LLCs, Corporations, Subsidiaries

USA Business Formation.  United States of America limited liability company (LLC) formation and business incorporation by licensed Los Angeles, California, USA-based attorney/MBA, dual citizen and naturalized U.S. citizen Jonas M. Grant.  For E-2 and L-1 investor visa applicants, overseas companies seeking to expand into or ease operations in the United States.  As appropriate, the U.S. entity can be a stand-alone entity, a wholly or partially owned subsidiary of a foreign (non-U.S.) company, a corporation, an LLC, or another business entity type, and domiciled in California, Nevada, Delaware, or another U.S. state or states.  Full-service flat fee packages as low as USD $2,500 for a California business entity, inclusive of standard filing fees and costs, and including obtaining a U.S. federal tax identification number (also known as an EIN or TIN).*

Franchises.  Franchised businesses are $250 more and usually also require a fictitious business name filing at additional cost.  Review, advice regarding, and negotiation of franchise documents (FDD, franchise agreement and exhibits) is also available but not included in the incorporation fees.

U.S. LLCs.  Although a relatively new form of business entity (when compared to corporations), limited liability companies (LLCs) have gained popularity in recent decades for their flexibility and lack of required formalities, features that are often helpful to foreign-based companies and investors.

U.S. Corporations"S" corporations are, with some minor exceptions, limited to U.S. individual shareholders, and therefore not available as an option to foreign nationals or companies based overseas.  Standard "C" corporations are, however, an option, and the use of a C corporation by a parent company or individual owner based overseas may avoid the need for that company or foreign person to file a U.S. tax return.

Subsidiaries.  When properly structured, an overseas company can often set up and operate a U.S. subsidiary, with or without U.S. employees or independent contractors.  Clients report that this streamlines doing business in the United States, enables easier opening of a U.S. bank account, facilitates vendor and customer relations, and the like.

Immigration Law.  The firm does not offer immigration law services, but can offer referrals on request and routinely works in conjunction with U.S. immigration attorneys to assist business clients seeking immigrant and non-immigrant E-1 (treaty trader), E-2 (investor), L-1A (intracompany transferee, executive/manager), L-1B (intracompany transferee, specialized knowledge), and H-1B visas.  Under U.S. immigration law, a visa is almost always required to be physically present to work or live in the United States.  Tourist/visitor visas typically do not permit work or long-term residence.  With some exceptions related to trade embargoes and the like, owning and operating a U.S.-based business, with or without U.S.-based employees, typically is permissible under U.S. law and requires no immigration approvals.

Other Legal Services.  Other legal services of interest to non-U.S. based companies or individuals include U.S. trademark law, U.S. copyright law, general business and contract law, entertainment law, and registered agent services for all 50 U.S. states.  One or more of these services are commonly needed when starting a new business or acquiring an existing one in conjunction with an investor visa application, and we are able to assist you; however, additional fees beyond the business entity formation fees apply.

Professional Advisers.  Things may be different in your home country, but in the United States, only attorneys are authorized by law to engage in the practice of law and to provide legal advice and perform legal services.  To avoid costly mistakes and delays, it is highly recommended that you engage experienced and properly licensed U.S.-based advisers, including, where appropriate, a business attorney, U.S. immigration attorney, and accountant (CPA), to advice you before commencing a U.S. business registration, and to assist with implementing the agreed upon plan every step of the way.  Referrals are available on request.  The assistance of immigration law and tax advisers is recommended, but is not included in the quoted legal fees.

Travel to the USA.  The firm works with clients across the world on a regular basis, by telephone and email, and therefore it is not necessary for you to visit the United States to complete the formation of a business entity here. However, it is almost always necessary to visit in order to open a U.S. bank account, and may also be desirable for meeting with advisers, vendors, or clients, locating real estate to buy or lease, or for other business purposes.

See also:

U.S. LLC formation
U.S. Incorporation
LLC versus corporation
Which U.S. State? California versus Nevada or Delaware
E-2 visa resource center (Provided by recommended immigration attorney Bobby C. Chung)
E-2 Visa Helps Many Non-U.S. Citizens Start Small Firms, Los Angeles Times, May 16, 2011 (featuring a mutual client of the firm and Mr. Chung)

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* Note that business entity formation flat fees offered to foreign national clients are typically at least USD $250 greater than those offered to domestic clients, to account for the additional attorney time and complexity involved.