The United States is known as a land of opportunity for entrepreneurs, whether they’re natural-born U.S. citizens or immigrants from other countries.
If you are a green card holder (also known as a “permanent resident” by the U.S. government), you can perform any “legal work of your qualification and choosing,” according to the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services. Green card holders are also protected by all laws of the United States, your state of residence and local jurisdictions that apply to U.S.-born citizens. These rights include the freedom to start a business in accordance with the laws of your state.
That said, if you are a green card holder who wants to start a business, you might have some questions about what it takes to form an LLC as a legal permanent resident. Here are a few common questions and answers.
Are the Rules for Forming an LLC Different for Green Card Holders?
No. Green card holders need to follow the same procedures as anyone else to set up an LLC, such as following the specific business formation rules of your state. This typically includes paying filing fees and setting up a Registered Agent at an address in the state where the company is being formed.
As long as you remain in compliance with the laws and regulations related to forming and operating your business, and also maintain honest and legal business practices, you can pursue your own version of the American dream!
What Steps Should a Green Card Holder Take to Form an LLC?
Some green card holders might want to take extra precautions when forming a business in the U.S. After all, if you’re a foreign person who is not familiar with U.S. government bureaucracy, it’s important to get all the details right and make sure your business is in good standing with the relevant regulatory authorities.
Depending on your knowledge and experience in setting up U.S.-based businesses, it may be a good idea to use an online business formation service, like Incfile, that helps entrepreneurs set up LLCs.
Incfile offers a few LLC formation packages, and we believe the costs of getting this help are well worth it considering the time and hassle it can take to try to file all the paperwork by yourself.
When you get help from Incfile to form your LLC, we’ll make sure you do everything right, file every document on time and help maintain your business’s good standing thereafter. Our LLC formation packages start at just $0 plus state-specific filing fees.
What Are Some Green Card Holder LLC Success Stories?
The Small Business Association (SBA) reports that small businesses account for over 99 percent of U.S. businesses, and the second quarter of 2021 saw a net employment gain of 893,000 jobs from small businesses. These numbers prove that the U.S. economy is fueled in great part by the role of small businesses generating jobs and revenue for state and federal government agencies.
So regardless of your country of origin, whether you’re a U.S. citizen or green card holder, we hope you feel like America is a welcoming place for you to do business and become part of the community of American entrepreneurs.
In fact, the SBA compiled data that proves how entrepreneurial and business-minded immigrants, green card holders and foreigners can be in the United States. According to the most recent data, immigrants are much more likely to own businesses than natural-born citizens. As many as one in 10 immigrants own a business, and most started their companies with more capital than non-immigrants. The SBA also found that immigrants are more likely to hire employees than non-immigrants and have average annual sales of $435,000. The same drive, ambition and hustle that motivates people to start a new life in the U.S. might also be an ideal component of fueling your success as an entrepreneur!
Can Starting a U.S. Business Help Earn You a Green Card?
If you are living outside of the United States and wondering whether starting a business here can help you earn your green card, there are three main paths that individuals can take.
First, you can apply to earn your EB-1 green card. This is reserved for applicants who can prove extraordinary achievement, have status as an outstanding researcher/professor or have otherwise exhibited a high level of success in a certain field. These types of accomplished professionals can start businesses or prove employable, which can make them ideal candidates to earn their EB-1 status.
The second approach is through the EB-2 green card, which applies to exceptional ability, high-level degree earners and national interest waiver holders. For would-be business owners, you can file the national interest waiver, which lets you petition on your own behalf without having to prove you have a job offer waiting for you. In your petition, you could outline your idea for an LLC that you want to start. Of course, this business idea should be related to your exceptional ability, high level of education and your previous professional accomplishments. Plus, it may be those qualities that determine the success of your business (and perhaps the success of your green card application).
The third option for foreigners who want to obtain a green card out of a desire to start a business is through EB-5 status. EB-5 is pretty costly and pertains to those who want to invest significant capital into an existing or new business. To qualify for EB-5 status, you’ll need at least $1 million in capital allocated for your business venture. However, there is an exception aimed at helping rural communities that have high levels of unemployment. If this is your intention, the minimum could be as low as $500,000.
Please note that this article does not constitute legal advice. The U.S. immigration process can be complicated and uncertain, and anyone who wants to apply for a green card should consult an immigration attorney to evaluate your options.
How Can Green Card Holders Form an LLC Right Away?
Do you currently have your green card and want to form your LLC right now? Let Incfile help you take the steps you need to create a business in your state. Whether you want to build a home-based business, get started with real estate investments or build a brick-and-mortar retail setup, we can help you begin.
Since 2004, we have helped more than 800,000 business owners form LLCs in every state. Plus, we have several packages at different price levels for you to consider. Every Incfile package includes free consultation, lifetime customer support, critical alerts and reminders and so much more.
Ben Gran is a freelance writer from Des Moines, Iowa. Ben has written for Fortune 500 companies, the Governor of Iowa (who now serves as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture), the U.S. Secretary of the Navy, and many corporate clients. He writes about entrepreneurship, technology, food and other areas of great personal interest.