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    8 Replies Latest reply on Jun 25, 2008 6:32 PM by Lighthouse24

    Form of business suitable for foreigner in the US

    wtver87 Newbie
      Hello,

      I want to start a company and I'm going to but I'm a foreigner, I'm under F-1 Visa (Student Visa).
      What form of business that I can legally create? LLC? or maybe C-Corp?

      Thank you
        • Re: Form of business suitable for foreigner in the US
          Lighthouse24 Ranger

          I don't think there is a business structure that you can legally create.

          With an F-1 student visa, you were probably issued an ITIN in order to obtain a refund on Social Security, Medicare, and other employment taxes that would be withheld from your paycheck if you worked in the USA, but that you are not required to pay. We've had a few discussions in the forum about this previously and the consensus of other visitors who've attempted to start a new business under those circumstances is that they were unable to do so using an ITIN and F-1 visa. The IRS, state governments, and U.S. banks required them to have a Social Security Number, and to provide a temporary visa (such as an E-1 or E-2) that allows a visitor to engage in entrepreneurial endeavors.

          You can be a member (owner) in a new LLC or a stockholder (owner) in a new C Corporation that is legally organized or founded by someone else (so long as the state in which the business is registered doesn't prohibit ownership by foreign nationals). So there are definitely ways to get into a business that is partially, mostly, or (eventually) totally your own. I just don't think you can organize or found the business yourself with an ITIN and F-1.

          Hope that helps. Welcome to the community and best wishes.
            • Re: Form of business suitable for foreigner in the US
              D.Dott Newbie
              If you are on a F1 visa you may not work for a company in the USA, unless it is on Campus. If you want to work for a company that you have shares in you will need to be employed by that company in the country that you originate from, and have at least a 3 year management position and history. You need to prove that you are management of the company and that you have a skill set that requieres you to be in the USA. This would allow you to apply for a L1 visa, which is valid for 1 year, but can be renewed after that for a period of 3 years. However if your intentions are to stay in the USA after you have finished your studies, then it would be easier to get a company to sponcer you on a H1 visa. There are a numberof sites that are able to introduce you to Immigration lawyers, but they will charge for their services. A simple Google search will help you find them.
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            • Re: Form of business suitable for foreigner in the US
              wtver87 Newbie
              Thanks Lighthouse,

              Where do you think I should go to get information about these legal issues? Is there a specific websites I can go to get more information about this issues? I'm lost since I'm a student myself taking time between my schoolwork. Sorry if this has already been posted, I search 'legal websites' with no avail.
                • Re: Form of business suitable for foreigner in the US
                  Lighthouse24 Ranger

                  I know this issue has come up before in the community, but I can't find the related threads, either -- so no apology necessary, it's a confusing area. I do recall that the obstacles that other foreign students encountered came from numerous sources including Secretaries of State (the regulations that govern the formation of corporations and LLCs are state laws, not federal laws) as well as federal agencies (the IRS, the Administrator of National Banks, I.C.E., U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the Social Security Administration all have regulations that impact your ability to obtain a social security number, open a commercial bank account, and other steps that are necessary to form a new business).

                  So, bottom line, there is not a single definitive source of information on this issue (at least, not that I'm aware of). An immigration attorney, or a foreign national who has been through the whole process him/herself, would probably have the best advice on how to proceed. You might try posting an announcement (here and in other communities) with a subject like "Seeking Business/Immigration Attorney" or "Seeking Someone From (your home) Who Has Started a New Business in the U.S." and describe your situation and objective. Maybe the right person will respond.

                  Good luck!
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                • Re: Form of business suitable for foreigner in the US
                  AtlantaKid Wayfarer
                  I know this issue is probably answered, however, I can't resist posting. Here is the easy way out on this. I am a business owner started not too long ago. You can go to the local government (county, state, city) which ever body is issuing a business license. They will give all the requirements regardless of the type of business. If they can't answer your question, they will lead you to the right source.

                  Good luck,
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