This page provides general information about nonresident alien taxation. For specific information, please refer to the pages for nonresidents, University departments, or off-campus employers.

Nonresident Alien (NRA) Taxation

Many international students and researchers at the University of Missouri are nonresident aliens for tax purposes. Nonresident aliens are generally taxed at higher rates on all U.S. source income than are resident aliens and U.S. citizens, and have different tax filing obligations than U.S. tax residents. Therefore, it is important for nonresidents to have a basic understanding of the U.S. tax system and what requirements are in place.

Who is a nonresident alien?

Two U.S. government agencies, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) use the term nonresident alien.

USCIS definition: Persons who reside temporarily in the United States in non-immigrant status are known by USCIS as nonresident aliens. The most common non-immigrant statuses at UM include F-1, J-1, J-2, and H-1B.

IRS definition: For IRS purposes, a nonresident alien is any non-citizen or lawful permanent resident who has not resided in the U.S. for more than 182 days in any given year, as calculated by the Substantial Presence Test (SPT). Persons who meet the SPT will be treated as tax residents (which may include withholding of Social Security and Medicare tax, known as FICA, from employment compensation).

Students on F or J visa status are exempt from counting days toward the Substantial Presence Test for a period of five calendar years. Persons in J non-student status are exempt from counting days toward the SPT for a period of two calendar years out of every seven. All F-1 and J-1 visa holders are exempt from FICA during any year in which they are a nonresident.

Nonresident Aliens and Social Security Numbers

A Social Security Number (SSN) is not required from nonresident employees before they are allowed to begin work. However, a Social Security Number is required before a foreign employee can benefit from a tax treaty exemption from withholding tax.


Contact the UM Nonresident Taxation Office:

Nonresident Alien Taxation Office
University of Missouri-Columbia
801 Conley Avenue, 325 Jesse Hall
Columbia, MO 65211-1020