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The procedures for obtaining an ITIN have recently been tightened and revised by the IRS. The latest revisions date from October 2017.

Basically, an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) is issued only to persons who actually need one, such as the non-US spouse of a US person when filing a joint tax return or for non-US dependents. There are other persons who need a number for US tax purposes but who don't qualify for a US Social Security Number. If you do not have an ITIN for your non-US spouse or yourself and need one for tax purposes, you can attach form W-7 to your US tax return. Note that starting January 1, 2013, ITIN's are valid for five years only, after which time a new one will have to be requested.

To obtain or renew an ITIN, you must complete IRS Form W-7 ("IRS Application for Individual Taxpayer Identification Number"). Form W-7 requires documentation substantiating foreign/alien status and true identity. You may either mail the documentation, along with the Form W-7, to the address shown in the Form W-7 instructions, present it at IRS walk-in offices, or process your application through an Acceptance Agent (AA) authorized by the IRS.

General information about Form W-7 is here:
https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-form-w7

A list of AAs is here:
https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/acceptance-agent-program

There is a page on the IRS website with a series of FAQ on this topic at:
https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/itin-updated-procedures-frequently-asked-questions

 

This ACA webpage was updated on 16 November 2017