COVID-19 Stimulus Checks: Immigrant Eligibility

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To provide financial relief during the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress has passed three rounds of stimulus checks for lower-income Americans. With each new round of payments, the eligibility requirements have expanded to include more filers with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) in households with members who have Social Security Numbers (SSNs). File a federal 2020 tax return if anyone in your household has a Social Security number. 

If someone in your household has an SSN, your household may be eligible for a stimulus check and other refunds

You may be eligible for more than one stimulus check. To get the first ($1,200), second ($600), or third ($1,400) stimulus checks, you cannot be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return. You must be within the income limits outlined below:

Income to Receive Full Stimulus Payment (first, second, and third check) First Stimulus Check Maximum Income Limit Second Stimulus Check Maximum Income Limit Third Stimulus Check Maximum Income Limit
Single Filer $0 – $75,000 $99,000 $87,000 $80,000
Married Filing Jointly $0 – $112,500 $198,500 $174,000 $160,000
Head of Household $0 – $150,000 $146,000 $124,000 $120,000

The SSN requirements for the first and second stimulus checks differ from the the third check. See the chart below.

First and Second Stimulus Check Third Stimulus Check
Non-Military Family If one spouse doesn’t have an SSN, the spouse with an SSN and qualifying children with an SSN or ATIN can get the stimulus.

Children (under 17) can only get the stimulus if at least one parent has an SSN.

Any family member or dependent with an SSN or ATIN can get the stimulus. Dependents (any age) with SSNs or ATINs still qualify for the stimulus even if their parents don’t have SSNs.
Military Family If one spouse doesn’t have an SSN, both spouses can receive the stimulus (including the spouse without an SSN). Qualifying children (under 17) with an SSN or ATIN can also get the stimulus. If one spouse doesn’t have an SSN, both spouses can receive the stimulus (including the spouse without an SSN). Dependents (any age) with an SSN or ATIN also qualify for the stimulus.

If you were denied your first stimulus payment because both you and your spouse do not have SSNs, you can claim both the first and second stimulus checks as the Recovery Rebate Tax Credit on your 2020 tax return.

Dependents:

You may be able to claim an additional payment – $500 (first stimulus check), $600 (second stimulus check), or $1,400 (third stimulus check) – for children who have an SSN or Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number (ATIN). A child must be related to you (by blood, marriage, or adoption), under the age of 17, live with you for over half the year, and be claimed as your dependent. Dependents over 17 qualify for the third stimulus payment only.

You can get a stimulus payment for a child born in 2020 as the Recovery Rebate Credit when you file your 2020 tax return. Children born in 2021 can be claimed for a stimulus payment when you file a 2021 tax return in 2022. Filing a 2020 tax return also allows you to get the third stimulus check in 2021, if you qualify.

You must file a federal 2020 tax return to claim a stimulus check for your household

If you’ve never filed taxes before, you will need to get an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issues ITINs to people who are required to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number but who don’t have, and are not eligible for, a Social Security number (SSN).

If you already have an ITIN and it was issued before 2013, you should have already received a notice from IRS to renew it. If you haven’t used your ITIN on a U.S. federal tax return in the last three years (2017-2019) you will need to renew it.​

To apply for or renew an ITIN, you must complete IRS Form W-7, “Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.” You will need to submit the form to the IRS with a completed tax return and documents to verify identity and foreign status. You will need original documents or certified copies from the issuing agencies. A list of the documents that can be used is in the instructions for Form W-7.

To get help applying for an ITIN, you can schedule an appointment at an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center (not all locations offer this service) or with a Certifying Acceptance Agent (CAA). Some CAAs also offer free tax preparation to help you file a tax return. If you go to one of the other locations, you will need to bring your completed tax return so it can be sent with Form W-7.

While you can also submit materials directly to the IRS to apply for an ITIN, there is risk of delay in the IRS returning your documentation, or it being lost. Applying through an IRS TAC or CAA is recommended. ITIN applications can take 9-11 weeks to process or longer if documentation is missing. Learn more about how to apply for an ITIN here.

The IRS does not charge a fee to get or renew an ITIN. Some CAAs may charge for their services to prepare your return and W-7. Ask a CAA about their fees before scheduling an appointment.

It is safe to file a tax return with an ITIN. Filing your taxes will not affect your immigration status. The IRS does not share citizenship information with immigration or any other federal agency. Receiving tax credits does not have negative immigration-related consequences (and is never considered negatively in a public charge assessment rule.)

Free tax assistance is available to help you claim your stimulus check and other refunds

Visit www.getyourrefund.org for virtual tax filing assistance or call 211 to find a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance site near you.


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