Forming a Company in the US from Pakistan
Having a legal entity in the United States can become a requirement for doing business internationally. Specially for a SaaS startup, there are many things that require the company to be registered in the US.
Photo by Chris Barbalis
A big reason for forming a company in the US is that the best payment gateways (like Stripe) are not available in Pakistan.
Forming a legal entity in United States is a no-issue when you are in the US. However, things can become complicated if you are located outside. So how do we form a company in the US remotely?
This is particularly for tech startups doing business internationally.
Forming the company
You can form your company in the state of Delaware. A lot of startups register their company in Delaware because of the ease and pros of Delaware.
LLC or a Corporation? It really depends on you and your company. LLC offers flexibility and is also easier to maintain. I suggest checking out LLC vs Corporation on corporatedirect.com.
There are many agents and websites offering the service to register your company in Delaware on your behalf. I used Harvard LLC. It costed me $179 (after their $100 off promo) to register an LLC. The cost also covers Registered Agent Fee which is a recurring $50/yr fee.
There are many other alternatives which you can easily find with a quick search.
Employer ID (EIN or TAX ID)
You need EIN after you have formed your company. There is no cost associated with this and you can get your EIN yourself by calling IRS directly. You need to fill the SS4 and call IRS. Services like Harvard LLC can also do this on your behalf (but they will probably charge you for this).
Your company will also need a US address. For this, there are plenty of services which can give you virtual address in the US. I chose to go with Harvard LLC as It looked easier to manage everything with one service provider. What I really liked was I didn’t have to use a monthly subscription but a one-time cost. I paid $29 for 6 mail-forwarding credits.
US Phone Number
Virtual phone numbers are pretty common these days. You can get a virtual phone number from Skype, Google Voice, Sonetel or any other provider. I used Sonetel. Make sure you get a “permanent” number. This will usually cost you about $2 to $5 per month for a base price.
I used Sonetel to get a US phone number which is about $3/month.
US Bank Account
Now comes a tricky part. You may need a US bank account for many reasons. My reason was that the payment gateway that I wanted to use needed a US bank account. Opening a US bank account may not be easy remotely. I have heard that there are some banks which can help but haven’t tried them. Visiting US and then opening a Bank account is also an option. It will only need a legal entity and your EIN.
Remote option that I am aware of is Silicon Valley Bank. As far as I know, Silicon Valley Bank requires minimum deposit and the procedure may also be detailed. They will first learn about you and your business and then decide if they can open your account.
If there is no option for you, you can still use Payoneer’s Global Payment Service.
If you also need a payment gateway, I have written about using Stripe in Pakistan.