Starting your first business in the US as a foreigner: Ultimate Guide

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Having a business has always been the dream of many. Indeed, it is one of the most effective ways to earn more money than being an employee. But most people found it hard knowing that it takes you to a long road before declaring it a success. This situation is even more complex and requires an extended effort if you plan to build your business in other countries, such as in the U.S. Let’s see about starting your first business in the US as a foreigner: the ultimate guide.

If your dream is to have one., consider yourself as lucky as this vision is already within your reach. However, like any other entrepreneurial venture, it requires you to accomplish all the requirements before your business starts aboard. According to Ashoori Law, the E2 visa is the best option to apply as an entrepreneur or investor. Hence, to help you know further about the ways to start your business as a foreigner, here’s the list of information you may use for your advantage:

Choose a Company Structure That Suits Your Need

Foreigners are always welcome to build their business in the U.S. However, there are still some restrictions that they have to know, especially in choosing a company entity type. One of these is the S corporation, wherein each shareholder must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent foreign resident. Hence, as an alien, you still have two choices you may select – C corporation and the Limited Liability Company (LLC). 

C corporation – also known as shareholders. Foreign entrepreneurs are separate from the legal and tax entity as well as the financial debts of the company. Undoubtedly, this is the most acquired type of business structure. 

Limited Liability Company (LLC) – Aliens who choose this have separate legal entities from the owners. They are often known as the members, who have the freedom to determine if they want their business to put a tax or have its profits and losses passed to the owner’s tax returns. Like how other companies operate, the LLC also comes with compliance requirements.  

Obtain Approval From the U.S. Government

Foreign entrepreneurs no longer have to undergo lengthy processes of obtaining a green card to own a business in the U.S. They only need to get approval from the U.S. government through either E-2 Visa or EB-5 Visa. The E2 visa is for entrepreneurs, investors, and people who want to run a business in the U.S. Meanwhile, the EB-5 is available for foreigners willing to invest $1.8 million or $900,000, only if the entity is part of TEA (targeted employment area). 

Hire a Registered Agent.

Hiring a registered agent who will act on your behalf when it comes to the service process is a must. Either you choose the LLCs or C corporation type of business, you must still designate a licensed one to become updated in all undertakings legally. However, some companies already provide registered agents services. If you want to know this further, you may check it on the Secretary of State’s office in the state where you want to establish your business. 

Accomplished the Necessary Licenses and Permits.

Like any other business venture, non-citizen entrepreneurs must accomplish all the necessary licenses and permits. This way will ensure the legality of their companies and any other undertakings. Hence, as a foreign businessperson, you must check with the country clerk, local government authorities, and the Secretary of State to know your business requirements. 


No one ever said that starting a new business is an easy undertaking. But it doesn’t mean that it is going to be impossible. If you are a foreigner who wants to build a business in the U.S., it is not yet too late for you to take a risk. Thus, to make your business a successful one, you must consider all the information listed above.

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