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Publication 519

Identification Number(p25)

A taxpayer identification number must be furnished on returns, statements, and other tax-related documents. For an individual, this is a social security number (SSN). If you do not have and are not eligible to get an SSN, you must apply for an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN). An employer identification number (EIN) is required if you are engaged in a trade or business as a sole proprietor and have employees or a qualified retirement plan.
You must furnish a taxpayer identification number if you are:

Social security number (SSN). (p25)

Generally, you can get an SSN if you have been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence or under other immigration categories that authorize U.S. employment.
To apply for this number, get Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card, from your local Social Security Administration (SSA) office or call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213. You can also download Form SS-5 from the SSA's website at You must visit an SSA office in person and submit your Form SS-5 along with original documentation showing your age, identity, immigration status, and authority to work in the United States. Generally, you will receive your card about 2 weeks after the SSA has all of the necessary information.
F-1 and M-1 visa holders.(p25)
If you are an F-1 or M-1 student, you must also show your Form I-20. For more information, see SSA Publication 05-10181, International Students and Social Security Numbers, available online at
J-1 visa holders. (p25)
If you are a J-1 exchange visitor, you will also need to show your Form DS-2019. For more information, see SSA Publication 05-10107, Foreign Workers and Social Security Numbers, available online at

Individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN).(p25)

If you do not have and are not eligible to get an SSN, you must apply for an ITIN. For details on how to do so, see Form W-7 and its instructions. Allow 6 to 10 weeks for the IRS to notify you of your ITIN. If you already have an ITIN, enter it wherever an SSN is required on your tax return.
An ITIN is for tax use only. It does not entitle you to social security benefits or change your employment or immigration status under U.S. law.
In addition to those aliens who are required to furnish a taxpayer identification number and are not eligible for an SSN, a Form W-7 must be filed for:

Employer identification number (EIN).(p25)

An individual may use an SSN (or ITIN) for individual taxes and an EIN for business taxes. To apply for an EIN, file Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification Number, with the IRS.