This post answers a question I have heard many times: How can a foreigner open a bank account in the U.S.?
Foreign entrepreneurs often ask this question. Because of the large market here, they want to start a business in the U.S. And because they want to do so effectively, they usually need a U.S. bank account. (more…)
This post reproduces, almost verbatim, a Quora question and my answer. Q. How effective and enforceable are contracts between parties located in the United States and England?
A. Such agreements can be effective and enforced – agreements between parties in different countries are entered into routinely. (more…)
I have seen a recent increase in the number of foreign companies inquiring about doing business in the U.S. Their most frequent question: Should they just open a branch office here, or should they form a corporation or other legal entity? They almost always form a corporation. Here’s why: (more…)
I have helped dozens of foreign companies establish subsidiaries here. Sometimes, the foreign company asks, “Do we really need to form a separate company in the U.S.? Can’t we just hire some people in the U.S. to work for our existing overseas entity?”
In responding, I make the following points: (more…)
Having helped more than a dozen foreign companies set up operations here during the past few years, I am pleased to offer “Ten Tips for Success in the U.S.” on the Downloads page – just Sign Up for Free Downloads using the drop-down list in the sidebar.
Here are the titles of the ten tips, which are discussed in greater detail in the document:
- Work with complementary businesses that are already established here
- Manage overseas personnel on the principle “trust but verify”
- Form your corporation or limited liability company properly
- Be ready for a legal system that is different from the one back home
- Identify and protect intellectual property (IP) that is used here
- Develop detailed employee and independent contractor agreements
- Choose an accountant with international tax experience
- Be prepared to obtain a federal employer identification number
- Conduct due diligence on potential investors
- Agree on business terms before you prepare a written agreement
This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.
Over the years I have negotiated a number of international agreements, typically representing domestic clients. My more recent work with EU-based clients, however, has given me additional insights about the U.S. and other legal systems.
These clients have established technology businesses in Europe. Each recently set up operations here in the Bay Area and asked that I adapt existing agreements for use in the U.S. As I work with these clients, two differences between the U.S. and the European Union jump out at me.
Length of Agreements
First, in the U.S. we often have longer agreements. European contracts tend to rely on, and implicitly or explicitly incorporate, detailed statutory provisions that do not exist here in the U.S. Furthermore, agreements here tend to include more business details and legal protections in case the relationship sours and ends up in litigation. For example, one client shared its existing reseller agreement. I found the document charming in its brevity and the abundance of white space on the page. By the time I added everything that is considered normal here in the U.S., the new version had four times as many words!