Can I Open A Business In The U.S. If I’m Not A Citizen? We get this question a lot.
And the answer is YES!
Starting a U.S based business as an immigrant can be considerably challenging, but it’s not impossible.
Though there are several steps one must take to open a business in the U.S., you can do it with some guidance combined with resilience for the process. We’ll outline a few of the most important steps.
Choose Your Company Structure
It’s extremely important to choose the best legal structure for your new business. We can’t stress this enough.
Here are your options:
- Sole Proprietorship
- “C” Corporation
- Limited Liability Partnership
- “S” Corporation
- Limited Liability Company
There are a plethora of articles online about each so we won’t go into a long post about them here. It’s best to read information from reputable sources, like this one from the IRS, to gain a basic understanding.
But we also recommend getting competent legal and accounting advice to assist you in making a decision on the best legal structure for you. These two resources, an attorney and an accountant, are critical members of your “team” as a business owner in the U.S.
Choose A State To Register Your Company In
Decide if your company will have a physical location or be 100% online.
If the business will not be concentrated in any particular state, most legal advisors would recommend incorporating the company in the State of Delaware because a Delaware corporation can base its headquarters in any U.S. state and be exempt from state corporate income tax in many cases.
There are many other tax advantages of incorporating in Delaware, but we advise you to rely on your legal team to advise you.
Obtain An Employer Identification Number (EIN)
You should apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN). It’s also known as a federal tax identification number (TIN) and is used to identify a business entity.
This is like the social security number for your business and it’s necessary to hire workers, open a bank account, pay Federal taxes, obtain business credit, and do other necessary tasks as a company.
You can apply for your EIN directly with the IRS at no cost to you. Avoid the many online services with government-sounding internet addresses that charge for this service.
Find A U.S. Bank
Once you have obtained an EIN, start comparison shopping to find a bank to provide you with a business bank account that fulfills your specific needs.
Some key factors to consider are:
- Fees (i.e. monthly, per transaction),
- Convenient access to physical branch locations, ATM’s, and online services,
- The convenience of making transactions (i.e cash deposits, withdrawals), and
- The ability to earn competitive interest rates on your deposits.
Final Thoughts – Get A Network
There are few things more important than having a network of support and like-minded professionals–this is country agnostic. But it’s especially important when opening a business in the U.S.
There are many organizations, like EO (Entrepreneurs Organization), that enables business owners to learn from each other, help each other figure out complex challenges, and build a network of peers to enrich their journey.
Be sure not to miss out on this important aspect of being a business owner as it will increase your chances of success while also removing some of the loneliness and isolation of the experience.
Though this is not an exhaustive list of tasks to open a business in the U.S., it gives you a starting point. If you’re interested in getting insights on how to do business in the U.S., reach out to our team. There are not only legal considerations, but cultural as well. Every country, state, city, and community has its own culture and preferred ways of doing business. Your messaging, positioning, business model, and more will most likely need adjustments to be relevant to your customer base in the U.S. In addition, there are ways to minimize your costs, build relationships with key partners, and automate parts of your business to be most efficient and effective in this environment. Let’s talk.