Determining Foreign National Residency Status

LAST UPDATED: September 29, 2011

What You Should Know

If you meet the requirements of the substantial presence test for the calendar year, then you will be considered a U.S. resident for tax purposes for that year. If you do not meet the substantial presence test for a calendar year, you are considered a foreign national or, non-resident alien, for tax withholding purposes.

The Substantial Presence Test

In brief, to meet the requirements of the test, you must be physically present in the United States:

  • at least 31 days during the current calendar year; and
  • at least 183 days during the three-year period that includes the current and two previous calendar years. These 183 days include all the days you were present in the US during the current year, one-third of the days you were present the year before that, and one-sixth of the days you were present during the year before that.

Foreign national employees and students enter their residency and other information using the Glacier System. Using the information you enter, the Glacier System performs the substantial presence test automatically.

If you are not an employee or a student and want to understand or perform the test, use the Substantial Presence Test form.


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