I applied for a Green Card late July 2017. I just received my work permit few weeks ago. During this time where I am in between status am I exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes?

When I had my EAD OPT card I was exempt. I was category C03B. I am now C09P.

  • Depending on what country you're from, the SS taxes you pay may go into your home country's equivalent plan. At least this was the case when I (US citizen) worked abroad.
    – jamesqf
    Nov 30, 2017 at 3:09

2 Answers 2


You would only be exempt from FICA tax (Social Security tax and Medicare tax) if you were a nonresident alien for tax purposes, and you are working legally in certain specific statuses, including F-1 or J-1 or certain diplomatic statuses. Nonresident aliens in other statuses, as well as all resident aliens regardless of status, are subject to FICA tax.

You said you were on OPT, which is F1 status. If you are still maintaining F1 status, e.g. if you are still on OPT and working completely within OPT guidelines and following OPT's restrictions, then (assuming you are still a nonresident alien, which for F1 usually means you are within the first 5 calendar years of being F1) you are still exempt from FICA tax. Otherwise, if you are no longer on F1 status, including if you used your non-OPT EAD to work which violates your F1 status (which sounds like what you are doing), then you are not exempt from FICA tax.

  • "Do I have to pay...?" Followed by, "No. You would only be exempt from FICA tax if... " This seems to contradict. Did you mean "You would only be subject to..."? Perhaps two parallel statements to sum up what you were trying to say: "You would be subject if: (bulleted list)" and "You would be exempt if: (bulleted list)".
    – Xalorous
    Nov 30, 2017 at 18:11
  • 1
    @Xalorous: Sorry I was responding to the question in the description "During this time where I am in between status am I exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes?" and not the question in the title. I will just remove the "No" since it's not clear which is the question.
    – user102008
    Nov 30, 2017 at 19:26

Nearly nobody is exempt, only some very specific groups.
Your social security, medicare, and federal tax is withheld from your pay by your employer, and if you are self-employed, you have to pay it your self. If you do not have a SSN (and cannot yet apply for one), you can apply for an ITIN (Individula Taxpayer Identification Number).

Google ‘ITIN’ and your state of residence to find how to apply for one.

  • 1
    This answer has lots of incorrect information. The employer withholds social security and medicare tax (and income tax) from the employee's salary and sends it to the government. It is not the case that the tax is paid by the employer. In addition, the employer has to pay social security and Medicare tax (as well as Federal Unemployment Tax) on the wages paid to the government. That is, the employer withholds 1.45% medicare tax from the wages, adds in 1.45% as its share, and sends a total of 2.9% of wages paid as Medicare tax, half credited ti employee and half to employer, etc. Nov 30, 2017 at 4:08
  • @DilipSarwate , yes. ‘Paid’ was used to simplify the sentence; I have changed that. For the rest, I think it is not always useful to explain every detail of the process in the answer; to make the point, simplifications are useful.
    – Aganju
    Nov 30, 2017 at 13:00
  • The first sentence is inaccurate. Most people have to pay, but there are indeed people who are exempt.
    – Ben Miller
    Nov 30, 2017 at 13:32
  • The issue with the first sentence (still) is that the OP belonged to one of those groups prior to having his/her green card and work permit, and might still. So it's not very helpful in answering the actual question, as opposed to the other answer which seems more tailored to the specific question.
    – Joe
    Nov 30, 2017 at 16:45

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