Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers

In order to apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), you must be a stipend recipient or have another type of non-employment taxable income and not be eligible for an SSN.

To apply for the ITIN you will use the following process:

Step 1 – Read About the ITIN and Eligibility

Step 2 – ITIN Application Process

Step 3 – Letter of Non-Employment

Step 4 – After ITIN Application Submitted

Step 1

About the ITIN

What is an ITIN?

An Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) is issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which is the U.S. Tax collection agency. The number is for nonresidents who need to file a tax return because of non-employment income that is taxable (like some stipends and scholarships), but are ineligible for a Social Security Number (SSN).

Note: J-1 Students and McKelvey PhD Stipend Recipients are eligible for an SSN and do not need to apply for an ITIN.

ITIN Eligibility

Who needs an ITIN?

F-1 students should apply for an ITIN if:

  • You do not have an SSN and
  • You do not plan to work on campus or apply for CPT or OPT soon (if you plan to work on-campus or apply for off-campus work authorization through OISS, you will need to apply for an SSN) and
  • You receive non-employment income from a U.S. source that is taxable such as a stipend or scholarship

Other examples of individuals who may need an ITIN include:

  • Nonresident aliens required to file a U.S. tax return
  • U.S. resident aliens for tax purposes (based on days present in the United States) filing a U.S. tax return
  • Dependents or spouses of a U.S. citizen/resident alien
  • Dependents or spouses of a nonresident alien visa holder

What if I already have an SSN?

If you already have an SSN from a previous U.S. job, you should not apply for an ITIN. SSNs are assigned for life, so you should use the SSN you already have and make sure it has been reported in WorkDay.

What if I become eligible for an SSN after I apply or get an ITIN?

If you start working and become eligible for an SSN, you need to apply for the SSN and update your information in WorkDay. You cannot use an ITIN in place of an SSN.

Step 2

Required Documents

Documents needed:

  1. Completed Form W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (PDF)
  2. Passport
  3. Most recent F-1 entry visa
  4. Most recent I-94 admission record
  5. Current Continued Attendance I-20 (Do not use an Initial Status I-20)
  6. Financial aid, stipend or scholarship letter showing proof of funding from school

Letter from DSO or Letter of Non-Employment (Step 3)

Note: Students need to provide the original documents in order to apply for an ITIN and all signatures must be hand signed with a pen. It is okay to type the W-7 form. Students can also hand write the W-7 form using black or blue ink.

How to Apply

You can apply for an ITIN any time during the year; however, it is recommended you file as soon as possible. Listed below are the steps for the ITIN Application Process

  • Step 1 – Gather all required documents (originals needed)
  • Step 2 – Take your original documents to be verified and submit your application using one of the following options:
  1. Apply at an ITIN workshop with your OISS Advisor: OISS provides ITIN workshops in September. Students must bring original documents and photocopies to the workshop. An OISS Advisor will help you prepare your application, verify your original documents, and provide you with a DSO Letter (See Step 3).Find an ITIN workshop on our OISS Eventbrite
  2. Apply at the Local Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC): If you do not attend an ITIN workshop with an OISS Advisor, then you can go to a local Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC). You can find the nearest TAC by using the IRS location tool. Students must take their original documents and request a non-employment letter from OISS (See Step 3)
  3. Apply with a Tax Professional who is also a Certified Acceptance Agent: Students have the option to hire a tax professional to apply for the ITIN. OISS cannot recommend any tax service. Students must request a no-employment letter from their OISS Advisor (See Step 3)
  4. Apply on your Own: If you apply on your own, you need to mail your own physical passport, or send certified copies from the agency that issued the document in order to apply. The process to apply for an ITIN is the IRS website. Students must request a non-employment letter from their OISS Advisor (See Step 3)

Step 3

Letter of Non-Employment

Obtaining a Letter of Non-Employment

A letter documenting your non-employment status must be obtained and submitted with your ITIN Application regardless of the option you use to submit your application from Step 2.

The OISS can only provide ITIN support letters for students receiving stipends, scholarships, or other types of taxable income from WashU. If you or your spouse need an ITIN to file a tax return because of other taxable non-employment income, you will need to apply for the ITIN directly with the IRS.

Non-Employment ITIN support letters:

Designated School Official (DSO) Letter – The IRS allows DSO’s (i.e. OISS Advisor) to certify original documents for ITIN applications. If you attend an ITIN workshop, the OISS Advisor will provide you with a letter of support verifying your non-employment status and certifying your original documents.

Request a Non-Employment Letter – If students do not attend an ITIN workshop with an OISS Advisor, then they must request a Non-Employment Letter from OISS to include with their ITIN Application. This letter certifies that a student is receiving taxable income and not eligible to apply for the SSN. This letter does not verify original documents.

Step 4

After ITIN Application is Submitted

  • Step 1 – Wait 7 to 9 weeks for ITIN processing
  • Step 2 – Receive ITIN in the mail from IRS. If an ITIN application is rejected, students should reach out to their OISS Advisor for further guidance.
  • Step 3 – Once an ITIN is issued, it is the students responsibility to update their number in WorkDay and contact international payroll. Once the ITIN is added into WorkDay, it will update any eligible tax treaty benefit information.