Joining BMI as a non US-citizen

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This topic contains 11 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Army 1 year ago.

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  • #9044 Reply


    I want to join BMI. However, I need a US TIN for that. Now I’m trying to fill out the form and am a little insecure about what I need to fill out and what additional material I need to send them (English is not my first language…).

    Does anyone have experiences with that?

    This is the form:

    These are the instructions:

    I’m especially confused about this:

    Your application must include all of the following:

    (…) 2. Your original, valid tax return(s) for which the ITIN is

    needed. Attach Form W-7 to the front of your tax return. If you

    are applying for more than one ITIN for the same tax return (such

    as for a spouse or dependent(s)), attach all Forms W-7 to the

    same tax return. After your Form W-7 has been processed, the

    IRS will assign an ITIN to the return and process the return.

    There are exceptions to the requirement to include a

    U.S. tax return. If you claim one of these exceptions,

    you must submit the documentation required instead of

    a tax return. See the Exceptions Tables, later.


    Now I guess I fall into the exceptions ( – they are listed at the bottom) because, after all, I don’t want to file a tax return!  However, I’m really confused about what kind of exception I am and what kind of “documentation” I need to send them. I don’t have any contract with BMI yet so I can’t send them anything!?

    I tried writing to BMI multiple times but they never answer me…

    Maybe one of you guys can help me? I finally ready to get into the library business. 😉

    #9046 Reply


    Fill out the 8ben form without an ITIN or SSN, send that alone with the agreement and you are good to go.

    They will deduct a 30% tax from your royalties unless you will get an ITIN, where you live?

    #9048 Reply


    I have my ITIN and am very tempted to switch to BMI becos when I receive my royalties (or not), I’m not shown what tunes were being used, what eps, how many times the cues were used, what stations, length of usage etc. etc. No details on these given can get really frustrating & plus it takes bloody 18 months to get paid from the time of broadcast. Is it easy to switch to BMI? Do they pay directly to paypal or bank acct. overseas? Is it worth it being a BMI member? Or is ASCAP better?

    To answer the ITIN question, it was quite a pain applying for it. The things I sent over were:
    1) payment slips from Library/Libraries I’m writing for
    2) agreements signed with Libraries.
    3) Original passport
    4) Letter from my publisher requesting for ITIN
    5) Completed W7 form.

    The first time I sent all these, I sent a copy of my passport & got it notorized by a lawyer. However, it was rejected. So, I reluctantly sent my original one. Thank gawd my passport came back safely and they approved my ITIN!


    #9050 Reply


    I live in Germany.

    Thank you both for your replies! Your answers already help me a lot!

    I really wonder how people figured out that stuff before the internet. 😉

    So I will probably send BMI the W8Ben form and after that apply for the ITIN (and then update BMI on that)

    @axiomdreams: I think ASCAP is only for US citizens, isn’t it?

    #9051 Reply


    Oh also, Alicehive, you are (check the box h) Exception 1d

    #9052 Reply



    Exactly, good luck.

    #9053 Reply


    Germany PRO is GEMA. I assume you are having the same difficulties/frustrations with your PRO as I am? Complete lack of transparency and a very long wait to find out what placements you’ve gotten etc.

    #9055 Reply


    Does anyone know whether BMI pays royalties directly to banks overseas or through paypal?

    #9056 Reply


    They don’t pay with Paypal, they do make SWIFT deposits and such, but I think only after you get your first royalty check, I am not sure.

    #9069 Reply


    Thank you so much for the information, Axiomdreams! 🙂

    Trouble with GEMA is that I’m not able to be a member and still sell royalty free music because they also collect mechanical royalties and you have to register all your songs with them. Also, pretty much everybody is frustrated with them because they don’t offer enough transparency and seem to care more for few top composers than for the thousands of “normal composers” who really need the money. Annoying. But what can you do? 🙂

    #9081 Reply


    Wow, that sucks. I wouldn’t wanna be with GEMA either with all those conditions. No wonder you wanna join BMI Alicehive.

    Thanks for the payment info TheOne. I’m confident that I’l get my first royalty check fast cos I’ve been getting lots of placements so it’s great to know I have the option now to switch to BMI & get paid through SWIFT.


    #27242 Reply


    thanks for your helpful comments guys, i filled the 8-Ben and W-7 forms but I don’t know where do i have to send these forms? IRS ? or BIM ?

    is there any online way to send the forms to IRS ? i mean by Email or something


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