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by Gloria Martinez
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4 Tips for Starting a Business as an Immigrant
There are lots of unique opportunities for entrepreneurs in America, but getting started can be overwhelming — especially if you are an immigrant preparing to move to America from a different country. If you want to pursue your dream, launch a company, and help support your family back home, the Walters Chamber of Commerce shares four tips to get you started.
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1. Plan Far in Advance
Starting a business is no small feat, and one of the most important decisions you'll need to make first is which visa you'll apply for. Here are some options:
An EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa includes immediate green cards, but this visa is extremely expensive.
An L-Visa may work for you if you're trying to establish a U.S. office for a business that already exists in your home country.
An EB-1 Visa or O-1 Visa may be optimal if you are an established expert in your field or you have an existing business that has already received some attention and acclaim.
2. Triple Check Your Paperwork
The process of getting approved for a visa can take months, so any issues with the paperwork could mean a major setback. If you have the budget, Citizen Path points out that immigration lawyers are often helpful. They can help you make sure you submit all of the necessary documents the first time, and they can help if you run into any other problems.
You'll also need to register your business. There are many benefits to the different business structures, but Jordan Counsel explains that those who are not US citizens are limited to C-corporations and LLCs.
Limited Liability Company: You get flexibility over dividing profits, which can have some big tax advantages, and there is greater liability protection.
C-corporation: Your liability is dependent upon your investments within the company. The taxes are more complicated, but you can take your company public with the stock market to raise capital.
You should get a federal tax ID and register with your local government, and consider getting a trademark for your business name. Happily, you can get assistance with these steps and with other business concerns. Besides legal help, you can work with a business consulting services professional who can offer you guidance and support to help ensure you are on the right path toward success.
3. Consider Financing Options
Financing is one of the most challenging aspects of any new business. An investor can help guide your new business decisions in addition to supplying capital. Many businesses qualify for small business loans and grants, and many government loans have competitive rates. Nerdwallet points out you may even want to look into crowdfunding if your industry has seen some success with this tactic before.
4. Stay Connected
Many immigrants feel isolated or lonely when starting a business in the U.S. When loved ones are as far away as places like India, you might become lonely quickly. Luckily, you have options for staying connected to your family and friends. First and foremost, texting, talking and video chatting are all easily accessed through internet services — and even better, they are usually free.
For other types of personal connection, you’ll have to pay, and in that case it makes sense to shop around. If you intend to send a gift box, for instance, you’ll want to compare some international shipping quotes. Luckily, websites like Parcel Monkey allow you to do this in one place. Similarly, if you plan to send money back home, look for reputable services to find the best rates. When you have an opportunity to visit in person, you can even find the best deals on flights by going through a website. The important thing is to ensure the best price for the service so you can connect with your loved ones as much as possible.
Moving to the U.S. is a big opportunity, and so is starting a business. Doing both at once takes courage and character. While the process may be difficult or take longer than you had hoped, just know that all of your hard work will one day make a difference.