We are looking into the possibility to incorporate in the US, mainly to be able to get a merchant account with one of the different gateways available. There's tons of information available about this, however, it's also somewhat confusing.
We are thinking of having an agent handling the establishment of the company, which probably will be an LLC, but I've noticed that some agents do not (from their specs) provide non-us residents with an EIN. So my first question is, what does it take to get an EIN for non-us residents?
Furthermore, I came across a company that had stated this on their web site: Most credit card companies require that the business has been existence for more than six (6) months (http://www.activefilings.com/en/serv...helfcorps.htm, item 6 on the bottom of the page). I find this strange, as existence itself is not a proof of a reliable company. Can anyone confirm this, as we'd want this company up and running as soon as possible.
Perhaps someone can also recommend me an agent (preferrably not too expensive, I find 800-1000 USD somewhat costly for a number of standard forms to be filled out), and a suitable bank.
You do not really need to incorporate in the US to get a merchant account. For a US merchant account, you need a US bank account, a US address / phone number.
Getting a US bank is a little more difficult though. You might contact ETrade. It was rumored that they were going to open some bank acounts but not too sure if they are still going to be able to do that or not.
As for the US addresses etc., that's not a problem. My closest family is situated in the US and I'm personally there three-four times a year. However, a bank won't open an account without either a SSN or an EIN. This is also according to Etrade.
I've heard that there are some alternatives that will open an account for you, form your company etc., for about 1200-1500 USD. However, I figure, if I'm going to pay that amount of money, maybe I'm better off having someone fill out the formation papers for the LLC itself and take care of the rest next time I am in the US. The difference might be as much as the plane ticket itself
However, generally speaking: I assume that a person can "lend" me his SSN for the purpose of aquiring an EIN, so I don't have to wait for months getting an ITIN (or so I've read anyway). I would assume that this also means that this person would have to, at least at that point, to be affiliated with the company, f.i. being a director, right?
Will the EIN still be valid the day this person is not affiliated with the company anymore, and would it be of any risk for the person to lend me the SSN in this way?
Lastly, is there a need for governmental paperwork while doing such a switch?