2021 Child Tax Credit and Advance Child Tax Credit Payments — Topic B: Eligibility for Advance Child Tax Credit Payments and the 2021 Child Tax Credit

A1. You qualify for advance Child Tax Credit payments if you have a qualifying child. Also, you — or your spouse, if married filing a joint return — must have your main home in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia for more than half the year. Your main home can be any location where you regularly live. Your main home may be your house, apartment, mobile home, shelter, temporary lodging, or other location and doesn’t need to be the same physical location throughout the taxable year. You don’t need a permanent address to get these payments. If you are temporarily away from your main home because of illness, education, business, vacation, or military service, you are generally treated as living in your main home.

For information on how the amount of your Child Tax Credit could be reduced based on the amount of your income, see Topic C: Calculation of the 2021 Child Tax Credit.

A3. For tax year 2021, a qualifying child is an individual who does not turn 18 before January 1, 2022, and who satisfies the following conditions:

  1. The individual is the taxpayer’s son, daughter, stepchild, eligible foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, half-brother, half-sister, or a descendant of any of them (for example, a grandchild, niece, or nephew).
  2. The individual does not provide more than one-half of his or her own support during 2021.
  3. The individual lives with the taxpayer for more than one-half of tax year 2021. For exceptions to this requirement, see IRS Publication 972, Child Tax Credit and Credit for Other Dependents PDF.
  4. The individual is properly claimed as the taxpayer’s dependent. For more information about how to properly claim an individual as a dependent, see IRS Publication 501, Dependents, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information. PDF
  5. The individual does not file a joint return with the individual’s spouse for tax year 2021 or files it only to claim a refund of withheld income tax or estimated tax paid.
  6. The individual was a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or U.S. resident alien. For more information on this condition, see IRS Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens. PDF

A4. You — and your spouse, if married filing a joint return — must have a Social Security number (SSN) or an IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). You will receive advance Child Tax Credit payments only if you used your correct SSN or ITIN when you filed a 2020 tax return or 2019 tax return (including when you entered information into the Non-Filer tool on IRS.gov in 2020).

Advance Child Tax Credit payments will be made for each qualifying child who has an SSN that is valid for employment in the United States. 

A5. For qualifying children, a valid SSN is one that is valid for employment in the United States and is issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA) before the due date of your 2021 tax return (including extensions).

If an individual was a U.S. citizen when he or she received the SSN, then it is valid for employment in the United States. If “Not Valid for Employment” is printed on the individual’s Social Security card and the individual’s immigration status has changed so that he or she is now a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, ask the SSA for a new Social Security card.

However, if “Valid for Work Only With DHS Authorization” is printed on the individual’s Social Security card, the individual has the required SSN only as long as the Department of Homeland Security authorization is valid.

A6. Yes. If your qualifying child was alive at any time during 2021 and lived with you for more than half the time in 2021 that the child was alive, then your child is a qualifying child for purposes of the 2021 Child Tax Credit. As a result, you will receive advance Child Tax Credit payments for your qualifying child.

A7. File your 2020 tax return. Even though you did not receive the Child Tax Credit based on your 2019 tax return, you may receive advance Child Tax Credit payments based on the number of qualifying children allowed on your 2020 tax return. The payment will start in July or the month after your 2020 tax return is processed, whichever is later.

A9. You can request a payment trace to track your payment if you have not received it within the timeframes below. We will not be able to trace your payment unless it has been:

  • 5 days since the deposit date and the bank says it hasn't received the payment 
  • 4 weeks since the payment was mailed by check to a standard address 
  • 6 weeks since the payment was mailed, and you have a forwarding address on file with the local post office 
  • 9 weeks since the payment was mailed, and you have a foreign address

To start a payment trace, mail or fax a completed Form 3911, Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund PDF

A10. We’re still reviewing your account for eligibility. You can continue to check back for status updates in the Child Tax Credit Update Portal.

A12. No. You will not receive advance CTC payments until we are able to confirm your eligibility.  If we are not able to confirm eligibility during 2021, you may be eligible to claim the full 2021 Child Tax Credit when you file your 2021 tax return.