How to start a business in the USA as a non-resident

Doing business can be scary given the challenges that come along with this. What would even make it scarier is starting this business in a foreign country like the United States of America. It sounds exciting but it is demanding, nevertheless, it is possible.

What does it actually take to start a business in the United States? In this post, I will share the legal procedures and policies of how you as a professional can migrate to the United States to start your own business. I will also discourse on the importance of the legality and the history of businesses.

Being a non-resident, you can do the business of particular legal entities and may not be able to do some types of businesses that a US citizen would be eligible to do. Today, a non-resident businessman can open two types of corporate entities and these are the Limited Liability Company (LLC) and a Corporation (C-Corp).

There is also a common alternative that fits foreigners best and this option is called S-Corporation though it is strictly available to foreigners that acquired American Citizenship or permanent residence.

As a business starting out in a foreign country, the course this business would take is very unpredictable and is always best to consider legally registering your company or business as a limited liability company (LLC). There are several advantages to this.

First, as a member of a limited liability company, you are not personally liable for all the decisions the business could take and even more, your personal property cannot be sought to clear the debt in case your business started to go on the downward spiral. Nevertheless, many people that start businesses in the United States prefer to pen up C-corp businesses as they seek the privilege of being able to expand their enterprises.

You might be wondering whether one will need a business visa to start their business in the United States, and yes, you will need one. The common business visa issued to people that want to start running start-ups in the United States is the E-2 Visa. TO acquire this visa, you will need to fulfill either of these conditions:

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  1. You are a Citizen of a nation that has some form of a treaty with the United States either a treaty of Friendship, Commerce or Navigation.
  2. Have invested or plan to invest a big portion of your income in a US registered business.
  3. Be able to show that you have a controlling share of not less than 50% of the enterprise you want to start up.

Another common type of visa is the L-1 Visa option which is issued to businessmen that have already established their businesses abroad but now want to open up sort of a branch for their business in the United States just as a means for extending their operations.

To acquire this visa, you must have a clear history of your business in the region where it is already operating and that history must be able to indicate that the business will be profitable enough in the United States to support itself and make a profit for the investor.

There also some other forms of visas that you may be eligible to have like the F-1 OPT (Optical Training Visa) for US students that want to open a business that is related to what they studied at university and also have the F-1 Visa for students.

You can also have the H1-B Specialty Visa which is for people to want to work in positions where they hold a bachelor’s degree and have the experience required to work that job, for instance, being a practicing doctor and lastly, the O1A Extraordinary Ability and Achievement people which are issued to people who make remarkable contributions in the arts or sciences through their talents.

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Registering your business should be done in the state where you intend to run it through two particular states, Nevada and Delaware are common preferences because of their favorable corporate laws. Company registration process, however, varies among the different states.

First things first, to register a business, you begin by choosing a unique name for your business that has not been used before by any business. Next, you fill out a certificate of incorporation that gives basic details of your business which will then be handed over to you or an agent you have assigned.

Next, you have to file an incorporation report for your business and you pay the franchise tax for your business. Lastly, you have to acquire an Employer Identification Number (EIN) which will give you the legal rights to hire employees and run your business in the United States.

As a professional, you might want to migrate to the United States and there are some legal procedures you will have to follow to achieve this. These steps include firstly, submitting a petition to become a legal immigrant in the United States.

Your petition can either be accepted or rejected, if it is accepted, the second step to take is to begin National Visa Center Processing which involves you choosing an agent that will help you with the entire legal documentation process and also paying the fees.

After doing this, you will then submit your visa application form. You will also have to collect your financial and supporting documents which you will hand over to NVC. The last step will be to take your interview and from their, you will be issued immigration as a professional to the United States.




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