Obtaining capital to invest in your business is possible, even if you don’t have a legal immigration status. All you need is an ITIN loan. ITIN loans are those available for business owners with no Social Security number, only an ITIN number.
If you don’t qualify for a Social Security number, you can access an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number or ITIN. This number is issued by the IRS to foreign citizens who need to file federal taxes. Although it will not change your immigration status, it will allow you to apply for ITIN loans to finance your business.
In this article you will learn:
How to get your ITIN number
To get your ITIN number (and thus access ITIN loans) you need to:
- Fill out form W-7, available in English and Spanish.
- Present a document that proves your identity, such as a passport or driver’s license. You must also attach a complete federal tax return.
- Send your application by mail, or take it to an IRS office or to a qualified agent for processing. These agents include universities, accounting firms, and financial institutions, such as banks or credit unions. In about six weeks you will receive a letter from the IRS with your ITIN number.
To know in detail the steps to obtain your ITIN, read here the 5 Steps to complete an ITIN application.
Getting an ITIN number is a very important step to clear the path to your business future, but this may not be enough. Some lenders need to be sure that your business is solid enough and that you will be able to meet your loan obligations. That’s why registering your business as DBA and opening a business bank account will work in your favor. Below we explain in detail the actions that you should take before applying for ITIN loans to finance your business.
3 Steps to Obtain an ITIN Loan as an Undocumented Immigrant
Step 1: Register your company as DBA
DBA (that stands for “doing business as”) is the name you must register with your local government; it’s also the name your consumers will know you by. The DBA will allow you to do business with a name different from your own or the name under which your company is registered. Regardless of your immigration status, you will need a DBA to prove to any financial institution that you really own a business and that you operate it legally in the US. The DBA by itself does not legally protect your business, but it could be a legal requirement depending on the state, city or county in which it operates.
Why should you register your company as DBA?
Because it will get you closer to that ITIN loan that you want. For starters, if you don’t have a registered DBA, it will be more difficult to access any type of loan for small businesses. Also, if you are a sole proprietor, you must register a DBA so that open a bank account under your business name.
In other words, to apply for a loan or to open an account, you must submit documents that show that your business is legitimate.
Registering the DBA has other advantages:
- Sole proprietors, who would legally have to use their personal name as a trade name, can register the DBA to create a brand that is more suited to the type of business they have.
- If you have several businesses under the same organization, registering the DBA will allow you to separate the companies.
- The DBA can help you test your business idea with consumers before creating a formal legal entity such as a corporation or LLC. This is the least expensive way to do business legally, using a different business name.
How do you register a DBA name?
The requirements vary depending on the state, but you should usually do the paperwork at the state government office or at the county clerk’s office, where they can explain all the process involved. Keep these recommendations in mind to simplify the process:
- The name DBA can’t end in “Inc.”, “LLC” or “Corp.”, because this gives the impression that your business is a corporation, when in fact it is not.
- Check if other local companies have a name similar or equal to yours. Some states do not support duplicated names.
- Also, check the online databases and make sure that the name you choose has not been used. Consumers may confuse your business with your competitors.
- The registration involves paying some fees, ranging from $10 to $100, depending on the state.
- Some states require that you notify them regularly if you are still using the name.
The next step to gel closer to obtaining ITIN loans is to open a business bank account.
Step 2: Open a bank account for your business
Small business owners should open bank accounts for their businesses, apart from their personal accounts. Thus, they can protect their assets in the event of a lawsuit, preserve their personal credit score if the business fails, and facilitate their accounting and tax return. Even if you are undocumented, you can open a bank account for your business. This is what you should do:
Banks need, by law, to have some information about you when you apply for a bank account:
–Name and place of birth: to confirm the name and date of birth of an immigrant, banks request any of these documents:
- Valid passport
- Driver’s licenses issued by the government (including licenses from other countries)
- Consular identification
- Birth certificate
–Address: banks and credit unions need to know the address of the applicant. A current utility bill, lease, or driver’s license should be enough to meet this requirement.
–Identification Number: you can provide any of the following:
- Social Security Number (SSN)
- Alien identification card number
- Any other document issued by the government that proves your nationality or residence, such as a driving license issued abroad or a passport
As it is a business bank account, you will also be asked for an employer identification number (EIN), and documents such as business license and property agreements. The requirements vary depending on the bank where you want to open the account.
Opening a bank account for your business gives you many advantages: you keep your money safe, separate your personal accounts from those of the business and create a credit history. In addition, it allows you to access other benefits, such as business credit cards, and of course, ITIN loans. But you must be responsible and use your bank account properly. Here are some tips to do it.
How to use your business bank account
- Deposit all the cash generated by your business and all the income in the account (the more, the better!).
- Do not use your bank account for personal expenses. If you assign yourself a salary, always withdraw the same amount from the account, and don’t do it more than twice a month.
- Do not let the account balance drop below $0.
- Use only one bank account unless your accountant recommends opening more accounts, based on the way you pay your business taxes.
Step 3: No credit? Do you only have your ITIN? Visit Camino Financial
You already have your ITIN number, you have registered your business as a DBA and have opened a bank account for your company. But you still have no credit history. No problem! Camino Financial is the only lender that offers commercial loans to business owners with only ITIN and no credit history.
If you still don’t have credit, or if you are just beginning to build your credit history, here are some simple tips to build your credit in a responsive way:
- Pay your debts on time.
- Do not exceed 30% of the limit of your credit cards for more than 30 days.
- Resolve any outstanding delinquencies or collections as soon as possible.
- Read here how to increase your credit score by 60 points in 60 days.
In addition to these tips, remember to periodically review your credit report and always try to keep an organized accounting. Soon you’ll have a healthy credit score that can open your business to new possibilities.
Camino Financial in the ONLY business lender that finances companies with only an ITIN and with no credit.
To sum up
Not having legal immigration status should not be a barrier to funding your business. An ITIN number allows you to finance your company, and to access many other opportunities. You only need this number, a DBA name, and a business bank account. Although these are the minimum requirements to apply for a business loan with Camino Financial, remember that each lender has its own criteria. The best way to be prepared is to speak with a financial company before you even apply for a loan.
Therefore, at Camino Financial, besides offering loans for immigrants with only an ITIN number, we also offer personalized advice, and a cash flow and personal credit evaluation to any entrepreneur with a business in the United States.
And if you are ready to grow your business, simply submit your business loan application. It will only take you a few minutes and will not affect your credit.