Stimulus Check Payments - Are Nonimmigrants Eligible?
By Ayda Akalin, Esq.
March 31st, 2020
One of the main talking points of the coronavirus stimulus bill is the direct payment of money from the federal government to American individuals and families. In the middle of the incredibly long bill are the provisions explaining exactly who can expect to receive money.
According to the text of the bill, in general, eligible individuals include most taxpayers with social security numbers. However, the language of the bill also makes clear that all nonresident aliens will not be eligible for stimulus payments:
The IRS defines a nonresident alien as any individual who is not a U.S. citizen or U.S. national who has not passed the green card test or the substantial presence test. Under the IRS' definition, all nonimmigrant workers, such as those in valid H-1B or L-1A nonimmigrant status, should receive stimulus payments. Whether the IRS definition has been adopted in the CARES act and the distribution of the stimulus payments, however, remains to be seen.
Eligible individuals must also have had valid social security numbers when filing their returns. This means that those who had ITINs (Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers) will not be eligible. In fact, for couples who filed joint returns, both must have had valid social security numbers--if even one of them used an ITIN in their latest tax return, they will not be eligible.
As it stands, the bill may cut thousands of immigrants off from accessing the relief that has been caused by layoffs across the country. For more information, please contact our office for a consultation directly.