- Tax Returns for Foreign Students and Scholars

Form W-7

Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number

Who Must Apply

Any individual who is not eligible to obtain an Social Security Number (SSN) but who must furnish an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number must apply for an ITIN on Form W-7.

Most nonresident students and scholars cannot claim family members as dependents. Any family member who can be claimed as a dependent must have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Family members who are not eligible for a Social Security Number (SSN) can apply for an identification number on Form W-7

Do not complete Form W-7 if you have an SSN or you are eligible to obtain an SSN.

If you have an application for an SSN pending, do not file Form W-7 Complete Form W-7 only if the Social Security Administration (SSA) notifies you that an SSN cannot be issued.


An ITIN is a nine-digit number issued by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to individuals who are required for U.S. tax purposes to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number but who do not have, and are not eligible to obtain, a social security number (SSN).

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

When to Apply

Complete and attach Form W-7 when you file the tax return for which the ITIN is needed. However, if you meet one of the exceptions, complete and submit Form W-7 as soon as possible after you determine you are covered by that exception.

Information on exceptions see in IRS instructions for Form W-7(PDF)

Where to Apply

Mail completed Form W-7, your tax return, and all supporting documents to:

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

You can apply for an ITIN by bringing your completed forms and documentation to any IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center in the United States and most IRS offices abroad. Before applying at an IRS office abroad, find out if that office accepts Form W-7 applications.

You can also apply through an Acceptance Agent authorized by the IRS. An acceptance agent can help you complete and file Form W-7. To obtain a list of agents, visit the IRS website at

Supporting Documents for Form W-7

You should complete Form W-7 and attach following supporting documents or their certified or notarized copies:

  • Passport with a valid U.S. visa (Canadians exempt)
  • I-94 card (arrival / departure record)
  • I-20/DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for F-1/J-1 Student Status)

If you do not submit a passport document, you must provide a combination of documents (at least two or more) that are current and that (1) verify your identity (that is, contain your name and a photograph), and (2) support your claim of foreign status. More information about additional documents see in IRS instructions for Form W-7(PDF)

Canadien sitizens only. Citizens from Canada are not required to have a passport upon entering the U.S., therefore, in lieu of a passport, Canadian citizens can have one of the following valid identification for review and photocopying:

  • Foreign driver's licence
  • Foreign identification card
  • Military registration card

Original documents you submit will be returned to you. You do not need to provide a return envelope. Copies of all documents will not be returned.

File Form W-7
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