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Chris started Globalization Guide to help entrepreneurs like himself to master the challenge of international business and living abroad. He has helped over 100 clients with their international structuring.
This guide will provide you with everything necessary to get your business up and running in the fastest easiest most efficient way possible.
Total costs: 50$ - Formation Costs (e. g. New Mexico) 9.99$ - Virtual Address 1st month 25$ - Notary to verfy virtual address
Executive Summary on How to Open Your US LLC
- Set up virtual business mailing address
- Organize/Form your LLC (for example with Incfile)
- Apply and receive EIN
- Open business bank accounts
- Apply for payment processing
- Apply and receive ITIN
- Open Paypal business account
1. Set Up Your Business & Mailing Address
Every LLC is required by law to have a registered business address. This does not have to be an actual physical office.
We will use a virtual office provider, in order to fulfill this requirement.
If you have friends or relatives in the US who will let you use their address, you can skip this part.
To fully use the features of the service I am suggesting, you will need to verify a residential address. For that you will need:
✅ An ID document, ideally a passport
✅ A valid, recent utility bill for ANY worldwide address
For many entrepreneurs, their home address will be the easiest to verify. If you’re already a digital nomad without a permanent address, you COULD potentially create a utility bill for this purpose.
The virtual address provider I recommend is called anytimemailbox.com.
Follow this link to sign-up for a virtual business address with anytimemailbox.com.
Step #1: Create The Virtual Address For Your Business
Time Required: 10 Minutes
Select the state and location for your address. For all three states that I mentioned above, the registered business address does not have to be in the state the LLC is organized in.
The cheapest option, the bronze plan monthly, is absolutely sufficient for what we are trying to do right now.
Enter your name and the LLC name for the new address.
The address that you enter here you will have to verify later. This is related to US laws about handling mail for third parties. In order for the mailbox service to be allowed to open and forward your mail for you, they need to verify your identity.
Review all the information provided and enter your payment method.
That concludes setting up your virtual address. Keep it handy, we will need it in the next step.
Step #2: Organize Your LLC
Time Required: 15 minutes
In this step, we are going to organize the LLC, by filing our articles of organization with your state of choice.
Choose the State for Your LLC
Without going into too much detail, and without knowing the specifics of your business, my recommendations for most cases after having talked to over one hundred entrepreneurs are:
- New Mexico
Before you get stuck by analysis paralysis, pick New Mexico. You will be fine!
How to Check if Your Desired Name is Available
Here are the links for the state registries for the three states mentioned. Generally, you have to submit three naming options. Make sure at least one is something very unique that doesn’t have anything similar in the registry.
- Wyoming name search
- New Mexico name search [Needs VPN] – Download one of the best here
- Delaware name search
If having the exact name is important to you, you might even pick your state according to the availability.
File Articles of Organization
There are countless service providers that will help you to set up your LLC.
Legalzoom, Zenbusiness, IncAuthority. I’ve tried them all, and you’re free to use any of them. For my own LLC, I decided to use Incfile, and I have been the most satisfied with them so far.
On the landing page, select LLC and your state. For this example, I went with New Mexico.
Now select the package you want.
I recommend taking the GOLD package, or at least SILVER, and adding the EIN application. Manually applying for the EIN is often not worth the time and energy needed.
On the next page enter your contact information. Use the virtual address you just created or any other valid US address where you can receive mail.
Now decide if you want to take advantage of the expedited filing process. I personally don’t think this is necessary and worth an extra 50$ for most people. I chose the standard process, and my LLC was still open after 2 days.
Once the articles of organization have been accepted by the state, you will receive your official company documents.
- Articles of Organization
- Statement of the Organizer
- Certificate of Good Standing (varies by state)
Step #3 Apply for EIN
Aprox. Time to Receive It: 6 weeks
In order the use your LLC, you will need a tax ID. Specifically an Employee Identification Number or short: EIN.
The general process looks like this:
- Fill out SS-4 form
- Fax SS-4 form to IRS
- Wait 3-6 weeks to receive your EIN
If you have booked the gold package from Incfile above, they will take care of this for you.
Step #4 Open LLC Business Bank Account Online
Time Required: 10 minutes (application)
Once you have received your EIN, you can set up bank accounts for your business.
All of the retail banks, like Bank of America, Chase, Citibank and so on require that you or a representative of the company visit the bank personally. So unless you have immediate plans to travel to the US, those accounts are not an option right now.
There are however a number of online banks, that will allow you to open accounts for your LLC completely remotely, and without a lot of bureaucracy.
The three options right now are:
- Mercury.com (USD)
- TransferWise (USD, EUR)
- Payoneer (USD)
- Paysera (EUR)
Mercury is fully compatible with Stripe, Paypal and other payment providers, and also offer the most modern interface. It should be your first choice.
TransferWise will also provide you with an IBAN for an account in EUR, which can be very beneficial in some cases.
Payoneer will provide you with US banking details. However, these are often not accepted by Stripe or Paypal.
Paysera will open EUR accounts for US LLCs, which is convenient.
Step-by-Step How to Open a Mercury.com Bank Account
First, you click on “Open account” at Mercury’s website. Then you fill the form with simple requirements. You’ll receive an email verification request.
Once the email address is verified, you can proceed to add your LLC’s information and indicate your rol.
The system will generate a suggested “callsign”, you can modify this if needed.
Here comes the detailed information section. Carefully, add the information as in the documents of your LLC.
If you are the only member of the LLC, your info goes here. If the LLC has more than one member, enter the information of each person.
Submitt the mailing address from Anytimemailbox, which is the same in the LLC’s Formation Document.
Look for the “Articles of Organization” document. The “Certificate of Good Standing” works for this too. Upload one of these documents.
As the last requirement, you will need to present a document that verifys your EIN.
After all your company’s information and documents were submitted, the review process will start and you will hear from Mercury bank in a couple of hours, a maximum of a couple of days.
Prepare for Application
While we are waiting for the IRS to assign our LLC an EIN, we can prepare for the coming signup procedures for the banking and payment processing services we will be using.
Banks are required to verify your identity (KYC – Know Your Customer). And from i internal risk assessment perspective, the better they understand your business model, the easier the can work with you.
Before starting the application process for any of the services, I recommend having
- A functioning website
- A professional email address from your domain
- Optional: Linkedin profile
If you do not yet have a website, jump over to Bluehost, and register a domain, and a WordPress blog – make sure to get started with 63% off your Bluehost plan here.