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Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)

Current ITIN application processing time by the IRS is approximately 812 weeks. You are encouraged to apply for ITIN during the first quarter at Stanford.

Applying for an ITIN

If you are not eligible to apply for a Social Security Number, you are required to apply for an ITIN to file your tax returns.

There are four options for applying for the ITIN.

Option 1

You may visit the nearest IRS- Tax Payer Assistance Center or Authorized Certified Acceptance Agent. In this visit, please take with you the Form W-7, visa documents (passport, I-20/DS2019, I-94), and a letter of no employment. Please request the letter of no employment from Bechtel International Center by completing this form: Letter of No Employment. An IRS Authorized agent will assist you in completing your application and filing it with the IRS. This option is the most effective and is highly recommended by the Bechtel International Center.

Option 2

The IRS has issued special instructions for Student and Exchange Visitor Program Applicants. You may use Bechtel International Center as a certifier of your documents. The instructions detailed below are specific to international students and their dependents sponsored by Stanford University.

Please note:

  • Bechtel International Center can only certify the photocopies of your original documents that will be submitted with your ITIN application.
  • There are inconsistent results with filing the W-7 application under this special provision and applicants have experienced difficulties.
  • Since the Bechtel International Center is in no way associated with the IRS nor does it have any involvement in the issuance of ITIN numbers, we cannot review your ITIN application to verify its accuracy or completeness nor can we provide formal advice on ITIN issues.
  • It is your responsibility as the applicant to submit a complete application.
  • If you decide to pursue this option, we have provided the instructions below.

Option 3

You may choose to file your federal tax return and your W-7 ITIN application simultaneously. While this seems like a convenient option, we do caution against it. In this option, you must also submit your original passport or a copy of your passport certified by your home country’s consulate which can be difficult to obtain. Please do not send the IRS your original passport. Instructions for filing in this manner can be found through Glacier Tax Prep. You may need to request a Letter of No Employment.

Option 4

You may obtain an ITIN from abroad and you can obtain specific information of this process through the IRS ITIN Abroad. We cannot issue letters of no employment for J1 scholars or their dependents.

Instructions for Option 2: Using Bechtel International Center as your certifier

The instructions detailed below are specific to international students and their dependents sponsored by Stanford University.

Step 1: Prepare your ITIN application in an envelope.

Arrange your application in the following order. Put all of these documents in an envelope but do not seal the envelope since you will need the certification letter from Bechtel International Center to complete your application.

Form W-7 Application:

  • Tick boxes f and h in the first section as your reason for applying for an ITIN.
  • In Box "h" write in either "exception 2(b): scholarship, fellowship or grant exempt from tax by tax treaty or "exception 2(c): scholarship, fellowship or grant NOT exempt from tax by tax treaty". For information on whether your scholarship, fellowship or grant is covered by a tax treaty, please read "Publication 901" available on the IRS website.
  • If you are a Canadian citizen, please note your visa status in 6c (F-1/ J-1 etc) and add "Canadian—no visa"
  • Box f and h should also be checked on applications for spouses and dependents, with exception 2b or 2c indicated.
  • Make sure the foreign address is correctly entered on the W-7.  IRS will not accept PO Box or “In care of” address for foreign address. 
  • Photocopy of passport
  • Photocopy of visa stamp (if you have one)
  • Photocopy of current I-20 or DS-2019
  • I-94 record
  • Scholarship/fellowship letter (if applicable)*
  • Other supporting documents necessary to meet the Form W-7 application requirements (if applicable)

Please note that you must bring all the documents listed above (in an envelope with the required postage) to Bechtel International Center for the advisor to issue the ITIN certification letter.

Step 2: Add address and required postage (stamps) to the envelope.

Address the envelope containing your documents to the following:

Internal Revenue Service
ITIN Operations
P.O. Box 149342
Austin, TX 78714-9342

Add the following return address:

Bechtel International Center
584 Capistrano Way
Stanford, CA 94305

Visit a post office and add the required amount of postage (stamps) to the envelope but do not send it.

Step 3: Request an ITIN certification letter from an International Center advisor

Bring your complete application in an addressed envelope with the required postage, along with your original passport, I-20 or DS-2019, and I-94 (if you received a paper I-94) to the Bechtel International Center during drop-in advising hours to request an ITIN Certification letter.

An advisor will review the photocopies of your passport, visa stamp, I-94, and I-20 or DS-2019 to verify they are true to the original documents, and the originals will be returned to you in the same visit. The advisor will then issue the certification letter and mail your application.


If I become eligible for an SSN after obtaining an ITIN, what should I do?

The local Social Security Administration Office will consider your request for an SSN if you provide evidence of eligibility. The local SSA Office will process the SSN application even though your ITIN has not yet been rescinded, but according to IRS regulations an individual should not posses both an ITIN and an SSN. To request that your ITIN be rescinded, contact the IRS (ITIN unit) after your have received the SSN and inform them of your new SSN.