A taxpayer identification number must be furnished on all returns, statements, and other tax-related documents and must be given upon request to any
other person who must include it on a return or statement. For most individuals this is a Social Security Number, or SSN. If you are a foreign person who
does not have and is not eligible to get an SSN, you must use an Individual
Taxpayer Identification Number, or ITIN.
You need an ITIN if you are:
- An alien required to file a U.S. tax return,
- A nonresident alien electing to file a joint tax return with a spouse
who is a U.S. citizen or resident,
- Being claimed as a spouse for an exemption on a U.S. tax return,
- Being claimed as a dependent on another person's U.S. tax return; or
- Any other alien filing a tax return, an amended return, or a claim for
The ITIN is issued for tax purposes only. It does not take the place of
a social security number or entitle you to Social Security benefits. It creates
no inference concerning your immigration status or your right to work in the
You must file Form W-7 (PDF) to apply for an ITIN. Along with the completed Form W-7, you must submit identity
documents. These documents are needed to verify both your identity and your
foreign status; one must include a recent photograph. If you have one document
that verifies both, such as a passport, then that one document is enough.
If the ITIN is for a dependent, the documentation must prove that the dependent
lives in the United States, Mexico, or Canada. If the dependent is a minor,
the documentation must establish the relationship between the dependent and
the adult, such as a birth certificate or adoption papers.
Examples of acceptable documentation include a passport; foreign voter
registration card or military identification card; baptismal, birth, or marriage
certificate; or U.S. immigration documents. The documents must be original
or certified copies.
You can apply for your ITIN by mail or in person at most IRS offices in
the U.S. If you apply in person, your documents will be reviewed and returned
to you. Publication 1915 (PDF), Understanding Your IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, has a list of IRS offices abroad which
can accept Form W-7. If you apply by mail, use the address
shown in the Form W-7 instructions and in Publication 1915.
After reviewing your application, your documents will be returned to you.
If your original documents have not been returned within 30 days, you may
call 1-800-829-1040 (in the United States), or 1-215-516-4846 (outside the United States), to find out about the status of your documents. It takes approximately 4 to 6 weeks for the IRS to notify you in writing of
For more information, refer to Publication 1915. You may also
want to obtain Publication 519 (PDF), U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.
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