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I just arrived to the US(from May 31) and I want to get an ITIN. I have a F-2 visa which depends on my wife's F-1 student visa. I want to know if can I apply for an ITIN just by filling out and sending the form W7 to the IRS, or if I must fill out other forms like a 1040? This is the first time I am in the US and I don't have any income history in the US.

I read the W7 form and among the options it provides, I think I must choose option "g" that says: "Dependent/spouse of a nonresident alien holding a U.S. visa". But it also says: "Caution: If you check box b, c, d, e, f, or g, you must file a U.S. federal tax return with Form W-7 unless you meet one of the exceptions".

Also a friend told me that I must wait until Jan 2022. Then I can fill form 1040 and attach it to form W7. I could apply for an ITIN at that time but I can not do that before Jan 2020. Is what he told me true? If so, is there no faster way I can get an ITIN?

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  • Has your wife been here long enough to be a resident alien for tax purposes? When did she come on F1? Did she previously come in F or J status?
    – user102008
    Jun 15 at 1:58
  • Why do you need an ITIN?
    – user102008
    Jun 15 at 1:58
  • @user102008: I want to get a credit card and build credit history/score. Jun 15 at 2:04
  • @user102008: My wife is a nonresident alien as she started her studies just now, but as she is a fully funded PhD student, she can get SSN and credit card, Jun 15 at 2:06
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According to W-7 instructions, option "g" ("Dependent/spouse of a nonresident alien holding a U.S. visa") is only for dependents of nonresident aliens, or spouses of nonresident aliens before 2018. In most cases, nonresident aliens cannot claim dependents, so this option is rarely used. If you were to apply for an ITIN, it would have to be on the basis that you yourself are filing a nonresident alien tax return (1040-NR), so on your W-7, you would select option "b" ("Nonresident alien filing a U.S. federal tax return"). However, the instructions say that option "b" is for cases where you have either income to report, or a refund to claim. If you will not have any US income in 2021, I doubt that you can get an ITIN even in early 2022.

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  • My wife started her Phd from spring 2021 in the US and we are in the US from May 31. As she is a fully funded Phd student she can get her SSN, but me as her F-2 visa holder and her dependent want to get an ITIN to can get a credit card and have credit history/score in the US. Jun 15 at 2:10
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    If you have a US tax obligation, i.e. have to file a US income tax return, then you can obtain an ITIN. Otherwise...you can't get one. Jun 15 at 3:23
  • @DavidSupportsMonica: If today I go and buy $100 of Apple stock, then tomorrow I could sell it $110, can I apply for ITIN immediately because of this $10 income or I must wait until the next year to report this income and request for ITIN? Jun 15 at 21:14
  • The Form W-7 Instructions state that the W-7 form can only be filed along with the income tax return Form 1040. Thus, you have to wait until your income tax return can be filed. Jun 15 at 21:18

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