Checklist for a founder when deciding whether to move to the U.S. or another country.
Read this when you are thinking about following your dream to another country.
It's sometimes hard for a successful founder to think about everything behind to follow your dream to a new country.
For many startups, growing globally is a dream that sometimes seems unattainable. But… it’s a goal that’s easily within reach.
If you have been thinking about scaling your startup in the U.S. or globally, there are a few important questions to ask yourself.
What immigration options are available?
There are three main types, that put you on a direct path to a Green Card.
A. extraordinary talent
If you are a VC-backed founder or have been through an accelerator, you likely qualify.
If you already own and operate a company in a foreign country and plan to scale that through a U.S. affiliate, you may qualify for an executive visa.
If you plan to invest $100k+ in a business and you are a citizen of a treaty partner, then you may qualify.
2. Why do you want to scale your company to another country?
Is it sales? Is it a market opportunity? Is it that you want to live there? Or is your main interest in owning a successful U.S. company to scale globally?
While there are many immigration options available for a talented founder like yourself, there are other considerations for a move. We live in a global world right now where most businesses are growing virtually. You may not know this little secret but having an American entity is not just reserved for American residents. As a foreign resident of pretty much any country, you may own and operate an American company without any immigration status necessary.
If you really want to live in the U.S. and be a part of the action, addressing your immigration status is crucial.
But suppose your reason for having a U.S. entity is the opportunities it provides; in that case, you can get that now, even during the pandemic, by starting your American company to work with global brands. An American company allows you to have an American bank account & bank card, opening the Global Commerce door for your business.
3. Do you have an exit strategy?
If you intend to exit in the near future, the country you choose as your country of residence will impact your tax obligations due to the sale. Think about this before making a move. Again, you can design a structure that allows you to own a U.S. entity while not being a U.S. resident subject to U.S. tax obligations. Talk to a 2nd.law team member.
4. Where do you want your Intellectual Property owned?
You likely already own intellectual property in your own country. Each country's rules differ, although some allow you to register regionally. This may not be a big deal when you first begin your business, but your IP is your company's biggest asset. Choosing a country that affords you reasonable protection, with the tax implications in mind, can save you millions in taxes down the road when licensing your creations.
5. Are you mentally prepared?
Building a successful business takes resilience, focus, energy, and consistency. A move to a new country is disruptive both to you and your current company's culture. Make sure you have built a strong foundation in your foreign startup so that you can make the most of this dreamy opportunity.
The best way to approach this decision is holistic: considering immigration options, business opportunities, and personal impacts on your life & your family's life.