Starting a Business as a Non-Citizen, Part I (Work Visas for US)

May 2, 2014 | Human Resources, United States, Work Visas

74879089This is a three part informative series for Non-Citizens of the United States discussing options to incorporate and obtain work visas.

Business ownership has become a sub-plot to the modern “American Dream.” Entrepreneurs from all over the United States are eager to bring their ideas to life in an effort to achieve success. However, business ownership is not limited to United States citizens and many non-citizens are starting up new businesses, as well.

Whether a visa holder inside the United States or a foreign national from outside the United States, a non-citizen can start or invest in a business using the same process as a United States citizen or green card holder. The process begins when an individual selects a business entity and registers it with the appropriate state administration. The most common business entities are “C” Corporations, “S” Corporations, or Limited Liability Companies (“LLC”).

For green card holders and United States citizens there are no restrictions on what business entity to choose. However, the Internal Revenues Code restricts non-citizens from investing or starting an “S” Corporation. Non-citizens are still able to invest in LLC’s and “C” Corporations, as well as many other types. Each business entity offers advantages and disadvantages that must be considered by potential business owners prior to its formation. It is highly advisable that someone interested in starting a business should contact an attorney for help in deciding which entity is right for his or her circumstances.

For a non-citizen, the creation of a business does not create an automatic right for that individual to work for that business. Many visas possess work restriction that prohibit or limit the visa holder’s ability to work. The acquisition of the correct visa becomes the integral part in the creation of the business for a non-citizen.

Next week we will publish the second part of this series and you will find out which work visa options for non-citizens are available for investors in the United States. If you have questions about the formation of a business or immigration visas, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

By:      Kenneth S. McLaughlin, Jr., Principal
Peter C. Markos, attorney
Law Offices of McLaughlin & Associates, P.C.

NOTE: This publication should not be regarded as legal advice or legal opinion. The content is intended for general informational purposes only. If you have any concerns regarding anything in this publication you may contact your own attorney, CPA, or our law office at 630-230-8434, website