How to start an LLC in CA without being a US resident?
2) If so, how can I get paid by the LLC (can I be listed as an employee, etc.)
You would have no problem registering an LLC in California without being a citizen or resident of the country, as you would not be required to provide any identification or financial documents. Additionally, you will not be required to have a U.S. address for the business, so you could use your home or office address in Switzerland as the business address if you needed.
An LLC is a pass-through entity, which means the profits of the LLC would not be taxed, and passed through the entity directly to your personal income, and you would then pay your personal income taxes. For that you would need to obtain a personal tax ID (called ITIN), and that is typically done using the help of an accountant during the filing of the first tax return. Keep in mind, you cannot be employed by the company as an employee without being a citizen, permanent resident, or a non-resident with proper permits, but as the member of the LLC you are entitled to distribute the profits to yourself.
We offer a free tax-webinar for international business owners which addresses many of the common tax questions.