How to Start an LLC if You’re Moving to the United States

How to Start an LLC if You’re Moving to the United States

Written by Deepak Bhagat, In Business, Published On
August 16, 2023

The United States is often touted as the land of opportunity, which is why many immigrants from India are flocking to the country to get their start or expand their business. 2.7 million Indian immigrants are currently living in the US, making up 6% of the total population of individuals who are of foreign descent.

A great way for immigrants to kickstart the entrepreneurial journey in the country is to start a limited liability company (LLC). It is relatively easy to establish, doesn’t require citizenship or residency to file, and offers a promising level of protection for personal assets. Whether it’s a family business or a solo endeavor, having an LLC structure prevents your assets from being at risk in the event of a legal or financial debt incurred by your business. Read on to learn exactly how to get started.

How to Start an LLC if You’re Moving to the United States

Start an LLC

Obtain Your TIN

If you want to legally and successfully lead a business in the USA, then you will first need to ensure that you have the right Visas and get a taxpayer identification number (TIN). The exact type of TIN you get will depend on your Visa and immigration status.

If you are eligible to work in the country, you will be granted a social security number (SSN). Otherwise, you will be able to file taxes and open any financial accounts by getting an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN).

Get a Registered Agent

The next step in forming an LLC is to get a registered agent. Whoever is appointed in this role will be in charge of receiving service of process and legal documents on behalf of your LLC. Many states will require the registered agent to be a citizen with an official address within the same state where the business operates. You can register an employee if they are a resident of the state, but you can also opt for commercial services that will provide you with a designated agent. Going for the commercial route may be easier for immigrant business owners as this service will already handle all compliance requirements for the role.

Name Your Business and Establish Management

Of course, you can’t start a business without establishing its name and operating structure. Creating an official operating agreement isn’t legally required but can be a big help in the long run. It’s just a good way to ensure that the nature of your business and management is clear from the beginning.

As for your name, the US requires that any LLC be registered with “Limited Liability Company”, “LLC”, or “L.L.C” as part of its name. On top of that, you want to make sure that you don’t have a similar name to an existing business. It’s also best to secure the IP for your business name, as trademark disputes are still a huge issue that small businesses face.

File Articles of Organization

The exact documents vary per state, but you can generally expect these to be referred to as either Articles of Organization or Certificates of Formation. The filing process is quite simple as you can do it entirely online by visiting the site of your relevant Secretary of State. All the documents and necessary information will be there, and you can expect your filing to be processed within a few weeks. The filing fees here can range from $70 to $200.

Apply for your EIN and Relevant Licenses

For proper taxation and the ability to hire employees legally, you will now need to apply for an employer identification number (EIN). This is how the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will recognize your business. As an LLC, this will be a big part of your employer’s compliance to ensure that you don’t get hit with any discrepancies, penalties, and disputes. Even though the LLC structure protects your personal assets from legal and financial debts incurred by your business, you still need to be mindful of these aspects.

You also need to apply for the right permits and licenses that are relevant to the type of business you aim to run. Zoning permits, business licenses, and similar requirements will be necessary before you can operate.

Open a Business Bank Account

Finally, you need to open a bank account dedicated solely to your LLC. This is not only good for your cash flow but also ensures that your personal assets are separated and protected. Getting a personal bank account is easy as long as you have your TIN, but a business bank account will require you to present your EIN, accomplished and approved business formation documents, any relevant licenses for your business to operate, and ownership papers.

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