I have been in the US since 1st of August 2016. I filed my taxes for the year 2017 as a non resident alien just now. In a tax workshop in the University I work and study I was told that as a F1 I have to file as non resident alien for 5 years. But I thought I should be able to file as a resident alien from 2018 onwards based on how the days are counted to determine the classification. Any help is appreciated

1 Answer 1


Counting the number of days is the Substantial Presence Test, where you are a resident alien for a given year if (the number of days you were present in the US that year + 1/3 the number of days you were present in the US the previous year + 1/6 the number of days you were present in the US the year before that) > 183 days. If you counted all your days in the US, you would already have been a resident alien for 2017.

However, they are correct, because as a student, you are an exempt individual (your days as a student are not counted in the Substantial Presence Test) unless you have been an exempt individual for any part of 5 previous calendar years. Basically, if you haven't been to the US in F or J status before, this makes you a nonresident alien for your first 5 calendar years in F1 status. (So, if you came during 2013 or before, you are a resident alien for 2018; if you came during 2014 or after, you are a nonresident alien for 2018.)

  • thanks. So am I allowed to file 1040NR? I usually file 1040NR-EZ
    – Heisenberg
    Apr 6, 2018 at 3:04
  • @Heisenberg: 1040NR-EZ is just the simplified version of 1040NR, which a subset of 1040NR filers can use. You can always file 1040NR, even if you can file 1040NR-EZ.
    – user102008
    Apr 6, 2018 at 3:48
  • If I came in 2016, when I file my taxes in 2021 for 2020, can I file as a resident alien? Or am I a resident alien when I file in2022 for 2021?
    – Heisenberg
    Feb 6, 2019 at 2:10
  • @Heisenberg: If you are still F1 staying in the US most of the year, you will be a nonresident alien for all of 2020, and you will be a resident alien for all of 2021.
    – user102008
    Feb 6, 2019 at 16:41

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