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The first-step resource for companies interested in making business investments in the United States.

SelectUSA Investor Guide


As the U.S. federal-level program dedicated to facilitating and promoting high-impact business investment into the United States, SelectUSA is pleased to welcome you to the Investor Guide.

This is intended to be a first-step resource for companies interested in making business investments in the United States. There are many factors to consider when investing in the United States, and we hope this guide will help answer at least a few of your initial questions on some of the most common topics we address in our day-to-day work at SelectUSA.

To provide guidance on these topics, qualified service providers who regularly work with investors have drafted the following chapters of this guide.



Click on the tabs below to view individual chapters of the full Investor Guide to explore specific topic areas quickly.

Key Considerations for Foreign Investors in the United States

The United States business market is competitive. It generally allows for a relatively short period to establish new business operations. However, it is important to be mindful of the regulatory environment when setting up a company in the United States. This checklist is designed to provide an efficient and concise summary of the key issues and considerations when investing in the United States. Your U.S. advisors should be able to elaborate on many of the issues listed below.


SECTION 1: Visa Overview

Most foreign citizens need to obtain a visa in order to visit or work in the United States. The U.S. Department of State, in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security, oversees the U.S. visa process. The purpose of your intended travel and other facts will determine what type of visa is required under U.S. immigration law. Below is a description of the visa types available for business and employment purposes. For information on the U.S. visa process, including updates to visa policy, please refer to the Department of State’s travel website.

SECTION 2: U.S. Immigration Pathways: Which is Right for Your Investment Project?

In an environment of fluid markets and changing policies, understanding the immigration options available to investors and their workforces is an essential – but sometimes overlooked – aspect of investing in the United States. Investors need to make sure that their employees have the correct U.S. visa(s) and an immigration advisor to ensure the visas are secured as seamlessly as possible. This chapter details the immigration options available to business investors and their prospective U.S. employees, including information on visa requirements, timeframes, and considerations for families.


An Overview of Common Business Structures for Foreign Investors

Choosing the right type of business structure is a critical first step for foreign persons planning to conduct business in the United States. There are several types of entities available, each with its own unique benefits and limitations. The “right” choice depends on a foreign person’s specific interests and needs. There is no “one -size fits -all” structure. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a high -level comparison of some common business structures used by foreign persons to conduct their U.S. operations and what impact that structure might have on the company’s business and financing opportunities.


An Overview of Key U.S. Tax Considerations for Inbound Investment

A s the world’s largest economy, the United States provides tremendous operating and investment opportunities, with an innovative and productive workforce, robust infrastructure, and lucrative markets. However, foreign businesses interested in investing in the United States can find it daunting to navigate the U.S. federal tax code and regulations, as well as state and local taxes. Inadequate preparation can create undue risk, result in increased and unanticipated tax costs, and ultimately impact the overall success of U.S. operations.


Creating Employment Success in the United States

The key to any organization is people, and any company doing business in the United States will have to recruit, interview, hire, and manage a workforce. The process of hiring and managing a U.S.-based workforce may differ greatly from those practices customary in other countries. In the United States, employers are regulated by (1) federal laws that apply to all companies regardless of location; (2) state laws, for the individual state(s) where the employees are physically working; and, (3) local- or city-based ordinances in some larger cities.


Limitations on Foreign Investment into the United States

The United States has consistently ranked as a top destination for foreign direct investment (FDI). The United States boasts a high Ease of Doing Business ranking, a population of over 325 million people, the world’s largest economy, and one of the best educated, most productive, and most innovative workforces in the world.


Considerations for Foreign Direct Investment

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) is an interagency committee that is authorized to review certain transactions involving foreign investment in the United States and certain real estate transactions by foreign persons, in order to determine the effect of such transactions on U.S. national security. CFIUS is exclusively focused on national security risk and takes action only when other provisions of law do not provide adequate authority to address the risk. CFIUS operates within the broader context of the U.S. open investment environment.


An Overview of Intellectual Property For Foreign Investors

For foreign investors, like other business owners, the most valuable assets of a business are its Intellectual Property (IP). The heart of the IP are four categories of assets: trademarks, copyrights, patents, and trade secrets. Each of these assets is the basis upon which a business is built and thrives.


A Checklist for Foreign Companies Opening a Bank Account in the United States

For a foreign company establishing business operations in the United States, is there a right way to open a bank account? Consider the what, why, when, where, and how.


Site Selection in the U.S.: Key Variables, Processes, and Technologies

Site selection is a process of identifying a state, region, and local community to locate a new corporate facility. When investing in the United States of America, private companies take responsibility for researching, analyzing, and selecting their locations.


An Introduction to Incentives in the United States

As businesses consider investing in the United States, there are many factors to assess when evaluating where to locate facilities and operations. Economic development incentives (also commonly referred to as business incentives) may be one of those factors because such incentives have the potential to provide financial support to minimize upfront costs and speed up the timeline to profitability.


Federal Procurement: An overview of Federal Laws relating to Domestic Content Requirements for Government Procurement

This chapter will provide readers with an overview of certain country of origin-related
requirements used in U.S. federal procurement, including the Buy American Act
(BAA), Trade Agreements Act (TAA), the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of
2021 (Public Law 117-58), and the Berry Amendment. We will also discuss practical
tips for companies looking to sell products or services to the United States federal


Federal Procurement: The Basics of Entering Federal Contracting in the United States 

Providing services to the federal government is no ordinary business. While the
industry can be both rewarding and profitable, it does carry additional compliance
requirements which should all be considered as part of the procurement process.
Throughout this chapter, we’ll explore topics that should be top of mind for organizations
that are looking to enter the federal space.


Understanding the U.S. Capital Market Structure for Capital Raising Success

The capital markets in the United States are the world’s largest which makes them
very attractive for both domestic and international companies that want to grow
and expand. In addition to the public equity markets which represent approximately
55 percent of all global public equity markets, the United States has the most developed
private capital markets for companies that are not yet ready to go public or who do not
want to go public. Since U.S. markets are so diverse, the range of capital providers is large
and the competition for this capital is fierce. This chapter will describe some of the
institutional players in the U.S. market as well as give some tips for effectively raising
capital given the analytical nature of the U.S. institutional investment decision making


Partnering with U.S. Research Organizations for SME Technology Firms

the goal of this chapter is to guide small and medium-sized innovation-based foreign companies, including startups, interested in entering and scaling in the U.S. market by
developing Research & Development (R&D) activities with a local research university or
a federal agency. Innovation-based means a company with a strong competitive advantage
based on its technology, innovation, patents, and usually with long sales cycles; a good
example is in the life sciences industry.

This chapter is designed to illustrate how U.S. universities and federal laboratories can be
partners to collaborate with and can provide launch pads to test the U.S. market before
any market entry decision/investment.