ITINs are issued by the IRS to certain nonresident aliens who require an identification number for tax treaty, tax return or other reasons. 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.
An ITIN may be used by visitors who do not have a Social Security Number, but to whom departments plan to make a payment such as an honorarium. The ITIN number is also used by the Controller’s office for tax reporting to the IRS. (As long as the nonresident alien is not paid by Payroll, the ITIN can be used for this purpose.)
F-1 and J-1 students who receive scholarships (academic or athletic) or fellowships from US sources, and who are not eligible for Social Security numbers, must obtain an ITIN. If you receive a fellowship or scholarship, from a foreign country, you may be required to obtain an ITIN.
Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) – Form W-7
An ITIN, or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, is a tax processing number only available for certain nonresident and resident aliens, their spouses, and dependents who cannot get a Social Security Number (SSN). It is a 9-digit number, beginning with the number “9”, formatted like an SSN (NNN-NN-NNNN).
Examples of Individuals needing an ITIN include:
- A nonresident alien individual eligible to obtain the benefits of a reduced rate of withholding under an income tax treaty
- A nonresident alien not eligible for a SSN required to file a U.S. tax return or filing a U.S. tax return only to claim a refund
- A nonresident alien not eligible for a SSN electing to file a joint tax return with a spouse who is a U.S. citizen or resident alien
- A U.S. resident alien who files a U.S. tax return but who is not eligible for a SSN
- An alien individual, claimed as a spouse for an exemption on a U.S. tax return, who is not eligible for a SSN
- An alien individual, who is not eligible for a SSN, claimed as a dependent on another person’s U.S. tax return, and
- A nonresident alien student, professor, or researcher filing a U.S. tax return or claiming an exception to the tax return filing requirement who is not eligible for a SSN
The ITIN is issued for federal tax purposes only. It does not entitle you to Social Security benefits, and does not make you eligible for the earned income credit. The ITIN creates no inference concerning your immigration status or your right to work in the United States.
You must file Form W-7, Application for Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, to apply for an ITIN, and show that you have a federal tax purpose for seeking the ITIN. Along with the completed Form W-7, you will submit identity documents, and either a federal tax return, or other documentation to show the federal tax purpose for which you need the ITIN.
The identity documents are needed to verify both your identity and your foreign status; one must include a recent photograph. If you submit an original valid passport (or a notarized or certified copy of a valid passport) you do not need to submit any other documents. If you do not submit a passport document, you must provide a combination of documents (at least two or more) that are current and that (1) verify your identity (that is, contain your name and a photograph), and (2) support your claim of foreign status.
If the ITIN is for a dependent, the documentation must prove that the dependent is a U.S. National or a resident in the United States, Mexico, Canada, Republic of Korea (South Korea) or India. However, if you are living abroad and have adopted, or have had legally placed in your home pending adoption, a foreign child, that child may be eligible for an ITIN. If the dependent is a minor, the documentation must establish the relationship between the dependent and the representative signing the application on the dependent’s behalf. Such documentation could include a birth certificate, adoption papers, or other court-appointed papers showing legal guardianship. In the case of dependents that are residents of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) or India, refer to Publication 519 for additional documentation that may be required.
In addition to a passport, examples of acceptable documentation include: national identification card (showing photo, name, current address, date of birth and expiration date); civil birth certificate; foreign driver’s license; or visa. A complete list of acceptable documentation can be found in the instructions to the Form W-7. The documents must be originals or certified copies.
Generally ITIN application takes approximately 4 to 6 weeks for the IRS to notify you in writing of your ITIN..