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I am an F1 student who was in the United States from September 2011 till August 2018. I completed my coursework in May 2015, and stayed in the US for another three years under the OPT provision. I pass the substantial presence test and my understanding is that I should file as a Resident Alien.

However, I left the country in August 2018, and as such was uninsured from August onward. Am I still required to pay the individual mandate penalty for being uninsured for the time I was not in the US? If not, what is the proper fields to indicate that on my 1040?

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You might be able to claim an exemption for the months after you leave the US because you qualify for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion for those months under the Physical Presence Test (you will be outside the US for 330 days in the 12-month period after you leave the US).

Or, alternately, you could also elect to use the "Last Year of Residency" rules to be treated as dual-status, being a nonresident after you left, if your tax home is in a foreign country, and you had a closer connection to that foreign country, for the remainder of the year; in that case, you can claim an exemption as a nonresident alien or dual-status alien. (However, you would have to file a statement to use the "Last Year of Residency" treatment.)

For 2018, unlike in previous years, if you believe that you had an exemption for every month that you did not have qualifying insurance, you just have to check the box on the front of Form 1040 and you do not have to explicitly state which exemptions you are claiming.

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