How to Open a Company in USA as an Immigrant: A Complete Guide

Wondering how to open a company in USA? The consultants at E-2VisaWorld can help.

How to Open a Company in USA

Deciding to create, open, and maintain your own business can be a challenge, but it is also an exciting start of something new. The Small Business Administration has released their “10 Steps to Start Your Business” to help future entrepreneurs, which covers the basics of what entrepreneurs need to know. 

They include the following:

  • Conduct research and get to know your market and demographic
  • Compose a business plan
  • Decide how to fund your business (loans or out-of-pocket)
  • Choose a business address if your business will have a physical presence or decide if you will work from home
  • Choose a business structure
  • Choose a name and see if it is already being used
  • Register the business
  • Apply for a tax ID, such as an employer identification number, with the Internal Revenue Service and your state (this ensures your business can pay taxes, file your tax return, and stay compliant)
  • Apply for all licenses and permits
  • Open a US bank account specifically for the business

Once these steps have been followed, most entrepreneurs are ready to open their business. However, it’s not quite as simple for non-US citizens. If you are not a US citizen and you are interested in starting a business in the United States, you will need to obtain a work or investor visa, such as an E-2 visa or an EB-5 green card. No matter your situation, the consultants at E-2VisaWorld can inform you of your options and guide you through the process of how to open a company in the USA.

Benefits of Doing Business in USA

In the United States, non-US citizens open businesses every day – from small businesses to large corporations – and are successful. This is because, when starting a U.S. business, business owners gain access to a large national market and low taxes. 

Other advantages foreign nationals can enjoy when opening a business in this business-friendly country include:

  • Better access to investors and venture capitalists.
  • An easier time selling your products or services in the U.S.
  • Enhancement of your international reputation.
  • A better chance of getting a U.S. work visa.

If you are a foreign national who wants to set up a US business, keep in mind that you will likely encounter more obstacles than would a US citizen. Things like opening a business bank account and getting a visa may be complicated, and you must prove you can make your business work under U.S. law.

To make setting up a U.S. business easier as a foreign national, you’ll want to make sure you are supported by an experienced team of professionals like those at E-2VisaWorld. When you meet with us, we’ll guide you through all of your business visa options, including applying for an E-2 investor visa.

How to Register a Company in USA

One of the first and most important steps of starting a U.S. business is determining the structure of your business entity, which, along with where you live, will form the basis of how you will register your business. Once you determine those factors, you will have a much easier time registering your business as a legal entity, which comes with a multitude of tax benefits, protections, and legal benefits.

If you are starting a small business, you should register the unique name of your business with your local and state governments. In many states, you can do this online using the Secretary of State website. To register, you will need to provide information about yourself and your business such as your company name, your phone number, mailing address and physical address of the business entity, name and address of the person filing for the LLC and the registered agent, a form of payment, and any optional provisions you would like to add to your articles of incorporation or articles of organization.

Sometimes, you are not required to register your business. This is true if you are operating the business under your full legal name. However, the E-2 visa requires that your business is not marginal, meaning it does not only support you and your family, so you may not be eligible to obtain E-2 visa status if you are set on starting a sole proprietorship. In any case, the immigration attorneys at E-2VisaWorld can help you find a favorable solution.

How to Start a Business in USA for Non-Citizens

In most cases, you need some form of capital to start a business. Most experts suggest using your own money to start your business – or as much as you can. If you are starting your business through the E-2 visa as a non-US citizen, you should expect to invest at least $80,000 into your business, but the exact amount you will need to invest is dependent on numerous factors, including the type of business and more. Complete our E-2 eligibility survey to learn more about whether you qualify.

Many potential entrepreneurs begin their business by covering the cost of start-up through loans. They do this because they believe they can pay the loans back with their profits. However, it can take months or sometimes years to generate profits, so they should not count on this.

That is why it is a good idea to have as much of your start-up as possible in cash. This way, no hidden surprises can hinder the success of your business. However, if you must use a loan, you’re in luck – funds may also originate from a gift or a loan for the E-2 visa. The only requirement is that the loan must be a secured loan. 

Most US companies are partnerships or sole proprietorships — these are some of the simplest ways to form a business, but they can be a liability. This means the owner’s personal assets are at risk. This is why it is a good idea to have insurance, but it is not always enough.

It’s also a compelling reason for why you should consider forming an LLC (Limited Liability Company) or a C-Corporation. This means the owners will not assume personal liability, which is especially important as an immigrant since your future in the U.S. depends on the success of your business.

How to Set up a Company in USA Successfully

Almost every potential business owner envisions a successful business with many locations and employees and lots of revenue. They need to start small, though. It is best to not take on too much too fast, especially if you do not have the income to do so.

If you start in a manageable way, you can get over speedbumps without them being a detriment to your business. So, start modestly and without taking on lots of debt. This can ensure you will slowly and sustainably grow into success.

Another way to ensure success is to not rely on a handshake but get a contract for everything. This should be a written contract or it may not be valid. Here is a list of situations when you may need a contract:

  • When a product worth more than $500 sells.
  • When a service is to last for more than a year (i.e. mobile phone plan).
  • When copyrights or real estate are being transferred.

Verbal contracts can still be made, but they are harder to prove. So, get everything in writing, especially during the early stages of your E-2 visa application, as your business can depend on it.

Immigration officials may want copies of relevant contracts and other legal documents to determine whether you plan to legitimately conduct business as a US company and whether you meet the E-2 visa requirements. These may include the operating agreement, articles of organization, annual report (if investing in an existing business, such as purchasing a franchise), and more.

How to Form a Company in USA & Get Ahead

Once you’ve established your U.S. business and successfully obtained your E-2 visa, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure success, and this begins with having an edge over your competition. 

Having a better distributor, location, manufacturer, customer service, or a superior product can give you a competitive edge over other businesses. The best way to protect and maintain this edge is to keep your trade secrets confidential. This is where legal protections, which cover everything from redacting confidential documents to making everyone involved sign nondisclosure agreements, come in.

Another way to ensure success is to be proactive and plan ahead. When you seek the services of our E-2 visa lawyers, we’ll discuss the future of your business not only to determine your eligibility for a visa but also to help you begin your venture on the right foot.

Learn How to Start a Business in USA from the Experts

When you are a small business owner, you’ll likely wear many hats at your company, but being an attorney should not be one. While it’s always a good idea to have a basic understanding of how business law applies to you, you cannot put a price on having the help of a great attorney.

A skilled, knowledgeable lawyer can help give your small business its best chance at success. If you’re ready to begin reaping the benefits of bringing your career and investment to the United States, please contact the E-2 visa experts at E-2VisaWorld today. We look forward to assisting you!