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General Instructions

Purpose of Form

Use Form W-7 for the following purposes.

  • To apply for an ITIN. An ITIN is a nine-digit number issued by the IRS to individuals who are required for federal tax purposes to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number but who don’t have and aren’t eligible to get a social security number (SSN).

  • To renew an ITIN. An ITIN only needs to be renewed if it will be included on a U.S. federal tax return and it is expiring or has expired. See How To Apply, later, for more information on how to renew your ITIN.

If your ITIN is only used on information returns filed with the IRS by third parties, you don't have to renew your ITIN, even if the ITIN has expired for purposes of filing a U.S. federal tax return. However, in the future, if you file an income tax return, you will need to renew your ITIN at that time.

The ITIN is for federal tax purposes only.   An ITIN doesn’t entitle you to social security benefits and doesn’t change your immigration status or your right to work in the United States. Also, individuals filing tax returns using an ITIN aren’t eligible for the earned income credit (EIC).

Social security numbers.   Don’t complete Form W-7 if you have an SSN or if you’re eligible to get an SSN. You’re eligible for an SSN if you’re a U.S. citizen or if you have been admitted by the United States for permanent residence or U.S. employment.

  To get an SSN, see Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. To get Form SS-5 or to find out if you're eligible to get an SSN, go to www.socialsecurity.gov or contact a Social Security Administration (SSA) office.

  If you have an application for an SSN pending, don’t file Form W-7. Complete Form W-7 only if the SSA notifies you that you’re ineligible for an SSN.

  If the SSA will not issue you an SSN, you must get a letter of denial and attach it to your Form W-7. This applies whether you’re attaching Form W-7 to your U.S. federal tax return or not. However, students, professors, and researchers, see information for box f, later.

Who Must Complete this Form

The following individuals must complete Form W-7.

  1. Any individual who isn’t eligible to get an SSN but who must furnish a taxpayer identification number must apply for an ITIN on Form W-7. Examples include the following.

    • A nonresident alien individual claiming reduced withholding under an applicable income tax treaty for which an ITIN is required (see Regulations section 1.1441-1(e)(4)(vii)(A)). Also see Pub. 515, Withholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens and Foreign Entities.

    • A nonresident alien individual not eligible for an SSN who is required to file a U.S. federal tax return or who is filing a U.S. federal tax return only to claim a refund.

    • A nonresident alien individual not eligible for an SSN who elects to file a joint U.S. federal tax return with a spouse who is a U.S. citizen or resident alien.

    • A U.S. resident alien (based on the substantial presence test) who files a U.S. federal tax return but who isn’t eligible for an SSN. For information about the substantial presence test, see Pub. 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.

    • An alien spouse claimed as an exemption on a U.S. federal tax return who isn’t eligible to get an SSN.

    • An alien individual eligible to be claimed as a dependent on a U.S. federal tax return but who isn’t eligible to get an SSN. To determine if an alien individual is eligible to be claimed as a dependent on a U.S. federal tax return, see Pub. 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information, and Pub. 519.

    • A nonresident alien student, professor, or researcher who is required to file a U.S. federal tax return but who isn’t eligible for an SSN, or who is claiming an exception to the tax return filing requirement.

    • A dependent/spouse of a nonresident alien U.S. visa holder, who isn’t eligible for an SSN.

  2. Persons who must renew their ITIN to file a U.S. federal tax return. See To renew your ITIN under How To Apply, and Do You Need To Renew Your ITIN, later.

Only file Form W-7 if your ITIN needs to be renewed. See Pub. 1915, Understanding Your IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), for more information.

Additional Information

For more information, visit www.irs.gov and enter “ITIN” in the search box.

Publications.   See Pubs. 501, 515, 519, and 1915 for more information.

  You can visit www.irs.gov/formspubs to download these publications as well as other forms at no cost. Otherwise, you can go to www.irs.gov/orderforms to order current and prior-year forms and instructions. Your order should arrive within 10 business days.

  You can also call 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676) if you’re in the United States to order forms and publications. If you have a foreign address, write to:

Internal Revenue Service 
1201 N. Mitsubishi Motorway 
Bloomington, IL 61705-6613

Telephone help.   If, after reading these instructions and our free publications, you’re not sure how to complete your application or have additional questions, call 1-800-829-1040 if you’re in the United States. If you’re outside the United States, call 267-941-1000 (not a toll-free number) for assistance.

Supporting Documentation Requirements

The documentation you provide must meet the following requirements.

  1. You must submit documentation to establish your identity and your connection to a foreign country (“foreign status”). Applicants claimed as dependents must also prove U.S. residency unless the applicant is from Mexico or Canada or the applicant is a dependent of U.S. military personnel stationed overseas.

  2. You must submit original documents, or certified copies of these documents from the issuing agency, that support the information provided on Form W-7. 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. You may be able to request a certified copy of documents at an embassy or consulate. However, services may vary between countries, so it is recommended that you contact the appropriate consulate or embassy for specific information.

    Original documents you submit will be returned to you at the mailing address shown on your Form W-7. You don’t need to provide a return envelope. Applicants are permitted to include a prepaid Express Mail or courier envelope for faster return delivery of their documents. The IRS will then return the documents in the envelope provided by the applicant. If your original documents aren’t returned within 60 days, you can call the IRS (see Telephone help, earlier). If you will need your documents for any purpose within 60 days of submitting your ITIN application, you may wish to apply in person at an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center or CAA. See Where To Apply, later.

  3. The documentation you provide must be current (that is, not expired).

There are 13 acceptable documents as shown in the table below. At least one document must contain your photograph, unless you're a dependent under age 14 (under age 18 if a student). Also, you may later be required to provide a certified translation of foreign-language documents.

Supporting Documentation Can be used to establish:
Foreign status Identity
Passport (the only stand-alone document*) x x
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) photo identification x x
Visa issued by the U.S. Department of State x x
U.S. driver’s license   x
U.S. military identification card   x
Foreign driver’s license   x
Foreign military identification card x x
National identification card (must contain name, photograph, address, date of birth, and expiration date) x x
U.S. state identification card   x
Foreign voter’s registration card x x
Civil birth certificate x** x
Medical records (valid only for dependents under age 6) x** x
School records (valid only for dependents under age 18 if a student) x** x
* Applicants claimed as a dependent who need to prove U.S. residency must provide additional documentation if the passport does not have a date of entry into the United States. See Proof of U.S. residency for applicants who are dependents, below. 
** May be used to establish foreign status only if documents are foreign.

If you submit an original passport or a certified copy from the issuing agency, you do not need to submit any other documents from the table.

Proof of U.S. residency for applicants who are dependents.

Applicants claimed as dependents must also prove U.S. residency unless the applicant is from Mexico or Canada or the applicant is a dependent of U.S. military personnel stationed overseas. Effective October 1, 2016, a passport that doesn’t have a date of entry will no longer be accepted as a stand-alone identification document for dependents, unless the dependents are from Mexico, Canada, or dependents of U.S. military personnel stationed overseas. Applicants will be required to submit (along with the supporting documentation listed above):

– If under 6 years of age: A U.S. medical record that lists the applicant’s name and U.S. address.

– If under 18 years of age: A U.S. school record that lists the applicant’s name and U.S. address.

– If 18 years of age or older: U.S. school records, rental statement, utility bill, or bank statement that lists the applicant’s name and U.S. address.

If you check box d for a dependent of a U.S. citizen or resident alien, then you may submit an original valid passport (or a certified copy from the issuing agency) without any other documents to prove your “foreign status” or “identity” only if the passport has a U.S. date of entry. Otherwise, you must submit at least two of the documents listed in the chart above.

Additional Documentation Requirements

Civil birth certificate –

Original documentation submitted for a dependent under age 18 must include a civil birth certificate (unless a passport is submitted). Civil birth certificates are considered current at all times because they do not contain an expiration date.

Passports and national identification cards –

These documents will be considered current only if their expiration date has not passed prior to the date the Form W-7 is submitted.

Note:

Certified copies of a passport from the issuing agency must include the U.S. visa pages if a visa is required for your Form W-7 application.

Medical records –

Medical records will be accepted for dependents under 6 years of age. The medical record must contain the child’s name, date of birth, and verifiable address. Shot/immunization records will be accepted only if they document the applicant’s name and chronological dates of the applicant’s medical history and care. In addition, the medical record must document the name, address, and phone number of the doctor, hospital, or clinic where treatment was last administered. If this information is not printed on the medical record, the medical record must be accompanied by a dated letter providing the required information on official letterhead from the federal authority, physician, hospital, or clinic that administered the latest care of the child. The medical record must be dated no more than 12 months from the date of the Form W-7 application. If a date of entry is required for the applicant, the medical record must be from a U.S. facility.

School records –

School records will be accepted only if they are for a school term ending no more than 12 months from the date of the Form W-7 application. The school record must consist of an official report card or transcript issued by the school or the equivalent of a Ministry of Education. The school record must also be signed by a school official or ministry official. The record must be dated and contain the student’s name, course work with grades (unless under age 6), date of grading period(s) (unless under age 6), and school name and address. If a date of entry is required for the applicant, the school record must be from a U.S. facility.

How To Apply

Follow the guidelines below if you’re applying for a new ITIN or renewing an existing ITIN. To determine if you need to renew your ITIN, see Do You Need To Renew Your ITIN?, later.

Note:

Keep a copy of your application for your records.

To receive an ITIN for the first time.   If you’ve never had an ITIN before and are submitting an application for a new ITIN, include the following in your application package.

  

Note:

If you submit a Form W-7, all future ITIN notices and correspondence that you receive will be in English. If you prefer to receive them in Spanish, submit Form W-7(SP).

  1. Your completed Form W-7.

  2. Your original tax return(s) for which the ITIN is needed. Attach Form W-7 to the front of your tax return. If you’re applying for more than one ITIN for the same tax return (such as for a spouse or dependent(s)), attach all Forms W-7 to the same tax return. Leave the area of the SSN blank on the tax return for each person who is applying for an ITIN. After your Form W-7 has been processed, the IRS will assign an ITIN to the return and process the return.

    There are exceptions to the requirement to include a U.S. federal tax return. If you claim one of these exceptions, you must submit the documentation required instead of a tax return. See Exceptions Tables, later.

  3. Original documents, or certified copies of these documents from the issuing agency, required to support the information provided on Form W-7. The required supporting documentation must be consistent with the applicant’s information provided on Form W-7. For example, the name, date of birth, and country(ies) of citizenship shown in the documentation must be the same as on Form W-7, lines 1a, 4, and 6a. See Supporting Documentation Requirements, earlier, for a list of the documents that can be submitted along with your application package.

To renew your ITIN.   If your ITIN is expiring or has expired and the ITIN will be included on a U.S. federal tax return, follow the guidelines below to submit your renewal application. Applications for renewal may be filed as early as October 1, 2016. If your ITIN will not be included on a U.S. federal tax return, you don’t need to renew your ITIN at this time.

  
If you don’t renew the expired ITIN and you file a U.S. federal tax return with the expired ITIN, there may be a delay in processing your tax return.

  Include the following in your renewal application package.
  1. Your completed Form W-7.

  2. Original documentation, or certified copies of the documentation from the issuing agency, required to support the information provided on Form W-7. The required supporting documentation must be consistent with the applicant’s information provided on Form W-7. For example, the name, date of birth, and country(ies) of citizenship shown in the documentation must be the same as on Form W-7, lines 1a, 4, and 6a. See Supporting Documentation Requirements, earlier, for a list of documentation that can be submitted along with your renewal package.

    All family members listed on a tax return may renew their ITINs at the same time.

Certified copies.   You can submit copies of original documents if you do any of the following.
  • Have the copies certified by the issuing agency.

  • Have the officers at U.S. Embassies and Consulates overseas provide certification and authentication services. Contact the Consular Section, American Citizens Services of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in advance to determine the hours of operation for these services.

Deceased taxpayers.   When requesting an ITIN for a deceased taxpayer, the deceased must meet all of the requirements established to get an ITIN. Also, you must write “Deceased” across the top of Form W-7 and include the documentation shown in the following chart.

  
IF you’re: THEN you must include:
The surviving spouse filing an original or amended joint return with your deceased spouse
  • Form W-7,

  • A U.S. individual income tax return, and

  • Documentation substantiating the identity and foreign status of the deceased.

The court-appointed executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate filing an original tax return on behalf of the deceased
  • Form W-7,

  • A U.S. individual income tax return,

  • Documentation substantiating the identity and foreign status of the deceased*, and

  • A court certificate showing your appointment.

Neither the surviving spouse nor the court-appointed executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate
  • Form W-7,

  • A U.S. individual income tax return,

  • Documentation substantiating the identity and foreign status of the deceased*,

  • Form 1310 (if a refund is due), and

  • A copy of the certificate of death.

* If the Form W-7 is for a deceased individual under 18 years of age, one of the documents proving identity, foreign status, and/or U.S. residency must be a birth certificate, unless a passport is submitted.

ITIN not needed for Forms 4868, 1040-ES, or 1040-ES (NR).   If you’re filing an application for an extension of time to file using Form 4868, or making an estimated tax payment using Form 1040-ES or Form 1040-ES (NR), don’t file Form W-7 with those forms. Enter “ITIN TO BE REQUESTED” wherever your SSN or ITIN is requested. An ITIN will be issued only after you file a tax return and meet all other requirements.

  
If you attached your tax return to your Form W-7, leave the area of the SSN blank on the tax return for each person who is applying for an ITIN.

When To Apply

To receive an ITIN for the first time.   If you’re applying for a new ITIN, complete and attach Form W-7 to your tax return when you file the tax return for which the ITIN is needed. If you’re unable to file your tax return by the due date, you must file an application for an extension of time to file. Failure to timely file the tax return with a complete Form W-7 and required documentation may result in the denial of refundable credits, such as the Child Tax Credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit. See Where To Apply, later. Don’t file your tax return without Form W-7.

  If you meet one of the exceptions described in Exceptions Tables at the end of these instructions, you may complete and submit Form W-7 at any time.

You can’t electronically file (e-file) a return using an ITIN in the calendar year the ITIN is assigned. If you need to file multiple year returns, you can attach them all to your Form W-7 and submit them to the IRS. Once your ITIN is assigned, you can e-file returns in the following years. For example, if you apply for and receive an ITIN in 2017, you may not e-file any tax return using that ITIN (including prior year returns) until 2018.

To renew your ITIN.   If you’re renewing an existing ITIN, you may submit your Form W-7 renewal application (without filing a tax return) as early as October 1, 2016. If you don’t renew your expired ITIN and you file a U.S. federal tax return with the expired ITIN, there may be a delay in processing your tax return.

Where To Apply

By mail.   Mail Form W-7, your tax return, if applicable (or other documents required by an exception), and the documentation described under Supporting Documentation Requirements, earlier, to:

Internal Revenue Service 
ITIN Operation 
P.O. Box 149342 
Austin, TX 78714-9342

  
If you mail your application, don’t use the mailing address in the instructions for your tax return.

By private delivery services.   If you use a private delivery service, submit your Form W-7, your tax return, if applicable (or other documents required by an exception), and the documentation described under Supporting Documentation Requirements, earlier, to:

Internal Revenue Service 
ITIN Operation 
3651 S. Interregional, Hwy 35 
Mail Stop 6090-AUSC 
Austin, TX 78741-0000

In person.   Designated IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) can verify original documentation and certified copies of the documentation from the issuing agency for primary and secondary applicants and their dependents. For dependents, TACs can verify passports, national identification cards, and birth certificates. These documents will be returned to you immediately. Service at TACs is by appointment only. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 1-844-545-5640. See www.irs.gov/uac/tac-locations-where-in-person-document-verification-is-provided for a list of designated TACs that offer ITIN document authentication service. TACs that don’t offer ITIN document authentication service will mail the original documents, Form W-7, and tax return to the IRS Austin Service Center for processing.

Through an acceptance agent.   You can also apply through one of the two types of acceptance agents authorized by the IRS.
  1. Acceptance Agent (AA).

  2. Certified Acceptance Agent (CAA).

Acceptance Agent (AA).

An Acceptance Agent (AA) can help you complete and file Form W-7. To get a list of agents, visit IRS.gov and enter “acceptance agent program” in the search box. An AA will need to submit original documentation or certified copies of the documentation from the issuing agency to the IRS for all applicants.

Certified Acceptance Agent (CAA).

A Certified Acceptance Agent (CAA) can verify original documentation and certified copies of the documentation from the issuing agency for primary and secondary applicants and their dependents. For dependents, CAAs can only verify passports and birth certificates. The CAA will return the documentation immediately after reviewing its authenticity.

Processing times.   Allow 7 weeks for the IRS to notify you of your ITIN application status (9 to 11 weeks if you submit the application during peak processing periods (January 15 through April 30) or if you’re filing from overseas). If you haven’t received your ITIN or correspondence at the end of that time, you can call the IRS to find out the status of your application (see Telephone help, earlier).

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