How long does it take to get an EIN?

This article assumes your startup is incorporated in Delaware.

It can take anywhere between a few minutes and several months, depending on what method you use. The two most popular methods are: (1) online using the IRS website and (2) by fax1. Online is generally the fastest way to get your EIN. Note that you can only use the IRS website to apply for an EIN if you have a US taxpayer ID (SSN or ITIN).

Even if you have a US taxpayer ID, there’s a chance you won’t be able to apply online. The IRS website might give you an error message that prevents you from submitting the application. If this is your situation and you can’t resolve the error, you can apply by fax through Clerky entirely online. For more information about error messages on the IRS website and what to do next, see Why is the IRS website saying that it can't provide me an EIN?.

Method Who's eligible? Time Estimate
Online using the IRS website Only individuals with US taxpayer IDs 5 - 10 minutes
By fax
You can do this online through Clerky.
Everyone 2 - 8 weeks2

1. Startups incorporated in the US can also send in their applications by mail, but that method usually takes even longer than fax. Only startups incorporated outside the US may apply by phone. US-incorporated startups, such as Delaware corporations, aren't eligible to apply by phone even if they're located outside of the US.

2. The IRS quotes a turnaround time of 4 days to assign the EIN and fax it back, but it usually takes much longer. It's not uncommon for an EIN applied for by fax to take a month or more to be received back.

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