How to Apply for EIN (for your LLC) without an SSN or ITIN | LLC University®

Last updated January 19, 2021

How to Apply for EIN without an SSN or ITIN

Instructions: How a non-US resident can get an EIN Number (Federal Tax ID Number) for a U.S. LLC

↓ Go to the instructions

Important notes:

There is a lot of incorrect information online about non-US citizens and non-US residents (foreigners) getting an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS.

Most of the information is wrong or incomplete, either due to lack of knowledge or because someone is trying to sell you something.

At LLC University®, we don’t create content in order to sell you something. We create content in order to educate you.

In this article, we will debunk a few myths and tell you the truth. Then we’ll show you how to get an EIN for your LLC without an SSN or ITIN.

Myth #1 – An EIN costs money

This is false.

EINs are completely free ($0) from the IRS.

The only reason you would pay money is if you hire someone to get your EIN for you.

While you certainly can hire someone to get your EIN, you can also apply for an EIN yourself. It’s not complicated and this article will walk you through the steps.

Myth #2 – You need to be a US citizen or US resident to get an EIN

This is false.

You don’t have to be an American to get an EIN.

You don’t have to be a U.S. citizen to get an EIN.

And you don’t have to be a U.S. resident to get an EIN either.

In fact, there are no citizenship or residency requirements to forming an LLC in the U.S. and there are no citizenship or residency requirements for getting an EIN for your LLC.

As long as you complete Form SS-4 properly (which we’ll show you below), the IRS will give you an EIN for your LLC.

Myth #3 – You need an SSN to get an EIN

This is false.

You don’t need an SSN (Social Security Number) to get an EIN.

You only need an SSN (or ITIN) if you want to apply for an EIN online.

Solution:
You can get an EIN without an SSN by sending Form SS-4 to the IRS by mail or fax (instructions).

Myth #4 – You need an ITIN to get an EIN

This is false.

You don’t need an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) to get an EIN.

In fact, you can’t even apply for an ITIN unless you need to file a U.S. tax return. Meaning it’s impossible to get an ITIN before forming your LLC because the LLC would first need to exist and generate income for a tax year, then when April 15th of the following year comes around, you would submit your U.S. tax return along with your ITIN application.

Solution:
You can get an EIN without an ITIN by sending Form SS-4 to the IRS by mail or fax (instructions).

Note: If you read the IRS May 13th 2019 update that says you need an SSN or ITIN, that information is not true. It does not apply to non-US residents or non-US citizens. For more information, please see here: the IRS May 2019 requirements for EIN applications (and why most websites are wrong).

Myth #5 – You need a Third Party Designee to get an EIN

This is false.

You are not required to use a Third Party Designee to get an EIN.

You only need to use a Third Party Designee if you are hiring someone to get your EIN, not if you are applying for the EIN yourself.

Solution:
You can get an EIN without a Third Party Designee by sending Form SS-4 to the IRS by mail or fax (instructions).

Myth #6 – You need an attorney or accountant to get an EIN

This is false.

While yes, you can certainly hire an attorney or an accountant to help you get an EIN (they’ll act as your Third Party Designee), you are not required to do so.

Solution:
You can get an EIN without an attorney or an accountant by sending Form SS-4 to the IRS by mail or fax (instructions).

Myth #7 – You can get an EIN online

This is false.

You can’t get an EIN online unless you have an SSN or ITIN.

And even if you have an ITIN, many foreigners get an error message (an IRS reference number) at the end of the online EIN application and end up having to use Form SS-4.

Solution:
You can get an EIN by sending Form SS-4 to the IRS by mail or fax (instructions).

Myth #8 – You need to call the IRS to get an EIN

This is false.

While yes, the IRS does have a department called the International EIN Department (1-267-941-1099), as a foreigner who’s formed a U.S. LLC, you can’t call this number to get your EIN.

This phone number is used for companies that were formed outside of the U.S., not companies formed inside the U.S. that are owned by foreigners.

Solution:
You can get an EIN by sending Form SS-4 to the IRS by mail or fax (instructions).

Myth #9 – You need a U.S. address to get an EIN

This is false.

You don’t need a U.S. office address or U.S. mailing address to get an EIN.

The IRS just needs a “mailing address”, which can be a U.S. address or it can be a non-U.S. address.

However, if you want to open a U.S. bank account for your LLC, it looks much better when your EIN Confirmation Letter shows a U.S. address. For this reason, we recommend hiring Northwest Registered Agent ($125 per year). Northwest will let you use their address for your Registered Agent address, your LLC’s office address, and your EIN application so you can open a U.S. bank account for your LLC. Any mail that is sent to your LLC will be scanned by them and uploaded to your online account.

Sending Form SS-4 to the IRS to get an EIN

Form SS-4 is called the Application for Employer Identification Number (EIN).

Once you fill out Form SS-4 you can then send it to the IRS by mail or fax.

Fax has a faster approval time than mail.

We’ll discuss the details of how to complete Form SS-4 further below, but before we do, there are a few other important things to discuss first.

Make sure your LLC is approved before getting an EIN

Make sure your LLC is approved first before applying for your EIN to avoid having an EIN attached to the wrong LLC name (if your LLC filing gets rejected).

You’ll also want to send to the IRS your LLC approval along with the EIN application. The name of your LLC approval form will vary depending on the state, but it will either be a stamped/approved Articles of Organization, Certificate of Organization, or Certificate of Formation.

However, if you apply for your EIN first and your LLC is later approved, then there are no issues. The IRS doesn’t check to make sure an LLC exists first before getting an EIN, so if the LLC name on your state forms matches your EIN Confirmation Letter, you’re good.

If you apply for your EIN first and then your LLC is rejected because of a name conflict, you’ll need to resubmit your LLC filing forms, get a new EIN, and then cancel your first EIN. You don’t have to wait for your first EIN to be cancelled before getting a new EIN.

The only exceptions are if you’re forming an LLC in Louisiana or West Virginia where you may need to get your EIN before forming your LLC.

EINs are used for:

An EIN is primarily used by foreigners to open a business bank account in the U.S. for their LLC.

Your EIN will also be used for U.S. tax reporting and filing requirements, hiring employees (if applicable), and sales tax licenses/permits.

Your LLC’s EIN will also be used for account registrations for Amazon FBA, eBay, Youtube, Google Adsense, Paypal, Shopify, Stripe, and many more.

Many foreigners have online businesses these days, like dropshipping, affiliate marketing, blogging, and freelance work, where they need an EIN for their LLC.

How to complete the EIN Application (Form SS-4) for Foreigners

Download Form SS-4:
IRS: Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number

Instructions for Form SS-4:
IRS: Instructions for Form SS-4

Complete Form SS-4 by hand or on your computer:
You can either print the form, fill it out by hand (use a black pen), then sign; or, you can type in the form on your computer, then print and sign.

USE CAPITAL LETTERS:
If you are filling out Form SS-4 by hand, we recommend using ALL UPPERCASE letters. The IRS prefers UPPERCASE letters and this can help speed up your EIN application.

EIN (upper right)

You’ll see an “EIN” box in the upper right of the form. DON’T ENTER ANYTHING HERE.

The IRS will enter your EIN number in this field after they approve your application.

1. Legal name of entity (LLC)

Enter your LLC name in the exact same way it’s listed in your Articles of Organization, Certificate of Organization, or Certificate of Formation.

Note: If you’re forming an LLC in Louisiana or West Virginia, you may need to obtain your EIN before forming your LLC, so make sure your LLC name is available (or you’ve reserved it, as per Louisiana LLC filing instructions) before getting an EIN for your soon-to-be LLC.

If you’re forming your LLC in any other state, don’t apply for your EIN until your LLC is approved.

2. Trade name of business (if different than #1)

Most foreigners who have formed an LLC don’t also have a Trade Name (aka DBA, Doing Business As, or Fictitious Name).

Most foreigners leave #2 empty.

(related article: Do I need a DBA for my LLC?)

If on the other hand, you’ve filed a DBA after forming your LLC, your DBA is owned by your LLC, and you want your LLC to do business under that name, then you can enter your Trade Name/DBA Name/Fictitious Name in #2.

3. Executor, administrator, trustee, “care of” name

Leave this empty. This field does not apply to LLCs obtaining an EIN.

4a and 4b: Mailing address

On lines 4a and 4b enter a mailing address where the IRS can send you reminders and tax documents.

This address can be a U.S. address or it can be a non-U.S. address. This address can be the same address you used listed on your LLC filing forms, but it doesn’t have to be.

This address should be one that is reliable and where you can regularly receive mail for your LLC. This should also be the address that you will use when filing future tax returns with the IRS.

However, using a U.S. address here may make it easier when opening up a U.S. bank account. The address that is listed in 4a and 4b will be the same address that is listed at the top of your EIN Confirmation Letter. Some banks accept this as a proof of U.S. address.

The best and least expensive way to get a U.S. address (if you don’t have friends or family in the U.S.) is to hire a Registered Agent that will allow you to use their address not only as your LLC’s Registered Agent address, but also as your LLC’s office address. The company we recommend for this is Northwest Registered Agent ($125 per year). They’ll let you use their address for your U.S. LLC and any mail that is sent to your LLC will be scanned and uploaded to your online account. They are a great company and have been in business for over 20 years.

Notes:

  • If the address is a non-U.S. address, make sure to enter the city, province (or state), postal code, and the name of the country. Enter the full country name. Don’t use an abbreviation.
  • If you need to change your LLC mailing address with the IRS in the future, you file Form 8822-B.

5a and 5b: Street address (if different)

You can leave 5a and 5b empty.

6. County and state where principal business (LLC) is located

Enter the county (not the country) where your LLC is located in the U.S.

This will either be your LLC’s principal address or your LLC’s Registered Agent address.

Example: Broward County, Florida

Tip: To find out what county your LLC’s address is located in, you can use the following tool: What County Am I In.

7a. Name of Responsible Party

The EIN Responsible Party must be an individual person, therefore, it will be an LLC Member (owner).

If you own a Single-Member LLC, you will be the Responsible Party.

If you own a Multi-Member LLC, any of the LLC Members (owners), including yourself, can be the Responsible Party.

7b. SSN, ITIN, or EIN (of Responsible Party)

This is the box that confuses most people who don’t have an SSN or ITIN and want to get an EIN for their LLC.

The solution is to enter “Foreign”.

The IRS issues EINs to foreigners all the time and this is what you must enter if you don’t have an SSN or ITIN.

Note: If your LLC is owned by another LLC (a “Parent LLC”), you can’t use your Parent LLC’s EIN. You must enter “Foreign”. And you also must list a person (not a company) in 7a.

For more information, see EIN Responsible Party for LLC.

8a. Is this application for a limited liability company (LLC)?

Check off “Yes”.

8b. If 8a is “Yes,” enter the number of LLC members

Enter the number of LLC Members (owners) for your LLC.

Single-Member LLC: Enter “1”.

Multi-Member LLC: Enter the total number of Members in your LLC.

Note: If your LLC is a subsidiary owned by another company (or companies), enter the number of companies that own this LLC.

8c. If 8a is “Yes,” was the LLC organized in the United States?

Check off “Yes”. Although your LLC will be foreign-owned, your LLC will still be organized in the United States.

9a. Type of entity

Notes:

  • We recommend that you have a conversation with an accountant before deciding how your foreign-owned LLC will be taxed.
  • The term “foreigner” means non-resident alien.
  • The term “U.S. person” means U.S. citizen or U.S. resident alien.

You will pay U.S. taxes based on what country you are from, what tax treaty is in place, how and where your LLC makes money, where your clients are, if your LLC has a “permanent establishment” in the U.S., if your LLC’s income is “effectively connected” to a U.S. trade or business, and much more.

Taxes are complicated for U.S. residents. Taxes are more complicated for foreigners, so please speak with a professional.

We are unable to provide tax assistance or tax advice. Thank you for understanding.

Single-Member LLC (foreign-owned):

If you have a foreign-owned Single-Member LLC you can choose to be taxed as a Disregarded Entity or as a C-Corporation.

– If you want your LLC to be treated as a Disregarded Entity, check off “Other (specify)” and enter “Foreign-owned U.S. Disregarded Entity” on the line.

– If you want your LLC to be treated as a C-Corporation, check off “Corporation (enter form number to be filed)” and enter “1120” on the line. After you receive your EIN you must then file Form 8832 to make your C-Corporation election.

Notes:

  • All foreign-owned Single-Member LLC Disregarded Entities must file Form 5472 every year. More information here: Form 5472 and foreign-owned LLC.
  • If your Single-Member LLC is owned by a foreign company, your LLC will be considered a branch or division of the parent company for tax purposes.
  • If you are considering LLC taxed as C-Corporation (which is not very common), please see here: LLC taxed as C-Corp.

Multi-Member LLC (foreign-owned):

If you have a foreign-owned Multi-Member LLC you can choose to be taxed as a Partnership or a C-Corporation.

– If you want your LLC to be treated as a Partnership, check off “Partnership“.

– If you want your LLC to be treated as a C-Corporation, check off “Corporation (enter form number to be filed)” and enter “1120” on the line. After you receive your EIN you must then file Form 8832 to make your C-Corporation election.

Note: The same thing will apply to Multi-Member LLCs that are owned by a foreigner (or foreigners) and a U.S. person (or persons). You can choose for your LLC to be taxed as a Partnership or a C-Corporation. If you are considering LLC taxed as C-Corporation (which is not very common), please see here: LLC taxed as C-Corp.

9b. State & foreign country (if applicable)

State

Enter the state where your LLC was formed. Use the state’s full name. Don’t use an abbreviation.

For example: enter “Florida” (not “FL”).

Foreign country

Don’t enter anything here. Leave this blank.

Note: These instructions are non-US residents that formed an LLC in the US. These instructions are not for people who formed a company outside of the US.

10. Reason for applying

Select “Started a new business (specify type)” and enter the type of business your LLC will be engaged in to the right.

The best place to start is to look at the options in #16. If one of the default checkboxes in #16 matches your LLC’s business purpose, then just enter those words here in #10.

If not, enter a word (or words) you see fit, or you can use language from the NAICS Code, which is the business classification system used by the IRS.

The NAICS Code (North American Industry Classification System) is used by government agencies to identify a business’s line of work.

The IRS uses the NAICS Code for two primary reasons:

  1. Statistical purposes which are used to produce reports and industry analysis.
  2. In the case of an audit, the IRS will know how a business may compare against similar businesses in the same industry.

Please see NAICS Code for LLC for more instructions on how to find the NAICS Code for your LLC.

Note: Although your foreign-owned LLC may have multiple purposes, multiple products or services, and multiple revenue streams, just enter the primary business activity. And don’t worry, this doesn’t force your LLC into doing this forever. You can also change your LLC’s line of work at any time and you don’t need to update the IRS. This information is just needed on the LLC’s initial EIN application.

11. Date business started

Enter the date (month, day, and year) your LLC was approved by the state (aka the LLC effective date).

Look on your approved Articles of Organization, Certificate of Organization, or Certificate of Formation (different forms for different states) for your LLC’s approval date.

This is the date your business started, even if there wasn’t actual business activity.

It should be formatted like this: month/day/year. For example, if your LLC was approved on January 15th 2020, you would write 01/15/2020.

12. Closing month of calendar year

Most foreigners run their taxes on the calendar year, which is January through December. If that’s the case for your LLC, enter “December”.

13. Employees

Note: Most foreigners won’t have U.S. employees, so this section may not be applicable. Most foreigners will be entering “0” “0” “0” in #13.

When hiring a W-2 employee, as their employer, you must withhold income taxes, withhold and pay Social Security and Medicare taxes, and pay unemployment taxes on their wages.

On the other hand, you can hire 1099 independent contractors, in which you are not responsible for withholding and paying the above taxes.

We cannot help you determine whether someone is an employee or an independent contractor, however, you can speak with your accountant, in addition to reading the following information provided by the IRS: employee vs independent contractor.

If you plan to hire U.S. employees within the next 12 months, then enter the approximate number of employees in each category (Agricultural, Household, and Other). If there won’t be employees in a certain category, enter “0”. Don’t leave any field empty.

If you won’t be hiring U.S. employees within the next 12 months, you’ll need to enter a “0” “0” “0”.

An agricultural employee is someone who works on your farm and may take on various roles, such as harvesting agricultural or horticultural products, raising livestock, operating machinery, clearing land, and more. For more details on agricultural employment, please see page 9 of the following IRS guide: Agricultural Employer’s Tax Guide.

A household employee is someone who works in or around your home on a regular and continual basis. Think of wealthier people who employ people in their home on a regular basis. Some examples are maids, housekeepers, babysitters, and gardeners. And keep in mind, this isn’t the same thing as hiring these people in an independent contractor scenario. For more information on what determines a household employee, please see this page from the IRS: household employees.

For the majority of foreigners who have (or plan to have) U.S. employees, their employees will likely fall within the “Other” category.

Important: Just being an owner of your LLC does not make you an employee of your LLC.

14. Employment tax liability

Note: Most foreigners won’t have employment tax liability, so this section may not be applicable. Most foreigners will just leave the box unchecked.

If you have (or will have) U.S. employees, you’ll need to withhold and pay certain taxes to the IRS on behalf of your U.S. employees. Please speak with your accountant to first estimate your employment tax liability.

If your employment tax liability will be less than $1,000 in an entire calendar year, you can choose to file Form 944 annually (instead of filing Form 941 quarterly). If you’d like to do that, you’ll need to check the box in #14.

Leave the box unchecked in #14 if:

  • You don’t have U.S. employees
  • Your employment tax liability will be greater than $1,000
  • Your employment tax liability will be less than $1,000, but you’d rather file Form 941 quarterly

15. First date wages or annuities were paid

Note: Most foreigners won’t have wages or annuities paid, so this section may not be applicable. Most foreigners will just enter “N/A”.

If you don’t have employees, enter “N/A”.

If you have U.S. employees and have already begun paying wages (or annuities), enter the date (month, day, year) they were first paid.

If you have U.S. employees, and you’re not sure when you will begin paying them, just enter an estimated date. Don’t worry, the IRS isn’t going to hold you to it and it won’t mess up your EIN application. You’re simply just giving them an approximate heads up.

16. Principal activity

You can make #16 match what you entered in #10.

Check a box if it’s applicable or select “Other (specify)” and enter whatever you entered in #10.

17. Explain #16 (merchandise, construction, products, or services)

#17 is just asking for a little more details regarding your LLC’s principal business activity.

The IRS wants to know, within that type of business activity, what is your primary product being sold, service being offered, type of construction being done, or line of merchandise you’re selling.

Just enter a few words to explain your LLC’s principal business activity.

18. Applied for an EIN before?

If you’ve applied for an EIN for this LLC before, select “Yes” and enter the previous EIN.

Most foreigners have not applied for an EIN for their LLC and they select “No.”

Third Party Designee

If you’re completing this form for your own LLC and you are the Responsible Party, then leave the following 4 fields empty:

  • Designee’s name
  • Designee’s telephone number
  • Designee’s Address and ZIP code
  • Designee’s fax number

Applicant’s signature, phone, and fax

Name and title: Enter your full name and title. If you are the LLC Member (owner), use the title “Member”. For example, “John Smith, Member“.

Signature and date: Sign your name and enter today’s date.

Applicant’s telephone number: Enter your phone number. This can be a home, office, or cell number. This number can be a U.S. phone number or it can be a non-U.S. phone number. If you’re entering a non-U.S. phone number, make sure to put the country code at the beginning of your number.

Applicant’s fax number:

  • If you are submitting SS-4 by mail, you don’t have to enter a fax number. You can leave this empty.
  • If you are submitting SS-4 by fax, then you must enter a fax number. The fax number can be a U.S. fax number or a non-US fax number.

Page 2

Page 2 is just an informational page and you don’t have to submit it to the IRS. Although, if you happen to send in Page 2, don’t worry, the IRS will just throw it away.

Make a copy of Form SS-4 before sending to the IRS

We recommend making a few copies of Form SS-4 before sending it to the IRS.

Just keep the copies with your LLC’s business records.

Include your LLC approval document

Along with Form SS-4, send the IRS your stamped and approved LLC documents.

Depending on the state where you formed your LLC, this document will be called one of the following:

  • Articles of Organization
  • Certificate of Organization
  • Certificate of Formation

How to file Form SS-4

You can send Form SS-4 to the IRS in one of two ways:

  1. By mail
  2. By fax

The approval time for fax is 4 to 8 weeks.

The approval time for mail is 6 to 8 weeks.

If you’re mailing Form SS-4 to the IRS

You can mail Form SS-4 to the IRS from any country. It doesn’t have to be from the U.S. And it doesn’t matter what address you list on the envelope as your “from address”.

Just mail your completed and signed SS-4 form to:

Internal Revenue Service
Attn: EIN Operation
Cincinnati, Ohio 45999

Note: There is no street address (ex: “123 Main Street”) for the IRS. The above address is the complete address.

If you’re faxing Form SS-4 to the IRS

If you want to fax Form SS-4 to the IRS for a faster approval time, fax SS-4 to:

1-855-641-6935

If you are having issues faxing to the above number, you can try sending the fax to 1-855-215-1627 (if faxing from a US number) or 304-707-9471 (if faxing from a non-US number). These are other fax lines for the IRS EIN Department. Alternatively you can mail your signed and completed Form SS-4 to the address listed above.

No cover sheet needed:
You don’t need a cover sheet with your fax. You can just fax page 1 of Form SS-4 to the IRS.

Digital fax recommendation:
We recommend using Phone.com. You will get a digital fax service included when you sign up for a U.S. phone number. Their plans start at $13 per month.

After you sign up with Phone.com, you can just call their support team or do a live chat and they’ll show you how to send a digital fax. It should only take you a few minutes.

Note: You can use any digital fax service. It doesn’t have to be Phone.com. Phone.com is just the service we use and recommend.

Once in your account, click “Fax” in the upper right corner.

phone dot com fax

Then enter the IRS fax number at the top, followed by your name and email.

Here is a screenshot from the fax setting page:

phone dot com fax

Set the fax quality to “high” and then click “Choose File” under “Add Attachments”.

Once ready, click the “Preview Fax” button at the bottom.

On the next page you’ll see a note about “FCC regulations require us to use a US geographical caller ID when sending faxes to toll-free numbers”. This is just phone.com letting you know that your “from” fax number will be different. But don’t worry, this will not impact your EIN fax application with the IRS at all.

Click the “Send Fax” button at the bottom to fax your EIN application to the IRS.

Congratulations. Your EIN application has been sent to the IRS for processing!

Now you just need to wait for your EIN approval.

EIN approval time for foreigners

If you faxed Form SS-4 to the IRS

If you faxed Form SS-4 to the IRS, it can take 4 to 8 weeks before they fax you back your approved EIN Number.

Due to covid-19 there is a delay. We don’t know exactly how long (since the IRS hasn’t said), but please be patient. It can take up to 2 to 2.5 months before you receive your EIN Number. You can also call the IRS and ask for a 147C Letter, aka EIN Verification Letter. The link to the instruction for 147C is below.

Your approved EIN Number will be handwritten on your SS-4. It looks unofficial, however, it is official.

Here is what the approved SS-4 fax looks like:

SS-4 EIN Approval Foreigner without SSN or ITIN

At the same time as the fax approval, the IRS will also mail you another confirmation letter. This letter is called the EIN Confirmation Letter (CP 575). The EIN Confirmation Letter will be mailed to the address you listed in 4a and 4b. This will usually arrive 1-2 weeks after you get the fax.

Here is what the EIN Confirmation Letter (CP 575) looks like:

EIN Confirmation Letter CP575 for LLC

If you have the approved fax, but have not received the EIN Confirmation Letter (CP 575), you can get an EIN Verification Letter (147C) while you wait for your EIN Confirmation Letter (CP 575).

The 147C serves the same purpose as the CP 575. They are both official letters from the IRS that show the approved EIN Number for your LLC.

Once you have your EIN Number, you can proceed to open a non-US resident LLC bank account and continue on with your business.

If you mailed Form SS-4 to the IRS

If you mailed Form SS-4 to the IRS, it can take 6 to 8 weeks before they mail you back your approval. They will mail you an EIN Confirmation Letter (CP 575). It will be mailed to the address you listed on 4a and 4b. Please see above for a screenshot example.

Please be patient and don’t send SS-4 multiple times

At maximum, we have seen that it can take up to 2 months before an EIN is approved for a foreigner.

Please be patient and don’t resend SS-4 to the IRS. Doing so can create confusion and delay the approval time.

Also, please keep in mind that the IRS is busiest in January, March, April, and October, and December. So please be extra patient during these times of the year.

If you feel you’ve waited long enough, but still haven’t received your EIN approval, you can call the IRS and request an EIN Verification Letter (147).

How foreigners can open US LLC bank account

The three most common ways to open a US bank account are:

  1. Travel to the US and open a bank account in person
  2. Open an online payment account with TransferWise
  3. Open an online bank account with Mercury

For more details and the pros and cons, please see this page: How a non-US resident can open an LLC Bank account in the US.

Form 5472 requirements for Single-Member LLCs

If you have a foreign-owned Single-Member LLC (one owner), you must file Form 5472 and Form 1120 with the IRS every year.

If you don’t, the IRS can charge penalties.

For more information, please see this article: foreign-owned Single-Member LLC and Form 5472.

U.S. taxes for foreigners

This page does not discuss additional tax requirements that foreigners must follow in order to properly report and file taxes with the IRS.

You will need to hire an accountant who works with foreigners that have a U.S. LLC.

We recommend sending an email to Gary at GW Carter. His office specializes in working with non-US residents that have US LLCs.

Some of our readers (those with Single-Member LLCs and online businesses) may not have US tax filing obligations (except for Form 5472).

However, other readers (with Multi-Member LLCs) have to file a 1065 return with the IRS.

And other readers (depending on the type of business and what country they are from) need to file a 1040NR with the IRS and get an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number).

Gary can help figure out your US tax obligations and he can file them for you.

Here are a few of the things that may apply to you:

  • Sales tax and/or excise tax
  • Effectively Connected Income (ECI)
  • Fixed, Determinable, Annual, Periodic Income (FDAP)
  • Conduct of a U.S. trade or business (USTB)
  • Federal Withholding Tax for Foreign Nationals
  • Foreign Bank Account Annual Report (FBAR)
  • Payroll taxes (if applicable)
  • Form 1042-S
  • Form W-8 BEN
  • US Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return (1040NR/1040NR-EZ)
  • Federal and state unemployment taxes (if you have U.S. employees)
  • Real Estate and Foreign Investment Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA)

How to find an accountant for a foreign-owned LLC?

Besides our recommendation of Gary at GW Carter, you can also use our “knights of the roundtable” strategy along with the IRS Acceptance Agent list.

The IRS Acceptance Agent page lists tax professionals that work with foreigners. You’ll want to find about 5-10 tax professionals that are located in the same state where you formed your LLC.

Write down their information and call them all and ask a few questions (or email them). Each tax professional will give you a few minutes of their time since you are a potential customer.

Then use our “knights of the roundtable” strategy when making your phone calls/sending emails. This will help you eliminate bad candidates and find the best tax professional for your LLC.

Worldwide information sharing & tax treaties

The U.S maintains tax treaties with over 60 countries around the world. These treaties usually include disclosure agreements, where each government agrees to share information on a person or LLC’s taxable activity outside their country of origin when requested by his home country.

The agreements are in place to make sure that people and companies who earn income outside their home country file the proper returns and pay their taxes in both the U.S. and in their home country.

IRS Contact Information

You can call the IRS at:

The International Department at 1-267-941-1000. Hours are Monday through Friday, 6am – 11pm, U.S. Eastern Time.

OR

The EIN Department at 1-800-829-4933. Hours are Monday through Friday, 7am – 7pm, local time.

It’s important to know that the IRS will answer general questions, but they don’t give out tax advice and can’t explain every single requirement to you over the phone. For that reason, as we’ve mentioned earlier, it’s a good idea to find an accountant for help.

Matt Horwitz
Founder & Educator, LLC University®
Forming an LLC shouldn't be so complicated. Our step-by-step guide will make the process a breeze – and no complex legal jargon! LLC University® teaches people how to form an LLC for free in all 50 states. We hope you find our free guides and resources helpful in your business journey.

258 comments on “How to Apply for EIN without an SSN or ITIN”

Disclaimer: Nothing on this page shall be interpreted as legal or tax advice. Rules and regulations vary by location. They also change over time and are specific to your situation. Furthermore, this comment section is provided so people can share their thoughts and experience. Please consult a licensed professional if you have legal or tax questions.

      • Thank you so much Matt for a very helpful and informative article. I am a CPA and found your article as one of the best I’ve read in my years of being in this profession. Thank you!

        Reply
        • Hi Marie, you’re very welcome :) Thank you so much for your kinds words. It really means a lot!

          Reply
          • has fax number changed to (855) 641-6935 for ss4 form, i am foreign person and has made llc in Wyoming or its 1-855-641-6935 ?? i am seeing information from different sources and feeling confused?

            Reply
            • Hi Ameena, 1-855-641-6935 and 855-641-6935 are the same fax number. They will both send a fax to the same place. Usually the “1” isn’t required. However, if the fax is being sent from outside the US, then include the “1”. Hope that helps!

              Reply
    • Hi,

      Thank you for this article which allowed me to advance in my request for EIN.
      I have just had the service and they tell me that the fax procedure will take 6 weeks (I am in France), is this normal?

      Reply
      • Hi Myriam, you’re welcome. Yes, it can sometimes takes 1-2 months, however, the EIN is usually approved quicker than that.

        Reply
        • HI Matt,
          Certainly an incredible effort and hugely informative.
          I have established a LLC in DELAWARE with services from Legal Zoom.
          I am based in INDIA and will remain a Non Resident Alien.
          I am also the only MEMBER of this LLC.

          However i am unable to move ahead with EIN. Legal zoom does seem to follow the correct process as recommend by you.

          My challenge is EIN , where i have filled ” FOREIGN ” under SSN in the SS-4 form as per your web instructions. Further I have faxed the document to the said number.. ( 1 week now).

          What next, just wait ? or try alternative method .

          Do i need my own ITIN first ?

          Reply
          • Hi Captain, thank you! It sounds like you filed SS-4 with the IRS and are now just waiting. The IRS is very delayed right now, so EINs can take up to 2 months to be approved. After 1.5 months, you can call the IRS and see if it’s been approved. We have instructions here: get copy of EIN from IRS. Other than that, you will just have to be patient. Everything with the IRS is delayed right now. You don’t need an ITIN in order to get an EIN for your LLC. Hope that helps.

            Reply
            • Hi Matt, you’re a godsend. Love your mission statement and how you’re always up to date! Another foreign applicant here.

              I called the IRS as you suggested (1.2 months after fax), and the agent corroborated the 45 business days and said they had released a Memo and are requiring more paperwork from foreign applicants. He said, some will get rejected if it appears they are filing the LLC to avoid taxes in their home country ( no nexus in the US). He mentioned KYC procedures, including an ITIN, which he added, you can not apply for “just to open a business bank account”. Was he scaring me, or will my application be rejected? (I added my (4) admin address in the US, but also my (5) physical address outside the US (my home). Also, will the fact that I formed in WY hold less weight than Delaware?

              Reply
              • Hi PJ, thank you! That is the first time we have heard something like this. I don’t think you received the correct information. Did that representative mention the Memo number? If you completed the SS-4 correctly, your EIN should be approved. No, it doesn’t make a different if you form a Wyoming LLC or Delaware LLC.

                Reply
  1. Most amazing guide I have ever read online about forming LLC !

    Thank you for your amazing work for helping all of us about our questions!

    I have a quick question as well.

    I’m a non-US person and dont have an SSN number and trying to apply for EIN.
    in the SS-4 form section 9a. I’m not sure what type of entity I should check box?

    *I’m doing an e-commerce business and I thought I would check box “Sole proprietor (SSN)” but I dont have an SSN number.

    Best Regards

    Reply
    • Thanks Alp! You’re very welcome. Check out the section on this page titled “9a. Type of entity”. That should help :)

      Reply
  2. Hi Matt, thanks for the detailed and amazing info, one question regarding getting EIN as a foreign national, will a foreign person get approved for EIN if they are illegally in the country? is the government going to be looking into a person’s legal status when they are applying for EIN?

    Thanks very much!!

    Reply
    • Hi Dino, interesting question. We’re not sure. You may want to call the IRS and see what they say. If you do, feel free to share any findings. We’re curious to see what you come up with. Thanks.

      Reply
  3. hello, I am Little bit confused that do i need to fill the From5472 while applying for EIN?. As mentioned in your detailed Blog above. As I am Indian and a non-resident of US..
    Thanx In Advance..

    Reply
      • So Form 5472 must also file and those people who have only an EIN (without LLC)? Because in your article, Form 5472 Foreign-owned Single-Member LLC, you said LLC owners only must file that Form 5472.

        So only EIN owners also must file Form 5472 every year, right? For example, in my case, I’m gonna obtain an EIN soon (without registering LLC) to get verified in Stripe so I will also have to file Form 5472?

        Reply
        • Hi Yaroslav, the requirement is only for Single-Member LLC that are foreign-owned. If you’re not forming an LLC, you don’t have to worry about Form 5472.

          Reply
  4. Need an LLC, without SSN, and a foreigner.
    This is for my nephew who lives with me now. It’s been 3 months. He needs a company so he can get paid.

    Reply
    • Hi Aless, your comment is a statement, not a question. I’m not sure what you’re asking. Thanks.

      Reply
  5. Thank you, Matt!
    You have solved my problems with ITIN, tax return and opening account and LLC in the USA, save my money and time.
    The best explanations in the world. Thanks.

    Reply
  6. hello Matt,
    I am impressed from your guidance. I have another query that how can I open an Physical bank account without visiting US. As i am indian, non resident of USA. Already Got certificate of registration for me new Pennsylavnia LLC. and plzz guide me which bank will gave me a bank account in pennsylvania. you also suggested people to open a bank account same bank branch as in our homecounrty, but my LLC name in pennsylavania is different from my Home counrty Company.if i will open an account on my legal name in branch like HSBC bank in india and transfer account of HSBC in pennsylvania, So this Bank Account On my Own Legal name is acceptable ?
    And i am waiting for EIN, because of shutdown of IRS, you have any idea, for how much time we have to wait more?

    Reply
  7. Foreign LLC applicant with US California address getting EIN:

    I’ve subscribed to phone.com as recommended.

    However, the IRS fax number doesn’t work… Nor can you reach them on the phone (generic recorded hang up message)…

    Any other tips on getting this EIN approved more quickly than mailing in the application?

    Thanks for creating an EPIC site!!!

    Reply
    • Hey Frederick, we just added a note to the top of the page. Unfortunately, we’re dealing with the temporary U.S. government shutdown. So you’ll want to wait until the shut down is over, then just re-fax then. Wish we had better news, but everyone is dealing with this issue currently. It’s just about being patient at this point.

      Reply
      • A shoot! I’m in California to setup everything and can’t setup banking now :(

        I’ll be flying out before this thing is over with. Very interesting government here lol.

        Cheers and thanks for the feedback.

        Reply
        • The whole thing was a major pain. Good news though, the government shutdown is now over :)

          Reply
  8. Hi Matt,
    I former a 3 member foreign LLC recently. However i just saw that i forgot to add my middle name in the documents. Would that affect anything from EIN, ITIN to Business bank accounts? As all my documents include my middle name. And if yes, what is the method of amending the LLC information?

    Reply
    • Hi Burke, you shouldn’t have to worry about that. There is a small chance that some bank person may be a pain in the neck and want everything to match, but that’s super rare. And if that does happen, you can just go to a different bank. If you needed to update that, the form is usually called a Certificate of Amendment, or something similar (it depends on the state). Hope that helps.

      Reply
  9. Will I need to attached my LLC Certficate when I sending Fax? Or it’s just necessary with sending Post?

    Reply
    • Great question. You should include it with your application, where sending by mail or fax. Hope that helps.

      Reply
  10. Hi!
    You really helped a lot to get a clear idea on how to get things done… saved me quite a bit of money! Best guidance with step by step instructions so even an 8 y/o can do it.
    Thanks a lot!!!
    I do have a question and hope you can help me. Since the shutdown is over but need to open the bank account asap, I will be adding a US member with an SSN to do it online. Do you have any idea how I can make the ammendment and ideas on costs?
    I really appreciate your help!

    Reply
  11. Hi Matt,

    Thanks for this great article it’s clear and comprehensive, I have couple of questions related to LLC formation.

    [1] I am US citizen from Minnesota helping out my friend to setup LLC as a registered agent here, he is in India, can I apply for EIN for his LLC using my SSN?, it’s Single Member LLC owned by him alone.

    [2] This business involves buying a product from one place and selling it to customers in any of 48 states in continental USA, this company is registered as LLC in Minnesota, is it required to register it as foreign LLC in all the other 47 states as the customers can potentially from those states ? Please advice.

    Reply
    • Hi Saravana, you’re very welcome. You’ll want to check out who can be EIN responsible party for LLC. It needs to be an actual owner of the LLC. No, you likely won’t have to register as a foreign LLC in all those states, however, if you have nexus, then their LLC may have to report/file sales tax in those states. Hope that helps.

      Reply
  12. Hi Matt,

    I would like to thank you for all your guidance on obtain the EIN. I have faxed my application to the IRS over a week ago (7 days today). I understand that due to the shutdown and it being Tax season that this might be delayed further so I was wondering if there is a way to at least confirm they have received my application. I really appreciate any recommendations you or anyone else might have. Thank you, Catherine.

    Reply
    • Hi Catherine, you’re very welcome. You can call the IRS if you’d like, however, if your fax went through, then it was received. The IRS is quite good at taking care of all EIN Applications they receive by fax. I’d allow up to 3-4 weeks. Keep us posted though. I’m sure you’ll get your fax back from the IRS soon :)

      Reply
      • Hi Matt,

        Just an update. Finally received my EIN. Took just over 3 weeks. Happy that is all done…Thanks again for all your assistance.

        Reply
          • Hi Saravanan, l sent the fax on 29 Jan and got the EIN on 15 Feb. They did not fax it to me though. They sent it to my registered agent (Northwest, as theirs was the address I used on my application) and then they put it up on my account.

            Reply
            • Hi Catherine,

              Did you apply with an ITIN or without? I applied without an ITIN as a foreigner using the method described above but it’s been over 2 weeks and I haven’t received any update. I’m worried that my application may not work and I am limited on time.

              Thanks.

              Reply
              • Hi Mike.
                I applied just like you. No ITIN, as a foreigner. It took just over 2 weeks to get the number. I have to mention that they sent the reply to the address I had on the application not the fax. Hope this helps.

                Reply
                • Hey Catherine, thanks for all your helpful replies! That’s weird that they mailed your approval to you instead of faxing it. We haven’t seen that before. On your Form SS-4, did you enter your complete fax number (with area code) in the lower right (“Applicant’s fax number”)?

                  Reply
                  • Hi Matt, yes I did. I am guessing that they preferred to send it by mail, as the address was my registered agents, Northwest, rather than faxing an international number. Again, this is my assumption.

                    Reply
                    • Hi Catherine, I think it would be more likely due to the fact that the fax number was non-US. This is great to know. We may need to update the information on this page. Maybe they had issues faxing it back or maybe when they see a non-US fax number, they just mail it. Thanks for the details!

    • Hi, Did you receive any feedback from IRS yet, it’s been 3 weeks since my application through fax, no response from them yet

      Thanks
      Saravana

      Reply
      • Hi Saravana, I’d allow a few more weeks. The IRS is likely catching up on the backlog from the shutdown.

        Reply
  13. It should be noted.

    Since you are promoting Northwest, and I have no problem with it, that as a foreigner looking to create a new LLC via them, that they will charge you an additional $200 to obtain the EIN. This is not mentioned anywhere on their website. In turn the use a * to say you need an SSN. This is a bit of a sneaky move and will catch customers out more often than not.

    You will essentially be paying for a service that won’t be done unless an additional amount is paid.

    Would love to hear your take on it.

    Reply
    • Hey Stephan, thanks for your comment. We are actually working on a new design with Northwest, so we will make sure that it is extra clear. You’re right… you don’t know up front that it costs $200 extra for that service (if you don’t have an SSN). Yea, that’s an issue. Thanks for bringing this to our attention! We will get this fixed and make it more clear as soon as possible.

      Reply
  14. Hi Matt,

    All information you share has been very helpful,

    We have a 2 members LLC in Florida But none of us is US resident.
    We sell trough Amazon.com and they have sent us the 1099 form.
    How can we report 2018 taxes, if we don’t have SSN.

    Should we change the LLC to a Corp ? using the 8832 or 2553 forms
    Did we make a mistake opening a LLC ?

    Thanks in advance,

    Reply
    • Hi William, you don’t need an SSN to report and file taxes in the US. You’ll want to get in touch with an accountant who works with non-US residents. You’ll need to file a 1065 Partnership Return for the LLC. You likely don’t need to file Form 8832. I don’t think you made any mistakes. It’s just tax time is coming up in April. That’s all. Hope that helps.

      Reply
  15. Hello Mat, amazing information!
    I filed papers for LLC 12/21/18 approved on 01/03/19 in Florida. Please help me – I do not know who is going to create my LLC.
    What date do I need to write in SS-4 #11: Date business started or acquired (month, day, year)?
    Do I have to report before 05/01/19?
    I do not find an accountant for my LLC, if you have suggestions, please instruct me.

    Thank you very much in advance.
    Have a nice day

    Reply
    • Hey Slavko, glad it was helpful! #11 on Form SS-4 is the date the LLC was approved by the state. If your LLC was approved on 1/3/2019, that is the date you would use. The 5/1/2019 is the due date for the Florida LLC Annual Report (I think that’s what you’re talking about). Regarding an accountant, we have some tips here: how to find an accountant. Hope that helps.

      Reply
      • Thank you Matt, your answer is very quick. I do not know when to submit my first annual report for llc in Florida? When do I send first: before 05/01/2019 or before 05/01/2020? Also, I am already in touch with several accountants by following the strategy you listed on the finding an accountant page. Thousands of thanks :)

        Reply
        • You’re welcome Slavko. Because your Florida LLC was approved on 1/3/2019, your LLC’s first Annual Report isn’t due until January 1st to May 1st of 2020.

          Reply
  16. Hi Matt, I just got a response from the IRS denying my EIN request. I have created an LLC as a single member in WY and IRS requests my SSN or EIN on line 7b of the SS4 Form because on line 7a I appear as Responsible Party. Today, I spoke to an IRS representative and he asked for my Articles of Organization, and I just faxed it with the same SS4 Form, that is, leaving line 7b blank. In your instructions I read that line 7b must be filled in as “foreign”. Question: Should I wait for a new response from the IRS or before it occurs should I send a new form by filling out line 7b with “foreign”? Thank you in advance for your response.

    Reply
    • Hi Jacky, did they say why it was denied? Yes, I’d wait until you get the next response. Submitting multiples of the same thing to the IRS can cause issues. First, see what they say and then provide us an update if you’d like. If it’s rejected, I’d file a new application and yes, enter “Foreign” on line 7b. Hope that helps.

      Reply
      • Hi Matt, based on the next IRS response, I’ll be in touch again. Thank you for your response.

        Reply
    • Hi Matt, just to let you know that today, almost a week after faxing my SS4-Form (second time) and my Articles of Organization, I got my EIN. In my case it was not necessary to write on line 7b. I left it blank. Today I followed up by phone. The IRS service was excellent.

      Reply
      • Hi Jacky, thanks for the update! And thanks for sharing your experience. It does seem like 7b can be left blank, but in our experience, entering “Foreign” on 7b is better. Glad to hear the phone support was excellent. We’ve also noticed phone support has become a lot more friendly and knowledgeable over the past one to two years. Thanks again :)

        Reply
  17. Hey mate…

    Sad news, this information isn’t valid anymore.

    I am a non-resident and I was talking to IRS help line and the new IRS policy doesn’t allow you to receive EIN without having SSN. So that closes the whole chapter for non-resident aliens who wanted to have bank accounts in the US for their online sales.

    Funny thing, it’s implemented from 13th May, the day I received my LLC, my bad.

    https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/ein-kleine-komplikation-new-irs-policy-89065/

    https://www.cpapracticeadvisor.com/tax-compliance/news/21080153/irs-adds-new-requirement-for-ein-applications

    Reply
    • Hey Ray, thanks for your comment. Good news though. The information on this page is still valid. We’ve clarified it here: IRS May 2019 requirements for EIN applications. The information you got wasn’t correct. The May 13th update is for Americans (but the IRS didn’t make that clear). And unfortunately, a lot of people within the IRS are also confused about the update. You can still get an EIN without an SSN though. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  18. Hey Matt,

    1. What is the difference between form CP575g vs CP575a?

    2. Will the “Responsible Party” going to be the person that will show up on the first line on CP575 form?

    3. Also, are there ways to not show personal name on this CP575 form? I know Sole Prop, LLC single-member will but will LLC partnership show up too?

    Reply
    • Hey James, we’re not sure what the “g” and “a” mean in the CP575. It’s likely minor though. The CP575 is the EIN Confirmation Letter. Yes, the Responsible Party’s name will show up at the top left on CP575. The Responsible Party’s name is always on the CP575, for both Single-Member LLCs taxed as Sole Proprietorships and Multi-Member LLCs taxed as Partnerships. Why wouldn’t you want your name on the CP575? Just curious, if you’d like to share. It’s a private document, meaning it’s not public… it’s just internal with the IRS. Hope that helps.

      Reply
      • Matt,

        Thanks for the prompt response. So then when would be the time where LLC name appears without the personal name?

        Reply
        • Hi James, we’ve never seen that. All LLCs need to have a Responsible Party (LLC Member) on file with the IRS.

          Reply
  19. Hi Matt.
    First of all,
    Thank You So Much for this valuable information.
    This is the first time I’ve found the right information after a lot of lost time looking for the right way to establish LLC in US.
    I have an Ecom website and selling products to the Americans too.
    I have one question.
    I lived in Detroit,Michigan 10 years ago, I had a green card and then for private reasons I decided to go back to Europe.
    I did not go to America anymore.
    Now 10 years after I realize it was a mistake, but in that time it seemed to be the only reasonable option it was to return to Europe, since Detroit and its people suffered the most in the economic crisis of those years, and I left everything in Europe to come up there to build the future in the epicenter of the global world crisis, was not all that fun.

    My documents have expired and I do not know if it is still possible to register with the expired data.
    Do they believe in second chance:) Matt?
    Do you perhaps know how this will affect my request to establish LLC in Michigan now?

    Thanks.

    Best Regards!
    Miki

    Reply
    • Hey Miki, you’re very welcome! I’m not sure if you have an SSN or an ITIN (that’s not expired), but if you do, you can apply for an EIN online. If not, you’ll need to follow the instructions on this page. You can still get an EIN for your LLC regardless of your residency/immigration status. Hope that helps.

      Reply
  20. Hi matt,
    You did amazing job with this article, you have no idea how much headache and money you saved me!!!

    I saw that someone here already asked it, but i didnt understand the answer.

    The IRS sent a confirmation letter about the EIN.
    And they wrote the company name, and the private name + sole mbr.

    Im using stripe, and they said that this title is my legal entity (the company name llc + my name) so it would be appear in the business public information.

    My questions:
    Is stripe wrong? Is it the legal name? So whats the point of opening LLC, if the name is tagged along.

    And if its true, can i change the legal name? I mean that only the llc name will appear, without my name + sole mbr.
    If i can, will it take along time? New documents to IRS?
    I hope i was clear,
    Thanks a lot!

    Reply
    • Hey Dav, we’re super happy to hear that! Glad we could help :) I’m not sure what Stripe means by “this is your legal title”. The entity you created is an LLC. It has its own name. Your name is not a part of that LLC name. The IRS just lists the LLC EIN Responsible Party on the EIN Confirmation Letter. It’s simply a confirmation letter from the IRS that shows the EIN Number that belongs to your LLC. It doesn’t change the legal name of your LLC. There isn’t a way to get that letter from the IRS with only a company name. Hope that helps.

      Reply
  21. Hi Matt,

    Just want to clear that you said: just fax SS-4 form to 855 641 6935 with out cover letter.
    I want to make sure I need fax the first page of SS-4 form and Certificate of Formation, right? Two pages should be faxed, right?

    Reply
  22. This is absolutely fantastic! Thank you so much Matt (and team?)!.

    Your site will save me a bunch of money. Just starting out my business so I can use every penny to grow it but will definitely leave a donation once it’s up and running.

    Thanks again!

    Reply
    • Hey Robin, you’re very welcome! Thanks for the awesome comment :) We’re so happy to hear you’ll save a lot of money!

      Reply
    • Hi Max, no, that can’t be done. Getting an EIN for a Sole Proprietorship requires an SSN or an ITIN. Hope that helps.

      Reply
  23. Hey Matt

    Is it possible to ask for 2 EIN’s? I would need one for my UK company for sales taxes and then also one for my US company. So how would this work? Can I just ask for 2 different once or can I use 1 for both of them or isn’t it possible maybe?

    Reply
    • Hi Robin, yes. You would obtain them separately, since one EIN is for your UK company and the other EIN is for your US company.

      Reply
  24. Hello Matt!

    Thanks for you helpful guidance it helped a lot!!!

    I just have a question about the confirmation letter.
    I sent it per Fax to IRS and already received the same SS-4 document back I’ve sent before. They just filled the free space on the top right with the EIN number, I guess, and there are different stamps on it (date and tracking number I suppose). But the whole SS-4 document I received back has very poor quality.

    My question would be if this same SS-4 I received back is the confirmation letter for my EIN?
    As i can read see the EIN number on the top right this would be the most important now to apply for a bank account or do you know if the bank want to see more than the EIN number, and do you think if I will receive another “real” confirmation letter? Hopefully this makes sense. Kindly, Lalo

    PS: I’m a foreigner and LLC is build in Wyoming.

    Reply
    • Hey Lalo, you’re very welcome! Excellent question. For some reason, the first “EIN approval” for non-US residents is really crappy looking and sometimes hard to read after being faxed. But you’re correct… that is your EIN Number on the top right.

      Your EIN Confirmation Letter (CP575) will actually arrive in the mail, but that can take a number of weeks. If you want something that looks better in the meantime, you can call the IRS (800-829-4933) and ask for an EIN Verification Letter (147C). If you tell them you are next to your fax (even though it’s probably a digital fax) and you tell them it’s a “private fax”… meaning, only you have access to it (the IRS is concerned about security), the IRS representative will fax you a 147C while you’re on the phone. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  25. Hi Matt, thank you for your fantastic guidance.
    I have faxed SS4 and Articles of Organization on June 30, but they have not replied to me until August 20. So earlier this date, I thought that something wrong with my SS4 form and I reformed my SS4 and sent it again to the IRS. Now I have a confirmation letter (to my first application) which I have got it via my mail forwarding service.
    I don’t know what can I do in this situation. You wrote that it can cause errors or issues with your LLC’s EIN Number. What should I do? Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    • Hi Togrul, yes, it can cause issues if you submit the SS-4 twice. For other people reading, the IRS can sometimes just be really busy and take a long time to approve your EIN. The best course of action is to call the IRS and explain the situation. They will be able to fix it and take care of it. The number is 800-829-4933. Option 1, 1, 3 should get you to a representative pretty quickly. Hope that helps.

      Reply
      • Thank you Matt for your quick reply.
        I called the IRS and explained the situation. She said that it shouldn’t cause a problem if I send the same SS4 form. But I have just changed line 6 on SS4 and I said it to her. And she repeated that it shouldn’t cause any issues but if I get my second EIN confirmation letter, I need to mail to IRS to cancel one of my EINs. Then she gave me an address and said that I have to write down my business name and EIN number which I want to cancel If I will need it. I hope I won’t need it.

        Reply
  26. Hi Matt, thanks for this great and explanatory article.
    I am a non-US citizen and I’m planning to start an online business and form a US LLC in Wyoming. I will also need an EIN and already checked some Registered Agent services that charges $250 to get the EIN (for foreigner LLC’s owners). After reading this article, it seems to me that is not a big hassle to do it myself, so I was wondering whether it there any hidden forms to file/ paperwork / or is it really very time consuming doing some follow-up on the process? or is it necessary to have the expertise to file the form for foreigners? I think $250 is quite a lot of money, there should be a reason why they are charging this much…
    I would appreciate your comments on this.
    Thanks again!

    Reply
    • Hi Saisy, you’re very welcome. You can certainly file yourself. The instructions are on this page. There are no other steps or hidden forms. The reason that companies charge more for this is that it usually takes a lot of time (“labor costs” for the company) to coordinate and communicate with the non-US resident to make sure they get all the information correct. And then the whole faxing + waiting can slow down company processes. Also, many non-US residents may ask questions too. So it’s less “stream-lined”, takes more time, and is more expensive for a company to get an EIN for a non-US resident’s LLC (versus someone who has an SSN; it’s a much simpler process). Hope that helps!

      Reply
      • Hi Matt, I just wanted to let you and all know that I applied for the EIN number just as you explained in this article, and send it by digital fax but using another service provider called wisefax.com, which I found it a bit cheaper than phone.com.
        I applied on sept 15th and received the fax confirmation by sept 28th. I also received a mail from the IRS today oct 4, confirming again my EIN. So 2-3 weeks in total, just for everyone who’s interested in knowing how long takes the process right now. (By the way my LLC was formed in Wyoming).
        Thank you very much Matt, you have helped me save some money by doing it by myself. God bless you :)

        Reply
        • Hi Saisy, you’re very welcome! Thanks for sharing your details and helpful tips!

          Reply
  27. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G Web site!
    So Helpful!!!
    Perfect! Mr Horwitz, you are my true hero.

    Reply
  28. Hi Matt:

    Does it also apply to corproations? They can follow the same process? Thanks.

    Sanjay

    Reply
  29. Hey Matt,

    Wow!! you have save millions of people from fake information out there, the way you intelligently break it down step by step was amazing. I can’t thank you enough!!! God bless you and your family. I appreciate your effort.

    Reply
    • Mark, thanks for such an awesome comment! It means a lot! We’re happy we could help :)

      Reply
  30. Thank you for those pieces of information.
    I have a question, please!
    If I create an LLC in Wyoming, and I am a foreign person. The LLC will be a foreign-owned single-member and I’ll choose to make a disregarded entity LLC, Should I send every single year the 5272 FORM and pay taxes?

    Waiting to read your comment.
    Cordially.

    Reply
  31. It worked! I got the EIN without using an ss. Now how do i get a bank account without using an ss? Is there an article for that? Thanks for the great work!

    Reply
  32. Thank u sooooo much! You can’t imagine how much all these informations you gave are helpful! Good bless u forever

    Reply
  33. Hi Matt,

    Great article.

    I have created an account on phone.com, sent the fax to the IRS (got an email confirmation from phone.com that the fax was sent successfully) and included the fax number I purchased from phone.com (let’s call it number X)

    Here is my issue: a day later phone.com canceled my subscriptions for “security reasons” without providing any further explanation. I cannot have access anymore to number X and hence I am in no way to retrieve the IRS reply. Number X might be invalid by now or assigned to some other customer.

    I am worried that the form be faxed by the IRS to a third party by mistake (for obvious security reasons)
    And how do I retrieve my EIN: will the IRS mail it to the company as well as part of the proceedings?

    Any advice on how to proceed now?

    Thanks in advance

    Reply
    • Oh wow, so sorry to hear about this. That is a major bummer. The good news is that the IRS will still mail you an EIN Confirmation Letter (CP 575) after they approve your EIN Number. It will be mailed to the address you listed in 4a and 4b of Form SS-4. It can take 4 to 6 weeks to arrive. However that is 4 to 6 weeks after the EIN is approved, so in total it could take about 2 months before you get your EIN Confirmation Letter (CP 575) in the mail. You can also get a new fax number and call the IRS in a few weeks and ask for an EIN Verification Letter (147C) which serves the same purpose as the EIN Confirmation Letter (CP 575). We have instructions here: EIN Verification Letter (147C) for LLC. You can also call or email Phone.com and tell them your situation. Maybe they have a suggestion or can give the number back. Please feel free to keep us updated. And if you hear why they closed your account, please let us know. Hope that helps.

      Reply
      • That’s not as bad as I thought then. I should expect the CP 575 around mid-February. I guess I’ll call the IRS mid-January, hopefully, they’ll have the EIN ready by then to get going with my business. That’s precious advice. Thanks, Matt.

        In the meantime, would you advise that I bill clients through the LLC to my personal account until I get my EIN? In case of a lawsuit, would that be enough ground to consider it “piercing of corporate veil”?

        I contacted phone.com a couple of times. In their own terms “It is their policy to never disclose details after a security review and they are in no “obligation” to give me access to that number or help me recover incoming fax from that number”. It is very odd. It’s their bad really lost a potential long term client. Any other phone company you would advise?

        Reply
        • Yea, it’s just a bit of an annoyance and a longer wait time (unless you call and get the 147C). It’s hard to say regarding piercing the corporate veil. You may want to consider just billing clients personally and then later using the LLC once an EIN and a bank account are in place. Good job looking at those terms. We use Phone.com ourselves, so that’s why we recommend them. We don’t have another recommendation as of right now, but I’m sure there are other places that offer similar services. If other people have issues with Phone.com, we will gladly update and change our recommendation. Hopefully this was a rare occurrence.

          Reply
          • Hey Matt,

            Just to let you know I got the CP 575 mailed to my agent yesterday. So that’s good news, I can get right away with invoicing now.

            So to summarize the timeline:
            16 Dec 2019: I faxed the SS-4 to the IRS (handwritten).
            27 Dec 2019: EIN number confirmed by the IRS and CP 575 mailed.
            10 Jan 2019: CP 575 mail to my corporate mailbox.

            It seems to have taken 11 days for processing and 24 days to have final confirmation by mail.

            Cheers

            Reply
            • Jason, wow, that’s really fast! Usually, EINs for non-US residents aren’t processed that quickly. This is great news. I really appreciate the reply and the details. Very helpful to know :)

              Reply
  34. Greetings, Matt

    I’m an oversees online entrepreneur recently my LLC was approved and on my way to file to my EIN (Foreign) application. I was confused under the section 9a ‘type of Entity’.

    As i mentioned previously my plan is to set up an online store E-Commerce. Do i fall under the category “Foreign-owned U.S. Disregarded Entity” ?

    Your assist is highly appreciated,

    Hopefully waiting for your response sooner,

    Kind Regards,

    Reply
    • Hi Kuma, this section is not used to explain what the business will do. If the LLC has one owner (a Single-Member LLC) who is not a US resident or US citizen, you should list “Foreign-owned US Disregarded Entity”. Hope that helps.

      Reply
  35. Hello Matt:
    First of all, thank you very much for your effort into compile all that information, it’s really useful.
    I followed your advice and sent the SR4 on december 19th. Today, January 13th I received the fax with the EIN.
    In your comments you´ve mentioned that it is necesary to find a bank brach of the same state where the LLC was created. Is that true? or Can I open the bank account in any state that accepts to open it?
    Thank you

    Reply
  36. Hi Matt,

    I am a US-resident (Lived more than half a year in the USA in 2019) but don’t have SSN or ITIN and can’t get one. Can I still form an LLC and get EIN?

    If yes, then how would your instruction (to fill the form SS-4) be different in this case? As you say the instruction above is only for Non-US residents (foreigners).

    I appreciate your answer.

    Reply
    • Hi Paata, while you may be a US resident for tax purposes, you can still complete the SS-4 and write “Foreign” in order to get an EIN for your LLC. Before filing your US taxes, you’ll need to apply for an ITIN. You can hire an accountant and they can submit your tax return along with your ITIN application. Hope that helps.

      Reply
      • Hello Matt,

        Thank you for all of this, you really helped me to get my LLC, but I still don’t have an EIN while I sent to the IRS the Ss4 form by fax. It’s said that I should have a response by 4 to 8 business days, but it’s been a month now and I don’t have any response, I se’t them an email and same, no response.
        Would you please help me by telling me if there is a way to contact them and get a response ASAP?

        Waiting your comments,

        Cordially.

        Reply
        • Hey Mustapha, you’re welcome. It’s usually not that fast and it can take up to 2 months before you get your EIN. In order to check on the status, you need to call the IRS. If the EIN was approved, you can ask for an EIN Verification Letter (147C). Hope that helps.

          Reply
      • Hi Matt,

        Thank you for your answer.

        So, let’s assume I filled the SS4 as a foreigner, got an EIN, started working and in Jan-April, 2021 filed a tax return along with ITIN application. What happens with the requirement to file forms 5472, 1120 and other reporting requirements as foreign-owned LLC? Will I not have those requirements anymore? As you write not fulfilling those requirements can cost $25,000. I am a bit scared.

        Thank you for your time.

        Reply
        • Hi Paata, I believe it depends on timing. Meaning, you may only be considered a US resident for a certain tax filing period and then you may be considered a non-resident for the rest of the time. For something like this, we recommend speaking to Gary at GW Carter. He specializes in doing taxes for non-US residents and is familiar with all the details. Hope that helps.

          Reply
  37. Hi Matt, I submitted my application to IRS 15 days ago and haven’t heard anything yet so far. Does it take longer processing time like 2 or 3 months to hear from the IRS ?

    Reply
    • Hi Kuma, it can take 1-2 months before you are issued your EIN. I’ve never seen it take longer than 2 months though. We recommend just a bit more patience and you should have it soon. After 2 more weeks, feel free to call the IRS and ask for an EIN Verification Letter (147C). If your EIN has been issued, the IRS representative will be able to fax you the EIN Verification Letter while you wait on the phone. Hope that helps.

      Reply
  38. This blog is Awesome! So many thanks for your help Matt!

    I have some questions: I’m from colombia and formed an LLC in the U.S. (New Mexico) with incfile and use a mailing address of pembroke pines, FL… That address was used to fill 4.a and 4.b (SS-4 FORM ) and i don’t know if i have to leave blank the points 5.a and 5.b or put an address of New mexico?

    By the other hand in the point 6, i have indicated the county and state of my registered agent (New Mexico), is ok?

    Any advice for me is pure gold!

    Reply
    • Hey Harrison, thanks man! You’re very welcome :) You don’t need to enter anything in 5a or 5b. For number 6, you need both the county and state name. In the US, most cities exist inside of counties. In order to determine what county your New Mexico address is in, you can use this tool: Map developers: what county am I in. Hope that helps!

      Reply
      • Thanks! “Map developers” is amazing, i fill the point 6 with the county and state of New mexico (Los Alamos, New Mexico).

        Friend, No problem if i used a Florida mailing address for the points 4.a – 4.b even though if my LLC was created in New Mexico?

        Sorry for this basic question :)

        Reply
        • Hi Harrison, the IRS doesn’t care much about which address you use. They treat the address as a “mailing address” for your LLC. However, depending on what type of bank account you are opening (see non-US resident LLC bank account) you may want that address to match the rest of the address(es) on your LLC. For example, if you are going to visit the US to open a bank account, you’ll want to call the bank ahead of time and see if they require the address on your Articles of Organization to be the same as the address on your EIN Confirmation Letter (or EIN Verification Letter). Many banks will want them to be the same, but a few may not care. However, if you’re going to open an account with Mercury (which is what we recommend), then the addresses don’t have to be the same. Hope that helps.

          Reply
  39. Hello,

    Thanks for the such a amazing content! Could you please help:

    6. County and state where principal business (LLC) is located

    My LLC was formed in Alaska and Registered agent is in Alaska as well. But my Virtual address is in Delaware. Which county I need to mention in number 6? Delaware or Alaska?

    For the 4a I will use Virtual address in Delaware.

    Reply
    • Hi friend, My LLC was formed in New Mexico, Registered agent is in New Mexico and my Virtual address is in Florida. I leaved blank the points 5.a and 5.b and for the point 6 i used the county and state name of My LLC was formed (New Mexico).

      My application was sended via FAX January 6th and receive the CP 575 January 21th but via mail (No receive any FAX yet).

      Thanks Matt for all.

      Greetings!

      Reply
      • Hi friend, Did you submitted your application by electronic fax(efax) or normal fax method? I applied on Jan 5th and haven’t heard anything from the IRS. it’s almost approaching 1 month. I’m now worried if I re-apply might cause another problem.

        Reply
        • I used electronic FAX.

          I applied on Jan 6th and received the CP 575 on Jan 21st via MAIL.

          Reply
        • Electronic fax.

          Just be patient, i did a mistake to send 2 more faxes and now the IRS has sent other EIN… and probably will send me another… :(

          So, please be patient and just send one application.

          Reply
    • Hi Medrit, to the IRS, it doesn’t matter. They just treat the address like a “mailing address” for your LLC. However, the address that you list in 4a and 4b will be the address that gets printed on your EIN Confirmation Letter (or an EIN Verification Letter). And if you are visiting the US to open a bank account, some banks require that the address that’s on your Articles of Organization be the same address that’s on your EIN Confirmation/Verification Letter. Some don’t though, so you would need to call a few banks to check. However, if you are opening a bank account online (depending on the bank), the addresses usually don’t have to match. If that’s the case, then for number 6, you can list either one you want (Delaware or Alaska). For more information on opening an online LLC bank account, please see LLC bank accounts for non-US residents. Hope that helps.

      Reply
  40. hi matt thanks for ur valuable blog
    CAN I FAX THE SS4 FROM EUROPE AND GET THE ANSWER TO THE SAME NUMMBER?( to get the ein number)
    IM JUST THINKING THAT I DONT REAALY NEED AN AMERICAIN BANK ACCOUNT…,? DO U THINK IT S IMPORTANT ANY ADVISE ? IM DOING E COMMERCE IN EUROPE
    THANKS

    Reply
  41. Forgot to ask one more question:

    I am bit confused.

    9b. If a corporation, name the state or foreign country (if applicable) where incorporated.

    I have registered LLC, should I still fill this 9b field? If yes, then i should mentioned the state where the company was registered + country i am located? ( i am in Europe)

    Thank you!!

    Reply
    • Hey Medrit, yea, the wording is confusing lol. The IRS says “corporation”, but they really mean any legal entity. So yes, 9b still applies to LLCs. In your situation, you would enter “Alaska” (since that’s where you formed your LLC) in the “State” box. You will leave the “Foreign country” box empty. Don’t enter a European county here because you didn’t form an LLC in Europe. You formed your LLC in the US. The IRS is just asking about the LLC in 9b, not about you. Hope that helps.

      Reply
      • Thanks for your answer!!

        The thing is that i have already sent ss4, but i have left 9b section empty. Do you think it is a big issue?

        Reply
        • I’m not 100% sure to be honest. You’ll have to wait and see what you hear back from the IRS. Please keep us updated. I’m curious.

          Reply
          • Hello,

            Just an update from i have filled EIN via online fax on Tuesday, January 28 and have received it on Tuesday, February 11

            P.s i have left 9b section empty.Seems like it is fine :)

            Thanks for the help!

            Reply
            • Hi Medrit, that is great to hear. Oh, that’s interesting to know that they accepted the form with 9b being empty. Thanks for sharing. And you’re very welcome!

              Reply
  42. Hello Everyone,

    Is there anyone who applied for EIN from oversees and got EIN from Jan 2020 onwards? If so can you please share the timeline you applied and heard from the IRS. I sent my application by e-fax & I’m approaching 1 month now since I submitted my application to the IRS yet received nothing from the IRS. Matt, i’m asking this if the IRS have made any new changes or regulations in to effect.

    Reply
    • Jan 6: I send via FAX the the SS-4.
      Jan21: Received via MAIL the CP 575.
      Jan 28: Received via FAX the SS-4 with the EIN handwritten on the right top and also with the date of receipt.

      Note: I Sended several faxes with the SS4 form indicating that the 4-7 days had passed, but I think it is not necessary because the FAX received on the 28th (SS-4) was the one I sent first.

      We have to be patient…

      Reply
      • Thanks for sharing Harrison. Yes, being patient is most important. For others reading this, don’t send the SS-4 multiple times. It could cause issues. Just send it once. While Harrison got his EIN quickly, at maximum, it can 1.5 to 2 months. Again, please be patient. If you want to check the status, call the IRS and see if you can get an EIN Verification Letter (147). We will make an edit to the article as I think we originally showed the “fastest possible” approval times, but I don’t think that’s been very helpful. I apologize for any confusion.

        Reply
      • Hi Harrison, Thanks for your reply. Did you received your CP 575 by a mail address you mentioned under 4a and 4b on Form SS-4 which is a used based mailing address ?

        Reply
    • Hi Kuma, everything on this page is still accurate for 2020 (our team monitors any updates or changes with the IRS). Please see my other replies below. We recommend being patient or calling the IRS and asking for an EIN Verification Letter (147C).

      Reply
  43. Hi Matt, thanks for the great work.
    I have an LLC single member non resident. I´m going to fax de SS-4 to the IRS, should I attach the certificate of formation or is not necessary?
    thank you

    Reply
    • Hey Julian, you’ve very welcome. Yes, you should attached your approved Certificate of Formation when you fax the IRS your SS-4. For others reading this, the Certificate of Formation may be called the Articles of Organization or Certificate of Organization. It depends on the state where you formed your LLC. If you’re curious, you can find the proper form name here: LLC filing forms for all states. Hope that helps.

      Reply
  44. I re-applied 3 times and nothing happened… But i recommend you be patient :)

    Reply
  45. Hi Harrison, Thanks for your reply. Did you received your CP 575 by a mail address you mentioned under 4a and 4b on Form SS-4 which is a US-based mailing address ?

    Reply
    • I just received my CP 575 by mail. Yes, they sent it to the mailing address mentioned in 4a and 4b.

      Reply
  46. Hi Matt! Thank you so much sharing all these helpful information!
    I am foreign and have opened a single member LLC in USA to start my new E-Commerce business. I am a bit confused about the 9a. Type of Entity. I called the IRS and they advised me to check the box “other” and write: “Disregarded entity-sole proprietorship”. But I was reading your instructions and you suggest to write: “foreign owned U.S Disregarded Entity”. Which one do you think would apply better for my case?
    I had a conversation with an accountant and he said that my LLC will be treated as a U.S disregarded entity and I will be taxed as a sole proprietorship. I just don’t know what to write under the box “other”. I’d really appreciate if you can help me!
    Thank you!
    Marcia

    Reply
    • Hi Marcia, for “Type of Entity” for a Single-Member LLC (owned by a non-US resident), both “Disregarded Entity – Sole Proprietorship” and “Foreign-owned U.S. Disregarded Entity” will work. The IRS will give you an EIN in either case. They don’t really care. Technically speaking, “Foreign-owned U.S. Disregarded Entity” is more accurate. Your LLC will be disregarded (“ignored”) by the IRS and they will consider your tax status to determine your filing requirements. If you are not a US citizen, for US tax purposes, you are either a Resident Alien or Nonresident Alien. You are considered a Resident Alien for US tax purposes if you are a lawful permanent resident of the US (you have a Green Card) or if you meet the Substantial Presence Test during the calendar year (January 1st to December 31st). You are a Nonresident Alien if you don’t pass the Green Card Test or the Substantial Presence Test. Based on our other conversation, you have a US Disregarded LLC that is foreign-owned and you are treated as a Nonresident Alien. That is the most accurate description. Hope that helps!

      Reply
      • Hi Matt!

        Thank you so much for your articles, I think they are very useful for people who wish to start a LLC.
        In fact, I followed your advice I have got my LLC in New Mexico and I have got my EIN too! But, I’m non US resident.
        Anyways, I tried to open an US Stripe account and this one was verified however now I have received this message of Stripe customer service:

        Requirements per business entity if you’re not a US Citizen:
        US – LLC
        – US-based USD bank account
        – EIN (Employer Identification Number)
        – SSN or ITIN (Can ONLY enter 0000 IF they do not have US citizenship. If they have an SSN, they must enter it)
        – US-based address (not PO box)
        – Government-issued photo ID from any country

        Then, in these moments I applied to open a Mercury Bank Account I hope they can allow me to do it and also I need the ITIN but I have to wait 7-9 weeks.

        So, just I wish to know.. is it necessary to get the ITIN? the EIN isn’t enough?

        Regards,

        Sara.

        Reply
        • Hi Sara, you are very welcome! That is awesome to hear :) It sounds like with Stripe you can enter “0000” since you are not a US citizen. Typically, an ITIN is used if you have a US tax filing obligation due to US source income. And Form W-7 (the ITIN application) must be sent to the IRS with your US federal tax return, along with other items. You don’t need an SSN or ITIN to open an account with Mercury. Hope that helps.

          Reply
  47. Hi Matt!

    Thanks so much for sharing all this helpful information.

    I opened an LLC as a non-resident and I’m planning to conduct business outside of the US (no physical presence). I will have, however, and address associated with my LLC for mailing purposes. My question is: could adding the county associated with that address in question 6 of the SS-4 form create a physical presence link before the IRS? If so, what should I enter in that field to avoid it?

    Thank you!
    Gaby

    Reply
    • Hi Gaby! You’re very welcome. No, they address and/or county you list on Form SS-4 does not create a physical presence. Hope that helps.

      Reply
      • Hola Matt, gracias por tus valiosos aportes.
        Mi consulta es similar, con respecto a la dirección.
        Mi LLC es de extranjero no residente de 1 solo miembro. Entiendo que automaticamente para el IRS soy “entidad desatendida” pero mi dirección real (fuera de EEUU) no debe figurar en ningún lado? Cómo demuestro que soy extranjero y no residente para no tributar impuestos si en todos los formularios pongo la dirección de mi agente?

        Gracias nuevamente, son todo lo que está bien en el mundo!

        Reply
        • Hola Natacha, no necesitas demostrar que eres un extranjero no residente. Simplemente, eres. Y es 100% okay para usar tus direcciones extranjero en el forma SS-4 (para obtener una EIN Number). Muchas gracias por las amables palabras! Aquí están nuestras recomendaciones bancarias para extranjeros no residente: non-US resident opening US bank account for LLC. Espero que eso te ayudas :)

          Reply
  48. Hi Matt,

    Your website is amazing.

    I just formed an LLC in New Mexico and I am now filling the SS-4. I am doing online business so what should I write in the 10, 16, 17 section ? Also for the 17 section, what i sell now is probably not I will be selling in few months.

    Thanks for your answer.

    Kind regards,

    Pat.

    Reply
    • Thanks Pat! What kind of online business? What do you sell now? And what do you think you’ll sell in the future?

      Reply
  49. Hi again Matt,

    Can you explain why “it is best to fax SS-4 form within USA” please ?

    Regards

    Reply
    • Hi Pat, you can send the fax from a US number or a non-US number. Both work fine. We need to make an update to the article to remove the “it is best…” part. Apologies for any confusion and I hope that helps.

      Reply
  50. Hi Matt, I just formed a sole proprietorship in California with the purpose of driving for Logistic Company as an independent contractor courier driver.
    I will be using my nissan sentra.
    I need a DOT. number but i only have ITIN number but no SSN or EIN and they require the later two to complete the DOT application.
    What is your Advice sir.
    Thanks for your time.

    Reply
    • Hi Barnes, we’re not sure because we don’t regularly deal with DOT numbers. We recommend giving the department a call to see if they can help. We hope you’re able to get it sorted out.

      Reply
  51. Hi, I received my EIN from the IRS CP 575 G yesterday. After 23 days of my application submission.

    Dear Matt, Thank you so much for your assist. It is really worth it.

    Appreciate that.

    Submitted on Jan 7 and received on Feb 7.

    Reply
    • Hi Kuma, that is great news! I know it took longer than you wanted… but dealing with the IRS just requires a bit of patience ;)

      Reply
  52. Hi Matt,

    Thank you again for your detailed instructions.

    For your information, I, as a non-US resident, got an EIN for my LLC without having SSN or ITIN. I left 7b blank and in 9a, under other (specify), I wrote: disregarded entity-sole proprietorship. I sent the application by fax and took 16 days to get EIN by fax. On the next day, I also received the EIN by post.

    Reply
    • Hi Paata, thanks for your comment. That is helpful to know. We’re happy to hear that you got an EIN for your LLC so quickly.

      Reply
  53. Estimado Matt, perdón pero vuestro amigo Gary no responde mis correos.
    Necesito formar una LLC de extranjeros no residentes de un sólo miembro.
    Mi dirección foránea, debe figurar en el estatuto o en el SS4 para quedar exento del pago de impuestos? O la exención de impuestos se realiza con las declaracioen o formularios anuales directamente?
    Sé que no pueden aconsejar, pero cualquier insinuación o “yo creo que” que puedan darme, se los agradeceré eternamente.
    Tengo a la gente de Northwest esperando mi orden porque no se si poner mi dirección real o no y no consigo nadie que me ayude con este tema. No sé si DEBO poner mi dirección real además de la del agente o no, para poder gozar de la exención de impuestos.
    si algún lector tiene la respuesta, agradezco eternamente me respondan!!!

    Muchas gracias y perdón si molesto, pero entre el idioma y la distancia, es más difícil aún.

    Quedo atenta!!

    Reply
    • Hola Nati, entiendo completamente las diferencias de idioma y la falta de información en el internet. No tienes que pagar impuestos estadounidenses si no existe un un requisito para pagar impuestos. Eso se basa en los hechos, no en la dirección utilizada en el Form SS-4. En realidad, la dirección utilizada en el Form SS-4 es simplemente una “mailing address” y no una dirección de oficina oficial. Dicho de otra manera, no proporciona información al IRS sobre el requisito de presentación de impuestos. Por lo tanto, no importa si usa una dirección de EE. UU. En SS-4 o una internacional. Espero que sea de ayudas.

      Reply
  54. Hi Matt,
    Your website is amazing; very useful information!
    I am wondering, is there any update regarding the delay (due to Covid-19) in processing EINs for foreign entities (I am in Netherlands). I faxed my SS-4 on 19 August, so about 12 weeks ago.
    Many thanks for your response.

    Reply
    • Did you call them? I mean IRS I called them and they told me “you need to wait one month more” due to COVID19.

      Reply
    • Hi Sebastian, the latest “official” update we’ve heard is that it can take 45 business days, which is about 6.5 weeks. However, since yours is taking longer, we recommend calling the IRS and requesting an EIN Verification Letter (147C). Hope that helps.

      Reply
    • Did you ever receive your EIN? I mailed mine end of August and have not heard back. Anyone heard back from August?

      Reply
      • Hi Tamanda, I did not recieve a response since August. However, I used the services of usacorpsvcs on Fiverr and got my EIN in 5 days for just 20 US$.

        Reply
        • Hi Sebastian, we generally do not recommend using Fiverr for things like, however, we just reviewed Sydney’s profile (usacorpsvcs), and she certainly has experience working with the IRS. I’m concerned about who is listed as the EIN Responsible Party though. Did you receive an EIN Confirmation Letter (CP 575)? If yes, what does it say at the top of the letter… what’s the name, the title, and the address?

          Reply
  55. Hello Matt and thanks for your job.

    I have found some people who get their EIN through fiverr in just 2 or 3 days for 15/20 dollars.

    What do you think about this method?

    Isn’t it risky to give our information like that?

    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Thanks Michel! I think this sounds absolutely crazy! We don’t recommend any such thing. Furthermore, there is absolutely no way a non-US resident (who doesn’t have an SSN or ITIN) can get an EIN in 2-3 days. Hope that helps :)

      Reply
  56. Hey Matt!
    I need your advice :)
    I sent SS4 form via Fax (Hellofax) and forgot to write down my Fax number :)
    What should I do?
    Thank you!

    Reply
  57. I am a Nigerian presently in Virginia and I am wondering if I can get ein number by filling the SS4 form or not

    Reply
    • Hello, yes, you can get an EIN by filing Form SS-4. The instructions are above on this page.

      Reply
  58. Hi Matt,

    Thank you so very much for such an amazing article and detailed instructions, your effort is highly appreciated. I just have a few questions:

    1- I’m not a US citizen, i’m a foreigner and i live outside the US and i will form and register an LLC in the state of Wyoming, so regarding the 9b field, in the foreign country part, should i input my home country or leave it empty?

    2- In the #10 field; reason for applying, started a new business then specify type, I took a look at #16 and I’m not sure under which category my business falls, i will have an e-commerce online store, drop shipping products like apparel, accessories, sporting goods…etc, so could you please help me identify my business category? is it retail or something else? please advise!

    3- in the #17 field; indicate principal line of merchandise sold, what should i input there?

    Thank you
    Best Regards,
    Mohamed

    Reply
    • Hi Mohamed, you are very welcome :)

      9b – State
      You will enter “Wyoming”.

      9b – Foreign country
      Don’t enter anything here. Leave this blank.

      (Foreign country should only be used for companies created outside of the United States).

      10 – Reason for applying
      Started new business (specify type) > You can enter something like “Online retail”. You don’t need to list everything.

      16 – Check one box that best describes the principal activity of your business.
      You can check off “Other (specify)” and enter “Online retail” again.

      17 – Indicate principal line of merchandise sold, specific construction work done, products produced, or services provided.
      You can enter something like “Apparel, accessories, and sporting goods”.

      Hope that helps!

      Reply
      • Hi Matt,

        Thank you so very much for your answers, i really appreciate it.

        God Bless

        Best Regards

        Reply
          • Hi Matt,

            Once again, thank you so very much for this resourceful site, it has a ton of useful information.

            I have a question about the EIN, i was just having a conversation with my registered agent and they told me that the IRS only accepts mail applications right now, not fax applications and that the mail applications may take from 45 to 90 days, please verify this information.

            Thank you

            Reply
            • Hi Mohamed, you’re very welcome! The information you received is not correct. Form SS-4 can be faxed to the IRS (or it can be mailed). Right now it takes approximately 45 business days to be approved. It can be a little bit longer though due to the delays the IRS is facing at this time.

              Reply
              • Hi Matt,

                Thank you for the reply.

                It’s ok, i misunderstood the conversation i had with my registered agent, the IRS does accept both fax and mail applications and yes it may take from 45 days to 90 days due to covid.

                Thank you again

                Reply
              • Hi Matt,

                I just filled out the SS-4 and i have one simple question, in the end of the form, the signature and date fields, they are not editable fields where i can type them on the computer, so do you mean print out the form after filling it out then write the signature and the date fields by hand? please advise

                Thank you
                Best Regards,
                Mohamed

                Reply
                • Hi Mohamed, yes, you can print the form out, sign it, and then scan it. The IRS doesn’t accept “digital” signatures.

                  Reply
  59. Hola Matt, amo tu sitio, haré un donativo con la primer venta de mi LLC!
    Tengo una consulta, soy extranjera no residente, tengo una LLC en Florida con mi agente registrado (Northwest) y ya presenté el SS-4
    Lo que me llama la atención es que en ningún momento, ni cuando registré la LLC ni en el formulario SS4 se me pidió mi número de documento, pasaporte o información más personal. Sólo mi nombre y dirección (yo usé la del agente en todo)
    Entonces, en qué momento justifico que la LLC es mía y no de alguien más con mi mismo nombre, por ejemplo?

    Muchas gracias!

    Reply
    • Hola NS, me alegra que te guste el sitio. No es necesario que dar el número de pasaporte ni ninguna otra identificación. Tu eres el miembro de la LLC (el dueño) cuando firma el Acuerdo Operativo de la LLC (aka LLC Operating Agreement) de la LLC. Yo sé que parece incorrecto, pero así es como funciona. Espero que eso to ayudas :)

      Reply
  60. Hi Matt – thank you for all the information on your site. I have 2 questions I’m looking for help with with respect to making investments in the US as a Canadian citizen and resident.
    A) In the EIN form, if I go with the default option of having my LLC taxed as a partnership now, am I going to be able to opt for taxation as a C-Corp at a later stage?
    B) Given the expected COVID led delays in getting EIN and setting up a bank account – do you know if I could simply wire the funds directly from my Canadian bank account to the investee company? The Articles of Organization for the LLC (through which I’d like to channel this investment) state I am a member/owner in this entity? Could this provide sufficient trail/reference for source of funds for IRS or any other government agency if and when they need it?

    Reply
    • Hi Azra, we recommend speaking with an accountant, as typically, Canadians with US LLCs pay “double tax” (once to the IRS and again to the CRA). However, based on A, it sounds like you may know that ;) A) Yes, the LLC can elect C-Corp taxation at any time in the future. B) We can’t comment on specifics here, however, this likely won’t hold weight. You’d want the LLC to be sending the wire. Hope that helps.

      Reply
  61. Hey Matt,
    Thank you very much for this website, this is the most complete website I have seen on LLC’s !! You just made me save 200$ on the EIN application that Northwest Agent charges for Non-US citizens !
    Do you know when the form 5472 and 1120 are due ? Do I need to fill them in if my LLC is incorporated in New Mexico (where no information needs to be reported) ?
    Thanks !

    Reply
  62. Hi Matt,
    Thank you for your info which is super useful.
    I have sent the fax to IRS for an EIN, and now been waiting for their approval. However, I did not include any support documents (LLC forming documents). Will my application be rejected because of that? What should I do now?
    Thank you for your advice, Mat.
    Best,
    Nga Le

    Reply
    • Hi Nga, you’re very welcome. Sometimes the IRS approves the SS-4 without the LLC formation document and sometimes they reject the SS-4. It’s best to wait for a response from the IRS (instead of filing the SS-4 again).

      Reply
  63. Hello Matt,

    What an amazing website you had built. My congratulations to you and your team, if any, and thanks for sharing all this knowledge.

    I have a quick question, what happens if a person who is not a member nor the manager of the LLC applied as the Responsible Party?

    I hope you have a wonderful end of year.

    Thank you.

    Reply
  64. You are great, great, great. I am a non-resident alien forming an LLC for e-commerce. Your guideline is just amazing. Many many thanks for your effort Matt.

    Best Wishes
    Burhan

    Reply
  65. Anyone got their EIN after applying around August? I mailed mine end of August ro be be shipped to a US address and have not heard back

    Reply
  66. Hi Matt,

    Thank you so much for sharing an excellent info really appreciated for the great effort.

    I have couple of questions
    1: I am canadian Citizen owned a corporation in canada ontario wanted to start Amazon business in US as per bank they required EIN number please advise me all the steps you mentioned for LLC would be the same for corporation.
    2: Is there any faster way to get an EIN number either email or over the phone, please advise
    3: Do I need to fill 8832 form or write 1120 instead

    Thank you once again

    Reply
    • Hi Faisal, if you are requesting an EIN for your Canadian Corporation (aka “Foreign Corporation” to the IRS), then the process is similar. You’d still complete Form SS-4, however, how you answer a few of the questions will be different. And you can actually use the IRS International Department phone line (267-941-1099) since your Foreign Corporation is applying for the EIN. It’s best to fill out SS-4 by hand to be familiar with everything, then call the IRS. They will pretty much be asking you to answer things you fill into Form SS-4.

      Reply
  67. Thanks Matt for that great article!

    It’s a bit of a bummer foreigners can’t do it online or by email. Can you use an online printing and mailing service like letterstream.com?

    Reply
    • Hi Nick, you’re very welcome! Yes, you can certainly complete Form SS-4 and mail it to the IRS via LetterStream. Foreigners definitely can’t complete the process online. And the IRS doesn’t do anything via email, even for US citizens.

      Reply
  68. Hi!
    The information you provided is amazing.
    Thank you very much♥♥

    I have a couple of questions, please help me out.
    1. The fax number using which I will be faxing to IRS and IRS will fax me back,
    does it need to be a toll-free number for IRS to fax me back or local number work the same?
    2. If I fax the form on 10th of January 2021 and after a week I call and ask for a copy of my EIN Verification Letter (147C) from the IRS for my LLC will they give it to me( if not one week, how long should I wait)

    Thank you very much.

    Reply
    • Hi Sony, you’re very welcome! The fax number doesn’t have to be toll-free, but it does have to be a US fax number. You’ll need to wait 45 business days before calling and requesting an EIN Confirmation Letter (147C). Hope that helps :)

      Reply
  69. Hey Matt

    Thank you so much for the great article!
    I want to ask you if you got similar complaints regarding what PJ commented below?
    Thank you

    PJ Jones, December 10, 2020:
    “Hi Matt, you’re a godsend. Love your mission statement and how you’re always up to date! Another foreign applicant here.

    I called the IRS as you suggested (1.2 months after fax), and the agent corroborated the 45 business days and said they had released a Memo and are requiring more paperwork from foreign applicants. He said, some will get rejected if it appears they are filing the LLC to avoid taxes in their home country ( no nexus in the US). He mentioned KYC procedures, including an ITIN, which he added, you can not apply for “just to open a business bank account”. Was he scaring me, or will my application be rejected? (I added my (4) admin address in the US, but also my (5) physical address outside the US (my home). Also, will the fact that I formed in WY hold less weight than Delaware?”

    Reply
    • Hi BM, no, this is the only time we’ve heard this. We don’t have any updates on this and I’m not sure it’s correct. If anything does change and there are any issues for non-US residents obtaining an EIN, we will update this page right away.

      Reply
  70. Hey Matt!
    I hope you are doing well!
    So here what happened.
    I sent SS4 Form like 2 month ago today I found out in IRS that they do not have my form in the database.
    What should I do?

    Reply
    • Hi Rocky, the IRS is backed up and things are taking longer than usual. After 45 business days after the date you sent the SS-4, you can call to request a 147C, EIN Verification Letter (while you wait for the CP 575, EIN Confirmation Letter). It sounds like you already did that. What date did you send SS-4 to the IRS? Did you mail it or fax it?

      Reply
      • Thanks for reply!
        I sent on November 5th.
        So 45 business days has passed.
        I called the IRS and they told me to hold on the line while they will check the status of my document.
        I sent it via Fax and I used Helloing service.
        I asked them how come they do not have me in database they said try again and resend it :(

        Reply
        • Hi Rocky, 45 business days (including holidays) from November 5th is January 15th. I’m not sure what day you called, but it might be a good idea to call again this week and see if the EIN has been processed and to see if you can get an EIN Verification Letter (147C). The IRS is generally very good about not losing applications. Let me know if you hear anything new this week.

          Reply
          • Hello Matt,
            Thank you for this superb information 👏 ❤. You are awesome!
            The same thing happened to me as Rocky stated. But wanted to follow up on this.
            So I applied on Nov 10 with the 45 business days it is due on Jan 21. Anyways, I contacted IRS last Friday and I received the same reply as Rocky but just decided to wait a little longer and see what happens. Reading Rocky’s comment confirms that there are a lot of us waiting for the EIN that applied in early Nov.
            Rocky could you please update us if you received the EIN or applied again?

            Reply
  71. I’m non-resident alien. 3 years ago I’ve obtained EIN form IRS as a foreign individual by phone calling for selling on Amazon. I’ve now formed single member LLC in Wyoming and I need EIN for my LLC.
    Should I list the EIN I’ve obtained by phone on line 7b or enter “Foreign” like the guide?
    Thank you

    Reply
    • Hi Ankush, that will most likely get rejected. While 7b does say “SSN, ITIN, or EIN”, the IRS made changes a couple years ago (see IRS May 2019 update to EIN) where you can no longer enter an EIN on SS-4. I know, it sounds funny since the form still says “SSN, ITIN, or EIN”, but the IRS didn’t update the form yet. You can try it, but I think it’s better to go with “Foreign” for line 7b. Hope that helps.

      Reply
  72. An amazing article with detailed information. Thanks for sharing.
    God bless you.

    Reply
  73. Hey Matt :)
    I want to apply for the EIN by fax, but waiting time of 45 business days is not acceptable to my company, considering the fact that even after that the request may get rejected…

    Is there a way to pay a premium to get the EIN faster?

    Or is it legitimate to use my American friend SSN to obtain my EIN?

    Reply
    • Hi Itay, no, there is no such thing as an expedited EIN for non-US residents. It is not legitimate to use a friend’s SSN to get your EIN. There is no other legal method besides what is presented on this page.

      Reply
  74. Do you also include a copy of your government ID when faxing to IRS? otherwise how to prove your identity as the responsible party?

    Reply
  75. I accidentally sent a corrupted ss4 form, and then I sent again the correct ss4 form to the IRS fax.

    Do you think that will cause problems?

    Reply
  76. Yesterday i had faxed the SS4 form and certificate of formation to IRS. Only to notice i sent the certificate that is not yet been stamped by the state.

    What should i do now? the fax had already sent successfully yesterday together with the certificate of formation that is without stamp. Only my signature and my registered agent’s signature in that certificate.

    Reply
    • Hi Janine, that SS-4 application will just get rejected. When you send the fax again with the stamped and approved Certificate of Formation and SS-4, you can also include a letter letting them know about the mistake that was made with the first fax. You can include that on an additional page. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or official. Just describe what happened, include your name and title (ex: Janine Smith, Member), and your phone number. Hope that helps.

      Reply
  77. Hey Matt,

    I am non US citizen and in 2009 I’ve been in USA for 3 months with J1 temporary student visa. That visa gave me possibility to work so I applied for SSN. They gave me SSN number, but as it’s long time ago I cannot find the card anymore. I have 3 questions:
    1- would that SSN still be valid and could be used to form LLC and file for EIN?
    2- if that SSN is still valid on my name, but I don’t know or can’t find it, is there a problem if I apply for LLC and EIN without it?
    3- is there a chance I could get a copy or find my SSN from the authorities, without having to go to USA?
    Thanks a lot

    Reply

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