Did you know that immigrants account for 28 percent of small business owners in the U.S.? In fact, The National Foundation for American Policy found that 55 percent of the country’s start-ups have at least 1 immigrant founder. Many immigrants move to the U.S. filled with dreams for personal, professional, and financial progression- including goals of starting their own business. While the country has been in the spotlight for its tightening immigration policies in recent years, the USA has always been seen as a land of opportunities and welcoming of foreign investors. However, starting a business in the USA as an immigrant does have its differing requirements. Whether it is working out what visa option is right for you or narrowing down your options for start-up financing, here is what you need to think about if you are an immigrant business owner in the USA.
Find out the Registration Requirements in Your Intended State of Operation
As a business owner in the USA, you will be required to meet certain compliance requirements to operate legitimately. This will be determined by the state your business is based in. Some of the most business-friendly states include Washington, Colorado, and Utah. after you have established a location, it is time to register for an individual taxpayer identification number (ITDN) which helps to identify your tax obligation as a business owner. You will also need to file an article of incorporation with your state authorities to ensure your business is registered as a legal entity.
Narrow down Your Visa Options According to Your Business Status
While you do not need to have resident status to invest in the USA, you do need to apply for the permitted immigration status to work in the country. The good news is that there are now multiple visa categories catering to budding foreign entrepreneurs including the H-1B visa, E-B5 visa, and the E-2 treaty visa. For the E-2 visa route, you are allowed to remain in the U.S for as long as your business remains in operation. The visa is renewed in 2-year increments and is suitable to entrepreneurs with small businesses which are less than 12 months old or employ less than 4 employees. However, if you are moving to the U.S. to launch another branch of your business that is already operable outside of the country, you may be more suited to the L-1A visa. Similarly, the E-B5 visa
Address the Critical Funding Question for Your Business
As an immigrant business owner, another key part of the puzzle to opening a business in the USA is figuring out how to fund it. Non-residents cannot apply for a social security number (SSN). This is heavily used in loan applications. It helps to do your research on lenders that will accept your TIN instead of credit applications.
Your immigration status will heavily influence your choice of finance options as a foreign business investor. For instance, those with a green card or who plan on immigrating on an entrepreneurship visa may be able to apply for a Small Business Administration loan. Another way you could fund the launch of your business is to use your savings or to apply for a specialist business loan.
While the process for becoming an entrepreneur and investing in a business in the USA can have several steps, it can also be worthwhile. The trick to succeeding is to research your options, resources available and take the time to plan ahead. If you are unsure of your options as an immigrant business owner, it may be time to speak to an immigration attorney before moving ahead.