The short answer is “yes.” Anyone can own a US-based limited liability company (or LLC), with limited exceptions (i.e. restricted parties and persons).

The bigger issue relates to banks. Banks have certain requirements, which we’ve summarized in this article.

The biggest issue, for non-resident aliens in opening a bank account, is (1) physical presence to open a bank account, and (2) obtaining a FEIN.

Physical Presence

Most bank accounts will require someone they don’t already have a relationship with, to show up at a branch to open up their first bank account. If you’re outside the US, this would mean a trip to the US or finding other options.

Federal Employee Identification Number (or FEIN)

To open up a bank account in the name of the LLC, that LLC will need a FEIN. To obtain a FEIN, you need to tell the IRS who the “Responsible Party” is. You can learn more about Responsible Parties from the IRS. In short, a Responsible Party is someone who either owns or controls the company.

The Responsible Party must possess and disclose to the IRS either a Social Security Number (or SSN, for US residents), an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (or ITIN, can be used for non-residents — learn more), or another Federal Employee Identification Number (or FEIN, for entities).

Notes of Caution

First, this article does not address tax issues. We strongly encourage you to consult with an appropriate tax professional — in your local jurisdiction — who can comment on the tax implications within the United States.

Second, beware of anyone promising or selling “nominee services.” Read how the IRS defines nominees. What you see on the Internet, is NOT WHAT THE IRS defines as a nominee. Such services create significant liability on the part of yourself, the nominee and worse, can ultimately destroy liability protection of the LLC. You can also expose yourself to criminal action, if you hire the wrong nominee. Most legitimately licensed attorneys will NOT PROVIDE NOMINEE SERVICES.

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