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How to start a business in the USA for non-citizens

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First of all, yes! you can create a company in the United States even if you’re a foreigner. Learn the process of how to start a business in the USA for non-citizens to make profits in US dollars. Setting up a business in the USA from the UK, India, Australia, or any other country is not as hard as it sounds. Keep reading and get all the information you need to register your company now.

The United States makes it easier for non-citizens to start businesses than most countries. The only downside is that you have to be extra careful when filling out business formation and taxes docs. The good news is that you don’t need a US visa or social security number for the registration.

Now, take a look at the US company registration for non-residents step-by-step process.

Choose your company’s structure

Before even beginning the formation process, you need to evaluate the types of company structures available in America. The two most important corporate structures in the US are limited liability company (LLC) and C Corporation. The type of structure you choose will impact the way you conduct your business and the way you’ll pay taxes in the US.

Main differences between LLCs and C Corps

  • Taxes: LLC members (owners) do not need to pay corporate taxes, but personal income tax only. On the other hand, C Corps have to pay taxes on a corporate level, while shareholders would have to pay on their own as well. This is known as double taxation.
  • Stock market: C Corps can issue stocks while LLCs can’t. This means that only C Corporations are allowed to be traded and participate in the stock market. The only way for LLC members to do something similar is to trade ownership interest on a securities exchange.
  • Financing: raising capital for a C Corp is easier than for an LLC. C Corps can sell their shares and have unlimited shareholders financing their operations. On the other hand, LLCs are limited to offering debt (liquid money, returns) or equity (ownership).

Now let’s see in what aspects both company structures can be more alike.

empty conference room

Similarities of C Corps and LLCs

  • Liabilities: in both structures, companies are treated as separate entities from their owners (members for LLCs and shareholders for C Corporations). This means that your personal assets cannot be seized in case the company incurs legal liability.
  • Tax filing: Both LLCs and C Corps have to file their taxes quarterly. 
  • Type of owners: Individuals and corporations, either domestic or from abroad can be members of an LLC. The same goes for shareholders of a C Corporation. Although LLCs are limited to 100 members while C Corps are unrestricted in this regard.

What’s the best structure for foreign entrepreneurs

Both LLCs and C Corps offer advantages to domestic or international business owners. One key aspect is that of raising capital. C Corps offer much more flexibility and security to external investors, therefore it’s easier to get capital for a new venture.

Now, when it comes to taxes, LLCs have the obvious upper hand by avoiding double taxation. This is one of the most appealing aspects of the entire American economic ecosystem, which also ends up attracting more foreigner-owned businesses.

In conclusion, if your company is already successful in your local market and you’re just expanding your horizons, LLCs might be the option when setting up a business in the USA from the UK, Australia, or Latin America. Now, on the other hand, if you’re looking to start a business in America as a non-citizen for the advantages the country offers to raise capital, then a C Corp could be better for you.

Either option would yield incredible amounts of advantages to your business in the global scenario and would give you access to the best of the American commercial landscape. You’d be able to sell your products and services in the most profitable market in the world and in platforms such as Stripe and Amazon without any problem.

Once you have this decision made up in your mind, it’s time to see where to open your business in America. Let’s see which US states offer more for foreign entrepreneurs.

women trying to see how to start a business in USA for non-citizens

What’s the best US state to register your company in?

One of the key elements when it comes to US company registration for non-residents is the actual location. Every state has different legislation and this affects your profits, your taxes, and the way you’ll conduct business all around.

The most important factors when determining how to start a business in the USA for non-citizens and what US state to do so are taxes, anonymity, and executive decisions.

Delaware and Florida are the most desirable states for domestic and foreigner-owned businesses because of the number of advantages they offer companies compared to other states. Let’s see how both of them differentiate each other.

Differences between Delaware and Florida companies

Let’s see how to start a business in the USA for non-citizens either in Delaware or Florida, two of the most attractive locations for entrepreneurs.

  • Incorporation: both states allow online business formation, which is super helpful to foreign entrepreneurs. When it comes to fees, Florida has a USD 125 minimum registration fee for LLCs and USD 70 for Corps. As for Delaware, the minimum goes up to USD 89 for Corps and USD 90 for LLCs.
  • Franchise tax: this is the tax a state imposes on companies for existing in their territory. In the case of Delaware, the rate goes to 8.7% on net income for corporate and 2.2–5.95% for personal. Florida has no franchise tax whatsoever, which can mean thousands of dollars in profits annually.
  • Anonymity: some US states offer complete anonymity for a company’s shareholders or members. However, in Delaware, anonymity is limited as businesses still have to maintain some of their information available to the public. Now, for Florida, anonymity simply doesn’t exist, any regular person can access your personal information through your company’s files.
  • Executive management: Florida legislation gives even more flexibility to the already elastic LLC structure. Profit distribution and executive roles can be decided and established by the members themselves. In the case of Delaware, these processes are more rigid.

Now, after seeing where and how to open a business in America, let’s talk about papers and files.

US map

What documentation do you need to open a business in the US

You don’t need to come to the US to start a business as a non-citizen. You don’t even need to get an American visa. Owning a business is not the same as being employed by it, thereby you’ll only need a US visa the moment you start actually working in your company. So you can do it all in baby steps at first.

Company’s address

The first thing you need to do is to get a physical business address, the place where your company’s headquarters are to be located. In case you don’t have access to any place, you have Globalfy’s Virtual Address service, by which you can register our mailroom as your business address and get your mail shipped to your country, 

EIN

Then you’ll need to apply for an EIN, the Employer Identification Number of the IRS. In case you have a social security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number you can apply online. In case you don’t have any of these documents, the process will take longer but you can still do it. You’d have to fill in the Form SS-4 and wait for a few weeks for it to be processed.

US business bank account

After completing the steps mentioned above, you need to get a US business bank account to manage your money. Now Globalfy also offers this service to international entrepreneurs, you can get your bank account only using your passport, your company’s incorporation documents, and your EIN approbation letter. You can apply now, the process is 100% online.

couple seeing how to start a business in USA for non-citizens with a laptop and a tablet

More on how to start a business in the USA for non-citizens

When it comes to doing business on a large scale, America is the place to go for entrepreneurs from all over the world. The country offers the best commercial opportunities, the biggest number of potential investors, and a well-structured tax and financial system. In this article, you got a glimpse of how to open a business in America, but if you really want to go all the way, make sure to check out Globalfy’s business formation service to do it all in one click, for the best price.

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