Social Security Numbers and Individual TaxPayer Identification Numbers

Individuals who are lawfully present in the United States, but who are not authorized to work, cannot generally obtain United States Social Security Numbers.  However, Social Security numbers are required to report income, to claim dependant deductions on tax returns, to open bank or stock accounts, and for many credit purposes.

An alternative to the Social Security number is the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. (ITIN) This can be issued regardless of immigration status.

Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
ITIN is a tax processing number that became available July 1, 1996, for certain nonresident and resident aliens, their spouse and dependents.  IRS issues ITINs to individuals who are required to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number but who do not have, and are not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number from the Social Security Administration.

With certain exceptions, the ITIN application for a "non resident alien" must be filed with a tax return.

More information can be obtained from the IRS  web site.  The ITIN is obtained by filing IRS Form W-7, which can be downloaded or printed from the IRS web.  Please note that generally, the W-7 is filed with a tax return and with identification.

Social Security Number

To apply for a social security number you must complete an application. The application (Form SS-5) can be downloaded.   You can obtain information from the Social Security Administration by calling 1-800-772-1213 .  If you want to visit an office in person, a list of offices is available online.

For further information, you may go to the Social Security Administration web site.

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