Nonresident Alien

Select your status:

An alien is defined as any person who is not a United States citizen. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) classifies aliens as either nonresidents or residents.

A nonresident alien is an alien who does not meet either the IRS's green card test (i.e. a lawful permanent resident) or substantial presence test.

Resident aliens are taxed the same as U.S. citizens. There are significant differences in the withholding and reporting of income tax for nonresident aliens.

The UW can only pay individuals that come to the U.S. on work authorized visas.

A prospective employee must already have obtained work authorization prior to beginning employment.

Payroll Coordinator Procedures

When hiring an alien:

  • Complete INS Form I-9, EmploymentEligibility Verification Form.
    • Look at documents that establish both identity and work eligibility.
    • List the document names and numbers in Section 2. Do not indicate "see attached".
    • Be familiar with the special instructions for completing Section 2 for F-1 or J-1 visa holder.
    • Remember to update Section 3 if the employee's work authorization period has been extended.
  • Verify the employee's social security number. If your employee does not have a social security number, he or she will need to go to a Social Security Administration office and apply for a number.
  • Ensure that your employee has completed UW Form 1388 [pdf*].
  • Ensure your employee has completed IRS Form W-4
    • Be familiar with the special IRS rules for nonresidents completing the W-4 Form [pdf*].
  • Ensure that IRS Form 8233 has been completedif employee claims tax treaty exemption on wages.
    • List of treaties. Please note that there may be different treaties for students and researchers. 

Ensure that IRS Form W8-Ben has been completed if tax treaty exemption on scholarships is claimed.

More detailed information about these policies/procedures.