How to Sell on Amazon if You Live Outside the USA
Read time: About 7 minutes!
Updated March 28 2017
Following my recent 12-Part Series on How To Sell on Amazon, a few of you that live outside the USA (in Europe, Australia, Africa & Asia) expressed some interest in getting started selling on Amazon.com (the US version of Amazon) so I decided to do some research on how to make this happen.
But first, quick disclaimer:
I am not a financial advisor or tax lawyer. The information shared here is from my own experiences. Use this as a guide to get things set up then do your due diligence to ensure everything abides by the laws of your respective country.
Cool? Ok, let’s dive in!
So, how easy is it to sell on Amazon if you live outside of the USA?
From my research, it seems that it used to be pretty hard, but now it’s quite easy. If you have an email account, this shouldn’t be any harder.
With my Kenyan roots, I am aware that a good number of my readers live outside the US and I know for a fact that there are a ton of talented and capable people that live outside the US.
What put things in perspective for me was the realization that the US population is only about 5% of the world population. However, the US market is still the biggest (Amazon US currently has 1.10B monthly visitors) so I certainly understand why someone outside the US would want to sell here.
Thank you, modern technology!
Things like Internet, Email, Translation Apps, Skype, Google Hangouts, Cheap International Shipping all of a sudden, it’s very possible for non US citizens to do business in the US.
So today I’d hopefully like to answer one of the most frequently asked questions I have been getting lately…
“How do I sell on Amazon.com if I live outside the USA?” (Amazon.com is the US version of Amazon)
The real answer is that it’s not very different than if you live in the US.
When you signing up for an account as a US Citizen, Amazon requests the following things;
- Your full address
- A bank account number where they can deposit your earnings
- A phone number which they can call you to verify your account
- A credit card on file to charge any amounts such as pay per click advertising & seller fees
- You business information e.g. Social Security Number (personal number issued by the government) or your EIN (Employer Identification Number)
Not too long ago, if you lived outside of the US you had to have a US phone number, pay for services that offered a physical address and even have a US bank account and credit card.
Probably why only a handful of people were able to sell on Amazon.
Thankfully, those days are gone!
Current Amazon.com Sign Up Process if You Live Outside the USA
Now when you sign up as a non US citizen or non-resident, the process is significantly easier.
Amazon walks you through a signup checklist and guide you step by step, it’s very intuitive and helpful.
Here’s what you will need as a non US citizen:
- A U.S. Bank Account so Amazon can deposit your payments (Use Payoneer for this. If you’re in the U.K., just use your U.K. Bank Account).
- A credit card that can be charged internationally e.g. Mastercard or Visa. (
Payoneer can help with this tooused to help with this but as of today (March 28 2017), I’ve noticed they have removed all links from their site regarding this service, so it’s safe to assume they don’t offer this option anymore)- read below for more information on this.
- A U.S. mailing address for receiving returned orders. You can get one from MyUs.com or a similar US address service company.
- A U.S. based phone number (Download the TextMe App for Android or iOS or use Skype)
- A US Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN). Apply on IRS.gov website this normally takes 4-7 weeks to be processed so submit as soon as possible.
- After you receive your ITIN, complete & submit form W-8ECI from the IRS.gov (Internal Revenue Service which is the US government tax collection agency) website. Make sure to read the instructions first.
- Someone to receive, label and ship your goods to Amazon FBA warehouses for you so you never touch your merchandise. My Invetory Team does that, I haven’t tried them yet but from my online research, they seem trustworthy.
Getting a Credit Card to Use on Amazon (Added March 28th 2017)
From the amount of emails I receive as well as the comment section below, I’ve noticed that setting up a Credit Card to sell on Amazon is one of the trickiest part of this whole process. Payoneer used to offer this service but I can’t seem to find any information about it on their site (or anywhere online).
However, if you know about it, please let me know if the comment section below and I’ll be sure to update this article.
So, assuming your country is supported by Amazon secure a pre-paid credit card from your home country.
I tested this out by searching for pre-paid CC in my home country Kenya. Just a quick Google search with terms “prepaid credit card in kenya” did it for me.
One option that stood out I&M Bank Visa Nakumatt Prepaid Credit Card. Here’s why;
- Accepted at all Visa Merchant outlets worldwide.
- Can be used to withdraw cash at all VISA ATMs worldwide and I&M Bank ATM’s
- Reloadable anytime, anywhere.
- Available in US Dollars.
That’s it! Simple right?
I’ll keep researching to see if there are other more standardized options available sorta like the way Payoneer had it set up.
In the meantime, try out “prepaid credit card in [your country name]” on Google and let me know what options you find out!
Tax Interview Questions
Please remember that things are always changing, so depending on when you read this know that you might need to do something different, but don’t let that intimidate you- just one more loop you’ve got to jump!
Hopefully you can now open an Amazon account and have your items shipped directly to Amazon to take advantage of Amazon’s awesome FBA program.
You never even have to touch the items making this an awesome passive income stream to add to your list- nice huh?
In future articles I’ll cover on how to ship to Amazon from outside the US, but for now I hope you realize how easy and possible it is to sell on Amazon.com if you live outside the US.
Hopefully, I’ve just eliminated another excuse for you not to make money.
As always, I’m here to help if you have any questions. I may not have all the answers but I’m friends with Google 🙂
P.S. After you are done creating your Amazon’s Sellers account outside the USA, I’d appreciate it if you could come back and leave your comments below regarding your experience and share where you’re from! It’d be fun to know how far and wide this article reaches.
Image Credit: wikimedia.org