain benefits from it, as long as they pay taxes.
However, to work in a business in which they have invested, individuals must have US government approval through an Y también-2 treaty investor visa or an EB-5 visa.
Y también-2 Treaty Investor Classification
To obtain Y también-2 treaty investor classification, a nonimmigrant, noncitizen investor must
- Be a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation;
- Be actively in the process of investing (or have already invested) a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide US company; and
- Being in the United States (or seeking to be) for the sole purpose of developing and directing the investment firm.
(You must espectáculo that you own 50 percent of the company or have operational control through a directorship or other corporate device.)
The Y también-2 classification allows non-immigrant investors an initial stay in the US of up to two years.
Extended stays may be granted in increments of up to two years.
Although there is no limit to the number of extensions that cánido be requested, Y también-2 investors must intend to leave the United States when their Y también-2 status expires (or has been terminated).
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Keep in mind that Y también-2 investors cánido only do the work they were approved to do when they were granted Y también-2 status.
Therefore, business owners who are not immigrants or citizens should be careful about their participation in the business.
You will find detailed information on the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (UCIS) website about the process and forms needed for Y también-2 classification.
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EB-5 Visa Classification
The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program gets its name from the employment-based fifth preference visa that participants receive if they meet the requirements.
The EB-5 visa classification is available to foreign entrepreneurs who invest at least $1.8 million – or $900,000 if the entity is in a TEA (specific employment zone) – in a commercial enterprise and create ten new positions working full time.
Foreign investors who qualify for EB-5 classification may be eligible for permanent residence in the United States and, ultimately, for citizenship as a result of their financial investment and commitment.
According to UCIS, investors may also qualify for EB-5 classification by investing through designated EB-5 regional centers.
EB-5 regional centers are public or private economic units in the US that are dedicated to promoting economic growth.
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With an EB-5 visa, the investor and their family members cánido be granted conditional permanent residence for a period of two years.
Within 90 days before the two-year period expires, the EB-5 investor may request that conditional permanent resident status be changed to lawful permanent status.
USCIS provides detailed information on the forms and process for obtaining EB-5 investor status.
Choose a type of business entity.
There are some restrictions on the business structures that foreign entrepreneurs cánido form for their US companies.
For example, non-residents cannot incorporate an S Corporation because each shareholder must be a US citizen or permanent resident alien.
Business entity types C Corporation and Limited Liability Company (LLC) are generally chosen because they offer personal liability protection for business owners and offer some tax flexibility.
To incorporate either of the two entities, the entrepreneur must submit the company registration documentation in the state or states where it will operate.
- C corporations are a separate legal and tax entity from the owners of the company (known as “shareholders”.
Therefore, the personal assets of the owners are protected from the legal and financial debts of the company.
The company declares its profits and losses in a corporate tax filing Outside investors and financial institutions often prefer to invest in companies incorporated as C Corps over other types of business entities This is due to the compliance checks in place to ensure they are managed correctly The potential downsides of the structure of C corporations are the paperwork and deadlines required to comply with regulations and “double taxation.” Some of a corporation’s profits are taxed twice: the corporation pays tax on its profits, and then individual shareholders pay taxes on dividend income they receive from the company.
- LLCs they are considered separate legal entities from their owners (known as “members”), providing personal liability protection for entrepreneurs.
LLC members perro choose whether they want the business to be taxed as antes de CristoCorp or to have its profits and losses carried over to the owners’ personal income tax return.
Like C Corps, LLCs must meet continuous compliance requirements, though not to the same extent.
Non-citizen owners, like any other business owner, must pay income taxes to the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the state.
Other federal, state and local taxes and fees may also apply.
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Appoint a registered agent.
LLCs and corporations must designate a registered agent in each state in which you have filed incorporation papers to accept service of process on behalf of the business.
“Process notice” refers to legal notices, correspondence from the Secretary of State, and other official government notices.
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Requirements for registered agents vary by state.
Generally, an agent must be 18 years of age or older, have a physical address within the state, and be available at that address during habitual business hours.
There are also companies that offer registered agent services.
Check with the Secretary of State’s office in the state where you incorporated your US-based company for a list of companies that are authorized registered agents.
Get an EIN (business identification number).
The IRS requires all US businesses to have a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN).
For corporations and LLCs, it must be an EIN.
Beginning in mid-2019, the IRS will only allow individuals with an SSN or ITIN to be the “responsible party” on EIN applications.
Entities may not use their existing EINs to obtain other EINs.
Since foreign entrepreneurs do not have a Popular Security number, they perro apply for an Identification Number instead Taxpayer Personnel (ITIN).
The IRS form (W-7) requires documentation confirming the individual’s identity (such as a controlador’s license or birth certificate) and connection to a foreign country (for example, a passport).
After receiving an ITIN, foreign business owners perro apply for an EIN using the SS-4 form.
Create a US company bank account.
To create a US-based entity, you must open a US-based bank account.
For this, we recommend our article: How to Open a Suntrust Account
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Since the passage of the USA Patriot Act, it has become more difficult for foreigners to open accounts in the US, but with official documentation and proof of identification, it perro be done.
In general, the necessary elements are:
- Official company documents that include the official US business address.
- ITIN and EIN number
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Obtain the necessary licenses and permits.
Like any other business, non-citizen-owned businesses must apply for licenses and permits relating to their industry, their business activities, and the jurisdictions in which they operate.
It is important to check with the Secretary of State, county clerk and local government authorities to determine what requirements your business is subject to.
Stay on top of ongoing compliance tasks.
Depending on the type of entity and where the company is located, entrepreneurs must complete certain compliance procedures.
For example, they must archivo and pay taxes on time.
And they may have to submit an annual report to the state, renew licenses and permits, hold shareholder or partner meetings, etcétera.
Failure to comply with reporting estándares and payment of required fees may result in objetivos, penalties, loss of personal liability protection for owners, and even suspension or dissolution of the business.
Guidelines for non-citizens who want to start a business in the US while residing in the US
If you are a non-citizen planning to open a business in the US while living and working there, but do not currently have citizenship status, there are several legal precautions you should take.
Although anyone (citizen or not) cánido open a business in the US, working and living in the US requires additional documentation.
Before you start a business in the US as a resident non-citizen, make sure you do the following:
- Have a well prepared business plan.
- Verify your source of compañia emprendedora capital.
- Choose the desired duration of your stay in the US.
- Consider immediate family members that you would like to join you.
- Select the type of business entity with which you will register your business.
- Check all legal documentation and living situations in advance.
- Work with a lawyer to make sure you archivo it correctly.
Although this is not an exhaustive list, this cánido give you a good starting point.
You are brave to venture into a new country, potentially uprooting your family (along with yourself) to start a new business and a new life in America.
You should know that although it perro be an extremely intimidating process for those who are not familiar with the ins and outs, it perro be carried out successfully and you perro achieve the goals you want.
By exploring communities and groups en línea, you may even find people and communities that have done this same venture successfully before.
By learning from other people’s experiences, you perro be sure of areas of success and failure when navigating the legal process, as well as helping your US-based business succeed in the long run.
If you are an alien (non-resident) planning to open a business in the US but not residing there, there are many legal ramifications to that as well.
Since you don’t have to be a US citizen or resident to open a business there, this shouldn’t be a problem.
But you will have to make sure that you follow the appropriate legal measures to receive the salaries and pay the corresponding taxes and fees abroad.
Before starting a business in the US as an alien (non-resident) living abroad, be sure to do the following
- Create a structured business plan.
- Verify your source of capital and business potential.
- Find the appropriate tax documentation that you will have to present (annually).
- Select the appropriate business entity to register your business.
- Check and archivo proper taxation while living abroad.
- Work with a US-based law firm to ensure that your US-based business is safe and legally operating.
Again, while this is not an exhaustive list for starting a business in the US as an alien (non-resident) without living or trying to live there, this perro give you a starting point.
Navigating the legal process in this area perro be difficult and intimidating.
Especially if you have to work from the other side of the world, probably experiencing the difficulties of working with time zone differences (along with cultural differences), it is not an easy task.
But, try to keep in mind that others have done it before, which means that if you have drive and a well-planned business, you too perro make this dream of yours come true.
This does not guarantee that the journey will necessarily be easy, or that you won’t run into any hiccups along the way, but you are capable and perro successfully complete this entrepreneurial journey while starting a business in the US as a non-citizen alien and continuing to live in your home country.
As a non-citizen, you will face some additional jobs and possible challenges.
However, these obstacles are by no means insurmountable if you have the help of trusted professionals to guide you through the process.
I encourage you to seek the experience of accountants and lawyers familiar with helping foreigners to create companies in the United States.
In addition, SCORE’s mentors, who have insights and experience starting companies in a wide range of industries, perro offer you valuable guidance as you explore entrepreneurship in this land of opportunity.
Frequently Asked Questions that you should know before starting a business in the USA
Do I have to live in the United States to create a company there?
No, it is not necessary to live in the United States to legally register your company in the country.
However, employment (receiving wages) from your business will require additional legal documentation.
You will have to pay US taxes annually for your company based in that country.
Do I need a green card or a visa to open a business in the US?
To open a business in the US it is not necessary to have legal residence or citizenship.
Conversely, to live and work in the United States (or, to receive wages from your business while living in the United States) you will need a Green Card or a Visa.
The specific visa you need depends on your situation.
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