Starting a Business in Arizona as a Non-Citizen

Arizona - The Grand Canyon State Welcomes You by HPZ from Flickr (Creative Commons License)
Arizona – The Grand Canyon State Welcomes You by HPZ from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

I recently spoke to a student group at the Thunderbird School of Global Management about how to start a business in Arizona. One of the questions they had was whether a non-citizen was allowed to start business. The answer is a bit complicated.

Check Your Visa
The Arizona Corporation Commission instructions for creating an LLC does not put any restrictions on who can own a business based on citizenship. You can start an LLC even if you are not a U.S. citizen. However, the fact that you can own may not give you permission to work in your business.

If you are in the U.S. on a visa, such as a student visa or a work visa where you work for a sponsoring company, your visa may put restrictions on your ability to work for someone else.

Call Your Bank
Another hiccup may emerge when you open your bank account for your business. The bank requires certain forms of identification to open an account. If you don’t have what the bank requires, they won’t let you create an account. One way to get around this problem is to have a co-owner who is a citizen and has the required identification to open the business’ bank account.

So, can you open a business as a non-citizen? Yes. Can you work in your business? Maybe not.
Here’s the corresponding video for this topic.

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