I am a student in the US on a F-1 visa.

Can I accept money which will go towards my university tuition from a US citizen?

I have a college checking account here and I don't know if I can accept money from a family friend who is a US citizen as they are not listed as my sponsor.

I also don't pay tax here yet so is this okay to do?

1 Answer 1


The donor might need to pay gift tax if they give money directly to you. Paying the tuition on your behalf (giving the money directly to the school) is exempt from gift tax. But that's not your problem, it is the donor's.

There's no tax on receiving gifts, and you're not forbidden to receive gifts by virtue of being on a visa.

  • 4
    Though you might want to have things properly documented, just to make sure the IRS doesn't wonder whether this gift is not actually a payment for some work/service, and then decide you have actually worked, need to pay taxes, and impact your immigration status.
    – jcaron
    Jan 24, 2016 at 10:38
  • As @jcaron says: make the evidence clear as to why they are giving you the money.
    – Peter K.
    Jan 24, 2016 at 15:23
  • 1
    Lets not get paranoid here, college students get help with tuition from family and friends all the time.
    – littleadv
    Jan 24, 2016 at 23:11

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