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March 15, 2013

How Nonresidents can Obtain an IRS ITIN from Abroad

If you are a nonresident who needs to file a US nonresident tax return or you have a spouse who is a nonresident and wish to make the election to file a joint return with them (it can often reduce your US income taxes) you need to get an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) because they are not eligible to get a social security number. You must have this number to file a tax return, and many banks and others require it before you an open a US bank or financial account.
Effective January 1, 2013, new ITIN procedures took affect for the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) application process. Some of the information below, including the documentation requirements for individuals seeking an ITIN, has been superseded by these changes. Taxpayers and their representatives should review these changes, which are further explained in these Frequently Asked Questions, before requesting an ITIN.
Alien taxpayers who need an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) may be able to secure one from outside the United States.
The IRS has permanent staff available that is able to help process Forms W-7, IRS Application Number and Instructions (PDF) at the following U.S. embassies overseas: Beijing, Frankfurt, London, and Paris. The addresses and phone numbers of these overseas offices may be found a tContact My Local Office Internationally. In addition, there are public accounting firms overseas in certain countries which are Authorized Acceptance Agents for ITIN numbers. You will find their names and addresses at the Acceptance Agent Program page.
US Embassy Beijing, China - IRS has
agents in almost every US embassy.
The IRS also accepts a Form W-7 by mail accompanied by ORIGINAL documents or certified copy of the document from the issuing agency establishes the identity and foreign status of the ITIN applicant.
The Instructions for Form W-7 list 13 documents that can be used to prove foreign status and identity. A foreign passport is the only one that can stand alone (i.e., establishes both foreign status and identity). If a passport is submitted, there is no need to submit any other documents. If a passport is not submitted, a combination of at least two other documents, with at least one containing a photograph, must be submitted with the ITIN application. The IRS will accept copies of original documents, if the copies have been properly certified by:
  1. the government agency (foreign or domestic) which issued the documents, or
  2. employees of the U.S. State Department located in U.S. embassies and consulates abroad.

More Information:

If you need help filing your US nonresident tax return or filing an expat tax return with your nonresident spouse, we can help. We have been assisting US nonresident clients for over 30 years. Email us at  Skye: dondnelson or wisit our website at


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