If you were a nonresident alien student, teacher, or trainee who was temporarily present in the United States on an “F,””J,””M,” or “Q” visa, you are considered engaged in a trade or business in the United States. You must file Form 1040NR, U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return (or Form 1040NR-EZ, U.S. Income Tax Return for Certain Nonresident Aliens With No Dependents) only if you have income that is subject to tax, such as wages, tips, scholarship and fellowship grants, dividends etc.
If you are on H1 or L1 visa, you will be considered as Non-resident if you do not meet substantial presence test.
To meet this test, you must be physically present in the United States (U.S.) on at least:
- 31 days during the current year, and
- 183 days during the 3-year period that includes the current year and the 2 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.
Form 1040NR must be filed by nonresident aliens for which any of the following apply:
- The taxpayer is claiming dependents*
- The taxpayer received dividends or capital gains from U.S. stocks
- The taxpayer received income on Form 1099 as an independent contractor
- The taxpayer is claiming itemized deductions such as donations to U.S. charities, professional tax preparation fees
- The taxpayer is claiming unreimbursed employee expenses for moving, travel, continuing education, etc.
- The taxpayer has additional adjustments to income
*(Residents of Canada, Mexico, Japan, Korea and students from India are the only nonresident aliens eligible to claim dependents).