Here are some facts pertaining to my situation:

  1. I'm an international student on F-1 visa, and my wife joined me in US on a F-2 visa
  2. I tried to get a ITIN for her before filing my federal tax return this year, but could not due to circumstances not in my control. Since I'm not owing the IRS any taxes (but getting back a lot instead), I know I have 3 years to file my return, and wanted to wait till the ITIN number was issued.
  3. In the meantime, my wife got accepted in a graduate program at US, and she would be starting in Fall '15 - implying that she is now eligible to get her own SSN.

Question: Can I file my 2013 federal return once she gets her SSN, and show her as my dependent for the year 2013 and use her SSN instead of the ITIN number in the space provided ?

Otherwise, I'd have to make an ITIN application really quick before she applies for F-1 visa, and I'm afraid the ITIN application won't be completed before that.

1 Answer 1


First of all, your spouse can never be your dependent. Rather, you can file Married Filing Separately or Married Filing Jointly with your spouse.

You should never miss the deadline to file your taxes, even if you don't owe taxes. If your wife cannot apply for an ITIN along with the filing of taxes, then you must file as Married Filing Separately and amend your return later, once you get an ITIN or SSN.

Yes, if she gets an SSN she can use it on past years' taxes.

  • I didn't miss it - I gave it to a CAA who was supposed to submit it along with his certification of the ITIN application. He later informed me (after asking) that he actually didn't submit it to IRS, and returned them to me after the deadline!
    – TCSGrad
    May 17, 2014 at 21:01
  • Are you sure about your first statement, especially if it holds for international students on F-1 visa? The only visa that the spouses get are F-2 visa, which is only given as a dependent visa
    – TCSGrad
    May 17, 2014 at 21:03
  • @TCSGrad: The word "dependent" means different things in different contexts.
    – user102008
    May 18, 2014 at 5:33

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