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Please excuse me if this question doesn't fit very well here in this forum, but I don't know which SE would be more suitable for my question than Money.SE, so I decided to ask it here.

My question basically needs a mixture of immigration and financial pieces of knowledge.

I'm a Ph.D. student that I live and work in the US from September 2016, but my visa status is the student visa. I have on-campus employment income as 20K per year and from 2016, I filed my tax return correctly each year including my 2019 tax return. Also, my 2019 tax return was processed a couple of weeks ago and I received my refund successfully. Furthermore, I have SSN (Social Security Number). Will I be eligible for a stimulus check or not? By the way, still, I'm receiving my salary despite the fact that I don't work on-campus because of this crisis and I just work online from my home.

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  • Do you have an SSN? If no, the answer is "NO, you don't get one"
    – Aganju
    Mar 31 '20 at 22:18
  • @Aganju I have SSN. Mar 31 '20 at 22:35
  • Then you suould get a check - if your income wasn't too high. Congrats!
    – Aganju
    Mar 31 '20 at 22:39
  • @Aganju Thanks! My income is 20K per year. Mar 31 '20 at 22:39
  • Had you ever been in the US in F or J status prior to 2016?
    – user102008
    Apr 1 '20 at 5:59
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The texts I have seen (Senate bill and House bill) carve out some exceptions in the definitions section (emphasis mine):

(3) ELIGIBLE INDIVIDUAL.—The term ‘eligible individual’ means any individual other than

“(A) any nonresident alien individual,

“(B) any individual with respect to whom a deduction under section 151 is allowable to another taxpayer for a taxable year beginning in the calendar year in which the individual’s taxable year begins, and

“(C) an estate or trust.

So, nonresident aliens (for tax purposes) will not get stimulus checks. Since you're on a student visa (presumably F-1) only since 2016, you most likely filed your 2019 taxes as a nonresident alien (Form 1040NR), and thus most likely won't get a check. Sorry.


To be considered a resident alien, one needs to pass the substantial presence test. A person on a student visa must, in addition, be in the country five years (not necessarily consecutive) before being able to apply the test. Going by IRS' example, a student who arrived in 2015 would become resident (for tax purposes) in 2020. A person who arrived in 2016, would not until 2021, which should also make it impossible to claim the money as a tax credit on the 2020 taxes.

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