Could it be done if you are not a citizen of the US?

  • @BlueDogRanch Nice find. Unfortunately, the answer to that question isn't especially helpful, although (as usual) ohwilleke's comments are
    – Just a guy
    Aug 1, 2020 at 21:28

1 Answer 1


Yes, non-citizens can set up non-profits.

Because non-profits are tax exempt, to become a non-profit, you have to apply to the IRS.

Before you can apply to the IRS for non-profit status, need to legally form your organization. Usually, that means incorporating your organization, although it can also be a trust or an association. In the US, forming organizations is controlled by states. You should double-check for your state, but as far as I can tell, all states allow non-citizens to form and run corporations.

After you've set up your organization, you can apply to the IRS for non-profit status. They will check your plans and decide whether you qualify. Because a 501(c)(3) does not pay taxes, the IRS imposes additional requirements.

Where to go for more information:

Because business organizations are formed under state law, you'll need to check the requirements for your state. If you are lucky, your state government has a helpful website. If not, searching for your state's name and "how to incorporate" should give you plenty of information.

USA.gov has a nice overview of the application process here. The IRS has several publications and websites that you might find helpful: here, here, here, and here. These cover everything from the general rules to nuts-and-bolts details about which forms to use.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.