Starting a Business in the US as a Foreign National
This information was prepared for general purposes only to answer common questions foreign national business owners have about opening a business in the United States. This information does not constitute an attorney-client relationship, it is not intended as a solicitation, or is it intended to convey legal advice. This is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.
Advantages of Setting Up a Business in the US
The US has the strongest economy in the World and opening a company in the US is an invitation for all aspiring entrepreneurs with the possibility to take advantage of the world’s largest market. What’s really great is that you don’t have to be US citizen to open a business in the US.
While you can have a branch of a foreign company in the US, even our government, especially the IRS encourage opening a subsidiary or a new company. There are many benefits for foreign nationals to open a US company:
– It makes life much easier for business from a customs and tax standpoint.
– It’s much easier to attract capital and investors
– Having a US company enhances your brand
– It helps with getting a visa to work by yourself in the US
What kind of US company do I want?
Most of the foreign nationals that are trying to open US business chose between two most popular types of businesses. LCC is a Limited liability company, and its main advantages are pass-through taxation and abovementioned limited liability. LCC protects your personal assets from business debts and lawsuits, which means that if something happens to your business, your assets, bank account, car, and the house will be protected.
Pass-Through taxation means that you don’t have to file a separate tax form for the company, cause your earnings just pass through to your personal income tax, thus saves on costs.
Another popular form of business entity is C-Corporation which is great if you are looking for Venture Capital or Angel financing. The upside is attracting investors, and the downside is double taxation. Corporation income is taxed, and shareholders are imposed on a dividend they get.
Other not so attractive possibilities for foreign nationals are S-Corporation and Sole proprietorship.
Other challenges you need to consider when opening a US company as a foreign national are opening a US bank account and obtaining an American mailing address. The best way to go through this forest is to hire an immigration attorney who can help you with this process.
Other important facts
There are a couple of other questions that might appear on this journey.
- Do I need a green card? The answer is no; there is no need to obtaining a green card for you to open a business in the US.
- Can I work for my business in the US? No, you can’t if you are not a citizen/green card holder/or posses a valid work authorization, but having a company in the US might help (not guarantee) to get a green card.
- Does your legal address have to be in the US? No, it is not necessary.
If you are considering starting a business in the United States, as a foreign national, please call immigration attorney Omar Salguero for a consultation at 815.446.0770