In example 1 on the IRS website about alien residency examples the IRS arrives at the conclusion that Wei Wu's residency starting day is 01-01-2016 (he passed the substantial presence test on 07-01-2016).

I am confused as to what that means for dual status filing. I thought Wei Wu could file as a non resident alien for the year up until 07-01-2016 and as a resident alien for the rest of the year. But that doesn't make sense if his residency starting day is 01-01-2016.

What am I missing here? I am on an F-1 visa in the united states and will face this situation next year.

1 Answer 1


If you meet the Substantial Presence Test for 2016, then you are a resident alien for all of 2016, and if you don't meet the test for 2016, then you are a nonresident alien for all of 2016.

Dual-status is pretty rare and generally only occurs due to the special rules for First Year of Residency, or Last Year of Residency, or if you make the First-Year Choice. The special rules for First Year of Residency don't make a difference here, as the rule says that for someone who is resident due to meeting the Substantial Presence Test, they are resident starting the first day in the year they are present in the US, which in the case of this student, is probably the first day of the year.

(By the way, you know that international students are generally exempt from the Substantial Presence Test for the first 5 calendar years they are in the US, right? So I am assuming that this person is in the 6th calendar year or later.)

  • Yes - the person is in the 6th calendar year. Can you give an example when dual status would be applicable? Under what cases do the special rules for first year of residency make a difference?
    – ftiaronsem
    Mar 31, 2017 at 2:06
  • 1
    @ftiaronsem: First year of residency means that the person is a resident that year and a nonresident the previous year. In such a case they are treated as resident for only the part of the year starting from when they were first present in the US that year (if under the Substantial Presence Test), or when they became a permanent resident (if under the Green Card Test). This could be someone who only arrived in the US that year, in the first half of the year, so they stayed more than half the year and meet the SPT, but they are considered dual-status.
    – user102008
    Apr 15, 2017 at 7:07
  • @ftiaronsem: I believe this could also happen for someone who changes status in the first half of the year from an exempt status (e.g. F-1 in the first 5 years) to a non-exempt status. Another situation of dual-status is if someone uses the First-Year Choice, where if they are nonresident because they don't meet the SPT, but are present in the last month or two of the year, and meet the SPT the next year, they can choose to make the first year resident too, in which case they would only be resident for the part of the year starting from when they started being present for SPT.
    – user102008
    Apr 15, 2017 at 7:10

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