What Is Form W-7: Application for Individual Taxpayer Identification Number?  (2024)

Updated on July 8, 2024

Reviewed by a Greenback Expat Tax Accountant

If you need to file a US tax return but don’t have a Social Security number, you will need to use Form W-7 to request a tax identification number. Here’s how.

Key Takeaways

  • Form W-7 is used to apply for an individual tax identification number (ITIN).
  • An ITIN allows non-citizens to fulfill their US tax obligations without a Social Security number.

What Is Form W-7?

Form W-7 is used to apply for an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). This form is essential for non-citizens who aren’t eligible for a Social Security number but still need to file a US federal tax return.

Form W-7 and Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers

Most US citizens use their Social Security number to identify themselves when filing a federal tax return. However, some non-citizens who aren’t eligible to receive a Social Security number must file a return. In these cases, the IRS provides the option to apply for an ITIN. This is done by filing Form W-7.

Preparation is key.

Dreading the last minute scramble pulling together your tax documents? Despair no more! This simple checklist lists the documents you need to have on hand when preparing to file.

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Why ITINs Are Necessary

ITINs allow non-citizens to comply with US tax laws by filing a return when required. By issuing ITINs, the IRS can process tax returns and collect taxes from individuals who do not qualify for a Social Security number. In short, ITINs bridge the gap between non-citizens and citizens for federal tax purposes.

ITINs can also be used to:

  • Open a US bank account
  • Secure a loan
  • Buy property in the US

What Information Does Form W-7 Ask For?

  • Legal name and any other name used
  • Mailing address and foreign address
  • Country of citizenship
  • Birth information (date and place)
  • Visa information, if applicable
  • US federal tax purpose for applying
  • Signature and date of application
  • Documentation substantiating foreign/alien status and true identity

How to Apply for Form W-7

To apply for an ITIN and complete Form W-7, applicants must provide a completed form along with the necessary documentation to prove their foreign status and identity. To do this, you should:

  1. Complete Form W-7 accurately.
  2. Attach the tax return to which the ITIN will be applied.
  3. Include original identification documents or certified copies.
  4. Ensure all documents are current and accurate.

Once you’ve filled out the form correctly, submit it to the IRS through the mail, at an IRS walk-in office, or via a certified acceptance agent.

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Important

For greater convenience, you can request an ITIN through one of our Certified Acceptance Agents (CAA). That way, you won’t have to submit your passport and other documents to the IRS. Instead, you can mail your items to a CAA so that they can verify your identity. This will allow you to get your documents back within a week or two with this route rather than the several months the IRS will take.

Every expat should know these 25 things about US expat taxes. Find out for yourself.

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What Forms of ID Can Be Used to Support an ITIN Application?

  • Passport (standalone document)
  • US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) photo ID
  • Visa issued by the US Department of State
  • US or foreign driver’s license
  • Birth certificate (required for dependents under 18)
  • Foreign military ID card
  • National identification card (must show photo, name, current address, date of birth, and expiration date)

Take note

What happens if you marry a foreigner? Check our our article to filing taxes when married to a foreign spouse to know more!

What You Need to Know about Submitting Form W-7

When submitting Form W-7, send it to the IRS address designated for ITIN applications:

Internal Revenue Service

ITIN Operation

P.O. Box 149342

Austin, TX 78714-9342

U.S.A.

You can expect to wait about seven weeks to receive an ITIN. During peak periods, processing times may extend to as long as 11 weeks. To avoid delays, submit your Form W-7 as early as possible and ensure that all documentation is accurate.

Note that ITINs expire if not used on a tax return for three years. If your ITIN expires, you will need to apply for a new one.

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Pro Tip

Always make a copy of your W-7 application and all attached documents for your records before sending them to the IRS. This will be invaluable if you need to reference or resubmit your application.

File Form W-7 with Help from Greenback

Filing Form W-7 to request an ITIN can be a complex process. Greenback Expat Tax Services make it easy, offering expert guidance every step of the way. We will tailor our services to your unique needs.

Contact us today to ensure your Form W-7 is filed accurately and on time.

Want your very own personal US expat tax hero? Look no further.

Our mission: to make US expat tax prep hassle-free. Between your dedicated, talented (and pretty cool!) accountant, to a simple, secure portal, tax time will be a breeze.

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What Is Form W-7: Application for Individual Taxpayer Identification Number?  (2024)
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