Business in Europe and the USA with a second citizenship

Due to strict checks and legal requirements, it can be challenging for a non-resident to open a business in the European Union or the United States. Besides, one probably needs a visa to visit these countries for business meetings. But getting a visa takes time, and it can be denied.

Learn more about how a second passport or a residence permit helps to do business in Europe and the USA.

Highlights about doing business in Europe and the USA with a second passport

  1. Registering a company in Europe or the USA allows the business to enter the international market, avoid currency control, increase the level of trust on the part of partners and investors, and, in some cases, optimise taxes.

  2. Residence permits obtained by investment in some countries, for example, Portugal, Greece, Malta, and Cyprus, allow the holders to do business in their countries of residence.

  3. Citizenship of Malta or another EU country allows registering companies in any member state.

  4. An investor with a Grenada or Turkish passport can get an E‑2 visa to relocate and run a business in the USA. The visa application processing takes only 15 days under an accelerated procedure. The applicant invests a significant amount in a US business: as a rule, at least $ 100,000.

  5. Caribbean, Vanuatu and Malta citizenship allows one to obtain a B‑1/B‑2 visa to the United States for 5 or 10 years. The holder can visit the United States and spend up to 180 days a year there. Maltese citizens can do without a visa: an electronic entry permit is sufficient for trips up to 90 days.

Material prepared by an expert

Frequently asked questions

  • Can I do business in Europe?

    Yes, you can. For example, you can start a Societas Europea (SE), a type of limited liability company. It will allow you to do business in several EU countries, transfer the head office to another jurisdiction without dissolving the company, and simplify recruitment.

    However, registering a company might be easier with EU residency or citizenship. Terms for setting up a business may vary, depending on the state.

  • What is the advantage of doing business in Europe?

    There are at least five advantages of having an operating business in Europe:

    1. It is an opportunity to enter new markets within the EU, EEA and other European states.

    2. Your business assets will be well-protected.

    3. European businesses can avoid double taxation and currency controls.

    4. Potential partners and investors trust companies registered in the EU or EEA more than the ones from third countries.

  • Which EU country is the easiest to start a business in?

    According to Doing Business 2020, Denmark, Georgia, the UK, Norway, and Sweden are the easiest European countries to run a business. The top 50 includes Austria, Portugal and Spain, where investors and financially independent foreigners can obtain residence permits.

  • Can I start a business in the USA as a foreigner?

    Yes, you can. Registering a company in the United States is available to both residents and foreigners. In some cases, opening or buying a company and investing in it will qualify you for the E‑2 business visa.

  • Can I sell in the USA as a foreigner?

    Yes, you can. Anyone can sell products on the US market as an individual seller or a foreign-owned company.

  • Can a foreigner open LLC in the USA?

    Yes, foreigners can register LLC companies in the USA. Such companies can be managed from abroad, but the owner will need a work or a business visa to enter the States. For example, the E‑2 visa is suitable for doing business, visiting and relocating to the United States.

  • How much should I invest in a US business to get an E-2 visa?

    There is no requirement for a minimum investment in an E‑2 visa, but it must be significant. Applicants usually invest at least $100,000 in a US business.

    In addition, the visa applicant must control the company: hold a management position or own a 50% share.

Business in the Caribbean

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Zlata Erlach
Zlata Erlach

Head of the Austrian office

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