October 18, 2023

How to register a US business from Mexico

With Firstbase since:

Incorporating a US company is a big step forward for many Mexican business owners and startup founders. Here at Firstbase, we have already helped over 360 Mexican founders make this dream a reality.

While registering your business in a new country may sound daunting, the truth is that it’s more practical than ever. In this article, we’ll give you a step-by-step guide to incorporating a US business from Mexico and provide rough estimates for timeline and cost.

Whether you’re looking to connect with American customers, investors, or employees, there are plenty of reasons to incorporate in the US. Let’s take a look at how to make it happen.

Step 1: Choose a business structure

First, you must decide on the type of entity you want to establish. The most common structures in the US are limited liability companies (LLCs) and C Corps.

LLCs are cheaper and easier to set up, while C Corps offer more flexibility with respect to issuing stock to investors and other stakeholders. You can learn more about the differences between these two structures here.

Still not sure which one is right for you? Take the LLC vs. C Corp quiz for a personalized recommendation.

Step 2: Select a state 

Next, choose the state where you want to register your business. Each US state has its own laws and requirements for business registration.

Some states are more business-friendly and offer certain advantages, such as lower taxes or simpler registration processes. Consider factors like taxation, business environment, and your target market when selecting a state.

We recommend Wyoming if you’re incorporating an LLC, or Delaware if you plan to register a C Corp. Note that most US startups choose to incorporate Delaware C Corps.

Step 3: Choose a business name

Once you have a state and entity type in mind, it’s time to decide on a name for your new business.

If you already have a brand presence in Mexico, you can incorporate in the US under the same name as long as it isn’t taken by any other businesses.

However, if your Mexican business is known by a Spanish-language name, it may make more sense to use the English translation or an entirely new name. Ultimately, it depends on the kind of business you’re creating and the American audience you plan to target.

Have a name in mind? You can check the availability of your business name through the Firstbase name check tool.

Step 4: Appoint a registered agent 

In step four, you’ll need a registered agent in the state where you incorporate your business. The registered agent will be responsible for receiving legal and official documents.

Registered agents can be individuals or businesses, but they must be available at the listed address during business hours. Don’t have an in-state contact? You can get a registered agent in any US state through Firstbase Agent.

Step 5: Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

An EIN, otherwise known as a federal tax identification number, is required for most businesses in the US. You can obtain an EIN from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

If you don’t have a social security number, you’ll also want to apply for an ITIN (individual taxpayer identification number) in order to streamline your EIN application. Firstbase users can get $100 off ITIN applications by visiting TheITIN.com and entering code FIRSTBASE100 at checkout.

The EIN is mainly used for tax purposes and is necessary for hiring employees, opening bank accounts, and filing tax returns. However, we offer pre-EIN bank accounts that can be opened while your EIN application is pending.

Step 6: File the necessary documents

In this step, prepare and file the necessary documents with the Secretary of State or equivalent state office.

If you incorporate with Firstbase, we’ll assemble these documents based on the information you provide and submit them on your behalf. At this point, you’ll simply need to wait for the state to approve your application.

Step 7: Comply with state and federal requirements 

Once your company is registered, you’ll need to start focusing on compliance with local, state, and federal requirements. These include business licenses/permits, franchise taxes, annual reports, and more.

US business compliance is exceedingly complicated, and even a seemingly minor mistake could have huge consequences for your business. Check out our ongoing compliance guide for detailed information about your obligations as a US business owner.

Step 8: Understand tax obligations 

Almost at the finish line – it’s time to familiarize yourself with the tax obligations for your US business. Tax regulations depend on the state where your business is registered as well as the entity type you chose during the incorporation process.

Since the required tax forms vary so widely, it’s impossible to provide a blanket recommendation for every reader. Use the compliance guide mentioned above or consider contacting a tax professional if you have further questions about US business taxes.

Register your US business from Mexico today

Now that you know what it takes to register a US business, it’s time to make it happen. Ready to take the next step? Click here to start the incorporation process and let us help you build a successful US company.

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