An individual who is a foreign national or non-resident alien and is not eligible for a Social Security Number, but is required to have a United States taxpayer identification number (but who do not have), and is not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) has to apply for an ITIN or an Individual Tax Identification Number. An ITIN is a tax processing number that is issued by the Inland Revenue Service. An ITIN is nine digits and the first digit will always be the number “9”, and is in the format xxx-xx-xxxx.
An Individual Tax Identification Number is issued regardless of immigration status because both resident and non-resident aliens may have a United States filing or reporting requirement under the Internal Revenue Service Code. You will need to apply for an ITIN if you are one of the following:
- You are not eligible to obtain a Social Security number.
- You are a non-resident alien who is required to file a United States tax return with the Inland Revenue Service.
- You are a United States resident alien who is filing a United States tax return with the Inland Revenue Service.
- You are a dependent or a spouse of a United States citizen or resident alien.
- You are a dependent or a spouse of a non-resident alien visa holder.
Individuals who applied and obtained an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) are eligible to apply for an SSN by submitting Form SS-5. This is only applicable for those who have been issued a Visa from the United States Department of State that enabled them to obtain a Social Security Number.
To apply for an ITIN, an individual with a foreign status should complete the W7 Form, Application for Inland Revenue Service individual Taxpayer Identification Number. The completed W-7 Form must be accompanied by the following documentation:
- An original United States Federal income tax return.
- Your passport.
Form W-7 is to be filed with the federal income tax return and is attached to the front of the income tax return. You can file Form W-7 either by mail to the branch of the IRS or apply in person at a designated IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC). The ITIN application usually takes within 7 weeks for the Inland Revenue Service to process and to send out the assigned ITIN to the applicant.