International Student Services

Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN)

What is an ITIN?

An Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) is issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which is the U.S. tax collection agency. The number is for nonresidents who need to file a tax return because of taxable income (like some scholarships) but are not eligible for a Social Security Number (SSN). SSN are only issued to nonresidents who are employed. For more information, review the IRS Publication 1915.

Who needs an ITIN?

You should apply for an ITIN if:

  1. You are in F-1 or J-1 status; and
  2. You do not have an SSN; and
  3. You do not plan to work on campus or apply for CPT or OPT soon (if you work on campus or apply for off-campus work authorization through ISS, you will need to apply for an SSN); and
  4. You receive a scholarship/fellowship stipend directly paid to you through Student Fiscal Services/the UW.
  5. You receive non-employment income from a U.S. source that is taxable.
    • Non-employment income can be scholarships, fellowships, grants, or non-employment stipend payments. These can be taxable if they are greater than the cost of tuition and fees.
    • If you are allowed to study tuition free or for a reduced rate of tuition, you may not have to pay tax on this benefit. This is called a “tuition reduction.” Qualified tuition reductions aren’t taxable non-employment income. You won’t need an ITIN for this.

Note: the ISS office can only provide ITIN support letters for students receiving scholarships/fellowships from the UW. If you or your spouse need an ITIN to file a tax return because of other taxable non-employment income, you will need to apply for the ITIN directly to the IRS along with your tax return.

How to Apply

  1. Gather the necessary documents and information to complete the online request for ITIN support letters from ISS:
    1. Scan or photo of your UW scholarship/fellowship/grant letter
    2. Know the answer to whether you will claim a tax treaty benefit. If you are unsure, review the IRS “U.S. Tax Treaties” publication before proceeding with this request.  Please note ISS advisers cannot advise about tax treaty eligibility. We do not have expertise about taxes.
  2. Complete the online request for ITIN support letters from ISS:
  3. F-1 Students: Request ITIN Support Letters
    J-1 Students: Request ITIN Support Letters

  4. Allow 15 business days for ISS processing. ISS will prepare ITIN support letters for you and will mail you the original letters via USPS.
  5. After you receive the ITIN support letters from ISS, email the UW ITIN office at to request their support. They will provide guidance on what you need to do to prepare your ITIN application for the IRS.