International Company Start-up Checklist
1. Choose Which Type of Business Entity to Form: Corporation or LLC
If any of the owners of the company (called "Shareholders" for Corporations and "Members" for LLC's) are not US Citizens, then you have the option of either forming a Corporation (also called a "C-Corporation" or "Regular Corporation") or an LLC. There's another entity type called an "S-Corporation" but that entity requires all shareholders to be US Citizens.
There is no restriction on the number of owners for a US Corporation or LLC, which country the owners are from or whether they are individuals or other companies (foreign or domestic corporations, LLC's, etc.). However, your home country may have restrictions on which type of US company may operate in that country so it's important you consult your local laws and if necessary contact an attorney familiar with your situation and US law if you are unsure of local requirements.
For detailed information on a Corporation vs. an LLC, please visit "Which Type of Business Entity to Choose" which gives more information on each type of company, and the advantages of each.
Frequently Asked Questions About LLC's
Frequently Asked Questions About Corporations
US Small Business Administration Article: Should I Incorporate in the US?
Order Now: Form a Corporation Now | Form an LLC Now
2. Choose Which State to Form Your Corporation or LLC
In the United States, you can form a Corporation or LLC in any of the 50 States or Washington DC. Which state you choose will depend on why you are forming the company. Some US states are more "business-friendly" or "international-friendly" than others, especially Delaware, Nevada and Wyoming. For detailed information on these states and picking a state, please visit "Which State to Incorporate or Form an LLC". We form Corporations and LLC's in all 50 States and DC.
For example:
a. If you simply want to form a US company because you need to open a US bank account and/or merchant account (to accept credit cards) and will not be opening a US branch or have a physical presence, then you might choose Wyoming which has lower annual state fees (Corporation/LLC:$50) than Delaware (Corporation:$125; LLC:$250), or Nevada (Corporation/LLC:$325). Also Delaware, Nevada and Wyoming banks are more familiar with dealing with international clients without a local office than are many other states. This can make opening a bank account much easier.
b. If you will be opening a US branch with a physical office (or home-based employee), you may want to choose the state where you will be opening the office. Note that if your office will be operating in, for example, Florida, then you may still choose to form the company in another state like Delaware, however, the state where you are opening the office will want you to "re-register" that Delaware company in Florida. This process is called "foreign qualification" which means you are qualifying the Delaware entity to open a physical business in Florida. Of course, we can assist with foreign qualification as well if necessary.


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