Frequently Asked Questions: ITIN

Who should obtain an ITIN?
Any one that is in one of the following categories and does not have, never has had or is ineligible for a U.S. Social Security Number:
  • A Nonresident alien required to obtain an ITIN to claim a tax treaty benefit
  • A Nonresident alien filing a U.S. tax return and not eligible for an SSN
  • A Nonresident alien filing a U.S. tax return only to claim a refund
  • A U.S. resident alien (based on days present in the United States) filing a U.S. tax return and not eligible for an SSN.
  • Nonresident alien student, professor, or researcher filing a U.S. tax return


Note: UW students who are employed while studying must apply for a Social Security Number. A form from the Social Security Administration showing denial of a Social Security Number is required before attempting to obtain an ITIN.

Alternatively, UW students on a F-1, J-1, or M-1 visa who will not be working while studying in the U.S. will not have to apply for an SSN. Those students will need a letter from the International Students Office stating that they will not be securing employment while in the U.S. and will not be receiving any income for personal services.

Can an ITIN be obtained and used for any other purpose?
No! It is only used by an individual for identity purposes with the IRS.
  • It cannot be used for employment purposes
  • It cannot be obtained for the sole purpose of opening a bank account
  • It cannot be obtained for the sole purpose of rental agreements (credit search)
Can an ITIN be obtained from abroad?
Yes, but with difficulty. The process is described in IRS Publication 1915.

IRS offices outside the United States that can assist in the process are located in Bonn, Germany; London, England; Mexico City, Mexico; Paris, France; Rome, Italy; Singapore and Tokyo, Japan.

By mail to Austin, TX with original documents or documents certified by the issuing agency of the foreign country, or documents certified by a notary at a US Consulate or Embassy. There are normally monetary charges for the agency certifying the documents. If original documents are submitted, they are out of the possession of the individual for six to nine weeks or more. There is also the possibility of loss of the documents.

How can the UW help a foreign national obtain an ITIN?
The UW is a Certified Acceptance Agent with a contract with the IRS. Authority is delegated to persons assigned as responsible parties. These individuals can be reached by e-mail to

Date restrictions for students only:
April 16 - November 15

  • The UW Tax Office can assist individuals in applying for an ITIN as they will be claiming an "exception" to the requirement to apply with a completed tax return.

November 16 - April 15

  • Students will need to work directly with the IRS to apply for an ITIN along with filing their tax return.
What does the Certified Acceptance Agent do?
  • Review and certify the W-7 application form
  • Review and copy supporting documents
  • Prepare ITIN Certification Statement
  • Inform applicant of purpose and use of an ITIN
  • Submit application and Certification Statement to IRS
  • Keep permanent records in case of audit by IRS
Who does the UW Acceptance Agent process applications for?
  • Individuals with direct affiliation with the University of Washington
    • Independent Contractors receiving an honorarium payment from the University. (Must be from a country with an available tax treaty)
    • UW students or fellows on scholarship who have received referral from the International Students & Scholars Office.

      Please Note: Individuals in the VISIT/VISER programs must apply for an ITIN directly with the IRS when they file their tax return. Refer to the section "What does the individual need to do?" for further instructions.

      During Tax Season:  Students / Fellows who need an ITIN to file their U.S. tax return will need to complete Application Form W-7 and submit it directly to the IRS with their completed tax return.  The UW as an Acceptance Agent cannot process applications for that purpose.  Please consult a tax accountant for any questions regarding filing your tax return.

What does the UW department need to do?
  1. For independent contractors, make an appointment for the individual by e-mailing to request a time and date for an appointment. Include your name, the type of payment being made, the type of visa the individual is traveling on, and a few dates & times that work with their schedule. Appointments to process W-7s are required. Appointment times cannot be guaranteed but we will do our best to accommodate the visitor's schedule. In order to do so, appointments must be scheduled at least 48 hours in advance.
  2. For students, please review the "What does the individual need to do" section below. The student will need to follow those steps prior to obtaining an appointment with the Tax Office.  
  3. Have the individual complete as much of the paperwork as possible before arriving to the appointment to help speed up the application process. The paperwork that will be required for the appointment will be provided when the appointment is set up.
What does the individual need to do?
Independent contractors being paid Honoraria:
  1. Keep the appointment set up for them.
  2. Bring the original Form W-7 to the appointment. Complete as much of the form as possible prior to the appointment.
  3. Bring passport to the appointment. If Canadian and traveling without a passport, individual must bring government issued picture ID plus one other government issued document.
  4. Bring any other documents to the appointment that are requested at the time the appointment is set up.

Students on Scholarship or Fellowship: 

  1. Submit an ITIN letter request form to International Student Services. More information can be found at
  2. Once the letters are obtained, send an email to to request an appointment time with the Tax Office to complete the application process. Include your full name, country of citizenship, visa status, whether you are on scholarship or fellowship, and a few dates & times of availability in your email.
  3. Bring the original W-7 to the appointment.  Complete as much as possible prior to the appointment.
  4. Bring passport and visa to the appointment.
  5. Bring any other documents to the appointment that are requested at the time the appointment is set up.

VISIT/VISER Student Interns: 

  1. Complete the ITIN application Form W-7. Select Box B for your reason for applying - "Non-resident alien filing US tax return". Instructions on completing Form W-7 can be found here.
  2. Request two letters from the VISIT/VISER Office if you have not received them(
    1. Identity and foreign status certification, with copies of your passport, visa, and DS-2019
    2. SSN ineligibility letter
  3. Submit your tax return and supporting documents to the IRS for processing. We recommend that you make copies of all of your application paperwork for your records prior to submitting them to the IRS. You can either mail the application to Internal Revenue Service, ITIN Operation, PO Box 149342, Austin, TX 78714-9342 or visit one of the local IRS Taxpayer Assistance Centers.
  4. Receive Form 1042-S in early March.
  5. Log into the Glacier Tax Prep to prepare and print your tax return. The Glacier software is only active during the months of March - June, beginning around the middle of March.

    What does it cost if processed by the UW?

    Service is free to the department and applicant. 

    How long does it take to process and obtain an ITIN?
    The actual meeting with the applicant takes about ten to fifteen minutes. Having the application paperwork completed as much as possible before the appointment will help speed up the appointment.

    The application must be submitted to the IRS within five days. The responsible party will normally mail the application to the IRS either the same day as the meeting, or the next business day.

    Please allow 6 to 9 weeks for the IRS to process the application. If after nine weeks an individual has not received a notice from the IRS with their ITIN assignment, or if any information on it is incorrect, the applicant should contact for assistance.


    Internal Revenue Service Information

    IRS forms and publications:

    For further information about ITINS processed through the University of Washington, email