Individual Taxpayer Identification Number

FAQs: Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)

Click a topic, or press the enter key on a topic, to reveal its answer.

What is an ITIN?

An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a tax return processing number issued by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in order to report and pay federal taxes. An ITIN consists of nine digits, beginning with the number nine (i.e., 9XX-XX-XXXX).

The IRS issues ITINs to taxpayers, qualifying spouses and dependents who are not eligible to get a Social Security Number (SSN) so that they can comply with federal tax laws.

An ITIN does not:

  • Authorize a person to work in the U.S.
  • Provide eligibility for Social Security or Medicare benefits.
  • Change a person’s immigration status.

Who uses an ITIN to file tax returns?

Taxpayers who file their tax returns with an ITIN include foreign investors, undocumented immigrants and their dependents, certain individuals who are lawfully present in the U.S. but do not qualify for work authorization, such as certain survivors of domestic violence, student visa holders, and spouses and children of individuals with employment visas.

Do I need to apply for an ITIN?

You should apply for an ITIN if:

  • You are not eligible for a Social Security Number
  • You were in the United States for at least 6 months in 2023, or any year in which you need to file a tax return,
  • You earned income in the United States, and
  • You have to file your taxes.

This typically applies to individuals who are not US citizens but have U.S tax filing obligations because they earned U.S. income. Please use this interactive IRS tool to determine if you need to file a tax return for 2023, 2022, or 2021.

If you are unsure about your eligibility for an ITIN, please use this interactive IRS tool to determine your eligibility.

How do I apply for an ITIN or renew my ITIN?

You can apply for an ITIN or ITIN renewal by submitting an application (IRS Form W-7) with your federal income tax return.
The best option is to apply using an IRS-authorized Certifying Acceptance Agent (CAA) or through an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC) with qualifying personnel who can authenticate your original documents. Unless you apply through a CAA or a TAC, you will need to send certain original, physical documents (i.e., passport, birth certificate, driver’s license or other qualifying documents as required in the Form W7 instructions) to the IRS, with your tax return and your ITIN application (Form W7) and they will keep these documents until they have processed your ITIN application (an estimated 6 to 11 weeks).

Can I work after receiving my ITIN?

ITINs do not give you authorization in the U.S. to work. An ITIN is only a tax filing identification number for those who are NOT eligible for a SSN so they can file a U.S. tax return.

Can the IRS share ITIN information with other government agencies?

In general, privacy laws prevent the IRS from sharing personal taxpayer information with other government agencies.

Do I need to renew my ITIN?

ITINs not used on a tax return for three consecutive years automatically expire (even if you do not have a tax filing obligation) and must be renewed.

If your ITIN is expired, you will not qualify for claimed credits and your return will not be processed.

You need to renew your ITIN if your ITIN:

  • wasn’t included on a U.S. federal tax return for any of the last three consecutive years (e.g., 2020, 2021, and 2022) or
  • has the following middle digits (the fourth and fifth positions): 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 90, 91, 92, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, or 99 and hasn’t been renewed.

How do I confirm if my ITIN is active?

You can confirm if your ITIN is active by visiting an IRS-authorized CAA, or by visiting your local IRS TAC. Use our NYC Free Tax Prep map to find a site with a CAA, or visit the IRS website to find a TAC near you.

I’ve received Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or work authorization. Am I eligible for an ITIN?

TPS holders are non-citizens who have been legally admitted to the U.S. and are authorized to work; therefore, they are eligible for a SSN.

If you are a TPS holder or have been granted work authorization but have not received your SSN, please contact a tax professional to discuss your personal tax situation. Some NYC Free Tax Prep providers can help you navigate the process—select ITIN services under the “Services Provided” menu on the map at

In general, you should not apply for an ITIN if you have applied for work authorization and are waiting to be issued a SSN.

If you had an ITIN prior to receiving TPS, your SSN replaces your ITIN. Once you qualify for or get a SSN, you no longer qualify to use an ITIN; and should always use your SSN even if your work authorization expires.

This page was updated on 03/2024.