Internal Revenue Service United States Department of the Treasury
Level Basic Advanced Military International

Social Security Tax

Social Security and Medicare Tax Liability

Exemption for Self-Employed Nonresident Aliens

The self-employment income of nonresident aliens is exempt from self-employment tax. The exemption is lost if an alien becomes a resident.

Foreign scholars, teachers, researchers, trainees and other nonstudents who enter the U.S. on J-1 or Q-1 visas usually become resident aliens on January 1 of their third calendar year in the U.S.; and foreign students who enter the U.S. on F-1, J-1, M-1, or Q-1 visas usually become resident aliens on January 1 of their sixth calendar year in the U.S.

Tip

Generally, immigration law does not authorize nonimmigrants (such as nonresident aliens) to earn self-employment income. Nonresident aliens who earn self-employment income in violation of their nonimmigrant status must pay self-employment tax.