Tips and Resources for Starting a Business as an Immigrant

By Lauren McGee – owner of

Every year, people move to the United States in search of economic and business opportunities they don’t have in their own country. But what are the necessary steps for an immigrant to become a successful business owner in the US, and how can you still keep in touch with your loved ones back home?

Today, Gitano Web Services presents a few tips to answer all your questions and help you succeed in your new business.

Getting an Investor Visa

In theory, immigrants don’t need a visa to start a business in the United States. But if you want to be able to legally remain in your new country of residence for any length of time, consider getting an E-2 Investor visa or an EB-5 visa. Migronis explains that the EB-5 visa will allow you to obtain a permanent resident card, what is commonly known as a “green card”. In order to qualify for an E visa, you must be from a country that has an E visa treaty with the United States.

Launching Your Business

Find the business structure that is right for you. Many small business owners opt for forming a limited liability company, or LLC, but you may also decide on forming a C corporation. Both structures allow you to run your company, but an LLC may be more advantageous tax-wise. You’ll also need to register your business with the state and obtain an individual taxpayer identification number, or ITIN, in order to apply for an employer identification number (EIN), which will allow you to open a business bank account, and which is needed for other business dealings like tax returns and licenses.

If your business’s operational model includes offering money transfer options through a business app, having access to up-to-date information on account balances is helpful, as it ensures customers, clients or vendors have enough funds to cover the transaction. To help you get real-time insight while protecting your customers’ valuable information, use an integrated tool like an API to retrieve bank account balance. This gives you extra layers of security as you gather private information.

Funding Your Business

Most immigrant-owned small businesses in the United States are originally funded by personal or family savings. But if you need additional funding to grow your business, you do have access to the same loans as your American-born counterparts. Term loans, working capital loans, and microloans are all options to consider while looking for funding. And if you’re a newer immigrant and you need to build your credit history in the US, Money Crashers recommends getting a business credit card for your purchases: a higher credit score will help you get lenders to grant you loans for your new venture.

Overcoming Language Barriers

For immigrants wanting to start a business in the United States, language can be a barrier, especially when dealing with state, business, and financial institutions. In order to communicate more effectively, make sure you use plain language and avoid idioms that can be misunderstood. Dealing with the paperwork involved in starting a business in the United States is already daunting enough for a native speaker, so you shouldn’t even think twice about enlisting professional help such as lawyers and interpreters to review documents and go over all the options with you, just like most native speakers do, in order to avoid costly mistakes down the line.

Maintaining Long-Distance Relationships

Staying in touch with family and friends in your birth country can be difficult while you get established in your new country. But thankfully, technology is here to help with telecommunications applications and services that allow you to talk to each other from one continent to another. You may also purchase prepaid phone cards for your loved ones so they can call you from abroad, or send care packages with staples from your new home so that your family at home can get a glimpse of your new life. And if you need to send money back home, online services will transfer money across the globe quickly and securely, for a small fee.

For years, immigrants have been a driving force of economic growth in this country, starting new businesses and creating job opportunities for many. And thanks to the latest communications technologies, they can maintain strong bonds with their families as well.

Gitano Web Services is a collection of business resources and networking opportunities to help individuals, professionals, organizations, and business leaders implement and accelerate sustainable projects locally or abroad. Why not schedule a free consultation?