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The procedures for obtaining an ITIN have recently been tightened by the IRS. The latest revisions date from August 2013.

Basically, an ITIN (Individual Tax Identification Number) is issued only to persons who actually need one, such as a non-US spouse of a US person who is filing US tax forms with their spouse on a joint return or for non-US dependents. These are persons who need a number for US tax purposes but who cannot obtain a US Social Security Number. If you do not have an ITIN for your non-US spouse, you can attach form W-7 to your US tax return. Members of the US military serving abroad, should be able to obtain an ITIN for their spouse under the old, more relaxed, rules. Note that as of January 1, 2013, ITIN's are valid for five years only, after which time a new one will have to be requested.

There is a page on the IRS website with a series of FAQ on this topic at: