In some cases, a foreign national is not eligible to obtain a Social Security number (SSN) while waiting for their immigration case to process. In such cases, an Individual Taxpayer Identification number (ITIN) may be obtained for tax processing purposes. Here’s how to determine whether you are eligible for an ITIN—and how to get one.
What is an Individual Taxpayer Identification number (ITIN)?
Similar to an SSN, the ITIN is a 9-digit number, beginning with the number “9” and formatted like an SSN (###-##-####). The ITIN can be used to add a foreign spouse (Or foreign dependant) that doesn’t qualify for an SSN to a jointly filed tax return.
Who is eligible for an Individual Taxpayer Identification number (ITIN)?
The following may be eligible for an ITIN:
- A foreign spouse claimed as an exemption on a US federal tax return who isn’t eligible to get an SSN
- A foreign individual claimed as a dependent on a US federal tax return who isn’t eligible to get an SSN
- A spouse or dependent of a nonresident alien US visa holder who isn’t eligible for an SSN
- A nonresident alien individual who elects to file a joint US federal tax return with a spouse who is a US citizen or resident alien
How do I determine if I am eligibile for an Individual Taxpayer Identification number (ITIN)?
You can determine your eligibility for an ITIN through the IRS website.
How do I get an Individual Taxpayer Identification number (ITIN)?
An ITIN is obtained by filing IRS Form W-7. In support of your application for an ITIN, you will need to provide proof of your identity and qualifications. The instructions for IRS Form W-7 provide a list of the required documents in support of an ITIN, and the details of how one is obtained.
Our suggestion? Hire a tax professional. We recommend seeking the advice of a licensed tax professional to address your tax questions and to assist you with the process. *The information provided herein is for informational purposes only and doesn’t constitute legal or accounting advice. Seek the advice of a licensed tax professional.