Can undocumented immigrants have their own business with Jacob Sapochnick

In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick answers one of your frequently asked questions: Can undocumented immigrants open their own business in the United States?

If you would like to know more about this topic, please keep on watching!


This is one of the most widely misunderstood topics of discussion in immigration. The answer is yes, any person whether documented or undocumented can start a business in the United States.

Individuals can form a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or any other corporate structure irrespective of their legal status in the United States. This is because the LLC or corporate entity is a separate entity from the individual. The LLC can obtain an Employer Identification Number, also known as an EIN from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for the purpose of tax administration. To obtain an EIN, the principal business must be located in the United States or U.S. territories, and the member applying for the EIN must have a valid Taxpayer Identification Number, such as a Social Security Number (SSN), Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), or EIN.

However, if you are employed by the LLC or corporate entity without lawful authorization to work in the United States, you will be in violation of the law, however the business registration in and of itself is legal.

If you are undocumented and you already have a business, it may be helpful for you to register your business entity with the Secretary of State by forming an LLC or other corporate structure. While registering a business entity will not help you legalize your status, there have been cases where it can be beneficial for a person to demonstrate that they have worked and paid federal and state income taxes.

In our practice, we have had cases where undocumented immigrants living in the United States for over 10 years, have been placed in removal proceedings. In these cases, proving a qualifying family relationship to a United States Citizen, and demonstrating an extreme hardship to the U.S. citizen is vital to qualify for cancellation of removal. If the undocumented immigrant has owned a successful business, paid taxes, and hired U.S. Citizen workers, it can be helpful to the cancellation of removal process to provide such documentation.

The bottom line is that if you’re undocumented and want to start a business, you can register your business regardless of your legal status in the United States. As always, we advise you to obtain a consultation with an experienced immigration attorney and corporate attorney to properly advise you based on your own individual circumstances.

Contact us. If you would like to schedule a consultation, we invite you to contact us by texting 619-483-4549 or calling 619-819-9204.

Helpful Links


Need more immigration updates? We have created a new facebook group to address the impact of the new executive order and other changing developments related to COVID-19. Follow us there.

For other COVID 19 related immigration updates please visit our Immigration and COVID-19 Resource Center here.