How to Get an EIN from Outside the U.S.

How to Get an EIN

How to Get an EIN from Outside the U.S.

We’ve received a lot of questions from our non-U.S. customers lately about how to go about obtaining an EIN (employer identification number) if you are not a U.S. citizen and are outside the U.S. There are a few services out there that will do this for you, but at insane prices! We’ve broken this down for everyone as the process can be a little sticky at best, and a nightmare at worst! (Note: If you’re already in the U.S. you can get an EIN online in about 5 minutes through the IRS website.)

Why Do I Need an EIN?

An EIN is a tax identification number that the IRS (internal revenue service) uses to track and receive income taxes for businesses. There are two main reasons you will need an EIN as an Amazon seller. First, Amazon requires some sort of tax id when creating a professional sellers account in the United States. If you’re outside the U.S., you most likely won’t have a social security number (SSN) or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN), so you will need to enter an EIN for your business. Second, in order to import goods into the United States you will either need a tax id (SSN, ITIN, or EIN), or you can file some complicated forms with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. In our experience, it is much easier (and cheaper) to get an EIN in order to import, but we wanted to let you know there are other options.

How Do I Get an EIN?

Obtaining your EIN can be complicated, and there are many services out there that will do it for you, charging upwards of $500! Follow the steps below and save yourself some money!

Step 1: Get a U.S. Mailing Address

The first thing you’ll need is a mailing address in the U.S. If you’re an Amazon seller outside the U.S. you probably don’t have one of these. You can get a nice friend to loan you theirs, or pay a service to receive mail for you/your company. We researched a few of the biggest providers of U.S. mailing addresses and USAMail1 was our favorite. They had great user reviews, and very reasonable pricing at just $10 per month. They’ll hold your mail/packages for you, and forward them to you whenever you request.

Step 2: Fill Out IRS Form SS-4

The form you need to fill out to obtain an EIN is the SS-4. The form can be found on the IRS website, and the instructions can be found here. The caveat with this form is you won’t actually need to file it, so don’t stress too much about having everything perfect, you’ll just need the information when you call to get your EIN. (Note: You can fill out the SS-4 and mail it to the IRS. They will take 30 days to have an EIN created and mailed to your U.S. address, and if there are any errors on the form it will most likely get rejected. It is much easier to just call and get your EIN instantly.)

Step 3: Call the IRS

Once you have a U.S. address and form SS-4 filled out it’s time to call the IRS and get your EIN. This call WILL take close to an hour, including hold time, and the number is not toll-free, so be prepared. We recommend using a service like Google Voice or Skype for cheap international calling. The number to call is +1 267 941 1099. Keep in mind this is not a 24 hour phone line. The hours of operation are between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (GMT – 5:00), Monday through Friday.
You’ll need to press 1 for a foreign EIN, and then hold anywhere between 15 and 45 minutes (don’t run out of Skype credit!) When you finally get an agent on the phone let them know you need an EIN for a foreign sole proprietorship. The agent will most likely ask if you have filled out form SS-4, and then proceed to ask a few more simple questions about your business. Once you have answered all of the questions the agent will issue you an EIN that you can begin to use immediately. Write your EIN down and don’t lose it. You will not be mailed a copy for a few weeks, and even then it will be to your U.S. address.

Step 4: Use Liberally!

Now that you have an EIN go to town! You’ll be ready to set up your U.S. based Amazon seller account, import goods into the U.S. and lots of other great things. Now that you’re all set, click here to start an order with us!


Have a question? Contact our customer service agents at support@fbaforward.com.

A Guide to Applying for an EIN or Employment Identification Number Outside of the USA

Comments (52)

  • Tuhung Reply

    Hi FBA forward:
    I want to ship twenty-feet-containers from Taiwan to Amazon, but i
    don’t know how to do. Can i ship twenty-feet-container to Amazon by individual or company?
    Thank you for your further reply.

    Thank you
    Tuhung

    July 27, 2016 at 8:54 am
    • Caitlin Donnelly Reply

      Hi Tuhung,

      Each situation is unique and there will be a few steps you need to take in between. Please contact our customer service representatives by filling out a contact form, emailing us at support@fbaforward.com, or calling us at (866) 526-3951. We can walk you through the process!

      Thank you,

      FBAforward

      July 29, 2016 at 10:20 am
    • Aly Reply

      How can I Get in touch with you as we are somewhat in the same process .

      January 25, 2017 at 7:52 pm
  • Hung Reply

    Hi,

    Do i really need EIN to start being international Amazon Seller (i am outside USA)? I am getting my own UPC via GS1

    Please reply soon

    August 24, 2016 at 7:02 pm
    • Caitlin Donnelly Reply

      Hi,

      You will still need an EIN to act as your tax ID for importing products into the US and to register for a professional seller account on Amazon (if you do not have a social security number or individual taxpayer identification number).

      Let us know if you have any more questions! We also offer shipping and customs support, and other FBA logistics services if you need further assistance with your shipment.

      Have a great day,
      FBAforward

      August 25, 2016 at 11:47 am
  • Mattia Reply

    Hey,

    Great article 🙂
    We live outside the U.S. and want to start soon importing in order to sell via AMZ FBA. My question:

    We have neither an EIN nor an ITIN. Does it make any difference which kind of tax ID number we apply for?

    Background:
    I saw that on the W-8BEN form, which we have to fill in during the Amazon Seller’s Account registration, you can either give an EIN or an ITIN. So I was not sure if it makes any difference.

    Look forward to receive your reply.

    August 30, 2016 at 5:54 pm
    • Ryan Reply

      Hi Mattia,

      Either one will work for your business, but we recommend an EIN. EIN’s are for companies (even sole proprietors) while ITIN’s are for individuals. Typically the process is much quicker and easier for an EIN than an ITIN. Let us know if you have any other questions!

      FBAforward Support Team
      support@fbaforward.com

      August 31, 2016 at 9:13 am
  • Azman Reply

    Hi,
    Really a well put together article.
    I live outside USA and don’t have a sole proprietorship or company either. Can I get EIN as a foreign individual to start doing FBA in US while residing outside US.

    And if ask my supplier to use courier air express- DHL or Fedex to directly ship to Amazon FBA. In that case do I still need EIN.

    Actually, I want to test and try the Amazon FBA without establishing a sole proprietorship or company first hand.

    Thanks

    September 2, 2016 at 11:37 pm
    • Ryan Reply

      Hi Azman,

      Operating as a sole proprietor is essentially operating as an individual, so that’s the path I would take in your situation. Also, we don’t recommend shipping directly from your supplier to FBA. While this can work, your supplier must get everything right, including importer of record, consignee, and prepaying the customs duties. If all of this isn’t done, Amazon will reject the shipment all the way back to the supplier. Additionally, your supplier may or may not ask for it, but you legally need an EIN in order to import into the U.S. Let us know how we can be of assistance!

      FBAforward Support Team
      support@fbaforward.com

      September 5, 2016 at 8:48 pm
      • Richard Reply

        Hi Ryan,

        I am in the same situation as Azman.

        My supplier has been shipping goods through to FBA for me for a while now.

        There hasn’t been a single issue with customs etc.

        I was wondering: Can I as a Sole Proprietor from a Non-US based company apply for a EIN number in order to apply for State Nexus Tax registration which needs to be paid based on my FBA inventory?

        Also being all of the above. Does this mean I have to pay for Federal Income Tax as well? and if yes, would I just do a personal income statement?

        Thank you

        December 13, 2016 at 8:39 am
  • Oleg Reply

    Hi,
    Once i get my EIN will i still be needing the US mailing address? Can i cancel my USAMail1 service?

    Thanks.

    September 16, 2016 at 9:43 am
    • Ryan Reply

      Hi Oleg,

      We recommend keeping the address, at least for a few months, in case the IRS needs to contact you about anything else. Make sure to file a change of address form if you decide to cancel the service!

      Thanks,

      Ryan
      FBAforward Support

      September 18, 2016 at 11:55 pm
  • Puja Reply

    Hi,
    Do Canadians need an EIN as well?
    Our company is incorporated in Canada.
    Thanks
    Puja

    September 20, 2016 at 6:34 am
    • Caitlin Donnelly Reply

      Hi Puja,

      You will need an EIN if you do not already have a SSN or ITIN.

      Let us know if you have any other questions!

      Best,

      FBAforward Support Team

      September 21, 2016 at 11:32 am
    • Sanjay Reply

      Hi Puja,

      Good to see a Canadian on this forum. I am planning to start my Amazon FBA business to sell physical products on Amazon USA website only. May I know if you started out as Sole Proprietorship and later on Incorporated OR Did you Incorporate from the get-go? Your insights would help. Thanks!

      January 20, 2017 at 12:35 pm
  • Arturo Reply

    Hello,

    great article, but why would you need a U.S. mailing address? If I apply via fax for example, would I need anything else than a fax number? Whats the point to get that mailing address?

    Thanks.

    September 24, 2016 at 7:04 am
    • Caitlin Donnelly Reply

      Hi Arturo,

      It is an IRS requirement to have a US mailing address.

      Thank you,
      FBAforward Support Team

      September 27, 2016 at 12:40 pm
      • Antony Reply

        Hi there,

        The form instructions state we can enter a foreign address. As you mentioned, having a US address is an IRS requirement. Does that mean if I followed their instructions and used a Canadian address, and then called the IRS (as per your instructions), they would would deny my application?

        “Lines 4a–b. Mailing address. Enter the mailing address for
        the entity’s correspondence. If the entity’s address is outside the
        United States or its possessions, you must enter the city,
        province or state, postal code, and the name of the country.
        Don’t abbreviate the country name.

        Lines 5a–b. Street address. Provide the entity’s physical
        address only if different from its mailing address shown in lines
        4a–b. Don’t enter a P.O. box number here. If the entity’s address
        is outside the United States or its possessions, you must enter
        the city, province or state, postal code, and the name of the
        country. Don’t abbreviate the country name.”

        Thanks in advance for your help!

        October 31, 2016 at 8:45 pm
  • Mejba Reply

    Hey,
    i am filling out this form https://sa.www4.irs.gov/modiein/individual/please-tell.jsp

    SSN/ITIN* is mandatory!

    September 27, 2016 at 6:53 am
    • Caitlin Donnelly Reply

      Hi Mejba,

      You can only fill out the online form if you are a US citizen. For all international applicants, you must call the IRS.

      Thank you,
      FBAforward Support Team

      September 27, 2016 at 12:39 pm
  • maria Reply

    Hi there.., you said I can use a friend’s mail, can I also use their EIN if they are willing to give it away?

    September 27, 2016 at 7:53 am
    • Caitlin Donnelly Reply

      Hi Maria,

      You should use your own EIN. Once you have a US mailing address, the application for acquiring an EIN is pretty quick!

      Thank you,
      FBAforward Support Team

      September 27, 2016 at 12:41 pm
  • Moses Reply

    Hi,
    Can the EIN be used in opening Bank account in the United States for non US based entities?
    Also, will there be need for some sort of filing and paying tax to the IRS for example if you trade on Amazon for non US companies?

    Thank

    September 27, 2016 at 2:20 pm
    • Caitlin Donnelly Reply

      Hi Moses,

      Yes, you can use an EIN to open a bank account in the US for non-US entities. You may or may not have certain tax reporting requirements because you are selling on Amazon.com. Your EIN will be your reporting identification number. We recommend contacting a local tax professional to get expert advice on your country’s tax reporting requirements.

      Best,
      FBAforward Support Team

      September 28, 2016 at 10:21 am
  • PS Global Reply

    Hi there,

    We live outside of US, and currently trying to become AMZ Vendor.
    We are having difficulties trying to get registered on Amazon Vendor Express because it requires a Federal Tax ID, in the format: xx-xxxxxxx. Do you have any good suggestions?

    TIA,
    PS Global

    September 28, 2016 at 4:31 am
    • Caitlin Donnelly Reply

      Hi PS Global,

      The EIN will be in the format of xx-xxxxxxx, so that will probably be the best option for you. It’ll be useful when importing products into the US and signing up for any kind of Amazon seller service.

      Best,
      FBAforward Support Team

      September 28, 2016 at 10:09 am
      • PS Gobal Reply

        Hi Caitllin,

        Thank you for the prompt reply. With EIN registered, does that mean we would be required to e-file taxes on a yearly basis subsequently?

        TIA,
        PS Global

        September 28, 2016 at 7:48 pm
        • Caitlin Donnelly Reply

          Hi PS Global,

          As an international seller, you will typically need to provide Amazon with Form W-8BEN if you are living in a country that has a US tax treaty. We recommend consulting local tax and regulatory advisers for further advice.

          Best,
          FBAforward Support Team

          September 29, 2016 at 11:13 am
  • Angelina Veronica Reply

    I am not us cityzen should i fill out this form to get the Ein.
    https://sa.www4.irs.gov/modiein/individual/please-tell.jsp

    October 11, 2016 at 9:55 am
    • Ryan Reply

      Hi Angelina,

      International companies and individuals cannot use the online form you linked to. You’ll need to call in to apply for your EIN. Let us know if we can help you in any way!

      Best regards,
      FBAforward Support Team

      October 11, 2016 at 2:34 pm
  • Vania Reply

    Hi! I have a question about the SS-4 format that I’m filling out. In space number six of the format it says county and state where the principal business is located. Would this be referring to my location or the mailing address I provided? Also, do I need an ITIN to obtain my EIN? There is a space in this form that asks you for Name of responsible party (7a) and their corresponding SSN, ITIN or EIN.

    October 13, 2016 at 7:58 am
  • Danel Reply

    Hi FBA Forwarder:

    I have proceeded with this information, but at the end they ask for SSN number, which i can’t provide, so i am stuck their and they got rejected my application. So what should i do ?

    October 14, 2016 at 6:32 pm
    • Caitlin Donnelly Reply

      Hi Danel,

      You will need to call the IRS in order to apply for an EIN. The online application is only for residents of the US who can provide a SSN.

      Best,
      FBAforward Support Team

      October 26, 2016 at 11:46 am
  • Mitch Reply

    Hello,

    I have a registered company in Canada. I plan on eventually upgraded to an incorporated company. At that point will I need to change my EIN as well?

    Also is there anything shady about using a friend’s US address or even a pay service US address like you recommended? I want to make sure that I will not be doing anything that could get me in trouble down the road.

    Thanks

    Mitch

    October 24, 2016 at 7:27 am
    • Ryan Reply

      Hi Mitch,

      The EIN application asks what kind of business entity you have, so you’ll need to either apply for a new one or update your entity type with the IRS. Also, there is nothing shady with using another address. It’s like renting a PO box to receive mail. The IRS just needs a U.S. address to send your mail to.

      Let us know if we can help with anything else.

      Thanks,

      Ryan
      support@fbaforward.com

      November 14, 2016 at 5:27 pm
  • Kyla Reply

    Hi!

    I have a SSN because I used to live in the US (not a citizen or resident), but currently live overseas. Will that work? Or will I still need an EIN?

    Thanks!

    October 28, 2016 at 6:06 am
    • Ryan Reply

      Hi Kyla,

      You can use an SSN (or any U.S. tax ID for that matter) to import into the U.S. Let us know if we can help with anything else!

      Thanks,

      Ryan
      support@fbaforward.com

      November 14, 2016 at 5:25 pm
  • Yousef Alj Reply

    Hello,

    Thanks for publishing this article.

    Does this same process apply if one is a foreigner looking to incorporate an LLC in the U.S? More specifically, myself and two partners (one partner is a foreigner from my home country and the other partner is a US citizen) are looking to incorporate an LLC in the state of Utah. How would this process change? I tried calling the listed number but can not seem to get through.

    Thanks in advance,

    Y.J

    November 7, 2016 at 10:18 am
  • johnny Reply

    Good day

    i registered a seller account with amazon as a foreign individual.
    i had to complete a tax interview questions section on amazon’s website.

    as the end of these questions i had to complete a W-8BEN form and submitted it on amazon’s website.
    on the website it says that amazon submits all the relevant information to the IRS on my behalf.

    I did not receive an EIN number form them, do i sitll need one?

    November 13, 2016 at 6:21 am
    • Ryan Reply

      Hi Johnny,

      Amazon will let you create a seller account without an EIN. However, to legally import goods into the United States you need either a tax ID (EIN, TIN, etc.) or a Foreign IMporter Number. Of these options, the EIN is usually the easiest and quickest way to go.

      Let us know if you need help with anything else!

      Thanks,

      Ryan
      support@fbaforward.com

      November 14, 2016 at 5:23 pm
  • Aditya Reply

    Hi,

    I have registered a seller account with Amazon.com, where they did not ask me for an EIN or anything. I just had to make a declaration that I’m not a US citizen as part of the Tax Interview.

    As I understand it, the EIN is necessary if one is operating via the FBA model and not necessary if one is fulfilling orders directly. Is this correct?

    Thanks!

    November 13, 2016 at 11:46 pm
    • Ryan Reply

      Hi Johnny,

      Amazon will let you create a seller account without an EIN. However, to legally import goods into the United States you need either a tax ID (EIN, TIN, etc.) or a Foreign Importer Number. Of these options, the EIN is usually the easiest and quickest way to go.

      An EIN is necessary to import, regardless of whether you are using FBA or another fulfillment model.

      Let us know if you need help with anything else!

      Thanks,

      Ryan
      support@fbaforward.com

      November 14, 2016 at 5:24 pm
  • Yousof Reply

    Hi,

    Can’t you as the all in shipping and prepping service act as the ultimate consignee for international sellers without them having to have EIN ?

    November 26, 2016 at 5:02 pm
  • Walter Reply

    I am not a US resident and do not have a US address, I would liket to setup a dropshipping site in the US, Do i still need to have the EIN number. The website will be operated from overseas and the order fulfillment would be done by a dropshipper. Could you please advise how to go about?

    December 7, 2016 at 7:08 pm
    • Caitlin Donnelly Reply

      Hello Walter,

      You will still need an EIN for importing your goods and for tax purposes if you are selling on Amazon.

      Best,
      FBAforward Support Team

      December 12, 2016 at 11:50 am
  • Marcus Reply

    Hi there

    I am a non U.S citizen.

    I am confused about wether it is mandatory to provide a SSN which i do not have .
    Now i understand it is mandatory to provide SSN if you want to apply for anEIN online but if you are not from the USA you just call the IRS and state you are not a citizen in the US and they will give you an EIN without further asking?

    thank you for the help

    June 30, 2017 at 4:26 am
    • Marcus Reply

      i do not have a TIN or ITIN either!

      June 30, 2017 at 4:41 am
    • Caitlin Donnelly Reply

      Marcus,

      You are correct. The IRS does not have support for international EIN application online. As long as you have the information from the application ready, they can provide one to you over the phone without an SSN.

      July 3, 2017 at 1:54 pm
  • daniel Reply

    Hello,
    I,m from Spain and I just make a LLC in Delaware and now I need to obtain the EIN number and SS4 form for Amazon but I want to ask you if I need a mail adress in Delaware o is not important the State where I found the mail adress.
    Best Regards,
    Daniel

    July 17, 2017 at 5:08 am
    • Caitlin Donnelly Reply

      Hi Daniel,

      Your mailing address just needs to be in the US, so it does not need to be in Delaware.

      July 17, 2017 at 8:59 am
  • Vinay Reply

    Hi thanks for this wonderful post, very concise and to the point. I’m in UK and wanted EIN and going through the ss-4 guidance form I saw that having US mailing address wasn’t a necessity so I just followed step 2 and 3 and got my EIN in under 15 minutes.

    July 27, 2017 at 1:04 am

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