If you’re a foreign person owning, operating, or otherwise doing business in the United States, you may be wondering if you’re eligible to obtain a Federal Employment Identification Number (FEIN) and how to do it. The good news is that foreign persons who have a business or other tax-related activities in the United States are eligible for a FEIN. This includes individuals, corporations, partnerships, estates, and trusts.

The articles below explains how foreign persons can obtain a FEIN for their business and some ins-and-outs of the process.

  1. What is a Federal Employment Identification Number (FEIN)?

An FEIN is a nine-digit tax identification number used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify businesses for tax purposes. It is, in layman’s terms, a social security number for your business. If you’re a foreign person doing business in the United States, you may need a FEIN in order to pay taxes, open a bank account, hire employees, and more. An individual operating a business will need an FEIN if they answer yes to any of the questions the IRS has posted on their website.

  1. How to apply for a FEIN

There are three ways to apply for a FEIN: online, by fax, or by mail. The easiest and fastest way to apply is online through the IRS online EIN portal. Simply click on the “Apply for EIN Online”, follow the instructions, and provide the necessary information, including your name, business name, mailing address, a brief description of your business, and social security number (SSN) or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN).

You can also apply for a FEIN by fax or by mail. To apply by fax, download Form SS-4 from the IRS website, fill it out, and fax it to the number provided on the form. To apply by mail, download Form SS-4, fill it out, and mail it to the address provided on the form. Note that it may take several weeks to receive your FEIN if you apply by fax or by mail.

  1. Tips for applying for a FEIN

Here are some other tips to keep in mind when applying for a FEIN as a foreign person:

  • The difficulty in obtaining an EIN for foreign individuals is that the individual in question may not have an SSN or an ITIN. This is the part of the application that confuses most people who don’t have an SSN or ITIN and want to get an EIN for their business. It must be noted that you do not have to obtain a separate ITIN/SSN just for the purposes of filling out an EIN application. If you do not have an SSN or an ITIN, you will need to be aware of two things.
    • You must apply for the EIN via fax or mail. The online application will not be accepted.
    • On box 7b of the SS4, 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, but still wish to obtain an EIN for your entity.
  • Provide accurate and complete information on the application. Any mistakes or omissions could delay the processing of your application.
  • Be prepared to answer additional questions from the IRS. The IRS may contact you for more information after receiving your application, so be sure to keep your contact information up to date.
  • Consider hiring a legal professional to assist you with the application process. A legal professional can help ensure that your application is complete and accurate, and can answer any questions you may have about the process.
  1. Conclusion

Obtaining a Federal Employment Identification Number (FEIN) as a foreigner in the United States may seem daunting, but it’s an important step if you have a business or other tax-related activities. By following the steps outlined in this article and keeping these tips in mind, you can successfully apply for a FEIN and be on your way to running a successful business in the United States.

This blog is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This article, or contacting Apex, does not in any way form an attorney-client relationship. Speak to a licensed attorney if you need help or advice in how your organization should dissolve. If you have any questions or would like to learn more, please contact Coleman Scroggins at or visit our website.

Scroll to Top