You do not need a U.S. visa to incorporate an LLC in the U.S however, you do need a visa to be able to work for the business from within the U.S.
You can own the business and receive your share of the profits but you cannot work for the business without having a visa.
Our services are preferably for Amazon Sellers, Kickstarter Applicants, Importing/Exporting, eCommerce, Tech Support, IT Services, Web Developers, SaaS Businesses, Freelancing and Financial Services Providers are just some our clients from all over the world that choose us as their solution to start or grow their businesses in the US.
Let’s look at an example of how this could work for you. Let’s say you start an Ice-Cream shop in Florida and you hire a manager to manage the daily operations. Now, you are a passive investor in the business and you own the business but you do not work for the business. This is permissible to do without a visa. But, if you wanted to be at the ice cream shop and run the daily activities including: overseeing sales, marketing, advertising, accounting, etc. then you would need a visa.
Another example, you can invest in U.S. stock from outside the U.S. and you can receive all the benefits from appreciation in the stock price but as a shareholder of that company you are not actively involved in the daily operations. This is considered a passive investment and you would not need a U.S. visa. So if you wanted to start a restaurant in the U.S. and you hired a manager to manage all the operations and you were not involved – then again this would be considered a passive investment and you would not need a visa. But if you do want to be involved in the daily activities of the business in some way then you will be required to get a U.S. visa to be able to work for the business that you own.
Now, let’s get into the 10 actionable steps that you can take to start a business in the USA as a non-resident.
The first step is choosing the State for Incorporation but for an LLC this is called the State of organization. Generally, the best State to register your LLC will be the one you will be conducting business with. However, if you’re an online company or do business across multiple states then you may want to consider registering in a state with a lower tax burden such as Nevada, Wyoming, or Delaware.
Delaware has particularly popular and well-respected corporate laws that provide significant protections to business owners. The right choice for you will depend on your particular circumstances.
Once you pick the state of the organization, next you’ll want to choose a Name for your LLC. In all 50 states and US territories and possessions, the name needs to end with LLC or limited liability company. You’ll need to check the name you’ve chosen with your State before registering your LLC to make sure that it is available.
You should also check with the U.S. trademark and patent office’s trademark database to make sure that the name has not been trademarked.
You need to select a Registered Agent. A Registered Agent is responsible for receiving notices from the state, notices of a lawsuit, and other legal documents.
A Registered Agent can be an individual, trust, or another company. After you’ve selected a registered agent, you’ll want to decide on how your LLC will be managed.
There are two types of LLC:
1. Member-Managed, and
In member-managed LLC’s, a single member, in a single member LLC, or all the members, in a multiple member LLC, will have an active role in the operation of the business.
A manager-managed LLC is formed where a single member, in a single member LLC, or members, in a multiple member LLC, only want a passive role in the business and the single member or multiple members depending on the type of LLC do not want to be part of the daily operations of the business.
In this situation the members elect a manager or managers to run the everyday operations.
Once you have chosen the State of organization, a Name for your LLC, elected a Registered Agent and decided on your LLC’s management structure. Now it’s time to file the Articles of Organization with the State or U.S. territory that you have chosen to register your LLC. Generally, you’ll be able to file the Articles of Organization online with the state.
The next step is to draft an operating agreement that will be in compliance with U.S.immigration law. The operating agreement defines how the LLC will be run on a day-to-day basis including:
● The management structure
● Allocation of distributions
● LLC Accounting
● Immigration Compliance
● Voting Rights
● Dissociation or Dissolution of the business, and much more.
Now that you have the LLC formed and an operating agreement in place, you’ll need to obtain a Federal Employment Identification Number also known as an EIN.
An LLC’s EIN is used for reporting taxes, opening a bank account, and hiring employees. You will fill out IRS form SS-4 and you should use a third-party designee such as our firm to help you complete this process. In addition, if you are a single member LLC, after receiving your EIN, you’ll also need to file IRS Form 5472 and form 1120. If form 5472 is not filed or filed incorrectly, the IRS charges a minimum penalty of $25,000. If you have a multiple member LLC that is taxed as a corporation and has at least one foreign owner that owns 25% or more, you must file Form 5472 and form 1120.
On the other hand, if you have a foreign-owned multiple member LLC that is taxed as a partnership, you are not required to file form 5472 and form 1120. We’d recommend discussing this more with the tax adviser or certified public accountant.
Now that you have your LLC’s EIN, you are ready to open the LLC’s bank accounts. Non U.S. residents can open an LLC bank account online with Mercury. To open an account with Mercury, you’ll need your LLC approval documents, copy of your passport, your contact information, the LLC’s address, which can be the address of your Registered Agent, the LLC’s proof of an EIN and submission of Mercury’s online application.
Please note that Mercury is a best fit for online businesses and not cash intensive businesses. If you will be handling a lot of cash deposits, then mercury would not be a good fit. However, if you will be accepting all credit card transactions online, then Mercury would be a great fit. You may also appoint a person who is living in the U.S. to act as a manager of your manager-managed LLC and give that person authority to open your LLC’s bank account. However, this is a risky proposition because that person will have access to the account.
Another option is to open a business bank account using Payoneer. Also, you may visit a multinational bank near you. For example, Banco Santander, Royal Bank of Canada, Barclays, HSBC, etc. and ask if they can help you open an account for your US-based LLC. The other alternative to opening your LLC’s bank account in the U.S. is traveling to the U.S. and opening the account in-person. If you are from one of the countries that allows for you to travel to the U.S. on your passport or ESTA, also known as the visa waiver program, then you can establish your bank account that way.
Also, all banks have different policies concerning opening business accounts, so the best thing to do is to call the bank ahead of time and ask to speak with the branch manager. Tell them that you have a U.S. LLC and that you are a Non-U.S. resident and that you do not have an SSN or ITIN but you have an EIN for your limited liability company. Ask them for all the documentation they require to open an account and take detailed notes. Also, ask if they can send you this information via email or if it is listed anywhere online.
Then ask the branch manager if you can email them your documents for review before coming into the bank. If everything looks good, ask the branch manager if you can make an appointment to meet with them to open the account. We’d recommend planning to stay in the U.S. for at least 1 to 2 weeks just in case there are any delays or extra things you need to get to open your account. Additional things to do may be applying for a business license, permit, or other document, while in the U.S.
Once you have opened your bank account, you’re ready to start doing business. After setting up your LLC bank account, you should speak with a Tax Advisor or Certified Public Accountant to oversee your bookkeeping and taxes.
To get your LLC set up the right way, you may get our services to help you.
There are 6 main reasons you must consider incorporating your LLC in the United States if you’re doing business or planning to do business from Pakistan.
1. The first reason why you should consider opening your business in the United States is because when you start your business in the US you can register it as you have access to a Stripe account. You’ll be able to charge in USD and why is this important? It’s important because the USD is like the standard of all the exchanges that happen online, especially in online businesses. Now in your local country where you live, your country of residence you may be doing transactions in the currency that is local to that place but when we start doing international transactions it’s much easier to keep everything in USD. Now there are different kinds of dollars but everybody’s just generally used to spending and buying things in USD.
2. The second reason for registering your business in the United States is that you are able to have access to Stripe. There are a lot of us that maybe want to do online business have international clients but you know collecting payments is a bit of a hassle so you don’t really know how to collect payments because you can’t integrate with stripe and all of that kind of things but once you open your business in the U.S, you’ll be able to have access to stripe and also if you have majority of your consumers in the US or maybe the people that you’re targeting for your products or whatever you’re selling are people who live in the US, it adds an extra layer of credibility to you.
3. The next reason for registering your business in the U.S is that the U.S gives you more options. Where do you want to register your business in the US as a non-resident? You have the option of picking any of the 50 states. This means that you get the flexibility of choosing whichever state you want based on and what the states have to offer. As a non-residents you have the opportunity of registering your business almost anywhere in the US. You just select what states you want and what they have to offer and then you can register your business.
4. The other thing is the taxes Incorporating an LLC in the U.S means that you have to pay taxes in the US. Every single person’s tax obligation is completely dependent on his individual situation. What that essentially means is that i can have my business registered in the US and another person who is living somewhere else may register their business in the U.S and i may not be obligated to pay tax in the US while the other person may be required to pay taxes in the U.S. and this is because in general taxes are based on three major criteria;
Number one your physical presence in the U.S;
Number two you have to consider is do you have any employees;
Number three is your income effectively connected with the U.S;
What you will be required to do at the end of each year is to report your income.
Reporting basically means that all the profit, loss and everything that has happened in your business. You have to send the report or file it with the federal government with the IRS.
5. Another reason for registering your business in the U.S is that you avoid things like value-added tax (VAT). So a lot of European registered businesses, people who register businesses in places like Estonia and other places, are usually required to collect VAT.
6. The final reason that you want to put into consideration if you’re looking into registering your business in the U.S is to see if your country has ties with the U.S or not in terms of tax treaties or agreements. If you have income and are required to pay tax in the U.S then you don’t have to pay the tax again in your country or vice versa.
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