What documents are acceptable as proof of identity and foreign status?
IRS has streamlined the number of documents the agency will accept as proof of identity and foreign status to obtain an ITIN. If you submit an original passport or a properly notarized or certified copy of a valid passport you do not need to submit any other documents from the list below. If you do not have a passport, you must provide a combination of current documents (at least two or more) that show your name and photograph and support your claim of identity and foreign status. With the exception of children under 14 years of age (under 18 years of age if a student), at least one document you present must contain a recent photograph. If you are requesting an ITIN as a “dependent”, documentation to prove “foreign status” and “identity” must include a civil “Birth Certificate”, unless a Passport is submitted.
Note: If you submit copies of original documents that display information on both sides (front and back), the copy that is submitted must also show the information from both sides of the document.
Listed below are the only documents that will be accepted by IRS:
1. Passport (stand alone document)
2. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) photo identification
3. Visa issued by the US Department of State
4. United States driver’s license
5. United States military identification card
6. Foreign driver’s license
7. Foreign military identification card
8. National identification card. The document must be current, and contain the individual’s name, address, photograph, date of birth and expiration date (i.e. Mexican Matricula card).
9. U. S. State identification card
10. Foreign voter’s registration card
11. Civil birth certificate *
12. Medical records (dependent’s only – under 14 years of age; under 18 years of age if a student) *
13. School Records (dependent’s only – under 14 years of age; under 18 years of age if a student) *
(*may be used to establish foreign status only if documents are foreign.)
Note: You may subsequently be requested to provide a certified translation of foreign language documents.
If you have applied for a Social Security Number, but the Social Security Administration has denied your request, your ITIN application must also contain an official letter, form, or other documentation from the SSA providing proof that your application was denied. (This pertains only to persons who have been issued a Visa from the US Department of State that enables them to obtain a SSN.) This proof must be attached to your Form W-7/W-7(SP) or your application for an ITIN will be rejected.
Students who enter the U.S. on an “F”, “J”, or “M” visa, but who will not be employed and are here only for the purpose of study, or person’s present in the U.S. who are receiving only honoraria payments, do not have to go to the SSA to try and obtain a Social Security Number first. A letter from the Designated School Official (DSO), Responsible Officer (RO) or Authorized School Official can be submitted in lieu of a letter from the SSA when a U.S. Federal income tax return is attached or when an exception is being claimed.
Residents of Mexico, Canada, or U.S. nationals must use the same rules as U.S. citizens to determine who is a dependent and for which dependents exemptions can be claimed. For residents of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) there are two additional requirements, and for students and business apprentices from India they must also be able to claim the benefits of the United States-India tax treaty. See publication 501 (Exemptions, Standard Deduction and Filing Information), for additional information and to determine who may qualify as a dependent. The dependent for which the Form W-7 is being submitted must be listed on the attached U.S. Federal income tax return.
Note: If your request for an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number (ATIN) has been denied your dependent may be eligible for an ITIN. If you live abroad and are requesting an ITIN for a foreign child who has been adopted or legally placed in your home pending adoption, remember to include a copy of the legal documents evidencing your relationship to the child.
Certain aliens by virtue of their nonimmigrant status are authorized to work in the United States. Some of the individuals must apply to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Any nonresident alien holding an EAD, or who is already authorized to work in the United States, is eligible to receive a SSN. If you have an EAD, do not complete a Form W-7/W-7(SP) application unless the SSA has rejected your request for a SSN. Supporting documentation from the SSA substantiating the denial must be attached to your application. For more information on who is eligible to receive a Social Security Number, refer to the Social Security Administration website at http://www.socialsecurity.gov.
Students who enter the United States under certain U.S. visas may be eligible to work in the United States. For more information on who is eligible to work and who must apply for an EAD, refer to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) web site at http://uscis.gov.
The employment rules for foreign students in the United States are set forth in appropriate United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) laws and regulations. Information on these laws and regulations can be obtained from the nearest USCIS office, the USCIS website at http://uscis.gov. or the appropriate office of the foreign students’ university or learning institution. Generally, foreign students eligible to work in the United States, and who will be employed, should apply for a SSN. However, if they are denied a SSN, they may be eligible to apply for an ITIN by attaching the documentation from the SSA, substantiating the denial, to their Form W-7. (See the Exception Chart in the back of this publication for additional information on F-1, J-1 and M-1 students).