An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) serves as a tax processing number. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issues ITIN to help individuals abide by the tax laws in the United States.
In the U.S., the Social Security Administration (SSA) issues Social Security Numbers (SSN) to individuals to keep track of their lifetime earnings and the number of years they worked. However, not everyone is eligible to obtain an SSN; only citizens and non-citizens who are authorized to work are eligible to have one.
Individuals who are ineligible to obtain an SSN from the SSA can apply for an ITIN using IRS Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.
Qualifications to obtain an ITIN
If the following conditions apply to you, you are eligible to apply for an ITIN:
- You do not have an SSN and are not eligible to obtain one
- You have a requirement to furnish a federal tax identification number or file a federal tax return
- You fall under any of the following categories:
- Nonresident alien who is required to file a U.S. tax return
- U.S. resident alien who is filing a U.S. tax return, based on days present in the U.S.
- Dependent or spouse of a U.S. citizen or resident alien
- Dependent or spouse of a nonresident alien visa holder
- Nonresident alien claiming a tax treaty benefit
- Nonresident alien student, professor, or researcher filing a U.S. tax return or claiming an exception
The purpose of an ITIN
An ITIN is a unique nine-digit number. Its sole purpose is for federal tax reporting. It does not:
- authorize an individual to work in the U.S.;
- provide eligibility for Social Security benefits; and
- qualify a dependent for Earned Income Tax Credit Purposes.
Filling out Form W-7
Form W-7 is a one-page form that requires the personal information of the applicant.
If you are filing Form W-7, follow the instructions below to complete the form accurately. Double-check your information before submission to avoid any delays with your application.
To start, you have to determine if you are applying for a new ITIN or renewing an existing one, by checking the applicable box. Then, select from the lettered list the reason you are submitting Form W-7. You may select from the following:
- Nonresident alien required to get an ITIN to claim tax treaty benefit — If you select this, enter the treaty country and treaty article number in the spaces provided.
- Nonresident alien filing a U.S. federal tax return
- U.S. resident alien (based on days present in the United States) filing a U.S. federal tax return
- Dependent of U.S. citizen/resident alien — If you select this, enter your relationship with and the name and SSN/ITIN of the U.S. citizen/resident alien in the spaces provided.
- Spouse of U.S. citizen/resident alien — If you select this, enter the name and SSN/ITIN of the U.S. citizen/resident alien in the space provided.
- Nonresident alien student, professor, or researcher filing a U.S. federal tax return or claiming an exception — If you select this, enter the treaty country and treaty article number in the spaces provided.
- Dependent/spouse of a nonresident alien holding a U.S. visa
- Other — If you select this, specify the reason.
Enter your full legal name as it appears on your identifying documents.
Enter your name at birth, if different from your name now.
Applicant’s Mailing Address
Enter your complete mailing address. This is the address that the IRS will use to return your original documents and send a written notification of your ITIN application status.
Foreign (non-U.S.) Address
Enter your complete foreign, non-U.S. address where you permanently reside.
Enter your date and country of birth. You can also enter the city and state or province of birth if you want.
Select your gender at birth.
Enter your country of citizenship
Enter your foreign tax I.D. number, if you have any.
Enter the type of U.S. visa you have, its number, and expiration date.
Select the identification document you submitted. You can select Passport, Driver’s license/State I.D., USCIS documentation, and Other. For Other, specify. Enter its issuing agency, number, and expiration date. Also, enter your date of entry into the United States in MM/DD/YYYY format.
Mark the applicable box to answer if you have previously received an ITIN or an Internal Revenue Service Number (IRSN). You can mark No/Don’t Know then, skip Item 6f. If you mark Yes, complete Item 6f.
Enter your previous ITIN or IRSN, or both, and the name under which it was issued.
Enter your name of college, university, or company, its location, and your length of stay.
Sign and enter your name and the date the form was completed. Also, enter your contact information. If applicable, enter the name of your delegate and select your relationship with him or her.
Documents to submit
Aside from Form W-7, you need to submit documents to confirm your identity and foreign status. A valid passport confirms both; however, if you do not have a passport, the following documents are acceptable:
- Photo ID card from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services — Confirms foreign status and identity.
- Visa issued by the State Department — Confirms foreign status and identity.
- U.S. foreign driver’s license — Confirms identity.
- U.S. military ID card — Confirms identity.
- Foreign military ID card — Confirms foreign status and identity.
- National ID card from a foreign country — Confirms foreign status and identity.
- Non-driver ID card issued by a U.S. state — Confirms foreign status and identity.
- Foreign voter registration card — Confirms foreign status and identity.
- Foreign birth certificate — Confirms identity; if the document is from a foreign country, it confirms foreign status and identity.
- Medical records for children under 6 — Confirms identity; if the document is from a foreign country, it confirms foreign status and identity.
- School records for children under 14 or under 18 if still a student — Confirms identity; if the document is from a foreign country, it confirms foreign status and identity.
Mail the completed Form W-7 and the supporting documents to:
Internal Revenue Service
P.O. Box 149342
Austin, TX 78714-9342
You can download a copy of Form W-7 that you can fill out manually from the official website of the IRS. If you prefer to fill it out electronically for convenience, you can utilize a document filler application. You may also hire a tax professional or company to assist you with your tax-related concerns.