Your Guide to the Successful Completion of a Form W – 7


A Form W-7 is used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to issue an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to non-US citizens. These individuals earning income from US sources require an ITIN in place of a Social Security number, and are required to file a federal tax return. After that, an ITIN will be issued to the individual upon proper completion of Form W-7 to the IRS.

Why Can’t I Receive a Social Security number?

Typically, only individuals with eligible work permits in the US are issued a Social Security number. However, if you are a non-citizen without proper work authorization earning income from US sources, you may also need to file taxes. For instance, rental income from U.S. property is a source. To do this, you will need to submit: 

  • A completed Form W-7
  • A US tax return reporting the US sourced income
  • Valid identification for the individual requiring the ITIN

What Counts as Valid Identification?

Before you start, be sure to have valid proof of identity and foreign status. Documents are required to have your name, photograph, and an expiration date for validation. The IRS accepts documentation from only the following sources:

  • Passport (stand-alone document)*
  • National identification card (must include photo, name, current address, date of birth, and expiration date)
  • U.S. driver’s license
  • Civil birth certificate (required for dependents under 18 years of age)
  • U.S. state identification card
  • Foreign driver’s license
  • Foreign voter’s registration card
  • Foreign military identification card
  • U.S. military identification card
  • Visa
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) photo identification
  • Medical records (dependents only – under 6)
  • School records (dependents only – under 14, under 18 if a student)

*The IRS details that a passport is the only acceptable document proving both identity and foreign status. Without a passport, the IRS requires a combination of two or more documents from the above list.

Where Do I Obtain a Form W-7?

After compiling the required documents, you can access a Form W-7 online through the IRS website. 

How Do I Submit a Completed Form W-7?

Ready to hit the submit button? The IRS recommends online submission for your documents. 

If your adjusted gross income is $72,000 and below, submit through:

  • Free federal tax filing on an IRS partner site
  • State tax filing (free with some offers)
  • Guided preparation
  • Online service does all the math

If your adjusted gross income is above $72,000, submit through:

  • Free electronic forms you fill out and file yourself
  • No state tax filing
  • You should know how to prepare paper forms 
  • Basic calculations with limited guidance

Additional information on submission options can be found on the IRS website.

To avoid delays due to mistakes in your Form W-7, reach out to us and let us help you get it right the first time!