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I am an Indian citizen, living in India. I have some contest winnings from the U.S., and as a result, I have to file a U.S. tax return. For this, I have to get an ITIN.

Getting a 'True Copy'/'Certified copy' of passport here takes lot of days in India. One of my friends is visiting the U.S. Can I send my passport with my friend and get a True Copy from IRS office in the U.S.?

Is it mandatory for me to be there for getting True Copy?

I will send the 'True Copy'/'Certified copy' and other details through rest of the process for obtaining ITIN.

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    Please walk us through the goal of this process. You are where? you have what citizenship? why do you want a ITIN? Will you eve be in the United states? How does your friend flying to the US with your passport solve your problem? – mhoran_psprep Jan 20 '16 at 11:19
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    I am in India, Indian. I have to file Tax in US for some contest winning, for this I need ITIN. I will not be in US in near future. I have to get True Copy/Certified copy of passport. – Pooran Jan 20 '16 at 11:21
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    @ChrisInEdmonton It might look that way at first, but the OP is actually trying to figure out how to file a U.S. tax return correctly. I think it should stay open. – Ben Miller - Reinstate Monica Jan 20 '16 at 12:42
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    Where did you see the phrase "True Copy"? I've looked at the IRS instructions and seen "certified copy," but not "True Copy." – Ben Miller - Reinstate Monica Jan 20 '16 at 13:03
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    Note that "contest winnigs" is a huge red flag for possible scam. If you proceed, do so extremely cautiosly and consider hiring expert advice rather than relying on the Internet. – keshlam Jan 20 '16 at 13:10
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In order to obtain an ITIN, you need to provide proof of identity. If you need to do this while you are outside of the U.S., this can be done in one of two ways:

  • Sending either the original ID or a certified copy of your ID along with your application to the IRS ITIN office in Austin, Texas. I would not recommend sending your original passport in the mail to the U.S. A certified copy is a copy that you obtain from the passport office in India. In addition, it appears (from the bottom of this page) that a U.S. embassy or consulate can also make a certified copy for you. If you can get one of these, that is your best bet.

  • Alternatively, you can present your ID in person to an authorized Acceptance Agent. These are agencies that are authorized by the IRS to look at your ID and validate it for the IRS. They will make a copy and send it in to the IRS for you, returning your original ID right away. There are a bunch of these offices in the U.S., but there are also Acceptance Agents internationally. This page lists five international accounting firms, some of which might have an office in your city. It also lists two individuals located in India that you might be able to visit and have them accept your identification on behalf of the IRS.

As to your question, I don't know if someone else can visit an IRS office in America with your passport and submit it for you. But I think I would recommend one of the two options above in India instead.

  • Thanks for the links to the Acceptance Agents link. I will follow up with them. – Pooran Jan 20 '16 at 16:10
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As others have mentioned, before you send anyone but a government agency personal information (such as your passport) you should be careful to avoid scams. If you did not enter this contest before winning it, or are being asked by someone you did not previously know to provide personal information as part of claiming the prize, then this is almost certainly a scam. If you are thinking of sending an important document of yours with someone, make sure they are really someone you can trust. Do not make the decision to trust a person based on how much you have been told you have won.


According to the instructions for the W-7 form,

If you submit an original valid passport (or a certified copy from the issuing agency), you do not need to submit any other documents to prove your “foreign status” or “identity.”

If you want a certified copy of your passport for this purpose, you need to get that from the agency that issued your passport. You were issued your passport from an agency in India, where you reside. You should ask that agency if they will certify a copy for you, instead of sending your passport to the US.

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    Thanks for the reply. I have already got the money. It was an hackathon. I had asked them to deduct the tax and send rest. But they transferred whole amount and I have to pay tax on that. I checked with Passport agency here. They only attest, which is not accepted by IRS for getting ITIN. irs.gov/uac/2012-ITIN-Review-Frequently-Asked-Questions-1 – Pooran Jan 20 '16 at 16:04

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