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Open a US PayPal Account as a Non-Resident (without an SSN)

Open a US PayPal Account as a Non-Resident (without an SSN)

Accessing more online marketplaces and simplifying cross-border transactions are just a couple of the advantages of opening a US PayPal account. However, the procedure could seem difficult if you are a non-resident. But don't worry; this blog post attempts to give you thorough information on the process for non-residents to open a US PayPal account, the eligibility and requirements to meet, and any potential restrictions you could run into.

Veeresh G T
15
min read
Updated:
April 7, 2024
-
Published:
April 12, 2023

Table of Contents

Open a US PayPal Account as a Non-Resident (without an SSN)

Opening a PayPal account in the United States opens up a lot of opportunities for you and your business; there is no doubt about it. But the problem is, if you are not a citizen of the US, then creating and verifying your PayPal account is no less than a big hurdle, with a lot of uncertainties.

Continue reading this expert article written based on my and our team's extensive experience in international business and banking. We will guide you thoroughly on how to open a US PayPal account as a non-US resident, verify your account, and begin using it.

Can I open a US PayPal account as a non-resident?

Let's dive straight into the most important and frequently asked question, Can non-residents open a US PayPal account? The answer is yes. Non-residents can open a US PayPal account. PayPal doesn't impose strict residency requirements for creating an account. However, there are certain nuances and challenges you should be aware of and the same will be covered in this article for you.

To assure you again, if you are a foreign non-resident, you can and are allowed to open a PayPal account in the US.

Benefits of a US PayPal account for non-residents

Whether your business is e-commerce, digital marketing, property management, agency services, etc., opening a US PayPal account lets you feel the ease of running your business while accessing the world's most advanced and secure US banking and financial infrastructure, all at your fingertips online.

  • When you open a US PayPal account, you will be able to link your bank account directly to PayPal. In addition, you can connect your US credit card directly to your PayPal account when you open a US PayPal account, providing similar security and efficiency benefits to connecting your bank account. Platforms such as Stripe, Google Ads, etc. in the United States require you to add a payment method with direct debit capabilities. A US PayPal account gives you access to secure direct debit options to make automatic payments.
  • When you open a US PayPal account, you have the option of sending money internationally very easily. And, at face value, PayPal offers a very cost-effective method of doing so. However, if you intend to use a foreign currency when opening a US PayPal account, you may find that the exchange rate is higher than other international options based on the currency you intend to use.
  • Linking your US PayPal account to your US bank account presents several advantages. Financial security is greatly improved by protecting sensitive banking information when sending money to third parties. For making international transfers, PayPal provides convenient, cost-effective solutions that may not be available directly through one's bank.
  • Using a US PayPal builds customer reputation while accepting payments from customers and suppliers within the United States or even worldwide. You will experience the convenience of receiving payouts from platforms such as Fiverr, Etsy, Shopify, etc.

PayPal business vs personal account

If you wish to open a business PayPal account in the US, you will need your business's incorporation proofs, EIN of your business, as well as a US address, phone number, and several supporting documents about your business and your personal identity and residence, including your ITIN. These are the minimum set of documents that are essentially required when you are opening a US PayPal account for your business as a non-resident.

On the other hand, if you are looking to open a personal US PayPal account, you will need an SSN (Social Security Number), which is issued only to the citizens of the United States.

Requirements to open a US PayPal account

You must be at least 18 years old to open a PayPal account. No matter where you live, you are still eligible if you meet all the below criteria. You must submit true information about yourself, such as your name, address, and phone number. Some information might be difficult to change afterwards during the verification step; please ensure that all the details you fill in are true, valid, and have valid documentation proofs to prove the same.

You'll need a valid US business bank account to validate your PayPal account. Using non-US bank accounts has been successful for certain individuals, but having a US bank account makes the verification process easier. As a non-resident, you can consider applying for a business or checking account in the United States using the most famous option out there, Mercury, which is a banking fintech company focused on providing non-residents access to the US banking ecosystem.

Documents Required to open a US PayPal account

Documentation plays a very important role in opening your PayPal account in the US as a foreigner. This section covers all the documents required to apply for a US PayPal account, even if you have foreign residency and citizenship. PayPal's document requirements change for non-residents and it is essential to navigate properly to avoid probable consequences.

1. Passport:

You need to upload a valid, scanned copy of your passport. Please ensure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months. Your passport must show your identity details, such as your full name, date of birth, full address, and nationality, along with your unique passport number. For better visibility and a higher chance of acceptance, ensure that all sides of your passport are in the scanned copy.

2. Address Proof:

Consider uploading any one of your address proofs, such as utility bills (electricity bill, gas bill, telephone bill, etc.) or bank statements. It should clearly show the holder's full name along with a physical address written in English (P.O. Box addresses are not accepted). It must be the most recent version and dated within the last 3 months.

3. Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN):

ITIN letter CP565 notice issued by the IRS
ITIN letter CP565 notice issued by the IRS

The Internal Revenue Service issues an ITIN for tax processing purposes. ITIN is generally issued to those who are required to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number but are not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN). This makes it the perfect path for non-residents to open a US PayPal account.

Below is a direct excerpt from US PayPal's official site:

"To open a Business account, you’ll need to provide your full legal name, email address, a password, your tax ID or social security number (SSN), business description, and your business bank account details."

4. Business Incorporation Certificate

Wyoming LLC Incorporation Certificate (Articles of Organization)
Wyoming LLC Incorporation Certificate (Articles of Organization)

You will need to upload your company's official incorporation certificate while opening your US PayPal account. The name of this certificate differs by location; for example, the state of Wyoming calls it an Articles of Organization. This certificate will generally be issued upon your company's official incorporation approval by the company's registrar.

5. Employer Identification Number (EIN)

SS-4 CP575G Notice issued by the IRS confirming EIN
SS-4 CP575G Notice issued by the IRS confirming EIN

Just like an individual's Social Security Number (SSN), the EIN is a tax identification number for your business and is essential for managing business affairs. It can be obtained for free through the IRS website, mail, fax, or phone. You can upload your EIN confirmation letter, such as an SS-4 confirmation letter, CP575 notice, or 147c letter that is issued by the Internal Revenue Service, while allotting an EIN for your business.

How to open a US PayPal account as a non-resident?

Having understood all the points that will aid you in applying for your PayPal account opening in the US, let's understand the best, safest, and most efficient way to create your US PayPal account with an almost 100% success rate without having to provide an SSN or partner with a US citizen who has an SSN.

Step 1 - Open a business in the US.

Begin the process by incorporating a company in the United States. Generally, it is recommended to register your company as an LLC in the state of Wyoming due to its favorable business environment with low maintenance costs and compliance requirements for non-residents. You can also consider setting up a C-Corp in Delaware. You will need to hire a local registered agent, as it is mandatory for a company formation in the US.

Step 2 - Apply for an EIN.

As mentioned previously, obtain an employer identification number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). PayPal mandates that you provide your US company's EIN, as US law mandates financial service providers such as PayPal gather EIN-related information from their account opening applicants before allowing them to use their service offerings.

Step 3 - Get a US address and phone number.

Most of the US PayPal account opening applications get rejected due to the use of registered agents's addresses or PO box addresses. It becomes extremely seamless if you get a US address and a utility bill for it. You can take a look at TrueLease, which might solve your US address needs without you having to physically fly to the United States. You can take a look at iPlum for US phone number requirements, which works over the internet from any part of the world.

Step 4 - Apply for your ITIN.

Now, it's time to apply for and obtain your individual tax identification number from the IRS. An ITIN is issued to those who are not eligible for an SSN; all non-US residents are eligible to apply for an ITIN from anywhere in the world. You will need to work with a Certified Acceptance Agent (CAA) as permitted by the IRS, who will assist you during the entire process of ITIN application. This process is time-consuming, as it takes anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks to get your ITIN from the IRS.

Step 5 - Application and follow-up

US PayPal account opening application portal
US PayPal account opening application portal

Organize all the documents required: individual identity proof, individual address proof, ITIN, business incorporation certificate, EIN confirmation letter, and utility bill of US address. Continue to apply for your US PayPal account by entering the requested information and uploading relevant documents. Be on time when responding to clarifications as requested by PayPal during the KYC verification stage of your US PayPal account opening.

Limitations for non-residents

A PayPal account for non-residents inherently comes with certain restrictions and limitations during the initial stage of application and usage of your US PayPal account. This is put in place by US PayPal to avoid possible bad implications for giving access to non-residents to the US financial infrastructure.

Transaction Restrictions

Non-US residents might face withdrawal limits or additional fees when transferring funds from their PayPal account to their non-US bank account. This is primarily due to the currency exchange margin charged during international interbank money transfers. Non-residents might also be asked to complete a second layer of KYC (also known as enhanced KYC) in order to be eligible for increased withdrawal or deposit limits.

Tax Implications

Opening a US PayPal account could have tax implications in both your home country and the US. Consider checking if any double taxation treaty agreement exists between the United States and your home country, as it governs how your US-based income and international income are taxed. If you own an US LLC, then your business's income is charged at your individual level. We recommend that you consult a registered tax professional to understand your obligations.

Verification Challenges

Verifying your identity and account might be more challenging as a non-resident. PayPal might require additional documentation for verification. The documents that we mentioned above are the most commonly asked ones and you should not feel strange if PayPal reverts back and requests additional information and/or documentation in order to proceed with your account opening application's review.

Tips for opening a US PayPal account

Provide accurate information.

Ensure that all the information you provide is accurate and up-to-date. Inaccurate and insufficient information could lead to account limitations, delays in application review, or even permanent restrictions for not adhering to requests multiple times.

Choose the right account type.

As discussed previously, PayPal offers business as well as personal accounts. Since you do not have an SSN, be sure to begin your US PayPal account opening process under the business category. Changing the applicant type afterwards might be tedious and take a lot of time.

Consult professionals

If you're unsure about the legal and tax implications, consult professionals who specialize in international finance and taxation. Ensure that you have sufficient knowledge of the implications of obtaining a US ITIN and registering a company in the US for the purpose of opening your US PayPal account as a non-resident.

Conclusion

We believe this expertly written piece gave you immense knowledge about opening a US PayPal account as a foreigner. In conclusion, it is conceivable for a non-resident to open a PayPal account in the US, but there are prerequisites and potential restrictions to take care of. Even though it can improve your operations on a worldwide scale, it's crucial to handle the process properly and guarantee compliance with both the US and your home country's laws. By properly following this guide, you can rest assured of successfully creating a US PayPal account as a non-resident.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Does PayPal require a US bank account?

As long as you have a US bank account, you can use PayPal without connecting a bank account. However, if you want to connect a bank account to a US PayPal account, you must have a US bank account. If you want to use the auto-debit feature in PayPal on platforms such as Google Ads and Stripe, you should add a valid US checking account to your US PayPal account. You should also provide valid bank statements for your US bank account when adding it to your PayPal account. You can consider opening your US bank account with Mercury as a non-resident remotely from your home country.

2. Is it possible for foreigners to open a PayPal account in the US?

Foreigners can open US PayPal accounts, but they will need an SSN if they want to open a personal account. Alternatively, if they want to open a business Yes, foreigners can open US PayPal accounts, but they will need an SSN if they want to open a personal PayPal account. Alternatively, if they want to open a US PayPal business account, they will need an ITIN (individual tax identification number) and their business's EIN, which are issued by the IRS in the United States. This enables non-residents outside the US to open a US PayPal account.

3. What is the process for verifying my US PayPal account?

Your US PayPal account will need to be verified by logging in to your account, selecting the "Get Verified" menu item, and filling out the required information. You need to upload all mandatory information and documents to get started with your US PayPal account's KYC process. You will need to upload your personal identity and address proof, business incorporation proof, EIN, and person ITIN to complete your US PayPal account's verification.

4. Which countries' citizens do not qualify to open a US PayPal account as a non-resident?

Applicants with passports from the following countries, regardless of physical location are not eligible to open a US PayPal account: Afghanistan, Albania, Belarus (Republic of Belarus), Bosnia & Herzegovina, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Rep, Congo (the), Congo (the Democratic Republic of the), Croatia, Cuba (Republic of Cuba), Eritrea, Ethiopia, Haiti, Iran (Islamic Republic of Iran), Iraq, Kosovo, Lebanon, Libya, Macao, Mali, Mozambique, Myanmar (Burma), Nicaragua, Nigeria, North Korea (DPRK - Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), Pakistan, Russia (Russian Federation), Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan (the), Syria (Syrian Arab Republic), Tanzania (United Republic of), Ukraine Regions: Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, Luhansk, and Crimea, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Viet Nam, Western Sahara, Yemen, Zimbabwe.

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