Does one really need a SSN to obtain an EIN?

People often speak of the American Dream – the idea that you can create a better future for yourself through sheer hard work.

With the advent and rise of the internet, the American dream is becoming even more accessible to internet entrepreneurs from around the world. You could be in a cramped apartment in Hong Kong, or even a shanty town in the Philippines. But as long as you have a half decent internet connection, you’re likely to be able to work with and sell to people in America too.

One issue that may come up is that you’ll need a business registered in the US to do business with American suppliers. They’ll often ask for an EIN before even doing business with you.

So you may be wonder if you’ll be able to obtain a business EIN if you don’t have a Social Security number (SSN). The truth is, international entrepreneurs are still able to get an EIN or trust tax ID.

In this article, we’ll explore exactly how.

Common Misconception

Let’s bust a common misconception right out of the gate:

You do not need an SSN to apply for an EIN!

A non-U.S. citizen can get an EIN with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Now, you might be wondering, what the heck is an ITIN?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS, which is the tax authority in America) issues ITINs to tax payers who do not have an SSN. Often, people who don’t have SSNs are still responsible for tax returns and payments if they do business in the US.

Bottom line: Once you obtain an ITIN, obtaining a taxpayer ID for your business is simple.

Qualifying for an EIN

Aside from having an ITIN, you’ll need to get a few other things in order before applying for your EIN. Your business will need to be located in the U.S. or a U.S. Territory. Otherwise, you may need to get help from a third-party designee.

Getting Your EIN

If you’re wondering how to get a tax ID number in VA, you have a few options. You may apply by mail or fax. If you’re an international applicant, you can apply over the phone. However, the online application is by far the easiest method. The online application at is the fastest and most convenient way to get a tax ID for your company. All it takes is answering a few simple questions about your business and including your ITIN.


Hopefully you can now breathe a sigh of relief. Even if you can’t get an SSN, that doesn’t stop you from being able to start up a business in the U.S. However, you should bear in mind that there may be other obstacles to doing business in the U.S. Having an American bank account may also be an issue, as most banks require your physical presence when setting up a bank account. 

P.S. If you need assistance with any part of the process, contact IRS EIN Tax ID Filing Service.