ITIN Application Instructions for Students

ITIN applications
Current ITIN application processing time by the IRS is approximately 10 - 12 weeks. If you need to submit your ITIN application along with your tax return, please see an I-Center advisor.

Applying for an ITIN

Effective October 2, 2012, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has outlined a special process for Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) applications of students in F and J status and J2 dependents. This process was in response to an announcement the IRS made in June that required ITIN applicants to submit original documentation (e.g. passport) or “certified copies of these documents from the issuing agency [from their home country]” as part of the application.

Since it is not advisable for international students to be without their passport, and since many students are unable get a certified copy of the passport, the IRS offered an alternative option.

This option allows Designated School Officials to:

  1. Certify photocopies of identification documents that must be submitted with an ITIN application, and
  2. Issue letters verifying their authenticity.

At Stanford, only international student/scholar advisors at the Bechtel International Center are eligible to provide such certification letters.

The instructions detailed below are specific to international students and scholars 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.
  • Since the I-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.

Instructions for F-1/J-1 Students/Scholars Sponsored by Stanford University (includes F-2/J-2 dependents)

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 the I-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"
    • Photocopy of passport
    • Photocopy of visa stamp (if you have one)
    • Photocopy of current I-20 or DS-2019
    • I-94 record
    • Instructions on how to find and print your I-94 record can be found here (
      If you received a paper I-94 upon arrival, use a photocopy (front and back)
    • Scholarship/fellowship letter (if applicable)*
    • Other supporting documents necessary to meet the Form W-7 application requirements (if applicable)


    *We have noticed that some ITIN requests have been rejected due to the language on their fellowship letter indicating possible employment *(e.g. “stipend” and/or “assistantship”). If your fellowship letter has any language that can be considered as employment, we strongly recommend that you obtain a new letter from your department that clearly states that no work is being done in exchange of the fellowship/scholarship.


    Please note that unless you bring all the documents listed above (in an envelope with the required postage) to the I-Center, the advisor will not be able 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 I-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 I-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.


    Publication 1915, Understanding Your IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number ITIN

    IRS Forms & Publications to download the most recent W-7 form and instructions (Enter W-7 in the Find box.)

    June 22, 2012 Announcement by IRS: IRS Strengthens ITIN Application Requirements; Interim Changes Will Protect the Integrity of the ITIN Process

    October 2, 2012 IRS Clarifies Temporary ITIN Application Requirements for Noncitizens with Tax Extensions and Many Foreign Students:

    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.

    Where can I get help with my ITIN application?

    You may call the IRS toll-free at 1-800-829-1040 for information and help in completing your Form W-7 and your tax return. Please also review the information available on the IRS site.

    Where can I find out whether I am subject to tax treaty benefits?

    For information on which countries have tax treaties with the U.S., see the Stanford Controller's website.

    Can I obtain an ITIN prior to arriving in the U.S.?

    Yes, with difficulty and only at select U.S. embassies overseas. The process for obtaining an ITIN abroad can be found here.

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