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USA - Starting a Business

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In order for an expat to begin a business in the United States there are several procedures which need to be followed first. In order to work in the country you must have an Employment Authorization Document. Some people may be issued with these when they apply for visas to move to the US, but some may have to apply when they are in the country if they do not have the right kind of visa to begin with. Some people may have working status if they applied for a visa to the US as they already had a job to go to but these types of working visas usually specify the employer and may not cover you to start your own business.

If you have the EAD then you can apply to the local authority in the area you are living in for a business permit. There are a wide variety of businesses that attract expats to the USA. The sheer size of the country means that there are opportunities in every state and popular professions include estate agent and restaurant and bar owner. The type of business that you choose will also depend upon location, as not all businesses will work everywhere.

There are also many opportunities to purchase an existing business, but there are both advantages and disadvantages to this way of starting up. An existing business that is successful will require a much higher financial outlay than starting your own business. A struggling business is struggling for a reason, so you need to look into what is going wrong and be sure that you are the right person to turn it around before you commit to buying.

Business owners must have worker’s compensation insurance if they intend to hire staff and will need to adhere to the tax regulations. There is a great deal of helpful information on the website of the Small Business Administration website. This government department can advise you on training, grants that may be available, all the regulations on tax and law and even offer counselling to those who are struggling. It offers advice on writing an effective business plan, finding financial assistance, structuring the business and hiring employees. The site can also point business owners in the direction of local assistance in their state.

All businesses must contact the IRS for a tax registration number in order for them to legally trade. The next step is to register with the authorities in the state in order to ensure that you have the right permits and insurances for your venture. The permits that your business will need will vary from state to state, so it may be worth checking with several states to see what their requirements are. If you are not decided on which state you want to move to this can be a good way of helping to narrow the field.

Some states will have grants which can help new businesses to start up. The criteria for qualifying for these grants will vary from state to state, but common grants are for those business ideas which promote a more environmentally friendly way of life, businesses which can help the local community, businesses which intend to hire local workers or ventures which have the potential to grow nationally and internationally. Loans from banks are not likely to be forthcoming for new expats as they will not have a credit history in the country, so if you are starting a business then you need to ensure that you have funds to do so if you cannot find financial assistance elsewhere.

There are some government backed loans which are also available. These are also difficult to get and in order to qualify you will need to have an excellent business plan and be able to demonstrate that you are capable of making your business work. Venture capital is another option for the expat, but this is more likely for those who are looking to run a bigger company than a small business.

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