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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:

Note: If UW students are employed while studying, they 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 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 ISS office stating that they will not be securing employment while in the U.S.

Can an ITIN be obtained or used for any other purpose?

No! It is only used by an individual for identity purposes with the IRS.

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.

ITIN's can also be applied by visiting one of the IRS's delegated offices listed on the website,,id=98343,00.html.

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

What does the Certified Acceptance Agent do?

What does the UW department need to do?

  1. Make an appointment by e-mail to requesting a time and date for an appointment with UW's responsible party.
  2. Appointments to process W-7s are required. It is preferable that you schedule one at least 48 hours in advance, by sending an e-mail requesting a date and time to This will help assure that one of the responsible parties are available at the time you need an appointment. You will receive a reply to your email letting you know whether the time is available, where the applicant will need to go and what documentation they will need to bring.

    If you have a large group arriving at the same time, it may be possible for one or more of the responsible parties to come to a location outside of their office. The only requirement is pre-arrangement and a readily available copy machine.

  3. Provide IRS Form W-7 or instruct individual on how to download the form.
  4. Obtain a copy of IRS Form W-7 before the appointment so it may be sent with IRS Form 8233 if the individual is obtaining a number to be used to apply for a tax treaty benefit.

What does the individual need to do?

  1. Keep the appointment set up for them.
  2. Bring the original W-7 to the appointment or complete a W-7 at the appointment.
  3. Bring passport to the appointment. For Canadians without a passport, please have the individual bring government issued picture ID (such as a Provincial Driver's license) plus one other government issued document.
  4. Read and sign an informational document which lists the information that the UW, as an Acceptance Agent, must provide to the individual.

What does it cost if processed by the UW?

Service is free to the department and applicant. At this time we are only processing individuals who have a direct connection with the UW (students or employee dependents, NRA lecturers, consultants, etc)

How long does it take to process and obtain an ITIN?

The actual meeting with the applicant takes ten to fifteen minutes, due to making copies of all documents. 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 to the IRS.

Please allow six to nine weeks for the IRS to process the application. If after nine weeks an individual has not received their letter or if any information on it is incorrect, the applicant needs to contact for assistance.

Internal Revenue Service Information

IRS forms and publications:

For further information contact

For ITIN's processed through the University of Washington, send email to