Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)

ITINs are issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). ITINs are for federal tax reporting only and are not intended to serve any other purpose. An ITIN does not authorize work in the US or serve as a form of identification outside of the tax system. The IRS issues ITINs to help individuals comply with the US tax laws. This includes international students not eligible for SSN.

Am I eligible for an ITIN?

ITINs are issued by the IRS to certain nonresident aliens. Do not submit a request for an ITIN if you have been previously issued an SSN or if you are eligible to work or if you will be employed in the near future. F-1 and J-1 students who receive scholarships or fellowships and who are not eligible for SSNs must obtain an ITIN.

How do I apply for an ITIN?

The IRS has outlined a special process for ITIN applications for students in F or J status. This process was in response to an announcement the IRS made in June that required ITIN applicants to submit original documentation (e.g. passport) or “certified copies of these documents from the issuing agency [from their home country]” as part of the application. Since it is not advisable for international students to be without their passport, and since many students are unable get a certified copy of the passport, the IRS has offered an alternative option: Apply using the services of an IRS-authorized Acceptance Agent or visit some key IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center in lieu of mailing your information to the IRS in Austin. Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) in the United States provide in-person help with ITIN applications on a walk-in or appointment basis.

Frequently Asked Questions

If I become eligible for an SSN after obtaining an ITIN, what should I do?

The local Social Security Administration Office will consider your request for an SSN if you provide evidence of eligibility. They will process the SSN application even though your ITIN has not yet been rescinded, but according to IRS regulations an individual should not possess both an ITIN and an SSN. To request that your ITIN be rescinded, contact the IRS (ITIN unit) after your have received the SSN and inform them of your new SSN.

Where can I get help with my ITIN application?

You can consult with a professional tax advisor or call the IRS toll-free at 1-800-829-1040 for information and help in completing your Form W-7 and your tax return. You may also visit the IRS’s website.