What is an ITIN?

An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a United States tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service for those who need to file a federal tax return but aren't eligible for a Social Security number.

What is an ITIN used for?

The IRS issues ITINs to help individuals comply with the U.S. tax laws, and to provide a means to efficiently process and account for tax returns and payments for those not eligible for Social Security Numbers (SSNs). ITINs are used for federal tax reporting purposes only. An ITIN does not serve as valid identification outside of the tax system, therefore it does not authorize work in the U.S. or provide eligibility for Social Security benefits or the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Who needs an ITIN?

If you meet one of the following situations below, you will need an ITIN to file your federal income tax return:

  • Foreign nationals and others who have federal tax reporting or filing requirements and DO NOT qualify for SSNs

  • A non-resident alien individual not eligible for a SSN who is required to file a U.S. tax return only to claim a refund of tax under the provisions of a U.S. tax treaty needs an ITIN

  • A nonresident alien required to file a U.S. tax return

  • A U.S. resident alien (based on days present in the United States) filing a U.S. tax return

  • A dependent or spouse of a U.S. citizen/resident alien

  • A dependent or spouse of a nonresident alien visa holder

How do I apply for an ITIN?

To apply for an ITIN, complete Form W-7 and mail it to the IRS ITIN Unit in Austin, Texas. Attach a valid federal income tax return, unless you qualify for an exception. Along with your ITIN application, you must also include your original proof of identity or certified copies by the issuing agency and foreign status documents. 

ITIN Renewals

What You Need to Know

  • You are likely to experience processing delays if you file a tax return using an expired Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.


  • There are two reasons your ITIN would expire December 31, 2017:

    • If you have not used your ITIN on a U.S. tax return at least once for tax years 2016, 2017 or 2018 or

    • If your ITIN has the middle digits 70, 71, 72,78,79 or 80,81,82,83,84,85,86,87   (9NN-70-NNNN) it expired December 31, 2019 or before, but you can still renew it.