14 May

Applying for an ITIN for a dependent on H4 for Tax Returns

Taxes due April 15

There are few things harder in life than dealing with a Governmental organization. And I was fortunate enough to have to deal with the IRS recently regarding my Tax Returns for the year 2013. Since I got married last year and have my wife here in the US on an H4 Dependent Visa status, I get to file my returns as Married Filing Jointly. I was aware that I will need to apply for an ITIN for her to be able to file my returns successfully. I also knew that it can’t be done preemptively since I need to do my returns and only then send that along with a filled in W-7 form which is the application for an ITIN. That wasn’t any problem to figure out. But my woes only began when I realized that TurboTax Online cannot do it for me. In fact, TurboTax gave up after filling in my 1040. My faithful friend who makes life so easy for millions in the country had given up on my after serving me so well the last two years. Okay so here’s the process for applying for an ITIN and the various options available for anyone wanting to do the same:

  1. Use TurboTax to help you fill your Federal and State Tax Return and generate the forms.
  2. You will not be able to file online so don’t bother paying for any additional services of TurboTax for e-Filing (i.e., if you can avoid it)
  3. Whenever TurboTax asks you for your spouse’s SSN, leave it empty. You will be warned about Errors but that’s OK since you are not going to e-File any way.
  4. Once your forms are completed, TurboTax will tell you that you will have to file by mail because of the errors above. Save all the forms to your computer or print them out if you have a printer available.

Now that you have your Federal Returns (Form 1040, Form 1040EZ) filled in an printed, you will have to mail that to the IRS ITIN Operations Division ( along with other documents. Note that this is not the address TurboTax and the return form tells you to mail the forms to. Amongst the documents you need to send to the IRS, the ORIGINAL Passport (of the H4 dependent) is the one standalone document that is sufficient for most H4 applicants. Other documents are listed here: http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Revised-Application-Standards-for-ITINs Since I don’t feel comfortable mailing an original passport away, I wanted to find out if there was another way. And in my case, since we were planning to travel around soon, not having a passport in hand was a risk I could not take. So I found I had three options:

  1. File the return and apply for an ITIN at a Local IRS Office. Find one close to you here: http://apps.irs.gov/app/officeLocator/index.jsp
  2. File returns and apply for an ITIN through an acceptance agent. Find them by state here: http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Acceptance-Agent-Program
  3. Mail a Copy of the Passport (H4 Applicant), endorsed by the issuing authority – The Embassy of the country that issued it – to the IRS ITIN Operations division, along with your returns.

Knowing me, I had to research all three options. Option 1 seemed the safest bet since there was a local IRS office only 20 minutes from my home. IRS offices work 8-30 to 4-30 on weekdays only so I went there one morning before work. I was there at 8-45 and the lady at the reception told me that a limited number of tokens are issued daily for the ITIN processing at that center and that they were out already. She told us that the line forms outside the office as early as 8AM. So we wanted to give it another shot, try come early and get in line. So we arrived another day at 7-30AM and found that we were about the 10th in line. So I figured we would get it done that day. To all my dismay, I later found out that the number of tokens they issue per day is a paltry 8! So the couple in front of me frowned and left and we followed suit, angry that they only process 8 ITIN applications a day. So I gave up Option 1 knowing that I am wasting time and effort on this with no guarantees of getting it done on any day. So I looked up Option 2: File through an acceptance agent. There are a bunch of acceptance agents near where I lived, including some H&R Block offices as well. So I called up a few – some said that their Acceptance Agent was no longer certified to process ITINs, some claimed an exorbitant fee upwards of $200 and few didn’t know the process. Before I settled to shell out a fourth of my returns on fees, I wanted to find out about the feasibility of Option 3: Send an endorsed copy of the passport to IRS by mail. Endorsing has to be done by the issuing authority of the document, which in the case of a passport is the embassy of the country that issued it. Luckily for me, the Embassy of India is in Washington DC and is quite approachable. So I looked up their website for the procedure for endorsing a passport and found that it was about a $13 affair plus the metro fare to and from DC. I asked my wife to visit the embassy and get her passport copy endorsed and she got that done in a day.  So that was easy and I sent across my Federal Returns, Form W-7, Endorsed copy of Passport of ITIN Applicant (with Visa and I-94 pages) to the ITIN Operations Center of IRS. More Links:

  • About ITIN: http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Individual-Taxpayer-Identification-Number-(ITIN)
  • General ITIN Information: http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/General-ITIN-Information
  • Revised Application Standards 2013: http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Revised-Application-Standards-for-ITINs
  • Additional ITIN Information: http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Additional-ITIN-Information
  • IRS Local Office Locator: http://apps.irs.gov/app/officeLocator/index.jsp
  • IRS Acceptance Agents: http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Acceptance-Agent-Program

Questions? Comment below.

Disclaimer: I’ve gone through this process in 2014 and some of these steps and requirements may have changed. Please look for more updated information if available on the internet. I just don’t want someone to be mis-led by following the instructions I have provided and face any inconvenience. 

159 thoughts on “Applying for an ITIN for a dependent on H4 for Tax Returns

    • I filed my Virginia State Returns in person at my City Hall since they accepted it. I could even have mailed it to them. I wrote on the return “ITIN Applied” under the SSN fields and attached a copy of the filled Form W-7 as proof and they accepted it. But they admitted that they didn’t know the process either for my case and if any correction is required, I might be contacted later from Richmond. So as of now, its been filed but I don’t have a final status yet.

  1. Sreenath, these is helpful, One more q, do you know for H4 (wife)on form w7 what should be checked d or e. I am resident alien

  2. I have already filed my state taxes, and applied for ITIN for my wife through an agent, today i received the ITIN no, now how can i add it to the tax returns?

  3. I kinda have the same question. Since I have already filed my tax returns as single, is it Okay if I file ITIN for wife separately? Or do I have to do it together and for that I should wait till next year 2015?

    Please advise.

    • Hi peerless.

      I am not the expert on this. So please note that any advice I am giving you is “as-is”. That said, a few questions come up regarding your query – Did you update your company via a form W-4 about your change in marital status? If you did, your company may have deducted lower taxes from your income and since your filed your returns as single, this means that you paid lower taxes this year which IRS may find foul. You may be legally obligated to correct this situation else there could be trouble. If you did not update your company using the form W-4, then they have deducted taxes from your income at a higher rate and since you’ve filed your returns as Single, you’re not getting much of a return back. Although IRS may not cry foul on that, you stand to lose big on your returns.

      My friend did not update his company about the change in his marital status when he got married but when he filed his returns, he filed it jointly along with an ITIN application and he got back close to $18,000 in just his federal returns. Given what both situations have at stake here for you, I suggest talking to a tax consultant soon – even if you have to pay them a bit of money.

    • Yep. I received the ITIN within a fortnight of sending my returns. I also received my Federal Returns in about a month.

      However my state returns are still pending and I recently received a notice from them asking for my wife’s ITIN. I’ve sent it across by fax and waiting for my state returns as of mid September. I did call the state tax dept. and confirmed that they’ve got my information.

  4. Sam/Sridhar – Will you please share me the contact details of the agent who can file ITIN for my wife behalf as I am in India now and want to fill TAX return.

  5. Thanks for sharing the information Sreenath. So one basic question here, can we file returns and ITIN of dependents (Wife and Kid) at the same time and to the same IRS department?.. I guess that is what you did right?

  6. when you went to the indian embassy for attestation of documents ,did they charge $13 per page? OR did you just take a copy of the passport,visa and I-94 on one page?

    • Let me add here that your passport can also be notarized and a copy of it sent to the IRS. Notary can be done at any Bank of America or UPS locations.

      • No, since 2013, the IRS is not accepting notarized copies and they have clearly mentioned this on their website and explained the difference between attested vs. certified copies. They now need a certified copy where as pre-2013, they did accept notarized copies.

    • Hi Harsh

      Please check this link for the Indian Embassy in Washington DC: https://www.indianembassy.org/pages.php?id=66

      It was $13 per copy, not per page. Mine was 3 pages but they only took $13 and each page was attested. They kept one copy and returned the other attested. I went in person so I paid cash but if you are mailing your documents, there are other restrictions on how the money has to be split between cashiers checks.

      The link above details all that.

      Hope this helps.


  7. What would you suggest on when apply for ITIN with out Tax Return by W7?
    Is it acceptable?

    I have a month on my hand to go through this process before tax returns get crazy. My plan is to do efile.

    Any thoughts?

    • Rahul

      You cannot apply for an ITIN without a tax return. The IRS makes it this way to ensure that you really have the need for an ITIN and are not simply requesting for one without reason.


  8. Sreenath. Great detail of information. Can you also list the type of documents I need to take to in each of the options. And finally what do we need to mail to IRS along with the tax forms.

  9. Sreedhar, My wife is on H4 and I am on H1B. I thought the reason for applying is “g” dependent/spouse of a non resident alien holding a US visa. isnt it so?

  10. Thanks for detailed info. I have one quick question. Did you file your federal taxes before receiving ITIN? If so, did you just write “ITIN Applied” and included copy of W-7? Thanks

  11. I have the same question as Harsh about the charge for certifying documents. Is $13 charge per page or per document? Thanks.

  12. Hi Sreenath, Just checking, when you go to IRS office do you know how much will it cause for them to authenticate the passport, I have noticed that you didn’t end up with this process but just want to compare since Philippines embassy is asking 25 each person and I have 2 kids and my wife, that will be x3, so if it’s free in IRS office then I’ll just go there early in the morning like 6AM just to get token for the day 🙂

    • Oh the IRS office shouldn’t really charge you anything apart from paying for parking (if applicable). It makes sense in your case to get to the IRS office early. 🙂

    • Just 2 copies of the passport front and back pages + any other endorsement pages + visa page. The copies along with the original passport can be certified by the Embassy.

  13. Nimma mahitige bahala dhanyavadagalu. dayavittu kare madi… just reaching out as I am from Bangalore too… eradu sonne ondu aaru aaru entu sonne ombhattu ombhattu nalakku.

  14. Hi Sreenath

    this is informative. I have one question.
    You said for ITIN application, If I am applying at local IRS office then I DO NOT need to submit the original passport. Just copies of the pages will be sufficient(And also no acceptance agent)

    Please correct me.

    Also, did they accept your state return with just ITIN applied status.


    • Hi Amol

      Yes, if you are applying at the local IRS office, then you don’t need to submit your passport – however you and your wife will have to be present at the IRS office and you will have to carry your original passports with you for verification.

      For the state return, they accepted my forms at the time of filing but later sent me a notification via mail to update my ITIN via Fax sometime in June. Only then did they process my state return.


  15. Thank you for the share Sreenath. Quick question, I noticed from W-7 form there’s an option to choose Driver’s license under 6D for documents. So are we able to provide driver’s license details instead of passport? Thank you…

    • Hi Pradeed

      I believe the other document options provided have to be substantiated with additional supporting documents that prove your foreign status. The passport is the only standalone document which works for H4 Spouse case. I would go with the Passport in any case.


  16. Thank You Sreenath. This blog is so helpful to me for assisting my wife in tax filing. You gave me a clear picture what I need to do as am here on H4 recently.

  17. Thanks a lot Sreenath! You made it so easy. The information about visiting the local IRS office is also very useful.

  18. Regarding Option 3:Mail a Copy of the Passport (H4 Applicant), endorsed by the issuing authority – The Embassy of the country that issued it – My wife is presently in INDIA. Which authority in India may endorse the copy of her Passport which will be accepted here by IRS?

  19. Hi Sreenath,

    Thanks for your post, really helpful.

    I am thinking of applying ITIN for my wife and my kids through the TAC. I plan to make a trip with their original passports, W7 and the completed tax forms.

    Do you know if wife and kids need to be present at the TAC for the ITIN application?


  20. Hi Sreenath,

    Thank you very much for the detailed write-up. It has saved us a lot of time and effort. I understand that we need to mail in the W-7 along with the completed 1040 to the address listed for ITIN operations. In addition to this, do we also need to mail a copy of completed 1040 to the normal IRS address that we usually do ? I am assuming that W-7 + 1040 to a single address is good enough. Thanks again 🙂

    • Hi Nash

      Yes, you are right. Sending to the single ITIN operations address is sufficient to get your returns processed as well as get you your ITIN letter back with your original documents. No need to send the returns separately elsewhere. Thanks for visiting my blog. Glad it helped.


  21. Hi Sreenath,

    Thanks for putting this together, this is really helpful.

    I am planning to go with option 3 from your list. My wife is in India and wanted to check where she should go in Mumbai to get the passport endorsed. Can you please help me with this?


  22. Hi Sreenath, Nice article. If I try to save the forms from turbotax, it asks for credit card and says ‘Paying by credit card? Choose Continue to print your return and pay.’ Did you face the same thing? I wonder if its different now.

    • I don’t remember the on screen questions exactly but I do remember that I had already paid for TurboTax ($19) and didn’t know that I would not be able to file online. I however did ask for a refund of it later and they were happy to refund my money. Maybe you can try that route if there is no other option.

  23. Hi Sreenath,

    My wife came here on F2 and when my visa got converted from F1 to H1-B I changed her status to H4. Her visa got approved and we received an approval receipt (I-797 A).

    We haven’t been to any place outside US so we both don’t have visa stamped on our passports. What documents shall I send along with her passport?

    – Anish

    • Hi Anish

      I am not sure about your F visa conversion regulations and how it affects your returns. And since IRS requires your passports to verify your foreign status as well as identity, I am again not sure how it would work in your case since you don’t have your Visa stamped in the passport. My guess is that the I-797 (yours and your wife’s) would do in addition to the passport but that’s my guess.


    • Since I was not due a refund, I don’t know about it. But since ITIN comes in the mail, your refund may actually come earlier directly to your account. Not sure though.

  24. Thank you for your information. I am a H4 visa holder and would like to apply for the ITIN at the tax payer assistance center in person, since I am the dependent of my husband, does he need to be present when I go to the tax payer assistance center?

  25. Hi Sree,

    Thank you so much for your efforts to put this together. I have read all the comments and the post, probably I missed something. My question is
    If I am applying to ITIN at local IRS office being physically present me and my spouse with original passport, do I still need to get the Passport copy of my spouse attested(verified by issuing authority)?

    • Hi Kunal

      No if you do get your turn at the IRS office directly, there is no need for attestation from the embassay or anywhere else. Just take the originals and the copies so they will verify the original and accept the copy and hand you back the originals right there. The attestation is required if you are mailing your ITIN application + returns to IRS but don’t want to or can’t send your original passport via mail.


  26. Hi Sreenath,
    I filed my taxes with wife under H4 status. I went to the IRS office to file my federal tax returns. I got my returns. Can you please let me know how to find her ITIN number.

  27. Hi All,

    I would like to state my experience here since many of the people like us want to know how the process goes. I live in Florida so there are no state taxes. My husband came to the States 5 months ago on H4 Visa so I filed my return as “Married Filing jointly”. Since I needed to apply his ITIN, I filed the paper return using turbo tax. We did not want to send his original passport so I took my ITR, filled W7 form, his passport and I-94 to the nearest IRS office. We also carried the photocopies of all the pages of his passport. We had to wait for at least 4 hours in queue since it was very crowded. The lady who attended us told us that we do not need to submit the I-94. Also she attached only the FIRST and LAST page of his passport with my Income Tax Return and W-7 form. When we asked if she needs his I-94 and H4 Visa copy, she said we should provide minimal documents to them. The First and last page of the passport is enough. Then she erased his H4 Visa information from the W-7 form (Column 6c) using the white fluid and asked me to write my initials over there. Then She stamped the forms and gave us the receipt. At first, we were skeptical about this because the documents say we should attach the copy of US Visa with the application. She even erased the H-4 Visa information. I thought IRS definitely is going to ask us about Visa documents. However, I am so happy to inform that we got his ITIN yesterday without any issues. I am waiting for my refund now.

    • Thanks for coming back and sharing your experience on this route. I am sure this will help someone else who is going to head to the IRS Local office to submit their ITIN application.

  28. Hi Sreenath,
    Thank you so much for your efforts to put this together and this help lot as you are still replying
    I am planning to go with option 1 and my nearest IRS location is not authorized to verify original passport document, they will send it to other location.
    Is it safe to submit our passport to IRS? Or visit to other IRS location that takes me 3 hours to reach from my current location.
    It will take almost 7 week to get ITIN number for my dependent and same to receive passport?

    • People mail their original passports to the IRS – so I believe it should be fine to submit the original passport if they are doing that for you. The timelines you have mentioned sound right.

  29. Sreenath – Thank you for this article. It was very helpful in sorting out everything related to this. I have seen all the comments and I still have a question. On your tax return form 1040 where it asks for SSN, did you just kept it empty or did you write anything in front of it e.g. Applied for ITIN?

    • I wrote ITIN APPLIED where it asked for the spouse’s SSN. But I guess if you send it to the ITIN Processing Center along with the W-7 attached, they will understand even if you didn’t write anything and left the field blank.

  30. Sreenath – I applied for ITIN for my spouse via TAC and got ITIN issued about a month ago. I am yet to receive my refund. When I check the status of my refund online using my SSN, it says the following: “We have not processed your refund because the Social Security Number, or the IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, and/or name shown on your tax return does not match our records or those of the Social Security Administration.” I had mentioned “Applied for ITIN” under spouse’s SSN in my tax return. None of the information provided on my tax return is incorrect. Do you know the reason for this msg? Has anybody been in a similar situation?

    • When I tried to e-File my returns this year, I got the same exact error message while e-Filing (I already have an SSN for my wife) and I could not e-File. H&R Block tried everything and it was the same error “Lastname of Spouse does not match IRS records”. Social Security Administration, as I found out has nothing to do with ITIN processing or fixing that information. So IRS has some mismatched data about my wife’s name on her ITIN and I couldn’t e-File because of it. I have filed a paper return and have no updates on the “Where’s my refund” website (actually I don’t know how to use it since I had to pay additional taxes and that site only deals with refunds).

  31. Hi Sreenath,

    I got a notice from IRS that we have to send my Spouse original Passport to issue the ITIN .So, I sent the original passport to them and it was delivered to them on Apr 30th as per the fedex tracking system.
    However, I have not got any update yet.I am scared.
    Do you have any thoughts and generally how long does it take for them to return the passport?
    At this point of time, I am worried about the passport.

  32. I live in Dallas, TX and I did same as user “aimhigh2208”. My case there was no white fluid needed at the IRS office 😉 I’ve got my wife’s ITIN and refund deposited to my bank account.
    I had earnings in NY and I’m now trying to figure out how to submit returns to them.
    TurboTax does not allow me to submit NY as it still does not recognize/re-import my Wife’s SSN.
    And it is a law to e-file for NY so I’m stuck between “a rock and a hard place”.

  33. Excellent. Thanks for sharing your experience. I am pretty sure it is definitely going to help me.

  34. Hi Sree,

    Thank you so much for your efforts to put this together. I have read all the comments and the post, I have few questions,

    1) My wife will be traveling to India between Dec ’15 to May ’16 and while I process my returns she won’t be here to apply for ITIN and I believe we can apply ITIN once we file return with W7 copy till 2016…
    Shall I do certified copy of her passport in advance from Indian embassy.. Is it valid for 6-8 Months..I won’t have her original passport with me..So what should be the correct way?

    2) I will have baby in Oct-Nov, shall I need to apply ITIN for my baby? or I can show as dependent without ITIN?
    If yes, what should be the way considering 1st scenario.

    Please help with answers..Thanks in advance..

    • Hi Krunal, sorry I didn’t respond earlier. Since your situation is very different than mine, I am not very sure about how you should proceed. However, I don’t think the certified copy of your wife’s passport from the Indian embassy has a validity date so it should not be a problem if you get it done in advance before she travels out. So for 2016, you will be filing your return with W7 application in April when she will probably be in India so the advance certified copy sent to IRS would be a better route for you in my view.

      Congratulations to you and your wife for the baby! If the baby will be born in US, then he/she will be a US citizen and I think that makes them directly eligible for an SSN. You will be able show the baby as a dependent with that I think. But I am not sure since I haven’t had that experience yet. 🙂

  35. Hi Sreenath,

    I have the same Question as Krunal.. (Above)..

    Could you kindly clarify on Point #1


    Really appreciate your effort in putting this together…

  36. Hello Sree,

    My wife and Kid has come in July 2015, can I apply their ITIN now, or do I need to wait for tax filing in Jan 2016?


    • Hi Sanjeev

      You’ll have to wait till the tax filing season begins in 2016. The ITIN cannot be applied preemptively as the IRS requires you to have a reason for applying for an ITIN, which is a Tax Return Filing.


  37. sreenath,

    Could you please clarify my query.

    I Came to USA on H1b on August with my wife(h4) , we have our baby born now in USA. i am planning to fill the Tax Married and filling Together.

    Now My Doubt is, i want to apply for ITIN for my Wife. I haven’t Received my TAX return still. Can i Apply ITIN for my wife in local TAx assistance center without “TAX RETURN” ?

    • You’ll have to wait till the tax filing season begins in 2016. The ITIN cannot be applied preemptively as the IRS requires you to have a reason for applying for an ITIN, which is a Tax Return Filing.

  38. Hello Sreenath,

    Currently my wife and kid came to US on B1/B2 visa in July 2015.When I file my returns, can I apply for ITIN for my dependents(wife and kid) being in B1/B2 visa ? or it should be only for H4 ?

    • Hi Suhas

      Although my blog post was specific for H4 visa holders, ITIN can be applied for by anyone whom you are declaring (for tax purposes) as a resident alien. If your spouse has spent some time in the US (31 days this year + 180+ days in last 3 years including this year), she will be considered as a Resident Alien and you should apply for ITIN for her and file your tax return as Married Filing Jointly.

      If she has not spent that much time in the US, you can still claim her as a resident for tax purpose and apply for an ITIN for her with your tax return as Married Filing Jointly. This however does make all her income (even those outside US) taxable under US Income Tax which you will have to declare in your tax return as Spouse’s income. If your wife did not have an income, then this option may be beneficial to you depending on the amount of refund you are expecting and/or the additional exemption you will benefit from by claiming your wife on your return.
      The other option is to file your return as “Married Filing Separately” in which you should have the option to still claim an exemption for your wife as a dependent and save some money and not have to declare all her non-US income in the year as well. But since I have not applied in that format, I am not very sure how that works but it should be possible using TurboTax since you are not applying for an ITIN in this route.

      • Thanks. How do we file return, if I was in OPT for X months and then Y months on H1B visa.Does turbotax has the option to do or how did you file.

  39. Hi Sreenath

    I came to the US in Nov 2015 while my wife is in India. I will probably have to file my tax return as single for this year and I will get most of my tax back. However, my wife will be visiting US for two weeks in May 2016. Can I then use this filed return for applying for ITIN number. Or does it have to be a fresh return?

    • Hi Rahul

      It has to be a fresh return. See my reply to Suhas’s question above to know of other options you may have. Claiming your wife in any case will give you more money back than filing as single. Note that if you came to US in Nov 2015, you yourself will be considered a Non-Resident Alien since you may not have spent the amount of time in the US to qualify as a resident in the IRS Substantial Presence Test (https://www.irs.gov/Individuals/International-Taxpayers/Substantial-Presence-Test). So in that case, you will not be eligible for the same Earned Income Credit and take exemption from the tax slabs available for residents. TurboTax only works for Residents and you will have to file a 1040NR which TurboTax does not support (yet). If you calculate that your 2 months salary this year will mostly fall under the no tax slab, it’s bad news and I’m sorry I have to burst it to you. I’ve been there. 🙂


  40. Hi Sreenath

    I came to US on H1-B on June 30th and My family(wife+kid) on H4 came on Sep 20th. Are they eligible for ITIN ? How do the i file the taxes jointly or single ? In my w4 once it is updated as Married but again it is changed now to Single status. Could you please let me know how can i apply the tax returns ? Di need to get ITINs for them ? Could you please explain the procedure.

    • Hi Sree, sorry I somehow missed getting notified about your comment I guess. You have to file for an ITIN for them since you are a resident alien and are claiming them on your tax return as dependents. It works better in terms of the returns you can expect if you do it as married filing jointly. The rest of the procedure is explained in the post and an application like TurboTax will go a long way to help you out with your tax returns even though you cannot e-File when applying for an ITIN.

  41. Hi Sreenath,
    Is it possible to apply ITIN for my wife and kid on H4 in advance before starting the return filing process, obtain ITIN and then file the returns?
    Novice in this area and hence the question.
    Thanks in advance.

  42. HI Sreenath,

    i am going to apply ITIN for my spouse and son. i have a doubt on point 6g. for dependents what we need to fill in 6g. please give the input on this.


    • Hi Srini, I am not sure but you will need separate applications for your wife and son. For you wife, you should check Spouse of US Citizen/Resident Alien and for your son, check Dependent of a US Citizen/Resident Alien.

  43. Does it really help in getting good amount of refund when I file with ITIN showing my wife’s 0 income ? Without using ITIN for my wife,i am getting just $450 on 70K income.How much do you think it will make a difference ?

    • Hi Nikhil, the refund actually depends on how much your employer actually deducted from your salary as taxes. This depends on the type of exemptions you claimed on the W-4 you submitted to your employer. If you claimed that you are married, your employer would have deducted less taxes and hence you would have to PAY the IRS if you ended up filing it as Single. Where as if you said you were single on your W-4 but you file your return as married filing jointly, you can get a substantial amount of refund. If you declared yourself as married on the W-4 and are filing jointly, you may not see that much of a refund but that depends on many factors like tax slabs, deductions etc. which TurboTax should be able to tell you.

  44. I live in Wilson, NC. The nearest IRS office for me is in Raleigh which is about 40 mins drive. But the IRS office at Raleigh dont accept the ITIN application at all. They say that they are backlogging about 1 month’s regular work & i was sent back to apply for ITIN through authorized agent program. The HR block near me asked 125$ to process ITIN. This is pathetic.

    • I hear you man. Just send the passport to IRS Austin Texas office. They won’t lose your passport for sure. Except for the cost of return postage for the passport, you’ll save all that money. The HR Block agents authorized to process ITIN’s were not even half as knowledgeable as I am now when I went around to them for this. It may have changed now so you can give it a try if you want.

  45. After spending 2 weeks of tension on how to get this done.. finally completed the procedure today. Thanks Sreenath for this post. After doing lot of research, I realized that if I stand in line for IRS, I can save $150 for ITIN application. I did not want to give my original passport & neither I wanted to spend $150. So best option was to go & stand in line outside of IRS office at 6:30AM. I stood in line which was not that long, around 10 people infront of me in chilly cold (I’m in florida, so it was like 40 degrees). Its a TAC office, so they verified my wife’s passport & gave the passport back. I submitted W-7, 1040, 8695 & work was done in 15 mins. Total wait time + time in office = 3hrs. Tax calculations are not that difficult & I used instructions to fill and validated my forms through a firm which files taxes for free.

    • Awesome! Glad that route worked for you. At 40 degrees, we’d gladly stand in the line wearing beach wear up here in Virginia! 🙂 Thankfully, the TAC office I visited here was a multistoreyed building and the waiting line was indoors.

  46. Hi Sreenath, We got married last year and will be filing the taxes for the first time after my marriage. My wife, who is on H-4, is currently in India and wont be back until early May. How do I go about filing my taxes ? Should I file for an extension and get a ITIN once she is back or can I get everything done before she is here ?

    • I think that it is easier to file an extension so you get yourself some extra time after your wife comes to the US and then you can apply for an ITIN with her. You can apply for the ITIN before the April deadline but then you’ll need to have her send a copy of her passport attested by the Passport Office in India – which frankly, I have no idea if they do it or not, or how difficult it is. If you can figure that out and if it is easy enough, you should be able to file your ITIN application with your returns normally before the April deadline.

  47. Thanks a lot Sreenath for all this information. It has made the ITIN process very easy. Could you also please let me know which pages of passport need to be attested by embassy? The first, last and visa page …are they sufficient?

  48. Hi sreenath, this is indeed good information… Thats a ton.. Quick question, if your spouse is in india for the whole year which means she ha not visited USA till now, can we get an exemption by applying for Itin…….

    • Yes as per Tax adviser. Say if you are married in 2015 but your wife never visited USA in 2015. Still you can claim as Married Filing Jointly and apply ITIN for her. But while applying she has to be in US if you are personally visiting IRS office or you can follow either of other two options Sreenath suggested above.

  49. Thank you Sreenath. Your article helped me a lot. I have a question in my spouse ITIN Application. What should we fill in “6g Name of college/university or company (see instructions)”………..It is 6g in “other information” section but not initial a to h check-in boxes. Some one asked above same question. But seems you answered thinking g in first a to h check-in boxes :). It would be great if you can answer this for me. Thanks in Advance :).

    • Hi Kasheeshwar

      Thanks for visiting my blog. I’m glad it helped you.

      If I see the Instructions for form W-7 (https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/iw7.pdf), it mentions that 6g is only required if you select the initial checkbox f under Reason for submitting form W-7. Otherwise it can be left blank. If you are on H1B visa and are filing a tax return jointly for your wife (who may be on H4 or F1), the choice f does not apply to you.

      I hope this clarifies your doubt.


  50. Hi Sreenath,

    First things first. Not too many people out there (even those who are avid bloggers) take time out to help others. All of us who would get our ITINs owe it to you!
    Without wasting more time, I will shoot my questions right away.
    1. A line in the instructions page for W-7 says “If you submit an original valid passport (or a certified copy from the issuing agency), you do not need to submit any other documents to
    prove your “foreign status” or “identity.” Otherwise, you must submit at least two of the documents listed in the chart below.” – My question is, does Option 1 or 3 in your post require that I must submit more than 1 document? In my case (I am an H4 spouse without a DL), a passport is all I have so this worried me!
    2. I initially thought from your post that Option 3 is ONLY possible at the US Embassy. But the instructions page mentioned that it can be either an Embassy or a Consulate (which is an option for me since I live in NYC). I just wanted to reconfirm this with you since others could benefit from this point too.
    Many thanks in advance Sreenath!

    • Thanks Karunya for visiting my blog and the appreciation.

      Answering your questions:
      1. Yes, original passport or certified copy with visa page is all I sent so you don’t need a DL or any other documents.
      2. Yes, I believe even the Indian consulate can certify the passport copies. So you should be able to approach the NY consulate for the same.

  51. Sreenath,

    Great job! Thank you.

    If I choose to file my tax returns first and apply for ITIN at the local IRS office, to which address should I send my federal tax returns – IRS ITIN Operations Division or the address that turbo tax shows.


    • If you’ve not already filed your returns electronically but just created your return as I have mentioned in TurboTax to file offline, then your should send it to the IRS ITIN operations division and NOT to the address Turbo Tax shows.

      • Thanks for your response. Should I send the returns to the IRS ITIN operations division even if I am not sending the ITIN application along with it?

        • On second thoughts, if you applied for ITIN at the local IRS office, they should also have accepted your returns along with it. Haven’t they? In that case, you don’t need to send anything to the IRS. You should be able to check the status of your return online in a few days IMO.

  52. Thanks Sreenath for the lovely post. I really admire the people who take out time and help others. I am filling out my turbo tax and have some questions

    1. Can I claim my H4 daughter as dependent ? She stayed with me for more than 183 days in 2015 ? When filing turbo tax online , it just gives me options “US Citizenship or legal resident” , “Resident of Canada & Mexico” , “None of the above” .She is neither US Citizen nor Canadian or Mexican Resident “. The only option that I am left with is “None of the above but when I choose that it turbotax doesn’t consider her as dependent ? Am I missing anything ?


    • Hi Tajinder

      Thanks for the compliments. Im not sure about your situation. I believe your daughter can be claimed as a dependent but im not sure what you need to do for it if Turbotax doesn’t let you proceed.


  53. Hi Sreenath,

    Thanks for your detailing. Recently I tried to file returns and apply for ITIN for my wife and son who were is H4 with me from Oct 29,2015. I tried approaching H&R Block and found that there were few changes on 1040NR saying that we need to complete 181 days continuous presence in USA. Do you have any idea about this?
    Also H&R Block asked for around $230+ for tax filing and applying for ITIN. I felt it is worthless as they were not clear on few tax related queries which I posted them.
    So I planned to file return by myself and send the appropriate form by mail to IRS. I took the latest W-7 revised on 2013 and I need to know which is the correction option under the below

    a Nonresident alien required to get ITIN to claim tax treaty benefit
    b Nonresident alien filing a U.S. tax return
    c U.S. resident alien (based on days present in the United States) filing a U.S. tax return

    Both my wife and son is having state ID, so can I attach that alone as proof or I need to present their passport as well to IRS

    • Hi Yuvaraj

      Im not very sure about your situation. So please do ask a financial consultant to be sure before proceeding.

      I agree, H&R Block is expensive compared to TurboTax or other offline consultants. If I remember correctly, if you were in the US for less than 180 days last year, then you are required to fill the 1040NR (1040 Non Resident) and TurboTax does not support this (I think). However, from your choices, I believe you are asking about yourself – which should be Nonresident alien filing a US Tax return. This is with the understanding that you too were in the US last year since Oct 2015 only.

      You do need to submit the passport (or certified copy ) of your wife and son to the IRS so they can issue the ITIN for them.

  54. Pingback: How to apply ITIN for H4? | VAC

  55. Hi Sreenath,

    I received ITIN for my Spouse and now I have to file state return. I know I need to add the ITIN information to my state return form however I dont see any section where I need to mention her ITIN. Do I need to add a copy or original ITIN letter from IRS with it? Can you point me where to add the ITIN in state form as I am not able to find it. What all documents you added to your state return when you filed in person?

    • You can put the ITIN in the SSN field for your spouse. I don’t think you will need anything else for your state return if you already have the ITIN issued. You don’t need to attach the copy of the ITIN letter from IRS to your state return. What ever forms TurboTax gives out as your state return forms are enough for filing, if filing in person.

  56. Hi Sreenath,

    This is a very helpful post. I am in the same situation. I got married last year and my wife is not currently working. I also travel to other states as I work as a management consultant and have to file non resident state tax returns in 2 other states in addition to Illinois (my resident state). Can you help clarify the below questions –

    1. Can my wife apply for ITIN before I complete filling and printing my federal and state tax returns?
    2. For the non-resident states I need to file return in (travelled there for work) does the ITIN requirement still apply? I guess I would need to attach W-7 to the non-resident state tax returns as well?

    Thanks for your time and help.


  57. Hi Sreenath ,

    Need to ask 1 thing , currently i am in india with my wife , need to file the return for 2016

    When i fill my tax through turbo tax it is showing $1330 federal tax pending on my side , how should i pay that when i filling the tax through mail (because my wife doesn’t have ITIN & filling my tax jointly with her )

    please update on this

    • I sent a personal check to pay the tax I had due last time along with my returns. I believe you should be able to do the same. But I was not applying for an ITIN that time so im not sure if it’s to be addressed differently. TurboTax should give you information on whom to address the check to. Or that info should be available on the IRS website.

  58. Hello Sreenath
    My husband has filed 1040 along with w7 for me and two kids in April 1,2016 at irs office at Columbus, Ohio. We have received the itin for all three two weeks before. In that for my first son since his name is little long, they have put only the first letter for first name. Do I need to check with its office about it or I can just ignore?
    Also I am not able to track the refund status? Please assist.

  59. Hi Sreenath,
    I(H1) am travelling with my wife (H4) on 1st July 16 at Michigan, I have SSN but she does not.. Can you tell me when can I apply for her ITIN ? and I can file return as Married – jointly ?

  60. Sreenath,
    Thank you for putting down such a helpful material on this topic. I read a reply of yours for a question in above comments about when to apply for ITIN and your answer that with tax returns.

    But my question is kinda same with different applying options and using your option 1 (Local IRS office). Can I still apply for ITIN for my spouse (h4 dependent) at a local IRS office now (June) without any tax returns, as it’s not the tax filling season? So I can have ITIN for my spouse when filling my tax returns next (2016) year.


  61. Hi Sreenath,
    Thank you so much this wonderful article. I am having two questions on W4 & W7. Can you please help?

    In W4:
    I got married last year(2016) and my wife arrived USA in May 2016, but my taxable marital status is still SINGLE in my recent W2. When I contacted my employer, they asked me to submit a W4 form.
    > Apart from choosing the checkbox of ‘Married’, is there anything should I fill in W4 ?

    I did use IRS calculator and it recommends to put number of allowances as 16, but as per W4 form instructions the #(section 5) is 3. I am confused in filling the W4. Please assist.

    In W7:
    From all of the comments in your article, I understood that the ‘Reason for applying ITIN’ should be option ‘e’ (Spouse of US….) for H4 dependent(I am on H1B). Please correct me.

  62. Hi Sreenath,
    Thank you so much this wonderful article. I am having one questions regarding Form 1040. Is it mandatory to have Form 1040 Final copy while applying my Spouse & kids ITIN? Can we take only Form 1040 Draft copy which I received from one of the agent.

  63. Hi Sreenath,

    Thanks for the lively blog on the US Taxation.

    I have a question for you. I was in US for the year 2016 and my wife & children never ever visited US (no VISA of any kind on their name). But I have expense back home for their expenses and education.
    1. What should be my filing status for taxation?
    2. Can i apply for ITIN for my spouse & kids?

    Looking forward to hear from you.


    • You tax filing status should be Single as your wife and children are not physically present in the USA. For applying ITIN you need to have valid VISA and physically present to sign the W4 papers (in case of Major & visual validation in case of minor).

      Hope this helps…

  64. Hi Sreenath,

    I made online appointment for ITIN number and submit my tax return.I went local IRS office in person with my wife and daughter for ITIN number with my last years 2016 tax return. IRS officer validated my wife and daughter passport at the same time and return back to us. gave me one photocopy with IRS stamped which say you tax received date 03/21/2017. After 6 weeks i got CP566 Notice you need to send original passport to IRS AUSTIN office for process your W7. Please advice what i need to do . At this point i need to send them my wife and daughter original passport or i need to make again IRS office appointment to get passport validation. Please advice me.

    • Hi Sam

      I am not sure about your situation – I would suggest you follow the instructions as per the notice you have received from the IRS. Please do make sure that it is a genuine notice and that the address you are sending the passport to is a genuine IRS address and not a spammy PO Box. I doubt if they will entertain you at the local IRS office anymore given that you have a notice to do something from the IRS AUSTIN office.

      Hope this helps.

  65. Hi Sreenath,

    I left USA for good in Jan 2016 and then got married in May 2016 in India. Turbotax would not let me efile. What can I do?

  66. Hi,

    I became a resident alien this year and am going to apply for an ITIN for my spouse next wee (March 8th, 2017). We are filling out 1040EZ (married jointly) form for our federal tax. I have been told that I should wait for the ITIN so I can fill out the state tax (been part residents for Arkansas and Wisconsin) the same way.

    I also have been told that I can fill out states taxes as single (since my spouse was unemployed with an F2 visa and didn’t have any income and doesn’t need to fill out Arkansas tax, not sure about Wisconsin).


    Should I:

    1- wait for the ITIN application to be proceeded and fill out state taxes in April so maybe ITIN is ready,
    2- go through the tax extension form so I can buy us 6 months for the states’ tax
    3- I just fill out federal tax as married filing jointly and single for both states? Note that I have been told that I need to add a copy of my fed tax to Arkansas state tax. So is it going to be a problem that I filled out the federal as married filing jointly but the state single? Would it be even better to fill them out as single given higher rates and everything?

    Also, is 1040EZ a right form for the federal tax?

    • Sorry, any info I provide now may be outdated as I went through this process a few years ago and the requirements may have changed over time.

      I wouldn’t know about Arkansas and Wisconsin state requirements specifically but with Virginia I filed my returns jointly and in place of wife’s SSN, I wrote SSN APPLIED. Since I was not e-filing and filing on paper that year, I could write on it. But later they did send me a notice asking for the ITIN and I had received the ITIN by then so I was able to reply to that notice.

      Check if the states where you are filing allow you to request for an extension of the tax filing deadline so you can file later once the ITIN is received.

      Yes, 1040EZ is the right federal form for married filing jointly but there are exceptions so you should check based on your circumstance. Read more here: https://www.bankrate.com/finance/taxes/picking-proper-1040-tax-return-form.aspx

      Not sure if my reply is too late for your tax filing deadlines.

  67. Hello, Many thanks for this. We love in denver and the nearest Indian embassy is Houston? How can we do the endorsed passport.

    • Sorry, any info I provide now may be outdated as I went through this process a few years ago and the requirements may have changed over time. Based on the knowledge I gathered at that time, we had to either mail the passport to the embassy or take it there physically. The embassies provide very little info upfront and complete info is also not on the websites so we had to do 2 visits, if I remember correctly because we didn’t have something right the first time.

  68. Thank you for the information. Were you able to file jointly with your wife (H4 visa)? The information I got is that because she is a non-resident, filing jointly is impossible. Any thoughts?

Your thoughts please..