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An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a tax processing number the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issues to an individual who needs to report income but  is ineligible to obtain a Social Security number (SSN) from the Social Security Administration.

It is a nine digit number that always begins with the number 9 and has a 7 or 8 as the fourth digit; example, 9xx-7x-xxxx.

Who can obtain ITIN?

People who do not have a lawful status in the United States may obtain an ITIN. In addition, the following people are lawfully in the country and must pay taxes but may not be eligible for a SSN and may obtain an ITIN:

➨   A non-resident foreign national who owns or invests in a U.S. business and receives taxable income from that U.S. business, but lives in another country.

➨   A foreign national student who qualifies as a resident of the United States (based on days present in the United States).

➨   A dependent or spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.

➨ A dependent or spouse of a foreign national on a temporary visa.

Purposes of Individual Tax Identification Number

ITIN was created for tax purposes. It helps foreign nationals and other individuals who are not eligible for a Social Security number (SSN) can pay the taxes they are legally required to pay. Generally, dependents (H4 visa, L2 visa, F2 visa) should apply for an ITIN number. TIN number will be required to file joint Tax in USA. 

Opening an interest-bearing bank account.  Individuals who do not have a SNN but do have an ITIN can open interest-bearing accounts.

Securing a driver’s license.  Some states have allowed the ITIN to be used instead of a SSN in order to receive a driver’s license, driver’s permit, or state identification card.

Providing proof of residency. At some point in the future an immigrant may need to prove how long he or she has been in the United States and having a tax return filed using an ITIN is one way to show that.

How to apply for apply for an ITIN?

To apply for an ITIN, applicant must follow these steps:

➨ Applicants must fill out a W-7 application form and submit it to the IRS along with a completed tax return. Individuals do not need to apply in person. When the application is approved, ITINs are sent to applicants through the mail.

➨ Applicants are required to submit original documents verifying identity and “foreign status.”  The IRS has issued a list of 13 documents that will be accepted for this purpose. Those documents will be returned to the applicant within 60 days of receipt and processing of the W-7 form.

➨ There are IRS Acceptance Agents and Taxpayer Assistance Centers available to help persons apply.