• July 2018
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Can I start a company in the US without being a citizen of the US?

There are certainly avenues for you to launch a startup as a non-U.S. citizen. It becomes even easier if you indeed have “ the permit to work!” But that begs the question – what permit do you have? It’s hard to say what your legal limitations are without knowing the full purview of your immigration status. I highly recommend you contact an experienced startup attorney who has worked with non-US citizen founders in the past. Here are some important things to consider regarding launching a startup as a foreigner:

  • Consult with an attorney – did I say that already? (:
  • You’ll need to decide on a business type. For foreign individuals, there are two main business entities: the C-Corporation (“C-Corp”) and the Limited Liability Company (“LLC”). Participating in an S-Corporation (“S-Corp”) can be difficult for some non-citizens so it’s important to talk to any attorney regarding your potential restrictions before launching.
  • If you decide to incorporate before you get here (which you may be able to do btw), think about using a registered agent to receive your official papers and legal documents on behalf of your business. Typically an attorney can take care of this for you.
  • Don’t get about your annual compliance needs, especially if your company is a corporation.
  • An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is often given to individuals who have to pay U.S. taxes but ineligible for a social security number. You use form W-7 to apply for an ITIN. For more info, check out the IRS website where you can also find the form itself.

Hiring an immigration attorney is always advisable because regulations governing visas for business owners and startups are super complex. Please feel free to PM me directly or check out LawTrades for more information on how to start a small business in the U.S. as a non-citizen. Good luck!

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