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How to Set Up a US Company as a Non-Resident?


Last Updated on October 16, 2023 by Reema

How to Set Up a US Company?

Setting up a non-resident company in the United States may seem like a complex and challenging endeavour. Still, it’s entirely achievable with the right guidance and understanding of the process. The U.S. offers a favourable business environment, access to a vast consumer market, and a robust legal system, making it an attractive destination for entrepreneurs worldwide. This comprehensive guide will explore the steps and considerations involved in setting up a U.S. company as a non-resident.

Determine the Business Structure

The first step in setting up a U.S. company is choosing the appropriate business structure. Common options for non-residents include:

  • Sole Proprietorship: This is the simplest structure, but it offers no liability protection. It’s generally not recommended for businesses with significant potential liability.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC): An LLC offers limited liability protection for its owners and is a popular choice for small and medium-sized businesses. As a non-resident, you can form an LLC in the U.S.
  • Corporation: Corporations, including S Corporations and C Corporations, provide strong liability protection. Non-residents can also form corporations, but the process may be more complex and require additional steps.

The choice of business structure depends on your specific needs, tax considerations, and long-term goals.

Select a U.S. Business Address

You’ll need a physical address in the United States to register your company. This address is where you will receive legal documents and correspondence related to your business. Options for obtaining a U.S. business address include:

  • Virtual Office: Many companies offer virtual office services, providing you with a U.S. mailing address and often other services like mail forwarding and phone services.
  • Registered Agent: You can appoint a registered agent in the state where you plan to register your business. A registered agent is responsible for receiving legal documents on behalf of your company.
  • Physical Location: If you have a physical presence in the U.S., you can use that address for your business.

Ensure that the chosen address complies with the requirements of the state where you intend to register your company.

Choose the State of Formation

The United States consists of 50 states, and each state has its own rules and regulations regarding business formation. Some states are more business-friendly than others. The most popular states for non-resident business formation are:

  • Texas, Florida, and New York: These states have large economies and are popular choices for businesses targeting specific markets.
  • Delaware: Known for its business-friendly laws and well-established legal system. Many large corporations are registered in Delaware.
  • Nevada: Offers favourable tax advantages and strong asset protection.
  • Wyoming: Known for its minimal regulations and low annual fees.

Each state has different rules, tax structures, and filing fees, so it’s essential to consider your business’s needs and do thorough research before selecting a state for your company with the help of an expert like Kanakkupillai.

Appoint a Registered Agent

In the U.S., a registered agent is a designated individual or entity responsible for receiving legal documents, government correspondence, and notifications on behalf of the company. The registered agent must have a physical address within the state of formation.

Many companies offer registered agent services for a fee. As a non-resident, appointing a registered agent simplifies the process of receiving essential documents and ensures that you remain compliant with state regulations.

Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

An Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, is a unique nine-digit number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for tax and legal purposes. It’s necessary for opening a business bank account, hiring employees, and paying taxes. As a non-resident, you can apply for an EIN online through the IRS website or by submitting a paper application.

Create a Business Plan

A well-defined business plan is essential for the success of your U.S. company. Your business plan should outline your goals, target market, marketing strategies, financial projections, and other relevant information. It serves as a roadmap for your business and can be invaluable when seeking investors or financing.

Open a U.S. Business Bank Account

To operate your U.S. company effectively, you’ll need a business bank account. This account will help you manage finances, receive payments, and pay expenses related to your business. As a non-resident, opening a business bank account may require specific documentation and compliance with U.S. banking regulations.

Requirements for opening a U.S. business bank account typically include:

  • EIN: You’ll need your Employer Identification Number.
  • Business Formation Documents: You’ll need to provide documentation that proves your business’s legal existence, such as the Articles of Organization for an LLC or the Articles of Incorporation for a corporation.
  • Personal Identification: As a non-resident, you’ll need to provide identification documents, such as a passport and visa, and possibly other forms of identification depending on the bank’s requirements.
  • U.S. Business Address: You’ll need to provide the U.S. business address for your company.

It’s essential to research different banks to find one that is accommodating to non-resident business owners and that aligns with your business needs.

Comply with U.S. Tax Regulations

As a non-resident business owner, it’s crucial to understand and comply with U.S. tax regulations. The U.S. has a complex tax system, and your business structure will determine your tax obligations. Here are some key tax considerations:

  1. Income Tax: Depending on your business structure, your income may be subject to federal and state income taxes. Consult with a tax professional to ensure compliance.
  2. Sales Tax: If your business involves selling physical goods or providing certain services, you may be required to collect and remit sales tax to the relevant state authorities.
  3. Employment Taxes: If you have employees in the U.S., you’ll need to withhold and remit payroll taxes, including Social Security and Medicare.
  4. International Tax Treaties: Some countries have tax treaties with the U.S. that affect how income is taxed. It’s essential to understand the tax implications of your specific country’s treaty with the U.S.

To navigate U.S. tax regulations successfully, consider working with a tax professional or consulting with an accountant experienced in international taxation.

Secure Visas or Work Permits

If you plan to reside in the U.S. or manage your company from within the country, you may need to secure the appropriate visa or work permit. The type of visa you need depends on your role within the company and your specific circumstances. Common visa options include:

  • L-1 Visa: This visa is for intra-company transferees who work for a foreign company with a parent, subsidiary, or affiliate in the U.S. It allows you to transfer to a U.S. office and manage the business.
  • E-2 Visa: The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa is for individuals from countries that have a treaty of commerce and navigation with the U.S. It allows investors and certain employees to work in the U.S. for companies they own or are in the process of starting.
  • H-1B Visa: While typically associated with employment in larger companies, the H-1B visa can also be used by individuals starting a business in the U.S. if they meet the criteria.

Each visa type has specific requirements and limitations, and the application process can be complex which needs thorough understanding and planned execution with the help of experts!

Obtain Required Business Licenses and Permits

Your U.S. business may require various licenses and permits, depending on the type of business, location, and activities it conducts. Common licenses and permits include:

  • Business License: Many states and localities require businesses to obtain a general business license.
  • Professional Licenses: Certain professions, such as doctors, lawyers, and real estate agents, require specific professional licenses.
  • Industry-Specific Licenses: Depending on your industry, you may need specialized licenses or permits, such as health department permits for restaurants or liquor licenses for bars.
  • Zoning and Land Use Permits: You may need permits related to the location and use of your business premises.
  • Federal Permits: In some cases, businesses engaged in activities regulated by federal agencies, such as aviation or firearms, may require federal permits.

It’s crucial to research and identify the specific licenses and permits your business needs at the federal, state, and local levels.

Hire Local Professionals

Navigating the legal and regulatory requirements of starting a U.S. company can be challenging, especially for non-residents. Hiring local professionals, such as attorneys, accountants, and business consultants, can be highly beneficial. These experts can provide valuable guidance and ensure that you comply with all legal and financial obligations.

Register for State Taxes

Depending on the state where you register your business, you may be required to register for state taxes, such as sales tax, income tax, or employment tax. Registering for state taxes involves obtaining the necessary permits and identification numbers, as well as understanding your state’s tax filing requirements.

Comply with U.S. Reporting Requirements

Your U.S. company will have ongoing reporting requirements that may include annual filings, tax returns, and compliance with federal and state regulations. Failing to meet these requirements can result in penalties and legal issues. Hiring a compliance consultant or attorney can help ensure that you meet all reporting obligations.

Leverage Resources for International Business

As a non-resident operating a U.S. company, you can benefit from various resources and organizations that support international business. Organizations like the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and chambers of commerce can provide valuable information, networking opportunities, and resources for non-resident business owners.

Adapt to Cultural and Legal Differences

Operating a business in the U.S. as a non-resident may involve navigating cultural and legal differences. Understanding the local business culture, employment laws, and customer expectations can help you adapt and thrive in the U.S. market.

Seek Legal and Financial Advice

Throughout the process of setting up and running your U.S. company, it’s advisable to seek legal and financial advice from professionals who specialize in international business and the U.S. legal system. They can guide you through complex legal and financial matters, helping you avoid common pitfalls and ensure compliance with all relevant regulations.

Stay Informed and Stay Compliant

The U.S. legal and regulatory landscape can change, so staying informed about developments that could affect your business is essential. Regularly review your compliance with federal and state regulations and make adjustments as necessary.

To conclude, setting up a U.S. company as a non-resident involves steps and considerations, from choosing the right business structure and state of formation to navigating U.S. tax regulations and compliance requirements. While the process may seem complex, with proper planning, expert guidance, and dedication, non-residents can successfully establish and grow their businesses in the United States. The U.S. offers a dynamic and diverse market that can be highly rewarding for entrepreneurs worldwide, making it well worth the effort to set up a U.S. company for those with the vision and determination to succeed.

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Welcome to! Greetings, I'm Reema, a Legal Conflicts Analyst with a fervent commitment to resolving legal disputes and ensuring a fair and just resolution for all parties involved. My extensive experience in analyzing and mediating legal conflicts, coupled with a deep understanding of the nuances of various legal domains, positions me as your reliable guide in navigating the complexities of legal disputes. I firmly believe in promoting diversity and inclusivity within the realm of legal conflicts, ensuring that all individuals, regardless of their backgrounds, have access to impartial and equitable conflict resolution. I am privileged to be a part of your journey towards achieving resolution and clarity through this blog. Here, I will provide valuable insights and strategies tailored to help you navigate legal challenges effectively. Thank you for entrusting me with the opportunity to assist you on your path to resolution and legal peace. For more information and resources, please visit