Since resident and nonresident aliens are taxed differently, it is important for you to determine your status. You are considered a nonresident alien for any period that you are neither a United States citizen nor a United States resident alien.
You are considered a resident alien if you met one of two tests for the calendar year:
An "exempt individual" may be anyone in the following categories:
Do not count any days you intended to leave but could not leave the United States because of a medical condition that developed while you were in the United States. Even if you meet the substantial presence test, you can be treated as a nonresident alien if you are present in the United States for fewer than 183 days during the current calendar year, you maintain a tax home in a foreign country during the year and you have a closer connection to that country than to the United States. This does not apply if you have applied for status as a lawful permanent resident of the United States or you have an application pending for adjustment of status.
An A-2 visa holder may need to file Form 1040-NR U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return, as outlined in Memorandum Number AM2011-001, issued by the IRS Office of Chief Counsel as their days of physical presence in the United States are excluded for purposes of the substantial presence test.
Sometimes, a tax treaty between the United States and another country will provide special rules for determining residency for purposes of the treaty. An alien whose status changes during the year from resident to nonresident, or vice-versa, generally has a dual-status for that year and is taxed on the income for the two periods under the provisions of the law that apply to each period. Topic No. 851 Resident and Nonresident Aliens provides more information on the dual-status tax year. Chapter 6 of IRS Publication 519 U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens also contains detailed information on filing in a dual-status tax year.
For more information, please refer to Publication 519. If the tax information you need relating to this topic is not addressed within Publication 519, you may call the IRS International Tax Law hotline at (215) 516–2000. This is not a toll–free number.
Note that any link in the information above is updated each year automatically and will take you to the most recent version of the document at the time it is accessed.