Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)

What is an ITIN?

ITIN stands for Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) created the ITIN for use by anyone who is not eligible to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) and who receives taxable money, such as scholarships, stipends, or awards from the University. If you already have a SSN, have ever had an SSN, or are eligible to apply for an SSN, you are not eligible to apply for an ITIN.  Should you apply for an ITIN now and later get a SSN, this will not cause any problems. You will simply start to use the SSN instead of the ITIN (to file taxes, submit to payroll, etc.) as soon as you receive it.  

If you are receiving a scholarship, grant, or monetary award from the University, you may require proof that you have applied for an ITIN before you can receive your check.  At the end of your ITIN appointment, OIA will provide you with a signed W-7 copy (the official ITIN application form), which you can submit to your department as proof that you applied for an ITIN.  Follow up with your department directly for any questions you have about where or how to submit the signed W-7 or how to receive your award.

You may use an ITIN to:

  1. Receive a stipend or any part of a tuition grant if you are a student or postdoctoral fellow.
  2. Complete part of an application for an educational loan.
  3. Accept a one-time payment such as an honorarium for delivering a lecture.
  4. File your annual U.S. federal tax return if you've received taxable money in the U.S.

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Do I Need an ITIN? Am I eligible to apply at OIA?

The the most common reasons F-1 and J-1 students apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is to (1) receive payment for a stipend, fellowship or grant, (2) complete an application for an educational loan, or (3) open an interest-bearing or brokerage account.

In most cases, the HR person or financial administrator for your department will let you know if you need an ITIN. Additionally, you may receive an email from Payroll letting you know you need to apply for an ITIN and provide a signed W-7 copy to receive your award.

OIA assists with the application process only and advisers in our office are unable to determine whether or not you will need an ITIN.  If you are not sure if you need an ITIN, contact the HR administrator in your department directly for guidance.

Do not submit an ITIN application if you are employed or have a job that will start soon start soon, If you are or will be employed, you will need to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) instead.

Eligibility for ITIN Application at OIA

A special IRS regulation allows some F-1 and J-1 students to submit ITIN applications through OIA, because we are Designated School Officials (DSOs).  However, we are not eligible to submit ITIN applications for all students. See below to determine whether or not you are eligible to apply for an ITIN through OIA:

You can apply through OIA if ALL of the following are met:
  • You are currently in valid F-1 or J-1 status,
  • Your F-1/J-1 status is sponsored by UChicago (i.e. UChicago issued your I-20/DS-2019),
  • You are physically present in U.S. and can come in-person to our office,
    -AND-
  • Your ITIN is required for University purposes, such as a UChicago scholarship, grant, or stipend.
OIA cannot process ITIN applications if ANY of the following applies:
  • Your status is not F or J (e.g. H-4, A-2, L-1 etc),
  • Your immigraiton status is sponsored by an outside agency (such as IEI, Fulbright, etc) and not UChicago
  • You cannot come to our office in-person for an appointment,
    -OR-
  • The ITIN is for non-University purposes, such as interest-bearing bank accounts, brokerage and stock accounts, or tax filing purspoes.

If you are sponsored by an outside entity (such as Fulbright or IEI), please contact your sponsor for guidance on how to apply for an ITIN. If you need an ITIN for another purpose (such as a savings account), contact the financial institutions for guidance.  For other circumstances, contact OIA and we can provide guidance on where you can apply for an ITIN. If you apply outside of OIA, avoid sending your original passport to the IRS. Instead, use certified copies provided by the passport-issuing agency.  Your home country's embassy or consulate can usually provide these certified copies.

How Do I Apply for an ITIN at OIA?

1: Schedule an appointment with OIA

OIA processes ITIN applications by appointment only.  To schedule an appointment, please email international-affairs@uchicago.edu with your full name, student ID (if you are a student) and your academic department. For faster service, you can also call the OIA front desk at 773.702.7752 to request an appointment.

ITIN appointments usually last 20-30 minutes.  In order to process your ITIN and provide proof that you’ve applied for the ITIN, please make sure you follow the ITIN application instructions listed here and come to the appointment with the following documents completed.  All of these documents are necessary and required to process your ITIN application.  If you are missing one of these documents when you come to the office, you will need to reschedule your appointment:

2: Prepare Application Documents

There are several documents you must complete ahead of time and bring to your scheduled appointment.  The paperwork will take 15-30 minutes to complete, so make sure to do it well ahead of your appointment.  If your documents are incomplete or filled out incorrectly at your appointment, you will have to reschedule.

Documents to bring to the appointment:
  • ITIN Personal Information Sheet
  • Completed Form W-7 : You must fill this out exactly as the instructions below explain (see samples to the upper-right). This must be an original and cannot be a copy.
  • W-8BEN (Students from tax treaty countries only; see instructions below and sample to the upper-right)
  • Original passport
  • Most recent I-20 or DS-2019 (cannot be a copy)
  • University award or loan letter (letter from your department stating you are receiving taxable money from the University)

Instructions to complete the W-7
(see samples to the upper-right)

WARNING: It is VERY IMPORTANT that you read and follow these exact instructions, section by section.  The IRS is very particular on how you file this form.  If you do not follow these instructions exactly, we cannot submit your application and you may need to re-scedule your appointment.

Type on form or use black ink.  Do not leave any blanks; write 'N/A' if something does not apply to you.

  • TOP: Reason you are submitting Form W-7:
    • Student from a tax treaty country (must match passport):
      • Check both boxes 'f' and 'h' only. Do not check any other boxes.
      • f - Nonresident alien student filing a U.S. tax return or claiming an exception
      • h – all applicants check this box (and write the following)
      • Write: Exception 2(b) Scholarship Income (must also include treaty country and article number – see page 2 of W-8BEN-S Form for needed information)
    • Student not from a tax treaty country:
      • Check both boxes 'f' and 'h' only. Do not check any other boxes.
      • f –  Nonresident alien student filing a U.S. tax return or claiming an exception
      • h – all applicants check this box (and write one of the following)
      • Write: Exception 2(c) Scholarship Income
  • Name – should appear exactly as written in passport
  • MAILING ADDRESS: Use the following mailing address. 
    Do not use your personal mailing address, as all approval notices are sent to the school:
    LINE 1: Univ of Chicago, Attn: Elizabeth Fox, 6054 S. Drexel Ave, 300
    LINE 2: Chicago, IL 60637
  • Foreign Address (non U.S. address) must be filled in
  • Birth information – must match passport
  • 6a – Country of citizenship. Write entire name and do not use abbreviations. This must match country listed on I-20 and passport.
  • 6b – write 'N/A'
  • 6c – F-1 or J-1, visa number (see red # listed on visa).  Do not enter visa expiration date. Write D/S 'duration of status' instead of visa expiration date.:
    • Example: F-1, C8835628, D/S
    • Canadian passport holders: F-1, Canadian – no visa
  • 6d – check passport, and fill in country of issue, passport number, expiration date and most recent entry date to U.S.
  • 6e –Check 'No'
  • 6f - Write 'N/A' in name fields
  • 6g – write 'University of Chicago'  and 'Chicago, IL', duration of program should be taken from I-20 or DS-2019, (e.g. '45 months')
  • Sign, date and provide phone number

Instructions to complete the W-8BEN (see sample to the upper-right)

  • W-8BEN Form is ONLY required if you put Exception 2(b) on the W-7
  • Complete Part I of this form and sign it.  Parts II and III should be left blank for this application.
  • This copy is for ITIN applications only.  We cannot provide guidance on other uses of the form, such as claiming tax treaty benefits.

3: Attend your Appointment

ITIN appointments can take 15-30 minutes to complete.  Make sure to show up on time and come with all required documents completed.  All of these documents are necessary and required to process your ITIN application.  If you are missing one of these documents when you come to the office, you will need to reschedule your appointment.

If you have any questions about certain fields on the forms, you can leave them blank.  However, please fill out as many of the blanks as possible before coming to the appointment.  There are sample forms available on the link above. Please make sure to follow the instructions closely to prevent application delays,

4: After Your OIA Appointment

After your appointment, OIA will mail your application to the IRS. It will take 6-8 weeks for the IRS to process your application and for you to receive your ITIN number. The IRS does will not expedite ITIN applications.  You can expect to hear back from OIA a few months after you apply.  You will receive an email from OIA when the ITIN notice is ready to pick up from OIA or if there are any issues with your application.

If you need your ITIN to file tax paperwork, you will need to plan ahead and apply early or apply for a tax filing extension with the IRS.

At the appointment, OIA will provide you with a signed copy of the W-7 (ITIN application document).  You will need to provide this signed W-7 to your department's HR or financial office and/or may need to upload the document to Workday to receive your scholarship or award. If you have any questions about where or how to submit your signed W-7, please follow up with your department directly.  A good place to start is the person or office who instructed you that you needed an ITIN.

How can I receive my University scholarship/award?

OIA helps submit your ITIN application, but you will receive your award and manage all other paperwork with your department directly.  You do not need to have the actual ITIN number to receive your award, but you must have proof you applied for the number (the signed W-7). To receive your award, you must submit your signed W-7 copy (provided at your ITIN appointment) to your department's HR person or financial office and/or may need to upload the W-7 to Workday. 

 If you have any questions about where or how to submit your signed W-7 or how or when you will receive your award money, please follow up with your department directly.

ITINs and Taxes

If you are receiving a taxable scholarship or stipend, you will require your actual ITIN number to file your tax return.   The IRS takes about 6-8 weeks to process ITIN applications. If you need your ITIN to file taxes, you will need to plan ahead and apply early or apply for a tax filing extension with the IRS.

If you are from a tax treaty country and you have your actual ITIN number, you may be able to reclaim some or all of the withheld tax fom your University award or stipend.  Contact your departmental HR or financial office for more information.  Because advisers in our office are not tax experts, OIA will not be able to advise you on if or how you can get a tax refund or other individual tax matters.

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