Issues to consider when expanding a business to the U.S.

This article looks at three main issues foreign companies need to consider when expanding to the U.S.

For foreign businesses, the prospect of expanding to the United States can be both challenging and rewarding. By getting a foothold in the U.S., businesses gain access to a rich and diverse market, with lots of opportunities in regards to employment, technology, human resources, marketing, and so on. However, the United States and Massachusetts specifically have laws and regulations that foreign companies must be aware of and follow. Because expansion to the U.S. touches on many different areas of the law, notably business and immigration law, it is important to consult with a law firm that has experience and expertise in the different areas of the law that affect foreign expansion.

Business formation

Choosing the right structure for the U.S. arm of one's business operations is crucial. Most foreign companies expanding to the U.S. choose to form as either a corporation or a limited liability company (LLC). The reasons for choosing one over the other usually come down to which structure offers one's business the most tax advantages. However, other considerations when choosing a business structure may also come into play, such as record-keeping requirements and rules surrounding foreign citizens on corporate boards. A business law firm can help foreign businesses choose the business structure that is right for their needs.

Immigration and visas

Immigration is going to be another important consideration when expanding to the U.S. As the Council of American States in Europe (CASE) points out, in instances where managers, executives, or personnel are being transferred to the U.S. or plan on working in the U.S. then visas and possibly work permits are going to be a major consideration. There are quite a few immigrant and non-immigrant visas that may pertain to specific business situations and a brief description of these visas can be obtained through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. An E-2 visa, for example, is useful for individuals who plan to invest in a new or existing U.S. company. An L-1 visa, meanwhile, is for executives, managers, or specialized employees who are being transferred to the U.S. from another country.

Employment law

More likely than not, expansion to the U.S. will require the hiring of American employees. Employment laws are governed by both state and federal laws. While federal law applies to the entire country, it is important to realize that Massachusetts employment law can differ substantially from the laws of other states. A local law firm can help foreign companies understand what their legal obligations as regards to hiring new workers are, including laws surrounding employment contracts, benefits, discrimination, and so on.

Legal advice with an edge

Expansion to the U.S. tends to work best when foreign companies work with a law firm that has experience in the different areas of the law that especially affect foreign expansion. Seder & Chandler LLP have worked with companies throughout the world to help them gain a foothold in the lucrative U.S. market. Furthermore, they have worked with immigration lawyers and know what foreign companies can expect when moving to the U.S. That sort of experience helps reduce any unwanted surprises and assists with a smooth transition that can better prepare companies for success in their new home.