If you are a foreign business owner looking to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the largest economy in the world, there are things about doing business in the United States you should know to avoid getting yourself into legal trouble. Read on to learn how to make sure the business of your dreams does not turn into a legal nightmare.
The U.S. Legal System
To do business in the United States, the first thing you need to do is make sure you understand how the U.S. legal system works, as it is likely vastly different from your country’s legal system. The U.S. has a federal government system, which essentially means that laws are established at the federal, state, and local levels. Local laws are those established by counties and cities that apply only to those specific geographic areas.
All 50 states have their own local and state laws that apply in those specific jurisdictions. Federal law exclusively governs certain areas of law, such as Intellectual Property, while individual states establish many other laws, including employment laws. When doing business in the United States, foreign businesspeople should be aware that they are subject to these parallel legal systems.
U.S. Business Entities
When a foreign company enters the United States, they must choose the type of business entity they will use to operate in the country. The most common types of U.S. business entities are limited liability companies (LLCs), corporations, and partnerships. Each business structure has advantages and disadvantages depending on your unique needs, goals, and circumstances, so making the right choice is vital. Once you chose the type of business entity that best fits your needs, you must formally establish it according to the laws of the state in which you choose to establish it by filing the required documents with the state government.
U.S. Business Visas
There are many U.S. business visas to choose from, and each one has a specific purpose and unique requirements. If you are considering doing business in the United States, one of the most important steps you will need to take is to obtain a business visa that allows you to legally operate your U.S. business. However, there is an equally important step you must take before that, and that is to choose the right visa, which can be tricky, so working with an experienced Business Immigration Lawyer who can help you determine which visa is the right one for you is vital.
Labor and Employment Laws
If you intend to hire employees, you will need to comply with all applicable labor and employment laws, and you must classify your workers correctly. In the United States, there are two types of workers: employees and independent contractors. This distinction matters because employees have certain benefits independent contracts do not have, and failing to correctly classify a worker would constitute a violation of the law.
In the United States, employees are protected by federal labor laws and subject to tax withholding requirements. Independent contractors, on the other hand, are not protected by many labor laws and do not have benefits such as federal minimum wage because they exercise a greater degree of financial and behavioral autonomy than employees.
Are You Considering Doing Business in the United States?
If you are considering doing business in the United States, the first step you need to take is to hire an experienced Business Immigration Lawyer who can help you 1) choose the right business visa and apply for it, 2) establish your U.S. business, and 3) ensure your business complies with all applicable laws.