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News & Tips from an ITIN Acceptance Agent

Certified Acceptance Agent Certification Process


A Certified Acceptance Agent (CAA) can certify identity documents for primary and secondary applicants (and recently also for dependents). The Certified Acceptance Agent Certification Process comprises of various elements that must be followed before an application can be submitted.

As part of the Certified Acceptance Agent Certification Process the following steps are performed:

  1. The CAA conducts a face to face meeting or a video conferencing meeting (e.g Skype, Google Hangouts or Facetime).

  2. For BOTH types of meetings the CAA needs to have sight of the original or certified identity documents being verified (i.e. in their possession during the interview process). This allows the CAA to verify the security features and authenticate the documents as legitimate.

  3. Once the verification is complete the CAA completes a Form W-7 (COA) Certificate of Accuracy for IRS Individual Identification Taxpayer Number. This must be attached to each application submitted to verify that the CAA reviewed the original documentation or a certified copy from the issuing agency of those documents.

  4. The Form W-7 (COA) along with the W-7 application, the copies of all documentation reviewed at the meeting and as applicable, supporting documentation is also sent with the application to the ITIN Office.

Why does the CAA need to see my original or certified identity documents?

The CAA facilitates the ITIN application process by reviewing the necessary documents to ensure they are legitimate. The IRS placed a higher scrutiny on the verification process due to a high level of fraudulent documents being used to apply for ITINs.

I have a notarised copy of my passport – can I use this?

No you will need to provide either a certified document or the original copy. A certified copy is one that the original issuing agency provides and certifies as an exact copy of the original document and contains an official stamped seal from the Agency.

A notarised copy is one that a public notary bears witness to sighting and then provides an official seal to confirm it as legitimate. These types of documents are no longer accepted for ITIN documents (certain exceptions apply please see the IRS website).

The CAA keeps asking me questions relating to time spent in the US and whether I’ve ever been a U.S. person – why?

As part of the ITIN process the CAA must determine whether you are in anyway eligible for a Social Security Number (SSN). If you are, then you cannot apply for an ITIN. The CAAs job is to ensure that the correct application is made and that if an ITIN application is completed, that there is no reason for it to be rejected on the basis that you may in fact require an SSN.

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