Do I need a SSN to obtain an EIN?

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Our clients who are non-citizens or foreign workers have asked us, “Do I need a SSN to get an EIN?” To successfully apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN), applicants must have a valid tax ID. This includes Social Security Numbers (SSN), Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN), as well as another EIN belonging to an exiting legal entity. One of these three types of tax IDs will be required in an EIN application (Form SS-4).

Determining Eligibility

If you do not already have a SSN, you should determine if you are eligible to get one. If you are not, you will need to determine if you are eligibility to complete the ITIN application.

Only noncitizens with permission to work in the US by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can obtain a SSN. If you are an immigrant, you can apply for a SSN at the same time you apply for an immigrant visa with the US Department of State. Otherwise, you will need to obtain a SSN in person at the Social Security Office.

Foreign nationals, nonresident aliens, US resident aliens, as well as others who have tax reporting requirements are eligible to apply for an ITIN (Form W-7).

It is not possible to apply for an EIN without one of these tax IDs. Individuals lacking a SSN or ITIN will not posses the third alternative tax ID: an EIN number belonging to an existing legal entity in the US. Therefore, it is not possible to make this particular substitution for noncitizens on the EIN application. 


To be clear, when you apply for an EIN, you are not applying for a SSN. You will need a SSN or ITIN in order to apply for an EIN.

While there are some similarities between these two tax IDs, you should know that obtaining one is not the same as obtaining the other. Moreover, in this case, a SSN or ITIN must always precede the EIN application process.

Apply for EIN Online

Applying for a SSN or ITIN can be a lengthy process. Fortunately, you can make up lost time if you apply for an EIN online.

Applications performed over the phone or by mail can take weeks to complete. Our online application process is fast and streamlined. Plus, you can check your EIN status online anytime you need to.

Now that we’ve answered the question, “Do I need a SSN to get an EIN?” we hope you file using our simplified forms and expedited service.

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