A Social Security number (SSN) is a unique identifier issued by the Social Security Administration. You need an SSN to work, and it’s used to determine your eligibility for Social Security benefits and certain government services.
Many financial institutions, such as banks and credit companies, also ask for your number when you open an account. If you are a noncitizen with permission to work in the United States, you may also need an SSN.
A Social Security number and its corresponding card may be obtained by filling out Form SS-5: Application for a Social Security Card from the SSA. The form explains how to obtain an original card, replace a card, and change or correct SSN records.
A full list of requirements, such as documentation that proves age, identity, and U.S. citizenship or immigration status, is included in the form. There is no charge for obtaining a number or card.
If you don’t have SSN and you are not eligible to obtain it, IRS issues ITINs to help individuals comply with the U.S. tax laws, and to provide a means to efficiently process and account for tax returns and payments.
An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service. They are issued regardless of immigration status, because both resident and nonresident aliens may have a U.S. filing or reporting requirement under the Internal Revenue Code. ITINs do not serve any purpose other than federal tax reporting. An ITIN does not:
To begin the ITIN application process, you will need a complete IRS Form W-7, U.S. federal income tax return and your passport.
You can file Form W-7 with your federal income tax return. You must also include original documentation or certified copies from the issuing agency to prove identity and foreign status. Then you have three options on how to file - apply in-person using the services of an IRS-authorized Certifying Acceptance Agent, make an appointment at a designated IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center or mail your W-7, tax return, proof of identity, and foreign status documents to the Internal Revenue Service.
After you apply for an ITIN and qualify for an ITIN, you could receive a letter from the IRS assigning your tax identification number in as early as seven weeks. However, the speed of obtaining an ITIN depends on the number of applications the IRS receives - in busy periods it can take nine to eleven weeks.