As a holder of an F-1 visa who has stayed in the United States since 2011, am I considered a resident or nonresident alien for the 2018 tax year?

by Daria D. Palaschak, CPA | Jun 25, 2018

I initially arrived in the United States on Aug. 26, 2010, holding an F-1 visa (international student studying in the U.S.). I went back to my home country for a short vacation break in 2011, and came back to the United States on July 1 of that year. Since then, I have been in the U.S. all the time, during which period I have continuously held an F-1 visa (I haven't changed to any other types of visa). For 2018, am I considered a nonresident alien or resident alien for tax purposes?

Residency is determined by meeting one of two tests: the green card test and the substantial presence test. The facts listed in the question do not mention that you hold a green card; therefore, the first test is not met. The second test, the substantial presence test, would need to be applied. To meet this test, you must be physically present in the United States on at least:

  1. 31 days during the current year, and
  2. 183 days during the three-year period that includes the current year and the two years immediately before that, counting:
    • All the days you were present in the current year, and
    • 1/3 of the days you were present in the first year before the current year, and
    • 1/6 of the days you were present in the second year before the current year.

Based on the facts listed in the question, this test would be satisfied. That means you would be considered a resident alien for 2018.  

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Answered by: Daria D. Palaschak, CPA, is a tax partner with Sisterson & Co. LLP in Pittsburgh, Pa.

The responses are based on the limited information provided by the questioner and apply the laws and regulations at the time of posting. Other options could arise as rules and regulations may change over time, including but not limited to the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. They are intended to provide general information, not specific accounting or tax advice; they are not intended or written to be used and cannot be used for the purpose of avoiding or evading taxes or penalties under the IRS code or regulations. Views expressed do not imply an opinion of the PICPA, its officers, directors, employees, or members.
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