While professional development and career growth may seem difficult for many undocumented individuals, there are working opportunities for the undocumented community that do not require a work authorization or social security number (SSN). Notably, undocumented individuals may receive an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), which allows them to pursue independent contracting positions, freelance work, and entrepreneurship opportunities. Please read below for more information.
Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN)
An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a form of tax identification issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Moreover, an individual is eligible to receive an ITIN, regardless of their immigration status. An ITIN allows people to work as independent contractors or a freelancer. Contrary to popular belief, it is safe to apply for an ITIN due to privacy laws. However, it is important to note that an ITIN DOES NOT authorize a person to work in the United States or provide eligibility for social security benefits. It also DOES NOT grant a person with lawful immigration status.
Some of the benefits of having an ITIN include being able to:
- Pursue independent contracting and freelance working opportunities,
- Start and operate a business,
- Participate in internship/fellowship programs open to ITIN holders,
- Open a bank account with some financial institutions,
- Obtain a home mortgage with some financial institutions, and
- Secure a driver’s license in some states.
We recommend that individuals review the information below to learn more about the benefits of having an ITIN and how to receive an ITIN.
Apply for an ITIN with Urban Upbound
The Queens-based non-profit Urban Upbound provides year-round free tax preparation and assistance to low-income individuals, people with disabilities, and taxpayers with limited English proficiency. One of Urban Upbound’s available services includes ITIN applications, as they are an Internal Revenue Service (IRS)-authorized Certifying Acceptance Agent (CAA). Notably, Certifying Acceptance Agents enables individuals to apply for ITIN without mailing their identification documents to the IRS.
The services provided by Urban Upbound are free of cost for low-income individuals. If students are interested in applying for an ITIN with Urban Upbound, they can schedule an appointment by emailing them at email@example.com or calling 718-784-0877 (EXT. 9670 or 9668).
Independent Contracting & Freelancing
Undocumented students and individuals can pursue self-employment (independent contracting and freelancing) opportunities with an ITIN. With self-employment opportunities, an individual’s income typically varies, and access to benefits is limited. A way to distinguish between self-employment opportunities and regular employment is the required onboarding paperwork. For instance, a self-employed individual would typically fill out a W-9 Form. Meanwhile, a regular employee would likely fill out the I-9 or Employment Eligibility Verification Form. For more information on self-employment opportunities, please review the video below from the New York State Youth Leadership Council.
In addition to working as independent contractors or freelancers, undocumented individuals may create a business, such as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) with an ITIN. Pursuing entrepreneurship may provide a more reliable working situation than self-employment. Forming a business structure or an LLC as an undocumented person may be challenging. Therefore, we recommend individuals review the resources below by clicking the buttons and watching the videos below and to the bottom right to learn more about entrepreneurship.
We recommend Queens College students visit the Queens College Center for Career Engagement & Internships’ website for more information and guidance on professional development. Students may schedule career advising appointments with the Center for Career Engagement & Internships by logging into Navigate.
Additionally, the Center for Career Engagement & Internships maintains the HireQC portal. HireQC is a job posting site uniquely available to Queens College students. The available opportunities include part-time jobs, internships, and full-time opportunities. Students may learn more and log in to HireQC by clicking the button below.
Furthermore, the Center for Career Engagement & Internships has an Internship Stipend Fund. The Internship Stipend Fund provides financial assistance to Queens College students who are participating in unpaid internships in the arts, education, public service, non-profit agencies, and other industries that do not traditionally pay their interns. Notably, undocumented students with ITINs may apply for these funds if they are participating in an unpaid internship. For more information on the Internship Stipend Funds, please click the button below.
Have Questions? Need Help? Contact Us!
After reviewing this website, if students have questions about professional development, we invite them to connect with our office. Queens College students can make an appointment with the Immigrant Student Support Initiative by clicking the button below and logging into Navigate. After logging into Navigate, students must select Student Affairs as the care unit. Then, students must select the service Immigrant Support: Professional Development & Work Authorization.
If students are unavailable during the provided times, they may contact us and arrange a different meeting time. Lastly, if individuals have any questions or concerns about financial aid, they may also contact our office at 718-997-3990 and ImmigrantSupport@qc.cuny.edu.
65-30 Kissena Boulevard
Flushing, New York 11367
Office: King Hall, Room 213
Monday: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Wednesday: 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Friday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Jennifer L. Jarvis
Student Affairs & Enrollment Management
Jan Heli Bautista
Stay in Touch
Schedule an Appointment
Join Our Email List!
If students are interested in receiving up-to-date information on services, resources, scholarships, and support available to the immigrant community, please click here and join the Queens College Immigrant Student Support Initiative email list. Joining the Queens College Immigrant Student Support Initiative email list ensures that students quickly receive information that will enhance their academic journey at Queens College!
Schedule an Appointment!
Current Queens College students may schedule in-person or virtual appointments with the Immigrant Student Support Initiative by logging into Navigate. The Navigate login page is available here. After logging into Navigate, students must select “Student Affairs” as the care unit. The tag “Immigrant Support” is on our available services. Prospective Queens College students may schedule in-person or virtual appointments via Calendly by clicking here. If students are unavailable during the provided times, they may contact us and arrange a different meeting time.
Professional Development Resources
- New York City ITIN Page
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS) ITIN Page
- TheDream.US ITIN Website
- TheDream.US ITIN FAQ
- TheDream.US Determining ITIN Guide
- TheDream.US ITIN Application Guide
- TheDream.US ITIN Video Series
- Immigrants Rising ITIN Guide
- Qualitas ITIN Graphic
- ITIN Application (W-7 Form)
- ITIN Application Instructions
- Urban Upbound Website
Independent Contracting & Freelancing
- Immigrants Rising’s Self-Employment Guide
- NYSYLC’s Self-Employment Guide
- Immigrants Rising Getting Started Guide
- Napkin Finance Independent Contractor Page
- The W-9 Form
- Nerdwallet’s What is a W-9 Form
- Nerdwallet’s What is a 1099 Form
- NYSYLC’s Guide to Entrepreneurship
- Documented’s How to Start a Business Guide
- Immigrants Rising’s Entrepreneurship Course
- Center for Career Engagement Website
- Internship Stipend Fund Information
- Internship Stipend Fund Application
- Resume Tips
- TheDream.US UndocuCareer Options Video
- TheDream.US Your Employment Rights
- Immigrant Rising’s Life After College Guide
- UndocuProfessionals Opportunity Listings