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Obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN) in California: A Guide for Immigrant Entrepreneurs

By KPB Immigration Law Firm

Starting a business in California involves several important steps, one of which is obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This federal tax identification number is crucial for various business activities. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help immigrant entrepreneurs navigate this process.

What is an EIN?

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify your business for tax purposes. It is often referred to as a Federal Tax Identification Number. An EIN is necessary for hiring employees, opening business bank accounts, and filing federal and state taxes.

Who Needs an EIN?

Most businesses need an EIN, including:

  • Sole proprietorships with employees
  • Partnerships
  • Corporations
  • Limited Liability Companies (LLCs)
  • Non-profit organizations

Even if you don’t plan to hire employees immediately, obtaining an EIN can help streamline your business operations.

Steps to Obtain an EIN

  • Determine Your Eligibility: You must have a valid Taxpayer Identification Number (SSN, ITIN, or EIN) to apply for an EIN.
  • Prepare the Necessary Information: Gather information about your business, including its legal name, trade name, mailing address, and the type of entity.
  • Apply Online: The easiest and fastest way to get an EIN is through the IRS website. The online application is available Monday to Friday, and you receive your EIN immediately upon completion.
  • Apply by Mail or Fax: If you prefer, you can complete Form SS-4 and mail or fax it to the IRS. This method takes longer, typically four weeks by mail and four business days by fax.
  • International Applicants: If you don’t have a Social Security Number or ITIN, you can still apply for an EIN by completing Form SS-4 and calling the IRS at the number provided for international applicants.

Benefits of Having an EIN

Having an EIN offers several benefits:

  • Separate Personal and Business Finances: An EIN helps keep your personal and business finances separate, which is important for accounting and legal purposes.
  • Hiring Employees: Legally hire employees, set up payroll, and comply with employment tax requirements.
  • Business Bank Accounts: Open business bank accounts, which are often required by financial institutions.
  • Credit and Loan Applications: Establish business credit and apply for loans.
  • Simplified Tax Filings: File federal and state taxes more efficiently.

Special Considerations for Immigrant Entrepreneurs

Immigrant entrepreneurs should ensure their visa or immigration status allows them to operate a business in the U.S. Consulting with an immigration attorney can clarify these requirements and help navigate any complexities related to immigration status and business operations.


Obtaining an EIN is a vital step in establishing your business in California. For immigrant entrepreneurs, this number facilitates compliance with legal and tax obligations, allowing you to focus on growing your business. At KPB Immigration Law Firm, we provide expert guidance to help you through the process of starting your business, including obtaining an EIN. Contact us today to learn how we can support you in your entrepreneurial journey.