How to Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for Foreigners Outside the USA in 2024?

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Key Summary

  • Eligibility for obtaining an EIN as a foreigner outside the USA requires meeting business criteria and having an ITIN or SSN.
  • Required documents include Form SS-4, a valid TIN/SSN, and address details, with a passport copy as an alternative without a TIN/SSN.
  • The application process involves completing Form SS-4 and choosing an application method (mail, fax, phone, or online), following IRS rules.
  • Different business types and industries may have specific EIN prerequisites.
  • Foreigners, especially those without an SSN/TIN, may encounter challenges. Caution with third-party services, staying informed on tax laws, seeking professional advice, and thorough research are crucial for a successful EIN application in 2024.

Eligibility Criteria for Obtaining an EIN

Criteria Description
Business or TradeMust operate or intend to start a business in the U.S.
Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) or Social Security Number (SSN)While not required, an ITIN can be used instead of an SSN.
Application MethodThrough IRS Form SS-4, via mail, fax, or phone.
Responsible PartyAn individual who controls the business must be designated.
Address RequirementGlobal addresses are accepted; business location is necessary.
ITIN for OnlineITIN holders might apply online for faster processing.

Understanding the U.S. Legal Framework

1. Completed Form SS-4:

This is the foundational document for applying for an EIN, where you’ll provide details about your business, including the reason you’re requesting an EIN, the industry you’re operating in, and the type of business entity you have.

To obtain Form SS-4, there are several methods available:

  1.  Download from the IRS Website: You can visit the IRS website and download Form SS-4 directly. This is a common and convenient method.
  2. Request by Phone: You can also request the form by calling the IRS Business and Specialty Tax Line at 800-829-4933. They can mail it to you upon your request.
  3. Fax or Mail Request: If you prefer, you can fax or mail a request to the IRS to receive a copy of Form SS-4.
  4. Online Legal Services and Tax Professionals: Some online legal services and tax professionals may assist in obtaining the form, but they may charge a fee for their services.

2. Valid Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) or SSN:

You’ll need to provide a copy of a valid TIN or SSN. For non-U.S. citizens without an SSN, an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) can be used as an alternative.

  • To obtain a valid Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) or Social Security Number (SSN), follow IRS and SSA procedures. Non-U.S. citizens without an SSN can use an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) for tax purposes. 
  • To get an ITIN (If applicable), complete IRS Form W-7, the Application for Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, and submit it with a tax return. Get the form from the IRS website or contact the IRS. Authorized agents or IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers can also assist. 
  • The ITIN is a nine-digit number, starting with 9, similar to an SSN: 9XX-XX-XXXX[5]. It’s for tax reporting, not immigration enforcement. Lawfully present individuals with tax obligations but no SSN can obtain an ITIN. 

The ITIN process primarily aids tax payment, with the IRS generally not sharing applicants’ private information with immigration authorities. So, applying for an ITIN doesn’t raise concerns about tracking undocumented immigrants.

3. Passport Copy (Required if applying without an SSN or ITIN (by mail or fax):

If you’re applying without an SSN or ITIN, typically through mail or fax, you’ll need to include a copy of the passport for the person identified as the responsible party.

4. Responsible Party Information:

The application must include information about the person who controls, manages, or directs the entity. For corporations, this must be an actual person (not another corporation or entity).

5. Address Information:

The IRS requires an address for your business. This can be any operational or planned business location anywhere in the world. 

Feel free to use our address for your business needs. It’s a convenient option to meet IRS requirements without hassle.

Application Process for Obtaining an EIN


Obtaining an EIN involves several steps from preparation to receiving your number. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide:

1. Complete Form SS-4:

The Form SS-4, also known as ‘Application for Employer Identification Number (EIN),’ serves as the official document required for obtaining an EIN from the IRS. This form mandates the submission of comprehensive business information, encompassing the following key sections:

  1. Identification Details: You are required to provide vital details, which include the official name, any trade name (if relevant), and the mailing address of your business entity.
  2. Business Entity Type: The form necessitates disclosing your business’s entity type, whether it be a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or another designation.
  3. Responsible Party Information: In this section, you must provide information about the individual responsible for the business, including their Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). 
  4. Purpose for EIN Acquisition: You are required to specify the reason behind your application for an EIN, indicating the purpose for which it will be used.
  5. Primary Business Activity: The form also solicits information regarding the primary activity carried out by your business entity.

Alternatives to Obtaining an EIN

  1. Online Services
  2. Hiring a registered agent

We specialize in helping non-U.S. foreign founders swiftly obtain EINs while ensuring IRS compliance. 

  • Your EIN can be secured in just 1 to 6 weeks, depending on your chosen package.
  • Pricing: $200 (or $150 when added to your Custom or Deluxe Package).

Let us handle the paperwork to obtain your EIN, along with the essential IRS EIN letter, usually received within 6 weeks to confirm your EIN’s existence.

2. Choose an Application Method

After you’ve filled out the form, you can choose to submit it electronically, by regular mail, or via fax.

Application methodHow to
MailSend your completed SS-4 to the designated IRS address.
FaxTransmit your SS-4 form to the IRS fax number.
PhoneCall the IRS and provide information over the phone (international applicants). Identify yourself as a non-U.S. resident.
OnlineUse the IRS website to submit your application (requires SSN or ITIN).

3. Provide Required Documents

Make sure all necessary documents, such as identification and business details, are accurate and readily available for submission.

4. Comply with IRS Requirements

Submit your application following all guidelines and wait for processing. Here are the essential steps and prerequisites:

  1. IRS Requirement Compliance: Ensure the accuracy of all provided information to prevent application delays or rejection. Thoroughly review details like your business name, address, and responsible party information, as inconsistencies or errors can lead to processing delays or rejection. 
  2. Submit Your Application: Use your preferred method. 
  3. Await Processing: After submitting your application, patiently await processing by the IRS. The processing time may vary based on your chosen method. Typically, the IRS processes mail-in submissions within a month faxed submissions in about two weeks, and online submissions immediately. 
  4. Ensure Accuracy: Maintain accuracy and consistency in all aspects of the application process, including your business name, address, and responsible party information. 
  5. Comprehend the Application Process: Familiarize yourself with the application process and the specific requirements for foreign EINs. Thoroughly review the IRS-provided instructions and guidelines to complete the form accurately and comprehensively. 

By following these steps and adhering to IRS requirements, you can successfully obtain an EIN as a foreigner residing outside the U.S. in 2024.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the specific EIN requirements for different types of businesses and entities for foreigners outside of the U.S. in 2024?

Different types of businesses and entities may have distinct EIN requirements. For example, trusts, real estate, farmer cooperatives, and non-profit organizations may necessitate specific documentation and processes for EIN acquisition. Additionally, various industries like e-commerce, importation, and online ventures may have unique EIN prerequisites.

Do account registrations with platforms like Amazon FBA, Google AdSense, and others require specific EIN types for non-U.S. residents?

Yes, non-U.S. residents may need to register for various accounts, such as Amazon FBA, Google AdSense, Stripe, eBay, PayPal, YouTube, Shopify, and more, each potentially demanding different types of EINs.

Are there specific EINs required for obtaining sales tax licenses or permits for businesses outside of the U.S.?

Yes, depending on the business nature, non-U.S. residents may need to secure sales tax licenses or permits, which may involve different types of EINs.

How do online ventures like drop shipping, blogging, affiliate marketing, or freelance work impact EIN requirements for foreigners?

Foreigners engaging in online ventures may encounter differing EIN requirements based on the nature of their activities.

How do third-party services assist in obtaining an EIN for foreigners outside of the USAand what are the potential risks involved?

Streamline the EIN application process with the help of third-party services. They can obtain your EIN by handling the paperwork, including the Third Party Designee section on Form SS-4, with your authorization. While these services offer convenience, remember that applying directly through the IRS is also an option for non-U.S. residents. Choose the method that suits your needs and enjoy a hassle-free experience

Potential Risks

While third-party services offer convenience, there are potential risks, including fraud or identity theft. Non-U.S. residents should exercise caution when selecting a third-party service and ensure its reputation and trustworthiness. Additionally, it’s crucial to be aware of any associated fees, as the IRS provides EIN services for free.

Wrapping up: Your Path to U.S. Business Success

Obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN) as a foreigner outside the USA in 2024 can be a complex process, but it is essential for conducting business in the United States. Complying with IRS regulations, meeting eligibility criteria, understanding specific requirements for different business types, and choosing the right application method are key steps in this process. The process, though intricate, is within your reach, and the benefits of having an EIN for your U.S. business ventures are substantial.

Ready to secure your U.S. EIN? Reach out today for a free consultation and we’ll guide you every step of the way.

Book Your 30 Minute Free Consultation.

Get Free & Instant advice on registering your business in Delaware & the USA.