I am currently working in the US for a company where the role is directly related to my major. While I am here, can I complete work for an international company on a freelance (contracted) basis, or do I need to be on their payroll?

Below, it states that only US income needs to be reported. However, self employment must be directly related. As this income is from abroad, does this mean that the self employment does not need to be reported?

Nonresident Aliens use Form 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ to report only income that is sourced in the United States, or that is effectively connected with a United States trade or business. Refer to Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens, for definition of "effectively connected income," and to Publication 515, Withholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens and Foreign Entities, section "Source of Income" for a discussion of "U.S. Source Income."

Source: IRS.gov

1 Answer 1


From tax perspective, any income you earn for services performed while you're in the US is US-sourced. The location of the person paying you is of no consequence.

From immigration law perspective, you cannot work for anyone other than your employer as listed on your I-20. So freelancing would be in violation of your visa, again - location of the customer is of no consequence.

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