How can Foreigners Start a Business in the United States?

Starting a new business in the US can be intimidating, especially for those that are not US residents.  However, starting a business in the US is not as complicated as you may think.  In any case though, it is best to contact a business attorney to ensure everything goes smoothly and there are no future misunderstandings.

Can a Non-Citizen Start a Business in the US?

Yes.  In many situations, the process for a foreigner to start a business in the US is the same as it is for American citizens.  Currently there are two types of corporate entities non-citizens can open in the US – Limited Liability Company (“LLC”) and Corporation.  Any non-citizen can choose a C-Corporation (“C-Corp.”), which has double taxation.  Permanent residents, although not US citizens may choose an S-Corporation (“S-Corp.”), which has pass through taxation.

How can a Foreigner Start a Business in USA?

Generally, there are no restrictions on foreigners starting businesses in the US.  However, a visa will allow you to visit the US and visit your company.  Moreover, it is important to note that just by virtue of owning a company in the US, does not give you the ability to work.  So, what type of visa should you get if you decide to do so?  L-1 visas are generally for foreign nationals who own or operate a business in other countries and are looking to expand their business by opening a branch in the U.S.  E-2 visas require to write a small business plan showing how they will support a new, profitable business in the U.S.  E-2 visas have other requirements such as the business owners must be from a country in which the US has a Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation; investing a substantial amount of money towards the business; and prove you have a controlling share of 50% or more of the business.

What State should You Register your Business in?

The answer to this question depends on where you will be conducting business and what state laws you prefer.  Delaware is the most popular state for businesses to be incorporated because of how its corporate law protects shareholders and directors.  However, in some cases it is best to start business in just the state you will be conducting business in.

EPGD Business Law is located in beautiful Coral Gables, West Palm Beach and historic Washington D.C. Call us at (786) 837-6787, or contact us through the website to schedule a consultation.

*Disclaimer: this blog post is not intended to be legal advice. We highly recommend speaking to an attorney if you have any legal concerns. Contacting us through our website does not establish an attorney-client relationship.*

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Eric Gros-Dubois

Eric P. Gros-Dubois founded EPGD Business Law in 2013 and is the current head of the firm’s corporate, estate planning, and tax practice, and manages the firm’s Washington D.C. office. With a JD and MBA, and a specialization in finance, Eric is able to step back and view the legal world through a commercial lens while also acting as a trusted business advisor for his clients. He does his best to be solutions oriented, and tries to think like a business owner, not just a lawyer.


*The following comments are not intended to be treated as legal advice. The answer to your question is limited to the basic facts presented. Additional details may heavily alter our assessment and change the answer provided. For a more thorough review of your question please contact our office for a consultation.

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