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Starting a Business as a Foreign National


As many people are aware, United States consumers have tremendous spending power. Additionally, our robust economy makes doing business with existing companies an attractive proposition for many entrepreneurs. As a result, many people who recognize business opportunities within the U.S. but are not citizens wonder whether they can legally establish a U.S. business. Fortunately for prospective foreign entrepreneurs, the answer is “yes” and, in some cases, can be accomplished without ever needing to set foot within the United States. Some of the steps that are necessary to establish a business in the California include the following:


·         Choose and establish a business entity – California law allows individuals to create various business entities, including limited liability companies, professional corporations, partnerships, and others. Each one of these business forms has different advantages and disadvantages, and determining which is appropriate for your situation requires significant legal analysis. For this reason, people seeking to start a business should talk to a lawyer prior to making this decision. Once it is made, however, establishing the entity is accomplished through filing the necessary paperwork with the California Secretary of State’s office.


·         Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) – An EIN is a number that allows the Internal Revenue Service to track businesses for tax purposes. Importantly, while it is called an “employer identification number,” one does not need to be an employer in order to obtain one, but rather simply a business entity. This number is important as it allows a business to open a U.S. bank account. Foreign national who do not have a social security number (SSN) will have to go through several steps in order to obtain an EIN, but the process can easily be navigated with the help of an experienced lawyer.


·         Open a business bank account – Opening a business bank account is an important part of conducting business in the United States. In many cases, this can be the most complicated part of starting a business form overseas. Federal banking regulations require banks to verify a person’s identity prior to opening an account, which generally means opening an account in person. For some foreign nationals, visiting the United States may be out of reach financially or politically impossible. Fortunately, there may be ways to open an account without needing to visit the United States, and an attorney can help you explore what options may be available to you.


Contact a Silicon Valley startup lawyer today to schedule a consultation


People who are not U.S. citizens can start a business in California, but there may be complications along the way. For this reason, any foreign national seeking to establish a business within the state should discuss his or her situation with an experienced business lawyer. Attorney Nate Kelly is a skilled California attorney who has a comprehensive understand of California business law and provides legal counsel and representation designed to obtain results. To schedule a consultation with Mr. Kelly, call our office today at 310-228-6215 or 415-336-3001.