If you’re a non-resident business owner and don’t require a physical location like an office or a job site, you may be wondering whether you need some sort of physical U.S. address.
A US mailing address is useful for non-resident owned businesses for a few reasons, including opening a business bank account, establishing credibility, and not having to worry about if services ship internationally.
There are a few options for getting an address beyond opening an office, we’ll cover them below.
Overview of Getting a US Address
There are many reasons to have a physical US address, including adding legitimacy to your business, allowing you to open bank accounts, and other business-related needs.
There are plenty of options outside of traditional brick and mortars and office spaces.
Many entrepreneurs use co-working spaces, virtual offices, mailbox services, or even just a street address version of your P.O. Box.
States have different rules and requirements when it comes to having a physical address for your business. Some states allow you to use a mailbox service’s physical address including a P.O. Box, while others are strict and do not allow P.O. Boxes to be used as a physical address.
Some may also require that your physical address is different from that of your registered agent. It is also necessary in order to receive service of process should your company be involved in any legal action, because a lawsuit cannot move forward without proper notice to you.
Options for Getting a US Address
As mentioned, there are various options for getting a physical US address, including:
Virtual Offices or Virtual Business Addresses
Virtual offices or virtual business addresses offer you a professional-looking mailing address to use as your physical business address and principal place of business.
Many of these virtual offices and business addresses offer other services as well, such as an office phone number and receptionist service, meeting space, workspace, as well as mail forwarding services.
These are great options for getting a physical US address if you’re living outside the country. It’s great because if you don’t need to regularly use office space, you can still book office space when needed. Some virtual office companies are global, so they also allow you access to their offices in other locations.
Recommended: Earth Class Mail (Starting at $139/month) offers an excellent virtual office and mail to help you establish a physical US Mailing address with digital mail forwarding.
Mailbox services provided by such places like UPS can also be a good option, because you can use the store’s addresses, with your mailbox number as the suite number.
Such mailbox services are often great if you mail and ship a lot as well, because you can take advantage of those services while picking up your mail. This is only useful if you’re in the country though.
If you’re a non-resident living outside the U.S., this service is not as helpful, because you’re not here to collect the mail, unless you have someone else who can collect mail for you and forward any necessary documents and packages.
P.O. boxes provided by the United States Postal Service are also a potential option.
There is a physical address option, and if you’d like to use a physical address in lieu of your P.O. box address, you can fill out a form to do so. However, for the same reason listed in mailbox services, P.O. boxes are only useful if you have a presence here and can collect your mail from your P.O. box.
There are stricter rules regarding the use of P.O. boxes as your physical address though, and many states and banks don’t allow it.
P.O. Boxes from USPS Approved Providers
You can also get a P.O. box from many of your local businesses, such as drugstores, grocery stores, hardware stores, and others. Many of these stores are Contracted Postal Units, so you can rent P.O. boxes from them.
Coworking spaces are increasingly popular, especially for entrepreneurs and small business owners.
They allow you a professional workspace without the heavy cost of leasing private office space. You can typically rent access to shared desk space, a dedicated desk, or even private offices in coworking spaces, also giving you a physical business address you can use.
Many even offer mail forwarding services and professional receptionist services. In addition, if the coworking space has multiple locations in different cities and countries, you’ll likely have access to those making business trips very convenient.
Registered Agent Services Are Not Virtual Offices
While you may be tempted to use your registered agent’s address to receive normal mail, this is not the purpose of a registered agent, and you will likely be asked to stop.
Professional registered agent services are meant to be open to receive important legal service of process documents, help with compliance reminders, and even file things annual reports.
Such services also promptly forward notices and documents to you as part of the service provided. If you’re a non-resident and live outside the country, this is especially helpful. Another benefit to such services is that they help keep your LLC up-to-date on state requirements by sending reminders for filings. An added bonus is that they also keep a copy of your important documents in case yours are lost for unexpected reasons.
Reasons to Have a Physical Address
While having a registered agent requires you to have a physical business address, there are also other benefits to having a physical address.
Professional Appearance, Credibility, and Trustworthiness
While the number of entrepreneurs continues to grow, along with those who work from home, there is still an image issue related to using your home address as your business address. Unfortunately, no matter how great you are, using a home address or even P.O. box can lead potential clients to question your professionalism and legitimacy. Having a physical address provides your business with a professional appearance and credibility. This will allow potential clients to trust you because it also makes you look stable and invested in your business.
Shipping and Receiving Needs
Many coworking spaces, virtual offices, and mailbox services offer mail services to help you ship and receive mail and packages. This is a great perk if you’re not in the country or travel a lot because someone is always there to receive your mail and forward it to you.
A Place to Meet With Clients
Many entrepreneurs who work from home don’t need a physical location and can take meetings in public places. However, every now and then you may need a private and professional place to take a meeting or do other work. Coworking spaces and virtual offices are great for this and add to the professionalism of your business. Some even have locations across the country and globally, and allow you to use their space wherever you may be.
So, whether you need a place to meet with clients, a change of scenery, or just a quiet space to do your work, using a coworking space or virtual office as your physical business address can be a great option for you when paying a regular office lease is not viable or necessary.
Protect Your Privacy
Using a physical business address that is not your home address protects your privacy, because your business address is public information. If you use your home address as your business address, people will be able to easily look you up, and you’ll want to avoid unexpected and unwanted guests at your doorstep.
Having a physical US address is required for your business, and if you live outside the country, there are various options for you that can provide great benefits beyond just a physical address.