Individual Tax Payer Identification Number

What is an ITIN?

An Individual Tax Payer Identification Number (ITIN) is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Designed specifically for tax-administration purposes, ITINs are only issued to people who are not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN). ITINs are for federal tax reporting only, and do not authorize work in the U.S.

Who needs to apply for an ITIN?

Those who are not eligible for a SSN (who have not secured employment and do not plan to do so at this time) and will need to file a U.S. tax return.

Who may apply for an ITIN via OISS?

F-1 and J-1 students/scholars sponsored by Rice who are receiving a taxable scholarship, fellowship or grant may have OISS certify and submit their application to the IRS rather than sending their original passport to the IRS.

Those who do not meet the criteria for applying for the ITIN via OISS must follow the standard IRS procedures found here:

Who is exempt from applying for the ITIN?

  • Individuals who already have a SSN
  • Individuals who already have a valid ITIN (valid 5 years from date of issuance)
  • Individuals not receiving funding who only need to file IRS Form 8843

How to apply - Rice F-1 and J-1 ITIN SEVP Application Procedures for Scholarship, Fellowship, and Grant Recipients:

Step 1: Determine if you are eligible for a tax treaty

  1. Visit
  2. Click on Table 2
  3. If your country is on this list with a purpose that says “Scholarship or fellowship grant” continue on to Step 2; if your country is NOT on this list with that option, skip to Step 3.

Step 2: Prepare Form W8BEN (if eligible for a tax treaty exemption)

  1. Visit to obtain and complete Form W8BEN
  2. The Permanent Residence Address should be the OISS office address
    6100 Main St, MS 365
    Houston, TX 77005
  3. The Mailing address should be the student’s US address
  4. Indicate Not Available “N/A” in Part I – sections 5, 6, and 7.
  5. In Part II: Section 9 – List your country; Section 10 – list the “Treaty Article Citation” number found in the Tax Treaty Table (

**If you are uncertain whether or not you have a tax treaty exemption, you may contact Payroll for assistance. They will use the information in your FNIS account to help you determine which tax treaty (if applicable) you may be eligible for.

Step 3: Prepare IRS Form W-7 Application

  1. Visit to obtain the W-7 Form and complete the form before visiting OISS.
  2. Tick boxes f and h in the first section as your reason for applying for an ITIN.
  3. For those that are tax treaty eligible → In Box "h" write in "exception 2(b): scholarship, fellowship or grant exempt from tax by tax treaty” Enter treaty country and Treaty Article Citation number (from Table
  4. For non-tax treaty eligible → In Box "h" write in “exception 2(c): scholarship, fellowship or grant NOT exempt from tax by tax treaty”
  5. If you are a Canadian citizen, please note your visa status in 6c (F-1/J-1) and add "Canadian—no visa"
  6. Applicant’s Mailing Address should be the OISS office address
    6100 Main St, MS 365
    Houston, TX 77005

Step 4: Gather the following documents and schedule an appointment with an OISS advisor

  1. Completed IRS Form W-7 Application
  2. Completed Form W8BEN (if applicable)
  3. Original passport, visa, and I-94 card/printout
  4. Original I-20 or DS-2019 form (most recently issued)
  5. Scholarship, fellowship, or grant award letter

Gather all the above documents and make an in-person or Zoom appointment to present your original documents. Please schedule a meeting with Cynthia Evans using the link: After your appointment, OISS will prepare the additional letters of support needed for the application, make copies of your existing documents, and mail the completed ITIN application packet to the IRS per IRS procedures.

Step 5: OISS will receive a letter from IRS assigning your tax identification number, typically between 2-3 months

Once received at OISS, our office will contact you via email to pick up your ITIN letter that will indicate your assigned ITIN to be used on all your tax filing forms due April 15.

Please note:

  • OISS must prepare and certify the photocopies of your original documents to be submitted with your ITIN application, so please bring your original documents to OISS for photocopying.
  • There are inconsistent results with filing the W-7 application under this special provision and some applicants have experienced difficulties. If OISS receives a request for additional information from the IRS, we will contact you to guide you on next steps.
  • Since the OISS is in no way affiliated with the IRS, nor do we have any involvement in the processing of ITIN numbers, we are unable to confirm the accuracy of your ITIN application.
  • It is your responsibility as the applicant to submit a complete application.