International Admissions and ServicesInternational Admissions and Services assists international students and scholars in their academic, research, cultural, and recreational experiences while working and living within the campus community and the Southwest Michigan community-at-large.
International Top Story
Urgent message for WMU international students
Public Engagement Division of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
In recent weeks, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) learned of a new telephone scam targeting USCIS applicants and petitioners.
Scammers are using a technique called “Caller ID spoofing” to display a misleading or inaccurate phone number in a recipient’s Caller ID. The scammer poses as a USCIS official and requests personal information (such as Social Security number, passport number, or A-number), identifies supposed issues in the recipient’s immigration records, and asks for payment to correct these records.
If you receive a call like that, USCIS urges you to say “No, thank you” and hang up immediately. USCIS never asks for any form of payment or personal information over the phone. Do not give payment or personal information over the phone to anyone who claims to be a USCIS official. In general, we encourage you to protect your personal information and not to provide details about your immigration application in any public area.
If you have been a victim of this telephone scam, please report it to the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/, or report it to an appropriate state authority. (Visit www.uscis.gov/avoidscams for information on where to report scams in your state.)
If you have a question about your immigration record, please call the National Customer Service Center at 1 (800) 375-5283, or make an InfoPass appointment by visiting our website at http://infopass.uscis.gov/.
New IRS guidelines for international students and scholars
Important U.S. tax filing information New IRS guidelines require original documentation for W-7 form
for international students and scholars
With very few exceptions, all individuals who receive income from U.S. sources are required to file a U.S. tax return. To file a U.S. tax return (Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ), an individual must possess either a Social Security Number (SSN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). In June 2012, the IRS implemented significant changes in its procedures for issuing new ITINs.
- Individuals receiving income from U.S. sources are required to file a U.S.Tax Return
- A Social Security Number (SSN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) will be required to file the tax return.
- Form W-7 needs to be completed to obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.
- Original documentation, such as passports and birth certificates, or certified copies will be required with the filing of the W-7 form.
- The process will take some time so it is key to act immediately to meet April 15, 2013 deadlines for filing the U.S. Tax Return.
Under its new guidelines, the IRS will only issue ITINs when the Form W-7 application includes original documentation, such as passports and birth certificates, or certified copies of these documents from the issuing agency. ITINs will not be issued based on applications (I) supported by notarized copies of documents, or (2) submitted through certified acceptance agents unless the agent attaches original documentation or copies of original documents certified by the issuing agency. We do not recommend that original passports or birth certificates be sent into the Internal Revenue Service.
Due to the amount of time necessary to obtain a certified copy of your passport or birth certificate and an ITIN number, we recommend you start the process immediately so that you will have an ITIN number in time to file your U.S. tax return for 2012, if required, by April 15, 2013.
An international student who works as an employee in the U.S. must obtain a Social Security Number. International persons who have U.S. sources of income other than wages need to apply for an ITIN if a U.S. income tax return will be filed. Examples of other sources of U.S. income include scholarships and fellowships. A U.S. tax return is required even if the income is nontaxable in the U.S. as the filing is required to claim an exemption.
Application for an ITIN is made by filing Form W-7 with the Internal Revenue Service. These new procedures will apply through December 31, 2012. The IRS said that it expects to issue new procedures later in the year which will be effective for 2013.
Form W-7 and instructions can be downloaded from the IRS website at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw7.pdf.
Please note the following issues that may be applicable to your situation:
Nonresident alien individuals in the U.S. under an F, J, M or Q immigration status who receive no income from U.S. sources are not required to file a U.S. income tax return. However, such individuals are required to file Form 8843, which does not require an SSN or ITIN.
Individuals from Canada, Mexico, American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, Korea and students from India who are eligible to claim a spouse/dependent exemption on their U.S. tax return can only do so IF the spouse/dependent has an SSN or ITIN or the spouse/dependent applies for an ITIN in connection with the filing of the tax return. In such case, the spouse/dependent must have a certified copy of the passport (or must send the original passport with the tax return, which isn’t recommended) in order to file the tax return.
For more information on U.S. taxation of aliens, please see IRS Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p519.pdf.