Are you interested in expanding your architectural firm globally? Opportunities for architectural projects outside of the U.S. increase each year as the international market continues to grow. While expanding your firm into the global market is an exciting prospect, there are several important things you should know first.
Set up an Affiliated Corporation
While not a necessity, it is a good idea to set up an affiliated corporation. This will help protect yourself from liabilities that might arise if your company does work outside of the United States. Every country has its own legal system, as well as industry practices, that are different from that of the U.S. Educating yourself on these differences and taking steps to protect yourself from liabilities is an important first step when considering expanding your firm into an international market. For example, in some countries, you will need a visa, but in some you won’t. Make sure you also understand the tax codes of the country and regulations concerning architecture firms. In some countries, you will need a specific license to work as an architect.
While most international locations are fairly safe, some have security concerns. The U.S. State Department Website will tell you if a country has a travel alert. If there is political unrest in the country, you might want to either consider choosing a different location or looking into insurance coverage for things like emergency evacuation. You also want to make sure company’s health insurance policy covers areas outside of the United States.
Countries differ in their attitude toward foreign talent. Some want U.S. professionals to come to their country and work. Other countries are less enthusiastic about it. One thing this affects is the timeline. You’ll find that with some countries it is quite easy to acquire work authorization. But in other countries, it might take months to require the proper authorization. You shouldn’t procrastinate when it comes to attaining work permits. You will likely need both individual and corporate documentation. Some countries also have strict regulations about returning home after the job is complete. If these regulations aren’t followed, you could face steep penalties.
Before expanding your firm into the global market, make sure you research the country’s industry regulations, work permit criteria, attitude toward immigration, tax terms, and other relevant issues. If you aren’t prepared, your deadlines, budget, and even your safety may be affected.
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