Since the US market continues to offer competitive advantages to those in other parts of the world, more and more foreign companies are being drawn to do business within the US. One reason this is possible is that the US allows such companies to operate without requiring citizenship or residency. This does not, however, mean that there are not some legal hoops to jump through before foreign nationals can setup shop in the US. The requirements are not unlike those domestic startups must also go through within the US.
5 Steps to Starting Your Business in the USA
To get started, there are a few essential steps any foreign national wanting to start a business in the US will need to follow:
1. You must determine what state you want to start a company in and then form an LLC or incorporate in that state.
2. A Federal Employment Identification Number must be applied for and received.
3. The business will need to open a business bank account in the US as well to make conducting day-to-day business more timely and cost effective.
4. Next, the business will also need to be registered with the appropriate state government agencies.
5. Finally, any specific licenses your particular business requires to operate must be obtained for local and state governments.
What type of business structure should you choose?
One of the most baffling issues that many foreign nationals face when starting a business is understanding the correct type of business structure. Is a partnership best? An LLC? Should the company be incorporated? The legal intricacies and ramifications of such a decision are often difficult to grasp for anyone who is not a lawyer.
There is no easy answer to these questions and they deserve your full attention. The best way to decide is to get sound legal advice from a lawyer you can trust before making any decision.
List of Common USA Work Visas
Below are list of the most common Work Visas issued in the US for your reference. There is a brief description of each type and should not be taken as all-inclusive.
Type of Visa
Work it Allows
Business Investor / Surveyor
This Visa allows a foreign businessman to enter and work in the US for the purpose of finding a potential premise or site for a business to be established. This Visa, however, does not permit the individual holding it to stay in the US and manage the business once it is established.
May only receive prize money from US companies. Granted to athletes that represent foreign teams in competitions. There are several restrictions about the team, its international affiliations, and main place of practice that should be explored thoroughly.
Speaker or Lecturer
This Visa is granted to individuals visiting and staying in the US for the purpose of speaking or delivering lectures. No income from US businesses may be earned during the visit (minus incidentals and specific honorarium award exceptions), and in some cases the Visa can last for just a week or two.
This Visa is granted to any foreign individual who comes to the states to seek training whose primary purpose is not to facilitate an immediate employment. Such Visa does not allow for income from a US based entity other than reimbursements for expenses incurred during the training.
This Visa is granted to any foreign individual performing independent research within the US that does not aid any US based company and for which they are not compensated by any US institution.
A Visa granted to any foreign businessman engaged in the business of selling, negotiating, and doing business concerning any products made outside of the US.
Commercial or Industrial Service Engineer
Granted to foreign engineers who repair or service any industrial equipment sold to a US buyer by a company outside of the US. This allows for US companies to purchase specialized equipment that contractually requires the companies own technicians work on the equipment.
Trade Show / Event / Conference Attendee
This Visa is granted for educational, scientific, business or professional conferences or events to foreign individuals wishing to stay in the US for the duration of these events. This Visa does not allow for any salary or income to be earned from any US based company.
Foreign Trade Show Employee at International Exhibits / Fairs
This Visa is similar to the attendee Visa but is instead granted to employees of foreign companies who will work and maintain the company’s presence at events and conferences while in the US. Similarly it only grants permission for stay during the duration of the event and does not allow the individual in possession of it to earn income from a US business.
Still have questions?
Please call us for a free appointment with Miami business attorney Yoel Molina in our Miami office at 305-548-5020.