Click to View June's Income Report: $6,732.64

How to Sell on Amazon if You Live Outside the USA

How to Sell on Amazon if You Live Outside the USA
3
Sep

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;

  1. Your full address
  2. A bank account number where they can deposit your earnings
  3. A phone number which they can call you to verify your account
  4. A credit card on file to charge any amounts such as pay per click advertising & seller fees
  5. 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:

  1. 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).
  2. A credit card that can be charged internationally e.g. Mastercard or Visa. (Payoneer can help with this too used 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.
  3. A U.S. mailing address for receiving returned orders. You can get one from MyUs.com or a similar US address service company.
  4. A U.S. based phone number (Download the TextMe App for Android or iOS or use Skype)
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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!

Additional Resources

Make sure you country is on the List of Accepted Countries:
Make sure your country uses currency supported by Amazon:
More information on adding a bank account:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200285610

https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/seller/registration/participationAgreement.html?itemID=200497780&language=en_US 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200501140

Tax Interview Questions

https://sellercentral.amazon.com/tax-interview/help?nodeId=201359340&locale=en_US

That’s it!

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!

Take Action!

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

42 Responses

  1. Payoneer Review firms available problem to help everyone even when Review Of
    Payoneer they’ve a poor credit worthiness. But some how the get to the present is actually these companies take a higher impose
    intended for rates. With regards to the Payoneer Reviews Pay as you go it really
    is completely different, a really the latest analyze shows that that Payoneer Account Review can be acquired for you to anyone who requires a Payoneer Mastercard Review plus
    it does not carry those further charges as well as substantial rates
    of interest.

  2. antonio

    Hello Tim!, this is Antonio , an Italian guy living in Thailand and selling in Amazon US site. I just ran across your site today, as I was looking for specific information on tax registry numbers, IRS numbers, ITIN numbers, CBP numbers and all sort of crazy-mind boggling Numbers! As I said i’m already a pro-seller but since I’m looking to get my first shipment by sea done I realized i may have some trouble if I don’t have an Importer ID. To get that I believe I need to have some other “number” such as the IRS or ITIn ones.. Until now Amazon didn’t ask me much more than the initial tax-interview, so my question is: at which point will I need to have all of that done? If my forwarder from China agrees to be the IOR on my behalf, do I still need an ITIN number? Sorry if I sound confused or even worse CONFUSING but I’ve been all day looking too much information and forms to fill in. I would appreciate any input you may have. Thanks anyway, I’ll be heading now back to your blog: 30 INCOME STREAMS is my dream too 😉 Cheers

    1. Dylan Pede

      Hey Antonio or Tim, anyone who can assist me in this as well.

      I’m working from Belgium and I want to sell on US Amazon using the fullfillment program.
      I also have a shipping forwarder that will send my products directly to the fullfillment warehouses.

      They would also be the IOR on my behalf but i’m wondering what els I need.
      Please let me know either here or on my email: funmatnv@gmail.com

      Thanks a lot for this info!

      1. Dylan, did you ever get this resolved. Some comments were approved and never answered and although you most likely have this resolved, I still wanted to leave a comment for someone in who might be facing the same challenge as you did back in Feb.

        As I said to Antonio, I’d get an ITIN or EIN and keep just in case I ever needed- it costs nothing but a little bit of time (and slight headache lol)

        As far as goods for FBA, the only other thing that I recently encountered (which you might or might not have encountered yet) is Importer Security Filing ’10+2′ which is something the US Customs and Border protection are enforcing.

        It’s essentially a 10 pieces of information form that you as the importer have to fill out before your goods leave their shipping port e.g. from China. This form has to be filled out and submitted (via a broker) to UCBP at least 24hrs before your goods leave the original port otherwise you might face a delay in having your goods released due to extended inspection at the port of entry or a $5,000 fine (max of $10,000) or both.

        Just thought I’d share this new finding.

        You can read more about it here.
        https://www.cbp.gov/border-security/ports-entry/cargo-security/importer-security-filing-102

    2. Antonio, did you ever get this resolved? If your supplier is your Importer on Record, you might get away without needing to update your EIN or iTIN but since these numbers don’t cost you a thing other than your time I would just get one and keep it for when you need it in the future, because as your sales grow, it will be inevitable to not use them.

  3. Hey Tim
    We register and file sales tax returns in all states for publicly traded, privately held, and FBA sellers (foreign and domestic). We register and file for many oversea FBA sellers. For foreign sellers, only an IRS EIN is needed. At this time, there is no need to establish a USA entity. No need to fly to USA to setup a USA bank account. We are not the lowest cost provider given our high level of expertise and reliable service especially convenient for oversea FBA sellers. We file for clients with a certain volume of sales. If your users need more info, then http://www.statessalestax.com/fba-sales-tax-for-international-nonresident-sellers.html

  4. samm

    Hi Tim,,

    Could you please tell me what implies having an EIN. I mean, I’m outside America and want to sell on amazon.com, so I am going to ask for an EIN, and I was wondering if US gov was going to send me taxes to pay because of this EIN??

    I already pay taxes for my business in my country (and I will continue to do it on my amazon.com revenues) but if I’m also taxed by US govnt it’s a bit tough…

    So getting an EIN is easy, I know, but what are the consequences as soon as you get one concerning taxes?
    Thanks a lot for your help

    1. Samm, Amazon doesn’t really care much about your returns and charging your tax unless you’re making over $20,000/year in revenue. So in the beginning, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. As you sell more, you find ways to minimize your tax ticket so my advice is just jump in, the experience alone is very beneficial.

  5. Butz

    Hi Tim, What is the difference between an EIN and ITIN, if we want to sell on Amazon, which one will we apply on IRS.gov?

    1. Hey Butz, they are both unique identifiers that the IRS uses to identify the person/corporation behind the business being conducted. You apply for EIN (Employer Identification Number) as a business, whereas you apply for ITIN (Individual Tax Identification Number) as an individual and you don’t necessarily need to have a business to apply for this. Most US persons that apply for ITIN do so to use it in place of their Social Security Number on tax documents.

      If you’re a foreign (not in/from the US) individual, you want to apply for ITIN.

  6. Anish Nakarmi

    Hi Tim Maina
    Nice Blog I am planning to stard amazon fba from qatar please help me how can i do this bussiness ?

    1. Anish, sorry for the late response. Qatar is not on the list of allowed countries probably because financial institutions there for political and/or national security reasons may be barred from directly accessing the U.S. financial system.

      Have you heard about Estonia’s e-Residency program? I haven’t personally tried it but I think it might be a good way to getting “around the system” let me know if you try it out.

      https://e-estonia.com/e-residents/about/

  7. Anish Nakarmi

    Hi Tim Maina
    Nice Blog I am planning to star amazon fba from Qatar please help me how can i do this business ?

  8. Sohail

    Hi i am from Pakistan. i want to open amazon seller account but my target customer UK and also dispatch from uk(Manchester) is it possible amazon US aslo shown in UK. Thanks

  9. Eric

    Hi Tim,
    I am a Ghanaian and resident in Ghana. I am really looking forward to selling on Amazon. But after going through the list of accepted countries, I discovered to my horror that Ghana is not among the listed countries. I will be most grateful to hear from you what i can do in such a scenario. I have already started the process of creating a Payoneer account. Status is still under review.

    Kind regards,
    Eric

  10. Adriana

    Hi Tim
    I have just studied a little the W7 and W-8 ECI.
    Can you help me with this…on W-8ECI they ask for Bussiness adress in USA.for example if i make Amazon FBA should i write Amazon adress amd name there ??Thank you with anticipation.
    Kind regards.

  11. María Elena Navarro

    Hi Tim! Thank you for all the usefull information on your blog! I’m trying to open my seller account on amazon. But, when it asks for a credit card, I’ve tried to use a debit card and it doesn’t allow me. In your blog says I can use the payoneer account which I already have but, amazon says I can’t use a prepaid card. Can I really use the payoneer account? or is there other way that can I have a prepaid credit card that I can use?

    1. Maria, as of today it seems Amazon has indeed updated their system and not allowing Debit cards or Prepaid cards during registration. I have tried to do some research before responding to your comment on what other options exist but I haven’t found any (yet) I’ll keep looking and intend to update my answer when I find a solution.

      Stay tuned!

  12. Samuel

    I am Samuel from Ghana .
    I am trying to open Amazon seller account but Ghana is not in the list. I have payoneer account and us mailing address but I don’t know if I have to select non us citizen or us citizen. I am waiting for your response. Thank you.

  13. Tomas Andres Cabrera

    Hello Team.

    I’ve been for months looking for the right answer to the following question:

    Amazon doesn’t work with all countries through Payoneer. In Latin America, for example, Amazon works with only 4 countries using Payoneer.

    What choice have other countries (people living outside the United States) to collect profits and pay the fee to Amazon if they don’t have the option of using Payoneer with Amazon?

    Thanks.

    Regards.

    Tomas.

  14. Osvaldo

    Hey Tim,
    Great Post! Thank you!
    When applying for an itin I was asked for a letter from Amazon describing that there is a need for an itin to create an account. Any idea on how I can get this letter?
    Thanks!

  15. Kevin kamau

    Glad to have found this blog. Same goal. Tim, am also a Kenyan but residing in Tanzania, will have to check out the Estonia e-rsidency program. There was also a question about paying tax in local company,then Amazon then the US govt through ITIN. How does this implicates on returns?

    1. How’s life in TZ Kevin? Regarding your question, last I checked, Amazon doesn’t really care much about your returns and charging your tax unless you’re making over $20,000/year in revenue. So in the beginning, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. As you sell more, you find ways to minimize your tax ticket so my advice is just jump in, the experience alone is very beneficial.

      All the best!

  16. Anissa

    The bank in my country is not making it easy for me to pay my seller fees. My card keep rejecting any charges by Amazon. Do you have any recommendation for this problem? I thought about getting a payoneer card, but when I ask payoneer about it, they claimed that I can’t use their card to pay my seller fees.

  17. Joseph

    Hi Tim ,
    I’m also from Kenya 🙂 So glad to have found your blog. I was also thinking of opening an amazon seller account, but I wanted to only do dropshipping of products from aliexpress. Do I need all those requirements? or just the ITIN? Oh and when I have the ITIN, I’m I required to pay taxes again here in Kenya?

  18. MAxim

    Hello, my name is Max, i’m from Moldova i registred on amazon seller central but my country is not on list and this make mi anxious. I get a payoneer card and after registration on my acount appeared a message like this ,,invalid credit card,, the quiestion is : how to fix this or they don’t work with payoneer anymore? thanks

Leave a Reply

Sign up to my newsletter!