April 24, 2024

Can a Foreigner Open an LLC in the US?

With Firstbase since:

Expanding operations to the US is a key business goal for many founders from around the world.

The United States is one of the largest consumer markets, and it also offers plenty of opportunity for investment, business partnerships, and more.

If you're building a company in another country, you may be wondering whether foreigners can open LLCs in the US.

Fortunately, the answer is yes — in fact, we've already incorporated thousands of LLCs for founders from almost every country on earth.

In this article, we'll explain the process of opening a US LLC from another country and highlight a few rules and regulations to be aware of.

If you're ready to move forward, click here to start your incorporation today — you can complete the application in just a few minutes.

Why Should I Create an LLC?

First, let's go over the basics of an LLC, or limited liability company.

LLCs are the simplest business structure that you can incorporate in the US.

The LL (limited liability) refers to the fact that an LLC will shield you from personal liability.

In other words, if your business is sued, only business assets will be at risk (in most cases).

Without an LLC, you could be responsible for the debts of your business, which is a situation no founder wants to find themselves in.

It's also worth noting that LLCs are pass-through entities, which means that they aren't responsible for corporate taxes.

Instead, revenue "passes through" the LLC to the individual members, who pay taxes on it as ordinary income.

This means that in some cases, you won't have to pay US taxes at all.

Instead, you'll pay tax in the country where your business operates.

Of course, the actual tax regulations aren't quite that simple — click here to learn more about US LLC taxes for foreign business owners.

What Do I Need to Register an LLC?

Opening a new business might sound complicated, but there actually aren't that many requirements to open a US LLC.

Here's what you'll need:

1. Registered Agent

Registered agents serve as a company's official point of contact.

They'll be responsible for receiving legal notices and other documents on behalf of your business.

You need a registered agent in each state where your business operates.

Fortunately, we offer registered agent services in all 50 states through Firstbase Agent — just let us know where you want to operate and let us handle the rest.

2. Business Address

On top of the registered agent, you'll also need to register an address as your company's US presence.

Some Americans register businesses using their home addresses, but this isn't necessarily the best choice.

Many states require the address to be listed on public disclosures, leading to concerns about privacy.

If you don't have a US address, again, we've got you covered.

Firstbase Mailroom makes it easy to get a virtual mailing address.

We'll scan and upload your mail so you can view it from any location.

You can even send digital documents as physical mail with our PDF to mail tool.

3. Articles of Organization

As long as you have a registered agent and business address, you can go ahead and file articles of organization to form your LLC.

From there, you'll have to follow relevant local, state, and federal regulations — more on those here.

From a legal perspective, it doesn't matter where you live or where your company operates.

At the same time, service providers have their own rules and restrictions.

For example, Firstbase is unable to serve customers from a small handful of countries — click here to view our restricted countries list.

You can also view our incorporation checklist for a complete overview of the incorporation process and requirements.

Which State Should I Incorporate In?

As a business owner, you may have heard of the advantages of incorporating in Delaware.

That said, most of these benefits are associated with C Corps rather than LLCs (more on this later).

If you're opening an LLC from outside the US, we typically recommend incorporating in Wyoming.

Wyoming offers a great combination of strong privacy protections, low fees and taxes, and minimal operating requirements.

We've covered the pros and cons of Wyoming and Delaware LLCs in an earlier blog post.

What About C Corps?

The main alternative to an LLC is a C Corporation.

LLCs and C Corps share some common characteristics, but there are also some critical differences that you should be aware of.

The right choice for you depends on what you're trying to achieve with your US business presence.

The first key difference is that C Corps pay corporate tax on profits, which may make your taxes more complicated.

C Corps also come with more complicated requirements in terms of management, disclosures, and other operations.

With that in mind, LLCs are the simplest option for founders who just want to compliantly operate a US business.

On the other hand, C Corps can authorize and issue stock to investors, employees, and other stakeholders.

If you're planning to seek funding from US investors, you'll want to incorporate a C Corp — and more specifically, a Delaware C Corp.

Still not sure which option makes sense for your business? Take our LLC vs. C Corp quiz for a personalized recommendation.


Expanding a business to a new country isn't exactly simple, but opening a US LLC is easier than you might think.

At Firstbase, our goal is to help founders from all over the globe achieve their goals with a US business entity.

If you're ready to take the leap, hit the link below to enter our incorporation flow and start your application.

Our team is also here to help — click the support button in the lower-right corner to get in touch and discuss your questions and concerns.

We can't wait to see what you achieve with your US LLC!

Get started with Firstbase

Start, grow, and manage your business. We're with you each step of the way.