You may be wondering, “Can non-residents open a business in the United States?” Well, the answer is yes. Neither citizenship nor residency is required to open a business. Still, there are specific rules and regulations you must follow to register a company in the USA if you’re a non-resident.
In this article, we’ll explain the steps you can take to register your company in the USA.
Get the necessary federal approvals
Non-residents do not generally need a green card to open a business or be listed as a corporate officer for a company, as long as all profits are reported and taxes are paid. But if you want to work in a business you’ve invested in, you’ll need approval from the U.S. government through an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa or EB-5 Visa.
E-2 Treaty Investor Visa
The E-2 Treaty Investor visa allows non-immigrants to stay in the U.S. for two years. The visa can then be extended in up to two-year increments. To qualify, you must:
- Be a citizen of a country with which the U.S. maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation
- Be actively investing capital in a U.S. company
- Live in or seek to live in the U.S. to develop and direct investment enterprises
The EB-5 Visa is available to foreign entrepreneurs who invest a minimum of $1.8 million in a commercial enterprise and create ten new full-time jobs. Foreign investors who qualify for this visa classification may become eligible for permanent U.S. residency and citizenship due to their financial investment.
Decide on your business entity type
As a foreign entrepreneur, there are certain restrictions on business structures. Most nonresidents choose to open a C Corporation or Limited Liability Company (LLC) business entity because they provide protection for business owners and offer some tax flexibility. C Corporations are legal and tax entities that are separate from business owners, who are considered shareholders. LLCs are separate legal entities from their owners, which provides personal liability protection for entrepreneurs.
Appoint a registered agent
To have a C Corporation or LLC in the USA, you must designate a registered agent in each state where it has filed formation documents. Agents must be over 18 years of age, have a physical street address within the state where you want to set up your business, and be available at that address during business hours.
Get an employer identification number (EIN)
All businesses in the U.S. are required to have a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). For corporations and LLCs, you will need an employer identification number (EIN). Since you do not have a social security number, you can apply for an ITIN and use it to request an EIN for your business.
Set up a bank account
To create a C Corporation or LLC, you must open a bank account in the USA. You can open an account with your official corporation documents, ITIN number and EIN, and passport.
Obtain licenses and permits
Non-citizen-owned companies are required to apply for licenses and permits related to their industry and jurisdictions where they plan on operating. You can check with the Secretary of State, county clerk, or local government authorities to determine what you will need to open your business.
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