Foreign Investment

California produces more than $1.8 trillion in goods and services annually, making the state the ninth largest economy in the world. California is the prime hemispheric crossroad for trade and investment in the United States with annual exports totaling over $260 billion counting both goods and services.

When it comes to international business, California is truly THE place to be – no other location on the Pacific Rim can match its unique combination of a strategic geographic location, large consumer market, well-educated workforce, and concentration of corporate, financial and high-technology resources. With three of the largest seaports in the world, the Golden State is the Pacific Rim’s global gateway. California has a strong influence on global markets and import/export-related jobs. Export-supported jobs account for over 10 percent of California’s total private sector employment.

California is the most popular US location for international companies and attracts more foreign direct investment than any other state. Top investing countries are Japan, United Kingdom, China, and the Netherlands. Foreign affiliate employment accounts for over 700,000 jobs in California. The state has one of the largest concentrations of international banks, foreign consulates, and bi-national chambers of commerce in the United States.

Services for Foreign Investors

California welcomes all form of foreign investment, from entrepreneurial ventures to major manufacturing or distribution facilities, and from real estate investment to major private equity or other financing. We are a single point of contact to help you understand why and how California is the best state in which to establish and grow an international business or other investment.


For investors interested in equity investments, we maintain lists of investment opportunities and can connect you with economic development authorities around the state to identify opportunities that match your needs.


For enterprises and entrepreneurs seeking a location for new establishment or expansion, we link you with our California Business Investment Services (CalBIS) for technical assistance services to help businesses grow and prosper. Services include but are not limited to:

  • Site selection and logistical assistance
  • Demographic, wage, tax and utility cost data
  • Quality of life facts for your workers, their family and business
  • Networking with local government officials and private businesses


California is a very popular state for EB5 investment. The EB5 Investor Visa program is run by the U.S. Government, but GO-Biz is responsible for State of California designation of high unemployment locations known as Targeted Employment Areas, or TEAs. Locating a project in a TEA potentially allows an investment to qualify for an EB5 visa at the lower $500,000 threshold. We are proud to provide fast turnaround of standard TEA certification letters, often within 24 to 48 hours.


This Setting Up a Business Guide is designed to provide domestic and foreign businesses with a comprehensive resource on how to establish their business in the State of California.  This guide provides information on how to obtain a visa, register a business, file for state and local permits, register for state taxes, obtain financial assistance, comply with employee requirements, and establish a facility.

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