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An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). ITINs are for federal tax reporting only, and are not intended to serve any other purpose.

Since ITIN matters are tax-related matters, the International Students & Programs Office (ISPO) cannot offer specific ITIN advice, because our advisors are not licensed tax professionals. However, ISPO put together this page to provide some basic ITIN guidance for international students.


Introduction to ITIN:

Learn About ITIN

The following information is taken from the IRS website:

  • IRS issues ITINs to help individuals comply with the U.S. tax laws, and to provide a means to efficiently process and account for tax returns and payments for those not eligible for Social Security Numbers (SSNs)
  • If you are not eligible for a SSN because you will not work in the U.S., then applying for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) may be a viable option for you. This will provide you with an identification number for tax purposes in the U.S.
  • Note: An ITIN does not authorize work in the US or provide eligibility for Social Security benefits or the Earned Income Tax Credit
  • For more information, download an ITIN guide from the IRS website

Check Your ITIN Eligibility

If you do not have a SSN and are not eligible to obtain a SSN, but you have a requirement to furnish a federal tax identification number or file a federal income tax return, you must apply for an ITIN. If you have an application for a SSN pending, do not file Form W-7. Complete Form W-7 only if the Social Security Administration (SSA) notifies you that a SSN cannot be issued.


Applying for ITIN:

Complete Form W-7

Important Note:

ISPO International Student Advisors are not authorized to assist you with completing the W-7 ITIN Application form. Additionally, ISPO will not review your documents for accuracy and does not assume any liability for any mistakes made on your application form. If you need assistance completing this form, you may contact a professional tax preparer who has experience in nonresident alien taxation.


  • For scholarship/fellowship income, please download Form W-7 from IRS and fill the form out.
    • If you would like to receive an ITIN for anything other than scholarship/fellowship income, you cannot request the support letters from ISPO. You will need to send your ITIN application to the IRS-ITIN Office yourself.
  • For instructions on filling out paper Form W-7, visit the following IRS pages:
  • On your W-7, select both "(f)" and "(h) Other" as the reasons you are requesting an ITIN.
  • For the "(h) Other" reason, fill in one of the "Exception" categories below:
    • 2(a) - Stipend, claiming the benefits of a tax treaty. You will need to enter Treaty Country and Treaty Article Number from the Tax Treaty Table, or
    • 2(b) - Scholarship Income, claiming the benefits of a tax treaty. You will need to enter Treaty Country and Treaty Article Number from the Tax Treaty Table, or
    • 2(c) - Scholarship Income, not claiming the benefits of a tax treaty. It's recommended that you double-check the Tax Treaty Table to see if your country does have a tax treaty.
  • Fill out 6d "Other Information", which includes your passport information and Date of entry in to the U.S.
  • Sign, date, and enter your phone number in blue ink before you take it to ISPO for mailing to the IRS-ITIN Office.

Request an ITIN Application Support Letter from ISPO

Log in to

  • Go to "Services" tab.
  • Select "Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) Application Support Request".
  • Choose the "I am requesting ISPO to send my ITIN application to the IRS" letter type.
  • Upload a PDF copy of your unsigned Form W-7.
  • Upload a PDF copy of your passport bio page.
  • Upload a PDF copy of your current I-20/DS-2019 (all pages).
  • Upload a PDF copy of your F-1/J-1 student visa.
  • Upload a PDF copy of your most recent I-94.
    • Retrieve an electronic I-94 here: Get Most Recent I-94.
    • If you have a paper I-94, submit both front and back pages.
  • Upload a PDF copy of your department funding letter.

Sign Your Form W-7 at ISPO

  • A review of your documents and required support letters should be ready within 5 business days.
  • You can check the status of your request anytime by logging in to iPortal and clicking on " My Requests" tab.
  • You will be notified by email when your documents are ready.
  • After you receive an email notification from ISPO, sign, date, and enter your phone number in blue ink and drop off your signed W-7 at the ISPO Front Desk, located on the 1st floor in Student Center B 

Get Your Tracking Number When ISPO Sends Your Application to IRS

  • After you sign your Form W-7 at our front desk, ISPO will send your reviewed application with a signed Form W-7 and support letters on your behalf to the IRS.
  • ISPO will email you the tracking number for your ITIN application to your UCSD email.

Wait for IRS to Issue and Send Your ITIN

  • If you qualify for an ITIN and your application is complete, you will receive a letter from the IRS assigning your ITIN within six weeks.
  • If you have not received your ITIN or other correspondence six weeks after applying, call the IRS toll-free number at 1-800-908-9982 to request the status of your application.
  • ISPO cannot follow up with IRS on the status of your ITIN application on your behalf.