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How to Apply for an EIN or DUNS

June 24, 2015
Kenny Mayo

Whether you are an individual or part of a Fortune 500 corporation, there is one thing that is essential to your exporting success – proper identification.  If you are a U.S. Principal Party in Interest or a U.S. authorized agent, the Automated Export System (AES) requires you to identify you or your company with an Employer Identification Number (EIN), Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS) number or any number assigned by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.  The most common identification numbers used are the EIN and the DUNS, but how do you get one?

How do I get an Employer Identification Number (EIN)?

An EIN is a nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service.  To apply, review the directions below:

  • Go to http://www.irs.gov/.
  • Under the heading “Hot Topics”, click “Apply for an Employer ID Number”.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Apply Online Now”.
  • Click on “Ok” when you see the pop up warning message.
  • Click on “Begin Application” at the bottom of the page.

For detailed visuals on the online application process, check out our presentation on applying for an EIN.

Note: Applying online is by far the quickest way to receive your EIN.  However, if you prefer to apply via fax, mail, or telephone, click here.

How do I get a Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS) Number?

The second most popular option is the DUNS Number, which is a nine-digit Data Universal Number System used to identify the physical location of your business.  To apply, review the directions below:

  • Click here to reach the D-U-N-S Request Service for U.S. Federal Government Contractors and Grantees
  • On the left side of the web page, click on “Begin D-U-N-S Search/Request Process.”
  • Select the country or territory where your company is physically located.
  • Once you are directed to the D&B Government iUpdate-Webform Page, click on “Continue to Government iUpdate” to begin the application process.

Note:  If you request a DUNS number by phone, it will be provided immediately.  If you request a DUNS number using the iUpdate-Webform Page, it will take one to two days.

If you have questions regarding applying for an EIN or DUNS number, please contact the Trade Regulations Branch at (800) 549-0595, Option 3 or e-mail itmd.askregs@census.gov.

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