The short answer is no, you do not have to be a U.S. citizen to start a non-profit in New York City. With that being said, though, you must make absolutely sure that anything you do, including starting and running a 501(c)(3) won’t violate your current immigration status.
There are several steps that you must take to start your non-profit. In addition to gaining a tax-exempt status for NYC, you’ll also have to file the right documents with the IRS to apply for tax-exempt status. You’ll need to:
- Come up with a name for your non-profit and check the Secretary of State website for New York and make sure that the name you want to use isn’t being used by another business or isn’t so close in name to another business that the public could be confused by it.
- Obtain the proper documents to form your non-profit. They should be available on the Secretary of State website. Also, watch for a list of items you need to turn in with your documents and note the filing fee. It is crucial that you complete the documents properly because it can affect your tax exempt status.
- You’ll need to write bylaws and appoint directors. Why did I mention these together? Because your directors must officially adopt the bylaws in your very first board meeting.
- Hold your very first board meeting. You need to adopt the bylaws, introduce your tax exemption, and keep written minutes of the meeting. This all needs to be kept in a binder or folder.
- Don’t forget about your IRS documents. I mentioned those earlier. You also need to contact your state tax agency to make sure that you don’t need to turn over any other paperwork.
- Get any applicable permits or licenses. Make sure that you check at the city level and at the state level.
There’s one other very important aspect that you need to consider. It’s something you didn’t really mention much about. Your legal status. You didn’t mention the type of visa that you have. You may not be able to work for your own non-profit depending on your status.
If you need help setting up your non-profit or if you have questions related to how starting a non-profit might affect your status here in the U.S., you can talk with an experienced lawyer at. We provide clients with another option from the traditional, expensive and time-consuming legal experience. Hope you check us out!