Are you wondering if open a business in the USA and get a green card is possible? Here you will get a tutorial on how to open your company in the USA, and whether you can get the so dreamed green card.
Does opening a business in the USA entitle me to a green card?
Opening a business in the USA does not automatically get you a green card, or a permanent visa for the entrepreneur, but if you have a business in the USA it can be a requirement for the quest to get the green card.
To open a company in the USA and get a green card, one of the first steps to get the green card is to have a company in the USA, and to be able to live legally in the United States.
The interesting thing is that you don’t need to live in the USA, or have any identification from there, to be able to set up your business.
If you are in the US on another visa, you can apply for the Green Card. You will have to fill out an “adjustment of status” (form I-485) and go to the interview. You do not need to return to Brazil for this.
WHAT ARE THE BUSINESS MODELS FOR OPENING A COMPANY IN THE U.S. AND GETTING A GREEN CARD?
According to the American law, there are some business models for a foreigner to open a business in the US and get a green card.
SP (Sole Proprietorship)
It is a sole proprietorship, where the capital is the direct responsibility of the partner, as well as the accounting obligations;
GP (General Partnerships/parceria gerais)
Companies with two or more partners who share the responsibilities of the business. The partner’s participation influences the division of profits, losses, and taxation.
LP (Limited Partnerships/Parcerias Limitadas)
A company that has more than one partner. Here the duties of the partners can be limited or unlimited depending on its wording. Taxation under this model takes into consideration the equity of the member.
Company without a limited number of partners or share owners. Responsibilities are divided among all shareholders according to each one’s share. The company is responsible for paying taxes on profits, while taxation on dividends is paid by the shareholders.
LLC (Limited Liability Companies/Empresas de responsabilidade limitada)
The partners’ liabilities are limited by the number and value of their shares. It follows the same taxation model as Corporations.
LLP (Limited Liability Partnerships/(Parcerias de responsabilidade limitada)
A company with two or more partners that are responsible for managing the business as agreed in the articles of incorporation. Responsibilities and taxes are proportional to each partner’s stake in the company.
Tips for Starting a Business in the USA
If you believe that opening a business in the US and getting a green card is an interesting path, here are some tips for you:
- The documents required to open a company in the USA are the Brazilian passport and an identification document such as RG or CNH;
- It is not necessary to travel to the United States to open a company. The entire process can be done by telephone, e-mail, and through the government, state, and county websites;
- You do not need to make a large investment to open a business in the USA. The minimum amounts are around US $500.00;
- The company in the USA does not need to be related to the entrepreneur’s Brazilian companies, in case he/she has a business in Brazil;
- The fact that the company has only foreign partners does not impact the opening of the business;
- Although it is not mandatory, having American partners can facilitate the opening of the company, especially if it is necessary to obtain financing in American banks;
- Unlike Brazil, where companies have their activities limited by their line of business, businesses opened in the United States can offer different services;
- The American labor laws are not the same as the Brazilian ones. For this reason, it is important to know these norms to avoid sanctions for a company opened in the United States for not following the current rules.
CONDITIONS TO OPEN A BUSINESS IN THE USA AND GET A GREEN CARD
In order for you to be able to open a company in the USA, besides choosing one of the previous business models, you need to comply with some conditions.
Otherwise, you will not get the necessary authorizations and documentation to open your company. The American legislation is different from the Brazilian one. In the USA, each state has its own legislation regarding the opening and taxation of companies.
It is important to be aware of the regulations applied in the state where you intend to open your company. The requirements to open a company in the USA are:
- Define a name: identification name of the business. The Doing Business As (DBA) is similar to the trade name of Brazilian companies. It is the name by which the company will be known by clients and consumers. It is interesting that there is no other American company with the chosen name. Therefore, it is necessary to do some research to evaluate the feasibility of the name;
- Choosing the type of company: the most chosen model is the LLC, because it is similar to the Brazilian Limited Liability Company. In addition, the liability of each shareholder is limited by the value of his or her shares;
- Address: The company needs a business address to operate. It can be a virtual or physical address, unique or shared. In some cases it can be the address of the accountant or addresses of third parties, provided they have ceded the premises to the company;
- Registered Agent: an individual or legal entity with residence in the same state where the company will be opened. The Registered Agent receives an official copy of court and government communications with the company;
- State Registration: a document made in the state that contains information such as the company’s name, address, partners, and area of operation. To get the registration, a fee must be paid. State registration is not equivalent to a business license;
- EIN: Employer Identification Number is the equivalent to the Brazilian CNPJ. Some business models require this identification, while others require only the Security Number;
- Having an account in an American bank: an account in the company’s name facilitates the company’s financial transactions and gives stability to the business. Having a company established in the market makes it easier for the entrepreneur to apply for a green card;
- Obtaining licenses: the state business license is provided by the Tax Collector’s Office in the county where the company is located. Businesses that sell goods will also need a Sale Tax Certificate issued by the Department of Revenue in each state. It certifies that the company can transfer taxes on goods sold.
It is worth remembering that opening a company in the USA guarantees the right to live in the country, following some criteria such as: employing more than 10 US citizens or residents, in a proven way.
This makes it easier for those who intend to get a visa or a green card.
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