The Foreigner’s Guide to Owning an American Business (By Luthando)

The USA features one of the largest and most prestigious markets in the world today. The Internet has opened up incalculable income opportunities for the small businessperson worldwide. There is a growing list of individuals living in foreign lands that strongly desire to own an American business, tapping into this vast marketplace, while continuing to live in their homeland. This article will briefly touch on the subject of how you can setup and operate a business in the USA while living in a foreign land.

Why would you want to own an American business?

Generally, Americans prefer doing business with American companies because they expect American quality and have legal recourse if the company doesn’t deliver on their product or service as promised. This may not be true when they make a purchase from a foreign business. If you market your goods through your American business, you can overcome this limitation.

The American buyer needs to have confidence in a company they wish to make a purchase from and image is of paramount importance. You may live in a foreign land, but if your business has its address, bank account, and phone number in the USA, you have already laid substantial credibility to your company. Also, American suppliers may be more cooperative with your company in America than overseas.

Overcoming demographic issues

It may seem overwhelming to you when considering the idea of setting up your own American company. Actually, most steps are rather simple and it isn’t too difficult to find qualified services and consultants that can walk you step-by-step through the complete process for a reasonable startup fee.

Meeting legal requirements

It isn’t a requirement to be an American citizen or even live in the USA to own a company here. You can hire agents to setup your corporation or LLC (Limited Liability Company) for you for less than $700 (US Dollars), and maintain your own business address with receptionist for about $200 – $300 per month. Your phone number will cost about $30 per month. Business licenses are low cost and renewed annually. Your company will be required to obtain an Employer’s I.D. from the U.S. Internal revenue Service (IRS) since it must pay taxes it earns. If you setup your company in the state of Nevada, Delaware, or Wyoming, you won’t have any state corporation or personal state income taxes.

One problem that faces a foreigner establishing an American business is the establishment of a business bank account in their state of business. It’s important for the corporation to have a bank account in its home state (the state of its incorporation). This is one of the tests to validate that the business is legal.

Most banks here require the business owner to open their bank checking account in person. The individual that is authorized to sign checks on the account must sign the required bank signatory card in person. Normally, this requirement would necessitate a trip to the USA by the foreign business owner. But, there are creative ways to circumvent this issue. Some small Internet companies even utilize their PayPal Premier Business Account to handle many international sales payments, though a bank checking account is still necessary.

There are various legal structures for American companies, but you will likely use either the “C” corporation or LLC (Limited Liability Company) structure. The “S” corporation structure isn’t available to nonresident corporate owners. The service or consultant you select to assist you in setting up your new business will help you understand what you need so you can make an intelligent decision as to the best way to proceed.

Once your business is established, it isn’t to difficult to maintain its legal status. Don’t be overwhelmed with this process. It’s more than worth the effort to establish your own business in the USA. It can open many business opportunities that simply are not available to nonresident businesses. Even many established and successful companies like Sony, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Honda, and Hitachi have opened up American branches and businesses for these reasons. Learn from their examples and gain many of the same benefits.


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