ITIN Updated Procedures Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the IRS changing the ITIN program procedures?
H.R. 209, Consolidated Appropriation Act, 2016, Division Q Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015 (P.L. 114-113) was signed into law on December 18, 2015. Section 203 of the law outlines specific rules relating to the issuance of ITINs.
What is the difference between a "certified" and a "notarized" document?
A certified document is one that the original issuing agency provides and certifies as an exact copy of the original document and contains an official stamped seal from the Agency. These documents will be accepted. A notarized document is one that the taxpayer provides to a public notary who bears witness to the signing of the official document and affixes a seal assuring that the document is legitimate. These documents will not be accepted for ITIN applications. Note there are some applicants who are exempt from this change. This exemption is described in a previous question.
When will the new program changes be effective?
These changes will be effective for all new applications submitted on or after October 1, 2016.
Will IRS Publications (e.g., 1915, 4520 or 4327), or ITIN related forms and instructions change to reflect this new requirement? If so, when will they change and when will they be available to the public?
All related publications, forms and instructions will be changed to reflect the new policy.
Will taxpayers be able to submit Form W-7 applications (with original documents) at IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers?
Yes, Primary, secondary, and dependent persons may submit W-7 applications in person (with original documents) at designated IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TAC). Designated Taxpayer Assistance Centers will certify only original and copies certified by the issuing agency passports and National ID cards.
Service at the TAC is by appointment only. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 844-545-5640. See IRS.gov for a list of designated TACs that offer ITIN document authentication services.
Which documents are acceptable?
See the instructions for Form W-7. These instructions list the 13 acceptable documents.
Will the IRS return my original documents to me? How long will it take to get them back?
The IRS has a process in place to ensure that documents are returned to applicants. The original and certified documents will be returned to applicants using the mailing address on the application via postage paid standard U.S. mail within 60 days of receipt and processing of the Form W-7.
Whom should I contact if I do not receive the documents within the allotted period?
If you do not receive your original documents within 65 days of mailing to the IRS, allowing 5 days for postal mail receipt, you may call 1-800-908-9982 (U.S. only) or for international, call 1-267-941-1000 (this is not a toll free number).
Are there any alternative options for me if I do not want to mail the original documents I have such as my passport?
In lieu of sending original documentation, primary and secondary applicants will have the option to use a CAA and designated TAC locations. A dependent applicant can have a passport, national ID card or birth certificate authenticated by a designated TAC location (before visiting, check to see whether your local TAC offers this service) however, all other forms of documentation (originals or certified copies from the issuing agency) must be mailed to the IRS.
If I cannot get the documents I need to apply for an ITIN, can I apply for a Social Security number instead?
If you qualify for a social security number, you should not be applying for an ITIN.
Can my foreign consulate or embassy certify my documents?
You may be able to request a certified copy of documents at an embassy or consulate. However, services may vary between countries, so we recommend that you contact the appropriate consulate or embassy for specific information.
My consulate or embassy wants to know why I need a certified copy of my passport. What should I provided them as proof of requirement?
We recommend that you refer the consulate or embassy to the information on www.IRS.gov or that you download and copy of that information and provide it to them.
Will the IRS accept an apostille document?
The IRS is only accepting original documentation or certified copies of documents by the issuing country or agency. An apostille does not meet these requirements since it is similar to the U.S. Notary, which we do not accept. You may be able to request a certified copy of identification documents at the applicant's embassy or consulate. However, services may vary between countries so we recommend that you contact the appropriate consulate or embassy for that information.
Additional Information for Certifying Acceptance Agents (CAAs) and Acceptance Agents (AAs)
Can CAAs and AAs still submit Forms W-7 to the IRS for taxpayers?
Yes, CAAs and AAs can still submit Forms W-7 on behalf of their clients. CAAs are allowed to use Form W-7 (COA) to certify that they have reviewed and verified the original documentation or a certified copy from the issuing agency of those documents through face-to-face or video electronic interviews. CAAs must have the original identification documents in their possession during the interview, in order to see the security features and authenticate the documents. CAAs are required to submit copies of the documents that they reviewed along with the Form W-7 (COA). For dependents, CAAs are allowed to authenticate the passport and birth certificate. For all other documents, you are required to attach the original documents or certified copies from the issuing agency.