Forming an LLC—International Founders
US individuals that form an LLC probably do not give a lot of thought to opening a bank account for their new business, however for foreign individuals forming an LLC the process is not that straight-forward. First, the LLC must obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN), but must do so without the required “responsible party” who must make the application. Second, the individuals will need to personally appear at the bank to open the account, which could require a special visit to the US.
To receive an EIN, the applicant needs to file the IRS’s Form SS-4 and indicate a “responsible party” (i.e. a Member of the LLC) with a Social Security Number (SSN). This can be done online in a matter of minutes if the LLC has a responsible party with an SSN, however if the only responsible parties are foreign individuals, and thus without SSN’s, the foreign individuals must go through a few extra steps. First, they should find a lawyer to act as the Company’s third-party designee. The third-party designee would then prepare Form SS-4 and Form 8821, which needs to be signed by the Company’s president, and then fax the documents to the IRS at 1 (859) 669-5760. The designee should receive an EIN about a week later.
Once the LLC has been assigned an EIN, the foreign individuals must then physically appear at the bank to open an account. This is a consequence of recent “know your customer” procedures introduced to manage risks and guard against identity theft. Foreign individuals may be able to avoid the obligation to appear in the US if the bank has an international branch in the foreign country.Disclaimer: This blog and website are public sources of general information concerning our firm and its lawyers, as well as the information presented. They are intended, but not promised or guaranteed, to be correct, complete, and up-to-date as of the date posted. This blog and website are not intended to be, and are not, sources of legal opinion or advice. The materials, information, and communications on this blog and website do not apply to any particular person, entity, or situation, and do not apply to you or to your specific situation. You will need to consult with an attorney and/or other appropriate professional about your specific situation. Thank you.