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Revised Application Standards for ITINs


Effective January 1, 2013, the IRS has updated procedures that affect the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) application process. Some of the information below, including the documentation requirements for individuals seeking an ITIN, has been superseded by these changes. Taxpayers and their representatives should review these changes, which are further explained in these Frequently Asked Questions, before requesting an ITIN.

What are the revised application standards for ITINs?
Effective November 29, 2012, the IRS announced changes to the ITIN process that called for revisions in the application standards for ITIN. Each ITIN applicant will now:

Any applicant who meets an exception to the requirement to file a tax return must provide documentation to support the exception (see the instructions for Form W-7).

Why did IRS change from an ITIN card to an authorization letter? 
The IRS changed from an ITIN card to an authorization letter to avoid any possible similarities with a Social Security Number card. Current ITIN holders’ cards will not be replaced. They should continue to use the numbers previously issued when they are required to supply an identification number for tax purposes.

Why did IRS revise the ITIN application process?
The IRS revised the ITIN application process to help ensure ITINs are used for their intended tax administration purposes.

What documents are acceptable as proof of identity and foreign status?
IRS streamlined the number of documents the agency accepts as proof of identity and foreign status to obtain an ITIN. There are 13 acceptable documents. Each document must be current and contain an expiration date. IRS will accept documents issued within 12 months of the application if no expiration date is normally available.  Documents must also show your name and photograph, and support your claim of foreign status. Below is the list of the only acceptable documents:

  • Passport (stand alone document) *
  • National identification card (must show photo, name, current address, date of birth, and expiration date)
  • U.S. driver's license
  • Civil birth certificate (required for dependents under 18 years of age)
  • Foreign driver's license
  • U.S. state identification card
  • Foreign voter's registration card
  • U.S. military identification card
  • Foreign military identification card
  • Visa
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) photo identification
  • Medical records (dependents only - under 6)
  • School records (dependents only - under 14, under 18 if a student)

*A passport is the only document that proves both identity and foreign status.  For dependents, the passport must have a date of entry to be a stand alone document, unless the dependent is from Canada, Mexico, or Military Overseas. If a passport is submitted, a combination of two or more documents must be submitted to meet the document requirements.

What documents are acceptable as proof of identity and foreign status for dependents without an entry date on passport?
Effective October 1, 2016, the passport will no longer be accepted as a stand-alone identification document for dependents if the passport does not have a date of entry, unless the dependent is from Mexico or Canada.  Applicants will be required to submit (along with the passport) either:

  • U.S. medical records for dependents under age 6, or
  • U.S. school records for dependents under age 18
  • U.S. school records for dependents age 18 and over or
  • Rental Statement listing the Applicant’s Name and U.S. Address or
  • Utility Bill listing the Applicant’s Name and U.S. Address or
  • Bank Statement with Applicant’s Name and U.S. Address

*Military Overseas is exempt from the new policy provision.


Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 20-Oct-2016