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Expanding to the US? When a UK Company Needs to Register

UK businesses eyeing the US market face a strategic choice: should they register as a US entity? There's no one-size-fits-all answer, so careful analysis is crucial. For a deeper dive into navigating this decision effectively, read this full article.
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For UK startups and scale-ups eyeing the vast potential of the US market, a crucial question arises: when does establishing a separate US entity become the best strategic move? While there’s no universal answer, navigating this decision requires careful consideration and a deep dive into your unique circumstances.


Think of it as crossing a metaphorical pond. On one side, your established UK operation thrives. On the other, the US market promises exciting opportunities, but the waters are unfamiliar. Deciding when to build a bridge – a US entity – is crucial for maximizing your chances of success.


The decision to register your business in the USA requires analysis and consultation with US tax and legal advisors to ensure alignment with your business goals.

Below are some key factors that might signal the right time to register your business in the US:

Deciding when to register your UK company in the US can be a strategic move for growth. Here are some key factors to consider that might signal the right time to take the plunge:

Financial Factors:

  • Significant US Revenue:If your UK company is generating substantial revenue from the US market, establishing a US entity can become tax efficient. This allows you to allocate revenue and costs strategically, potentially maximizing tax benefits. Remember, US-sourced revenue means it’s crucial to consult with your tax advisor to understand the optimal structure for your business.

  • Regulatory Compliance:Certain industries, particularly those that are heavily regulated like finance or healthcare, may require specific US operations to be run through a US entity to comply with local regulations.

  • Fundraising in the US: If you plan to raise capital from US investors, having a US entity can make your business more attractive and potentially increase your chances of success.

Operational Factors:

  • Growing US Customer Base: As your US customer base expands, a local presence can build trust and foster long-term relationships. A US entity demonstrates commitment and may facilitate smoother operations within the US market.

  • Immigration: If you plan to send UK employees to work in the States, keep in mind that certain types of US visas require a US entity. This can streamline the immigration process and ensure your employees have the necessary work authorization.

  • Bank Account: Establishing a US corporate bank account through a US entity is typically more cost-effective to move money than using a US dollar account in your home country. This can simplify financial operations within the US market.

  • Commercial Contracts: While not a legal requirement, some US companies prefer to transact with other US entities. A US presence can facilitate smoother business dealings and potentially open doors to new opportunities.

  • Crowdfunding: Many US crowdfunding platforms require a US entity to raise funds. This allows you to access a wider pool of potential investors within the US market.

  • Accelerators: Some US accelerator programs require the companies in their cohorts to have a US parent company. This can be a valuable way to gain access to mentorship, funding, and networking opportunities within the US ecosystem.

Strategic Factors:

  • Strategic US Partnerships: Collaborating with US partners often requires a local presence. A US entity simplifies partnerships and streamlines collaboration within the US market.
  • US Ventur Capital Investors: It is crucial to understand the preferences of US venture capital investors. For early-stage investments, US VCs often seek a “US story,” meaning you have:

1. US operations: A physical presence in the US demonstrates commitment and facilitates smoother operations.

2. US traction: Evidence of customer acquisition and market validation within the US market.

3. Founder or senior decision-maker in the US: Proximity to investors allows for closer collaboration and faster decision-making.

Legal Factors:

  • Litigation Risk Mitigation: Operating in a litigious environment like the US exposes your UK company to potential legal challenges. Establishing a US entity can help mitigate risk by potentially shielding your UK assets.
  • Contracts: It’s essential to have all US contracts reviewed by a US attorney familiar with your industry and relevant state laws. This ensures your contracts are legally sound, protect your business interests, and comply with US regulations.

    By carefully considering these factors and seeking expert guidance, you can confidently navigate the US market and make the right decision for your company’s long-term success.

    This is not an exhaustive list, and the decision to register in the US is a unique business decision. Consulting with experienced US advisors, including legal, tax, and immigration professionals, is crucial to ensure you make the most informed and strategic choice for your unique business needs.

Expanding your business into America

Your one-stop-shop of frequently asked questions, ballpark figures for the cost of expansion, comments from other entrepreneurs who have been through the process and insight from experts in areas such as tax, visas and HR.

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How Foothold America Can Help Businesses Register a US Entity

Expanding your business to the United States can be an exciting opportunity, but it can also be complex. There are many legal and regulatory hurdles to overcome, and navigating them can be time-consuming and expensive. That’s where Foothold America comes in.

Foothold America’s US Entity Setup service helps businesses like yours register a US entity quickly and easily. We’ll take care of all the paperwork and filings so you can focus on what you do best: running your business.

Here are some of the benefits of using Foothold America to set up your US entity:

  • Expertise: Our team at Foothold America has extensive experience in helping businesses set up US entities. We know the ins and outs of the process, so you can be sure that your entity is set up correctly and compliantly.
  • Efficiency: Depending on your situation, Foothold America can help you set up your US entity in as little as two weeks.
  • Cost-effective: Foothold America’s fees are competitive, whether you are setting up a C-corporation or an LLC.
  • Peace of mind: Knowing that your US entity is set up correctly and compliantly will give you peace of mind so you can focus on running your business.

If you’re thinking about setting up a US entity or hiring employees in the United States, Foothold America can help you make it happen. Contact us today to discuss your objectives with a US Expansion Advisor.

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