How to Update Your Foreign Status

It's important to keep your foreign status up-to-date on your Fidelity accounts. For the Form W-8BEN, you can recertify online.

Why do I need to recertify my foreign status?

You may have received a letter from Fidelity reminding you to recertify your foreign status. We send those letters because, if you're a nonresident alien or a foreign entity, the IRS requires you to recertify your foreign status every three years by completing a Form W-8.

What do I need to know?

You'll need to know which Form W-8 to use based upon your foreign status. The most common form is the W-8BEN for individuals. This form is used to certify foreign status of a beneficial owner for U.S. tax withholding. If you typically use a Form W-8BEN to certify your foreign status, you can recertify your status by using our online tool.

If you use one of the other Form W-8s, you cannot recertify using our online tool. You can access these additional forms and determine your eligibility on our Printable IRS Forms and Instructions page.

Note: If you're not sure which form to use, please call us at 800-343-3548.

What to expect

  • It will take about 10 minutes to complete the online Form W-8BEN steps.
  • You'll be asked to enter ownership information and to answer a series of questions.
  • You can review and edit your entries at the end of the online certification procedure.
  • At the end of completing the online Form W-8BEN, you can sign the form using eSign. If you choose not to use eSign, you will be asked to print, complete, and mail the form to us. You can also send the form to us via email.

If you've chosen eDelivery, you'll receive a confirmation in 1–2 business days. If you don't use eDelivery, you'll receive a confirmation by U.S. Mail within 3–5 business days.

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