Screening Applicants Without a Social Security Number

Posted By: Chartrice Young (deleted) Screening, Tenant Screening,

It is easier for RHAWA screen applicants who have a Social Security Number (SSN) or Social Insurance Number issued from British Columbia. RHAWA can provide credit, criminal and eviction searches on any applicant over the age of 18 with a US issued SSN. If you have an applicant who has lived in the US for a period of time, but still has not received a SSN from the Social Security Administration you can still run a criminal and eviction report as these records are searched using name and date of birth not SSN. You can also request landlord and employment verifications checking to see what kind of tenant they have been in the past and verifying that they bring in sufficient income. In a circumstance such as this, you may request that they provide a co-signer who has a SSN and will be able to return a good credit report.

Did you know you can also access some credit information if your applicant has a Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN)? Leslea Bowling, Code Compliance Analyst with Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections, shared vital information about the use of ITIN numbers. An ITIN number is a number issued by the IRS. The number is given to those who do not have a SSN or do not have legal status. There are time where these numbers are issued to individuals where their legal status requires both a SSN and a ITIN. One thing to keep in mind when using ITIN numbers, if an applicant does not have a legal status they may not have been able to establish credit history. You may want to consider other methods of verification for them to meet your credit requirement. Having them provide direct payment history from companies where they currently have good standing credit. They can provide payment history for a cell phone, cable, internet, car, previous rent or utilities.

If you have an applicant who is coming from out of the country running a criminal and eviction search may be useful. When you have out of country applicants, there are other ways to try and verify identity, credit and rental history. When verifying identification, you can ask to see a copy of their passport or if they are a student, ask for their student ID card. To verify rental history ask if they have any references from previous landlords. If the applicant is a student and is not going to be the one responsible for paying the rent, you can require a credit check on the guarantor/co-signer.

Documents That Establish Identity:
Birth Certificate
Citizenship Card / Consulat Cards
INS Form I-864 Sponsorship Verification
Certificate of Natural-ization INS I-550
Voter’s registration card
US Passport
Certificate of US Citizenship (N-550 or N-561)
Unexpired foreign passport, with 1-555 stamp or INS form 1-94 indicating unexpired employment authorization
Alien registration receipt card with photograph (I-151 or I-551)
Unexpired temporary resident card (I-688)
Unexpired employment authorization card (I-688A or I-688B)
Unexpired reentry permit (I-327)
Unexpired refugee travel document (I-571)
Driver’s license or ID card
Military card or draft record or military dependent card
School ID card w/photograph
Hospital records
Daycare or nursery school records

Documents That Establish Past Rental History:
Records from school district to establish stability
Letter from utility company
Letter from former landlord with a phone number
Copy of lease from former residence

Documents That Establish Credit or Ability to Pay Rent:
Letter from employer
Current contracts for major purchases to help identify credit
Bank records
Sponsorship letters
INS Form I-864 Sponsorship Verification
Social Security card
Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
Current pay stubs
Benefit Award Letter (SSA, DSHS, etc.)
Section 8 Voucher
School Payment contracts
Paid off Installment contracts
Paid Utility Bills from previous landlords.

To help verify credit and financial information you can ask for a letter from their employer or copy of their bank records. 

You can visit the IRS website to obtain more information on the use and issuing of ITIN numbers.

For screening questions please contact us at or call (206) 283-0816, option 2.