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A Step-by-Step Guide to Opening a PayPal Business Account as a Non-Resident in the US

For foreign entrepreneurs starting a business in the US, having a PayPal account is crucial. Thanks to its broad acceptance and customer protection. This article provides an in-depth guide for non-residents on how to set up a US PayPal account.

If you’re an international founder planning to start a company in the United States, you’re likely to need a PayPal account. PayPal is a globally online payment processing platform that enables businesses to accept payments conveniently from customers across the world. Having a PayPal business account comes with numerous advantages, including its wide acceptance, security, and buyer protection. This article provides a detailed, step-by-step guide on how to create a US PayPal account as a non us resident, ensuring you can start doing business right away.

Understanding PayPal Business Accounts for Non-Residents

Non-residents can open a PayPal business account to facilitate their transactions on various platforms like eBay, Etsy, and other e-commerce platforms. One of the significant benefits of having a US PayPal business account stems from its stability and commonality in the US, offering a seamless and reliable payment system that boosts customer confidence.

Preparing to Open a PayPal Business Account

Before you starting the process of opening a PayPal business account, it’s crucial to understand the necessary steps and requirements. Here is a summary of the steps involved:

Step 1: Forming a US Entity

The first and foremost step is to form a legal business entity in the US. You can establish your company in any state. Upon completion, you’ll receive a “certificate of formation” document, which verifies your business. Moreover, you need to have a valid address to receive your post and a registered agent address.

Step 2: Obtaining Tax ID Numbers

The second step involves obtaining Tax ID numbers, namely the Employer Identification Number (EIN) and Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). You should start with obtaining an EIN for your company, followed by applying for an ITIN. The total process can take up to 16 weeks.

Step 3: Applying for PayPal and Verifying Your Business

The third step involves applying for PayPal and verifying your business. During this process, you will receive a debit card sent to your business address.

Essential Requirements for Opening a US PayPal Account

When opening a US PayPal account, whether personal or business, certain information is required:

Personal PayPal Account Requirements:

  • Your Name
  • Address
  • Phone Number
  • E-mail address
  • Social Security Number (SSN)

Business PayPal Account Requirements:

  • An LLC or Corporation
  • A Company Phone Number
  • A Company Address
  • An EIN Number
  • Social Security Number (SSN) or ITIN

Documentation Required for Opening a PayPal Account

PayPal requires specific documents to set up an account. These include:

Acceptable Proof of SSN/ITIN documents:

  • Social Security Number card
  • Letter from IRS assigning SSN or ITIN
  • 1099 Form (Dated within last 12 months)
  • Employer-issued W2 (Dated within last 12 months)
  • Paystub with complete SSN (Dated within last 12 months)
  • 3rd party prepared tax documents (Dated within the last 12 months, and signed by 3rd party preparer)

Acceptable Proof of Identity documents:

  • Driver’s license
  • Passport or passport card
  • State or Government Issue ID

Acceptable Proof of Address documents:

  • Utility bill (Dated within last 12 months)
  • Cell or landline phone bill (Dated within last 12 months)
  • Motor vehicle registration (Dated within last 12 months)
  • 401k/Brokerage Statement (Dated within last 12 months)
  • Copy of Grant Deed on Home or Lease Agreement for Home
  • Bank or credit card statement (Dated within last 12 months)
  • Identity card or driver’s license with physical address listed (must be current)

The Process of Creating a US PayPal Account

To create a US PayPal account, follow this detailed step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Request to Sign Up for PayPal

Visit www.paypal.com and click Sign Up in the top-right corner.

Step 2: Choose to Sign Up for a Personal or Business PayPal Account

If you wish to pay for items online and offline and send money to people for services you sell on the internet, select “Sign Up for a Personal Account.” If you’re setting up a business, choose the business account option.

Step 3: Provide Your Email Address, Password, and Home Country

Fill in your basic account details. This includes the country in which you live, your email address, and a password to protect your account. Click Continue.

Step 4: Provide Additional Personal Information

Next, provide additional personal details that PayPal needs to link your account with your credit card, debit card, or bank. This includes your name, date of birth, occupation, social insurance number (optional), address, and phone number.

Step 5: Add Your Credit Card as a PayPal Option

To use PayPal to shop online and offline and have purchases automatically charged to your credit card, you need to link your credit card or debit card to your account. This process involves providing your credit card number, its expiration date, and its security code.

Step 6: Add Your Bank Account as a PayPal Option

After linking your credit card to your PayPal account, you can also link your bank account(s) to your PayPal account.

Step 7: Verify Your Email Address

The last step involves verifying your email address. Open your email client, log in to your account, go to the email PayPal sent you titled “Welcome to PayPal,” and click on the link in it. Click on the blue “Yes, This is My Email Address” button, enter your account password, and click Confirm My Email Address.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Opening a US PayPal Account

Opening a US PayPal account comes with several benefits, including the ability to send and receive payments globally, wide acceptance, security, buyer protection, and valuable insights into customer spending habits.

However, there are also a few drawbacks. For a Personal PayPal account, a US Social Security Number is required. For business accounts, some features are only available in the US, excluding non-US citizens from these features .


PayPal provides a secure and efficient way to conduct business transactions online. However, it requires specific details and documents for account setup, particularly for non-residents. This guide provides comprehensive information on the steps and requirements for setting up a US PayPal account, enabling international founders to navigate the process with ease. Ensure you have all the necessary information, documents, and assistance to make the process smooth and hassle-free.

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Emilie David

Emilie David

Emilie, loves helping entrepreneurs kickstart their businesses in the US. Her writing is filled with practical tips, inspiring stories, When she's not busy helping others achieve their goals, Emilie loves to traveling and hiking.

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