Getting ITIN for Foreign Spouse to File Tax Return


New Member
Hi, I'm a US permanent resident since last year (DV 2020 winner) and for 2021 I need to file my tax return. Just before coming to USA, I've got married and after few months, I have applied the immigrant visa for my spouse as well (I-130). Since it's still in progress and my wife is not in the USA yet I have few clarifications on my tax filing.

1. Since I'm married and my wife is not in the USA yet, what is the correct filing option for my tax return? (Many people say I should file single, but I have found few resources saying the other way)

2. If I need to file jointly, I need to get an ITIN for my foreign spouse (W-7). What is the correct process for that? I have read the IRS website and many other resources but still I'm confused. Those explain clearly getting ITIN for a person who is in the USA but I'm not sure about the foreign spouse.

3. What are the possible rejection scenarios in this case when sending W-7 to IRS?

I highly appreciate your support here :)


Well-Known Member
1. Since you were married as of December 31, 2021, you absolutely cannot file as Single filing status for 2021. That would be fraud. You can choose to file as either Married Filing Jointly or Married Filing Separately filing status. (And if you immigrated in 2020 and were married as of December 31, 2020, the same would be true for 2020 tax filing.) If you want to do Married Filing Jointly, you guys would have to use the "Nonresident Spouse Treated as Resident" option, since your wife was a nonresident alien for the year as she has never been to the US. This requires you to attach a statement to your tax return (see Publication 519 for all the details).
2. She can try an accepting agent outside the US.
3. If she selects the correct option on the W-7 (since she is using "Nonresident Spouse Treated as Resident", she should select "e. Spouse of U.S. citizen/resident alien"), and fills out the form correctly and has her passport certified, I think it shouldn't be rejected.