I'm a canadian citizen. I lived and worked in USA for 12-13 years under a VISA (Not a US citizen and not a permanent resident). I've been back to Canada since 2011. I do not own anything in USA. Since in Canada I've been working for a Canadian Company.

When I opened my investment account (2011) they asked me if I had US issued social security number. I said yes, so they asked me to fill in a W9. Was that the right thing to do?

Since I lived and worked legally in USA, I was issued a SSN and I still have the number.

As Heath pointed out bellow I should not have signed a W-9 From. The canadian bank I use, had told me fill in the wrong form. The people that work there do not know the difference between having a SSN and being a US person. After a month of going back and forth, today they told me that I had to fill in a W-8BEN which would apply from 2015 forward, for 2011-2014 they can't do anything...

  • 90% of the time if a government agency asks you to fill in a form its the choice between doing it and a visit from law enforcement. The other 10% is when you want something from them...
    – MD-Tech
    Oct 23, 2015 at 13:07
  • Do you actually have a US issued social security number?
    – Peter K.
    Oct 23, 2015 at 13:28

1 Answer 1


No, that was not the right thing to do.

A W-9 is the form used to certify that you are a U.S. citizen or resident alien for U.S. federal tax purposes. You want to fill out a W-8BEN, available on the IRS website. There is a spot on a W-8BEN for you to include your U.S. social security number. A Form W-8 is used to certify that you are NOT a U.S. resident for U.S. federal tax purposes.

  • Thanks @heath. That's what I believe as well. I'm not sure why the bank is insisting that I need to fill in a W9. I'll try to follow up with the thread once I find out more.
    – hba
    Oct 23, 2015 at 16:21
  • Thanks - I would be curious to hear If the bank has a reason to do that or if they just don't know what they're doing. Good luck!
    – Heath
    Oct 23, 2015 at 16:23
  • 1
    Most likely that specific person at the bank was just clueless. He remembered from his training "no ssn -> w8, yes ssn -> w9" and that's it
    – littleadv
    Oct 24, 2015 at 2:22

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