Non-Resident Alien

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If you are a foreigner staying in the United States, you need to know what your status is. This will serve as a basis for tax purposes. In the article below, let’s learn about non-resident aliens. 

Who are non-resident aliens? 

A non-resident alien is a term given to any individual who:

Identifying foreign nationals as resident or non-resident aliens is significant because this is needed for tax filing purposes. The primary difference between resident aliens and non-resident aliens is the green card and substantial presence tests. Resident aliens are non-U.S. citizens who have passed either of the tests while non-resident aliens have not. 

Are holders of F-1 and J-1 visas considered non-resident aliens? 

Yes, foreign nationals who are holders of F-1 and J-1 visas are considered non-resident aliens unless they pass the substantial presence test. 

Can non-resident aliens have a U.S. Social Security number? 

Yes, non-resident aliens can apply for a U.S. Social Security number if they want to work in the U.S. There are two ways by which non-resident aliens can apply for an SSN. The first one is by being lawfully present in the U.S, they can apply for their SSN while applying for their work authorization from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Non-resident aliens can submit Form I-765 which is the Application for Employment Authorization. The other way that non-resident aliens can apply for an SSN is if they are lawfully present in the U.S. and their visa status allows them to work, they can go to any social security office to apply in person. 

Is it possible for non-resident aliens to work in the U.S.? 

Yes, non-resident aliens can work in the United States if they have obtained authorization to work. Non-resident aliens also need to complete Form I-9 which is the Employment Eligibility Verification. 

What are the documents required to hire Non-Resident Aliens?

Aside from Form I-9, non-resident aliens are required to submit identification documents such as a Certificate of Naturalization and an unexpired Temporary Resident Card. However, if these are not available, there are other forms of documentation that non-resident aliens can provide in combination. These are: 

For identification, they can provide a driver’s license, a federal or state-issued ID card, or a school ID card. 

For employment eligibility, they can provide a U.S. Social Security card or a Certification of Birth Abroad issued by the Department of State. 

Do non-resident aliens have tax responsibilities? 

Yes, non-resident aliens have tax responsibilities and must file a return if they are engaged in a trade or business in the U.S. during any time of the year. They must pay taxes on the amount earned after applicable deductions at the same rate as U.S. citizens.

Similarly, even if the non-resident alien is not engaged in a U.S. trade or business, they must file a return if they have a U.S. source of income. Taxes will apply on payment earned that is fixed, determinable, annual, or periodical. No deductions are made on the income and it is taxed at a flat rate of 30% or a lower treaty rate. 

If you need more information on taxation for non-resident aliens, it is best to visit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website. 

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