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What is a U.S. taxpayer Identification Number?

An individual can have a SSN (Social Security Number) or ITIN (Individual Tax Identification Number). If an individual is eligible for the SSN, the individual should apply for the SSN. Otherwise, they can apply for an ITIN.

Do I apply for a SSN or ITIN?

Generally, any student who receives work authorization or any individual on a J-1 visa status can apply for a SSN (Social Security Number). For further information about how to apply for a SSN, please follow instructions on the Berkeley International Office link below: 

For individuals who are unable to apply for the SSN, they can apply for an ITIN. Please see below for instructions.

How long does it take before I receive my SSN?

It takes approximately 2-4 weeks for the SSA to process and issue an SSN after the SS-5 Application Form is completed. 

How long does it take before I receive an ITIN number from the IRS?

It takes approximately 6 weeks for the IRS to process and issue an ITIN number, which will be sent to you by mail. Any inquiry regarding your application status should be directed to the IRS hotline at 1-800-829-1040.

Additional information about ITINs can be found on the IRS website at www.irs.gov