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I am a student on a F1 Visa in the US and would like to apply for personal student loans from Banks like Chase, Sallie Mae.

Being a non US Citizen and on a student Visa, I am unauthorized to work, and thus obtain a SSN.

These banks want any kind of a Government issued Identification Number from me and after discussions with the bankers, it seems the best way out for me to obtain such would be a Taxpayer Identification Number?

After reading articles available at the IRS site, it seems I should apply for a Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), although I am not very sure about that.

What is holding me back from submitting the relevant from - W-7 - is that it also wants a tax return attached with it.

Since I do not have any sources of income in the US, and I am unauthorized to work, I cannot possibly have a tax return document.

There is one document however - the school issued 1098-T - but it does not seem to figure on the list of tax return documents that need to be attached with the W-7.

Given my scenario - how do I go about applying for a ITIN so that I can start applying for a student loan?

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I was in the same position recently. The easiest way is probably for you to get a job on-campus or an "optional practical training" (OPT) job, which F-1 students are allowed to have. This will get you an ITIN immediately.

If you have investments or anything in the US you will have to pay tax on interest and all that, so you could file a tax return next year, but that's probably too long for you.

The best way to get a loan is from your home country, however.

  • This is a good suggestion - however, since it has not yet been 9 months that I have been a student, I am ineligible for CPT or OPT. The interest rates in my home country on student loans are at 10% at the best and usually hover around 12% and I would need to pay exchange fees, so it seems to me - it's better to get loans from a U.S. Bank. I have co-signors available, but right now I am stuck at getting a ITIN. – f1StudentInUS Jan 5 '11 at 20:36
  • Wow, those rates are very high. I guess you'd have to try on-campus employment then. – Matthew Read Jan 5 '11 at 20:42

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