Ready to tap the US market as a business expansion strategy? Find out about company registration in the USA and how you can if you are headquartered overseas or not a US resident.
A Guide on Company Registration USA for Non-Residents
Starting a business or expanding your operations to the US can be financially rewarding, given how big the market is. But with great rewards come great risks, a fact that many entrepreneurs are painfully aware of. You can reduce the risk of losses when you understand the company registration USA process better.
In this guide, you will learn about key points regarding setting up your business in the US when you’re based overseas or a non-resident.
1. You Have Two Options for Company Structure
Like in most countries, you can do business in the US as a sole proprietorship or a company; however, there are more cons than pros when you operate as a sole trader. For instance, sole proprietors do not have significant protection against liability—their business obligations become their personal debt.
There are two common business structures in the US for foreign entrepreneurs: limited liability company (LLC) and C corporation (C-corp). Both insulate their owners from personal liability and debts because they are considered separate legal entities.
LLCs and C-corps can have foreign members or shareholders, unlike S-corporations, which can only be owned by US residents.
2. Determine the Best Corporate Entity for Your Business
Before proceeding with the company registration USA process, you must decide which of the two—LLC or C-corp—is the most suitable structure for your business. Below are some differences.
An LLC is not subject to the stringent bookkeeping requirements a C-corp does. It is easier to set up and offers flexibility but enough protection to its owners. Another advantage is avoiding double taxation—an LLC does not pay taxes on its profits, which are passed through to its members.
A C-corp is taxed twice. It must pay corporate taxes on its earnings before distributing profit, and its shareholders must pay personal income taxes on dividends received. However, a C-corp can easily raise more capital by offering stock shares to external investors.
3. Delaware Is an Ideal State for Company Formation
Regarding company registration USA, non-resident entrepreneurs can choose to do it in over 40 states. The laws and regulations vary for every state, and they will impact your taxes and overall business operations.
The best state to register is where you’ll conduct most of your business. But if you run an online operation or do business across various locations, consider setting-up-shop in a state with low hurdles and tax burdens.
Delaware is particularly preferred for its corporate law protecting owners and officers and its openness to foreign entrepreneurs and management. If you wish to incorporate in Delaware and speed up the process, consult an expert from Sterlinx Global.
4. A US Address Isn’t Necessary
As a foreign national, an advantage in Delaware is that this state does not require a physical address when establishing your company, unlike most US states. Having a physical presence in the state is not necessary for incorporating your LLC, but it’s necessary to enlist the services of a registered agent.
They will serve as the liaison between your business and the local government, receiving documents and transacting on your behalf. Sterlinx Global can act as your representative and provide a US address for your important correspondence.
5. You Don’t Need a Visa to Set Up Your Business
Company registration USA as a non-resident does not require a visa. There’s no need to obtain a valid American visa, which can be a significant hurdle, to incorporate your business in the country.
Managing your LLC from outside the US is permitted, so it doesn’t entail a work visa. It will only be required if you enter the country to work under your business. In that case, you must apply for an E-2 visa as a foreign entrepreneur.
6. Have a List of the Required Documents
When incorporating as an LLC in the US, you must prepare the following documents:
- Articles of Organisation
- LLC Membership Certificate
- IRS Form SS4 or the Application for Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- Office address
Documentary requirements vary from state to state; the above list may be lacking for other states. Sometimes, they may require a US bank account and Certificate of Formation. Working with a registered agent like Sterlinx Global ensures proper compliance.
7. Understand the Company Registration USA Process
Incorporating your company generally involves the following steps:
- Pick a unique name for your company that has not been registered or used.
- Choose a state, submit the legal documents to the proper agencies, and pay the required fees.
- Obtain your EIN. If you work with an agent, they can handle it for you.
Again, the steps may differ for each state. For instance, in some states, you must open a business bank account first for your application to be approved.
8. There Are Benefits to Registering as a US Business
Entering the US market is a lucrative venture. Apart from this, there are other benefits to company registration USA as a non-resident, such as:
- Low corporate taxes: Some states offer financial incentives to foreign investors, encouraging them to establish their operations in said locations.
- Access to technology: The US is among the most technologically advanced countries in the world. Working with the latest technology eases company operations.
- Equal treatment: The country’s laws and regulations do not discriminate between foreign- and locally-owned businesses, putting you on equal footing with your competitors.
9. You Have Tax Obligations
Although there are financial incentives to starting a business in the US, your newly established LLC is not exempt from complying with state and federal tax laws. You automatically have obligations as a taxpayer.
For example, you are an Amazon seller with buyers in the US. You have to collect and remit sales tax to the proper authorities. And if your LLC has other US-sourced income, it’s crucial to settle its corporate taxes. Business taxation can be confusing for corporate entities, so partner with an experienced tax advisor.
Part of compliance is filing quarterly tax returns, which can be handled by your Sterlinx Global representative.
10. You May Need Company Registration in the USA Assistance
Establishing your US company may seem easy on paper, but that isn’t always the case. There may be state-specific laws and policies that you have overlooked or did not understand, leading to unnecessary delays and hefty penalties.
Ensure a smooth, seamless registration of your LLC when you hire a qualified or experienced agent like Sterlinx Global to do the leg work. They are familiar with the process, have the information to accomplish the task, and can advise you on your next step.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to register a company in the US?
The company registration USA process is relatively short when compared to other countries. Expect to have your LLC registered and established within 10 to 15 days in the state you plan to register. However, it’s prudent to add some leeway in your timeline—perhaps, a week—for any unforeseen problems.
Does the state authority reject company registrations?
Yes, sometimes, as with any other agency. When that happens, you have to review the reason behind the rejection and address it by amending the errors. This scenario can be daunting and disheartening, especially when you’re doing it yourself. Consider hiring an agent to minimise missteps and oversights.
Which is better to register for my business—an LLC or a C-corp?
The answer depends on how you want to run your operations. If you want to stay simple and keep tax liabilities to a minimum, an LLC may be the right choice. But if you have plans for future expansion and additional investors, consider a C-corp for your business.
The Bottom Line
Entering the US market is financially rewarding and possible, even if you’re a non-resident. Start your journey off on the right foot by understanding the proper company registration USA process with the above key information.
It also pays to work with a qualified agent, so you can focus on growing your business instead of worrying over the minute details. Let the team at Sterlinx Global guide you from start to finish. Check out our community forum, YouTube channel, and podcasts to find answers to your pressing questions.