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FAQ > What is the difference between an ITIN and a SSN?

An important difference between an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) and a Social Security Number (SSN) is the requirement of being a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. To be eligible for an SSN, you must be born in the U.S. or have acquired citizenship. Non-residents and foreign citizens earning income within the U.S. need an ITIN and must begin the ITIN application process before starting work.

An ITIN is used by non-citizens when filing annual tax returns. That you will use this number until you are eligible to receive an SSN and get one. Unlike SSNs, your ITIN must be renewed periodically, or it will expire. You will be notified by mail when it is time for renewal.

The application process

ITIN applications can be confusing due to required documents. It is best not to delay, however, because not having an ITIN can result in your tax return not being handled properly. A problem related to the status of your ITIN may cause you to be ineligible for tax credits or unable to receive a refund of taxes withheld from your earnings.

Documentation to be submitted for your ITIN processing may include:

  • Original or certified copy of a valid passport (not expired)
  • photo identification issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
  • Visa issued by the U.S. Department of State
  • ID card or driver's license issued by any of the 50 state governments
  • of registration of totally foreign voters of the country of residence
  • Verification of foreign national or military ID card

A convenient way to start

ITIN W-7 applications provides a convenient way to do first in time ITIN requests a smooth process. We also make the ITIN renewal application an easy task. Our online forms, information pages and support team will help ensure that everything is going well. When applying for an ITIN, it usually takes between six and eight weeks for the IRS to process and mail in a new number. To check the progress of the application, you may contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. If outside the U.S., the contact number is 1-267-941-1000.


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