University at Buffalo Logo
human resourses
Directory | Forms | Policies | Announcements | Calendars | UB Jobs
Search UBHR



 

International Faculty and Scholars
navbox
navbox
navbox
   
navbox   nav box

The United States has strict rules regarding foreign nationals' ability to work and perform services within the United States. There are different rules that apply as well as different documentation and forms that are required, depending on the type of compensation, or honorarium.

International students are subject to federal and New York state income taxation on any wages earned. Unless there is an applicable income tax treaty exemption, this applies to wages earned by the individual and by their family members.

Two withholding forms (W-4 and IT-2104) should be completed before an individual is hired on either the NY State payroll or the Research Foundation payroll. If these forms are not complete the highest withholding will be applied until the forms are received.


Completing Form W-4 (Federal Withholding)

If you are a faculty member or scholar with a J-1 visa, AND you have resided in the United States for more than 2 calendar years, the Internal Revenue Service will treat you as a Resident Alien for tax purposes. You may complete the W-4 form without any of the below restrictions and exceptions.

IMPORTANT
If you hold a H1B, TN, or J-2 visa, please contact University Human Resources for instructions BEFORE you complete the W-4 form.

For all others...

  • Check the "single" box in item 3 (even if you are married)
  • Put a number "one" on line 5 (unless you are a resident of Canada, Mexico, South Korea or a U.S. national)
  • Enter "NRA" (indicating a Non-resident Alien) on line 6
  • Leave line 7 blank.

Residents of Canada, Mexico, or South Korea
You can claim an exemption for your spouse only if your spouse had no gross income for U.S. tax purposes and cannot be claimed as a dependent on another U.S. taxpayer's return.  You can also claim exemptions for your children or other dependents on the same terms as U.S. citizens.  For residents of South Korea your spouse and dependents must have lived with you in the U.S for some part of the year.


Completing Form IT-2104 (NY State Withholding)

If you are a faculty member or scholar with a J-1 visa, AND you have resided in the United States for more than 2 calendar years, the Internal Revenue Service will treat you as a Resident Alien for tax purposes. You may complete the IT-2104 form without any of the below restrictions and exceptions.

For all others...

  • Check the "single" box in item 3 (even if you are married).
  • Put a number "one" on line 1 (unless you are a resident of Canada, Mexico, South Korea, or a U.S. national)

Residents of Canada, Mexico, or South Korea
You can claim an exemption for your spouse only if your spouse had no gross income for U.S. tax purposes and cannot be claimed as a dependent on another U.S. taxpayer's return.  You can also claim exemptions for your children or other dependents on the same terms as U.S. citizens.  For residents of South Korea your spouse and dependents must have lived with you in the U.S for some part of the year.


Exemption From Social Security & Medicare Taxes

Under Treas. Reg. 1.3121 (b) (19), you are exempt from paying Social Security (FICA) and Medicare witholding taxes to the United States government, if you meet ALL THREE of the below criteria:

  • You have a J-1 visa
  • You have been in the U.S. 2 years or less
  • You perform services in accordance with the primary purpose of your visa's issuance

Other Exemptions - Income Tax Treaties

Income tax treaties exist between the U.S. and many other countries. Many of these income tax treaties will exempt or reduce the amount of income tax withholding on the compensation you earn.

Income tax treaties are based on your country of residence, NOT your citizenship.

Every treaty is different, and an Income Tax Treaties Table is available to assist you in determining if you qualify for this exemption. If you think you are eligible and have not received any paperwork please contact University HR directly.


Completing Form I9 (Employment Eligibility)

You must complete the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) no later than 3 days after the start date of your employment.

Form I-9 contains two sections. You complete the first section. Your department supervisor completes the second section.

Below is a list of recommended documentation that can be used to establish your identity and eligibility to work in the United States.

Recommended Documentation (LIST A)

  • A valid passport
  • The I-94 Arrival-Departure Record (Click here to retreive an I-94 admission number)
  • The DS-2019
  • An Employment Authorization Document


Need to speak with someone?
Helpful Documents



Contact © 2007 University at Buffalo. All rights reserved. | Privacy | Accessibility