The United States offers a uniquely favorable business structure for small business owners and entrepreneurs: a limited liability company. A limited liability company or an LLC offers privacy protection, personal asset protection, and simplified administration. Can a non-US citizen own an LLC? Yes! If you’re not a US citizen, the great news is that you can still form an LLC. Read on to understand the key factors affecting your decision to form a US LLC.
Understanding How a Non-US Citizen Can Be the Owner of an LLC
A non-US citizen can be the owner of an LLC. LLC owners are called members. Both individuals and entities can be a member of an LLC. Non-resident aliens, US-based entities, and non-US business entities can all be LLC members. That means even an LLC can be a member of another LLC. As a non-citizen, you can still open a company in the USA, or be a partner in an LLC.
How to Form an LLC as a Non-US Citizen?
The process for forming an LLC as a non-US citizen requires a few simple filings. First, you’ll need to decide on a business name and where you plan to establish the LLC. Find the best states to open an LLC, and Wyoming LLC’s pros and cons,
Then, you must file the Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State or relevant state office. As a non-US resident, you’ll need a registered agent for the LLC and a registered office in the state where you register the LLC before filing the Articles of Organization. After the LLC is formed, you can apply for an EIN, open a business bank account, and obtain any necessary business licenses or permits.
Factors to Consider for LLCs with Non-US Citizen Members
There are a number of factors that affect LLC formation for non-US citizens, from compliance laws and taxation implications to visas or cultural barriers. Here’s what you’ll need to consider to ensure the success of your new US LLC.
1. Compliance with Laws
Non-US citizen members should ensure they comply with all applicable US laws and regulations, including those related to business formation, operation, and reporting. You may need to apply for a US visa; more on that below.
2. Registered Agent
Non-US citizen members may need to appoint a US-based representative, such as a registered agent, to fulfill certain legal obligations and receive official communications on behalf of the LLC.
Consider if you have a US-based partner who can function as the registered agent or if you need to hire a registered agent for the business.
3. Tax Implications
Non-US citizen members should be aware of any tax obligations they may have due to their ownership in an LLC, including potential withholding requirements or reporting obligations. If the LLC earns income in the US, you will be responsible for filing income tax with the IRS. Depending on tax treaties between your country of residence and the US, you may have to pay taxes in both countries. Learn more about tax filing requirements for your US company.
4. Visa Requirements
Non-US citizen members can open an LLC but may need to obtain specific visas or permissions to participate in the activities of the LLC. You could apply for a B-1 business visa or an E-1 or E-2 investor visa, depending on your situation and how long you plan to stay in the US.
5. Funding and Financing
Non-US citizen members may face challenges in accessing certain types of funding or financing due to their immigration status. For example, Small Business Administration loans are usually only available to US residents. However, if the LLC is a multi-member LLC with a US citizen member, the LLC could still apply for funding.
6. Cultural and Language Barriers
Consider carefully whether you will have business partners, and the type of business the LLC will engage in. The US has a long history of supporting businesses of new immigrants and international founders. However, communication and cultural differences may arise when working with non-US citizen members. Understanding and respecting cultural norms can foster effective collaboration and teamwork.
Form a US LLC with doola’s Help
Launching a US-based business can open new markets and opportunities. For most business owners, an LLC offers liability protection and privacy from a legal business entity but with simplified administration and pass-through taxation. If you’re ready to form an LLC in the USA, doola can help.
Get doola’s fast and professional formation services in all 50 states, including the most popular states like Wyoming and Delaware. You’ll also get help with getting an EIN and opening a bank account so you can focus on launching the business or obtaining your US visa. Get doola here!
Do non-US citizens have the same rights and responsibilities as US citizens regarding owning an LLC?
Non-US citizens or residents are allowed to be members of an LLC but must comply with all business laws for LLC ownership. Non-US citizens must meet the same requirements as US citizens or residents.
Is there any requirement for non-US citizens to obtain a visa or legal residency status to own an LLC in the US?
There are no specific residence or visa requirements to own an LLC in the US. However, if you plan to visit the business or come to the US for business meetings, having a business visa can facilitate that.
Can a non-US citizen own multiple LLCs in different states?
Yes, non-US citizens can own multiple LLCs in different states. No restrictions exist on who can own or be an LLC member in the United States.
Can a non-US citizen use their LLC to obtain a US work visa?
If you have an LLC, it may make it easier to obtain certain visas in the US. However, it’s worth researching B-1, E-1, and E-2 visas to understand if you qualify based on your intent to work in the US.
Are there any restrictions on non-US citizens selling their ownership in an LLC?
The LLC’s operating agreement governs any restrictions to selling ownership in an LLC. There are no restrictions at the state or federal level on non-US citizens selling their ownership in an LLC.
Can a non-US citizen hire employees for their LLC in the US?
Yes, the LLC may hire employees in the US. The LLC will need an EIN, business bank account, and relevant business licenses to hire employees and must comply with all tax and annual report filing requirements.
Can a non-US citizen be the sole member of an LLC?
A non-US citizen can be the sole member of an LLC. However, having a US-based partner can facilitate business administration.
Can a non-US citizen open a branch of their foreign company as an LLC in the US?
Foreign businesses can register to operate in the US. You don’t have to open an LLC in the US, but opening an LLC for your foreign business to operate in the US can be a smart move to protect the business and your personal assets.