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Start a U.S. Business

Overview of the Process of Starting Business in the United States

Procedure Name: Start a Business in the United States.
Purpose: Foreigners Non-U.S. citizens can start a business in the U.S. It does not require as many formalities or legal paperwork as required in other countries.
Eligible applicants: Foreign-Non-U.S.citizens. and U.S. citizens, Non-Residents, and Residents
How to start a business in the U.S.: This publication about how to start a business in the United States provides complete information about all the business, legal and basic aspects business owners should know before starting or buying a business. Incorporation, legal entities, immigration requirements, business licenses, credit, banking, taxes, trademarks, insurance requirements and other important issues for new business owners.
 How to apply: Order and download this guide to find out the answer to several questions about the process to start business in the United States.

How can a non-U.S. citizen start a business in U.S.?

This information package covers information about visas, green cards, work permit and other important issues that foreign business owners should consider when starting a business in the U.S. There are different routes on how to comply with immigration requirements.

Many foreign nationals who want to start a business in the United States ask the lawyers to explain the different Visa options available to them. There are four very popular Visas that are available for Entrepreneurs, Investors & Business Owners and some of the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Green Card through Investment

Separately mentioning the Green Card, entrepreneurs who make a high investment can also apply for a Green Card through Investment. The green card is permanent, but an E-2 investor visa can only be renewed or extended for a few years. Another advantage of a green card is the possibility to apply for U.S. citizenship after holding a green card for a few years.

E-2 Investor Visa

An E-2 Visa is a Visa option for business owners that wish to start a company in the United States that they want to develop and direct the operations of. Although a person could live indefinitely in the U.S. with an E-2 Visa, it is a non-immigrant Visa which means that it does not lead to a green card. In order to qualify for this Visa, you must either start a business or buy a business that you plan to run and the investment amount really depends on the type of business you start. For example, if you start a consulting firm, the amount of investment can be as low as $50,000. If you start a manufacturing plant, the required investment amount would be much higher. In addition to the unlimited duration of the E-2 Visa (as long as you continue to run the business) and the potentially small investment amount, this Visa has the additional advantage of allowing an Investor’s spouse and children to join them in the U.S. and the spouse can get authorization to work in any field.

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa

An EB-5 Visa is a great visa option if you have a large amount of capital and is often referred to as the million dollar Green Card. The key advantage of this Visa is that you and your immediate family get green cards, but the down side is that the Visa requires a substantial investment, EB-5 law is a very complex legal area, and the Visa petition requires extensive documentation.

There are 5 main criteria to get an EB-5 Visa and they are as follows:

  • You must invest or be actively in the process of investing either $1,000,000 in a city settings, or US $500,000 in rural settings;
  • You must show that the funds come from a legitimate source
  • The entire amount of the investment must be active or at risk (this means that you cannot just be thinking about buying a business and you have to put capital up that could be lost)
  • You must make the investment in a “new” or “existing business enterprise” (this allows you to create your own business or buy one);
  • You must demonstrate that the investment directly or indirectly results in the creation or preservation of ten full time jobs

H-1B Visa

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that permits a company to hire workers in specialty occupations. This visa category requires that the beneficiary (the foreign worker) have a Bachelor’s degree, and the Petitioner (the U.S. company) can employ the worker for up to six years. In the case of a Business Owner, Investor or Entrepreneur, the petitioner and the beneficiary are often the same person but a business owner can use this Visa to sponsor his employees also. An H-1B Visa can be a tricky visa for a Business Owner if the owner is also the beneficiary as there are strict laws that govern whether or not a person who has an ownership interest in a company can sponsor themselves for an H-1B Visa. While difficult, it is not impossible and can be done with the help of a qualified United States immigration specialist.


The L-Visa allows a company to transfer an executive or manager from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. This classification also enables a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send an executive or manager to the United States with the purpose of establishing one. As such, this visa can be used by foreign entrepreneurs, investors, & business owners who want to move either themselves or their employees to the U.S.

To qualify for L-1 classification, the employer must:

1. Have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company;

2. Currently be, or will be, doing business as an employer in the U.S. and in at least one other country directly for the duration of the beneficiary’s stay in the United States as an L-1.

What type of business structure does suit my needs best?

When you decide to start your own business, you need to determine what type of business structure best suits your needs. There are four types of business structures: sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation and co-operative.

Sole proprietorship

You are the sole owner, and fully responsible for all debts and obligations related to your business. All profits go to you directly. The advantages of this type of business structure is that it is easy and inexpensive to register, you have direct control of decision making, some tax advantages if your business is not doing well.


A partnership is a non-incorporated business that is created between two or more people. In a partnership, your financial resources are combined with those of your business partner(s), and put into the business. You and your partner(s) would then share in the profits of the business according to any legal agreement you have drawn up.


In corporation,ownership is transferable and it is easier to raise capital than it might be with other business structures. Possible tax advantage as taxes may be lower for an incorporated business.


A co-operative is owned and controlled by an association of members. It can be set up as a for-profit or as a not-for-profit organization. This is the least common form of business, but can be appropriate in situations where a group of individuals or businesses decide to pool their resources and provide access to common needs, such as the delivery of products or services, the sale of products or services, employment, and more.

Information, Questions and Answers about How to Start a Business in the United States Included in this Publication:

  • How to start a new business in the United States?
  • Do I need to apply for a special permit to create a business in the US?
  • Am I required to form a corporation or other legal entity? or can I do business as an individual or sole proprietorship using my personal name?
  • Do I need to apply for a special permit or license to open an office or store in the United States?
  • Do I need a special visa to own a U.S. business?
  • Do I need to be American or U.S. resident to own a business in the United States?
  • Are foreigners allowed to own a U.S. business?
  • Do I have to live in the United States to be the owner of a U.S. business?
  • Can I work in my own business even without having a work visa?
  • Can I work in my U.S. business from abroad?
  • Green Card application for investors and business owners
  • Overview of work visas and immigration information for business owners
  • What types of companies, legal entities or corporations can be registered in the U.S.?
  • Pros and Cons of registering a business versus doing business as an individual sole proprietorship
  • What is the difference between the following three business entities: LLC, C Corporation and S Corporation?
  • How do I register a corporation in the United States?
  • Trademarks, service marks, business fantasy names and DBAs
  • Can I register a company even if I am a foreigner non-resident?
  • Do I have to pay U.S. taxes If I own a U.S. business?
  • What type of business taxes do I have to pay?
  • Personal taxes and corporate taxes, dividends, profit, sales tax, income tax.
  • Do I need to have a social security number in order to own a business?
  • How to apply for a tax identification number for my business?
  • How to apply for a business license
  • How to build credit for my business

Start a Business in the United States
Order and download this guide to find out the answer to several questions about the process to start business in the United States.

Disclaimer: We are not affiliated with the government, we are a private publisher of information guides. This product only includes instructions, it does not include filing fees, or any other charges to submit your application.