What is the impact of the Stimulus bill on my Immigration Status? Can I receive a Stimulus Check if I am on a Visa? Is there a Public Charge Impact to receiving a Stimulus Check?

As a result of the unprecedented Corona Virus pandemic, Congress has passed bipartisan economic relief legislation.   The components include stimulus payments to individuals, expanded unemployment benefits and coverage, student loan modifications, changes to retirement rules, help to small businesses, and more.  The bill is a complex one (over 800 pages) and this post focuses on the stimulus payments to individuals only.  Specifically, the post addresses the question of whether someone on a Visa qualifies for the Stimulus payment, and whether receipt of the payment would have any negative immigration consequences under the new public charge rules.

Under the stimulus plan, most adults will get a $1,200 payment and payments would be made of $500 for each qualifying child.  The payments are subject to income restrictions and are phased out for high income earners.

The legislation does not prohibit or restrict payments made to people on visas.  That is, if you are on a visa (E-2, TN, H-1B, O-1, etc.) you are eligible to receive the stimulus check.   Instead of basing the distribution on immigration status, the government decided that if you are a resident for tax purposes, you will get the stimulus check.  Regardless of your visa  (generally speaking as F Visas for example are excluded from this rule), you are a  resident for tax purposes if you have been in the U.S. for more than 183 days in the last year. (the test is more complicated than this but this is the general idea).  Tax residents file a 1040 IRS form while non-residents file a 1040 NR (Non Resident) IRS form.  The stimulus payment that is made will be done through your IRS tax account, and it will be based on your 2018 or 2019 tax return.  The payments are phased out as your income increases, and  while the payment will be made based on your income level in 2018 or 2019 as an estimate, the actual payment will be based on the 2020 tax return.   When you file that return, you will true up the amount.  If your income in 2020 exceeds the threshold, you will be required to pay back some or all of the funds.  The idea is that the payment is supposed to assist with economic hardship in 2020.

As the stimulus bill specifically targets residents for tax purposes and does not have any immigration carve out or exclusions, we do not believe there will be any public charge implications to receiving this benefit.  You can find out more about the public charge rules by clicking here.

You can find key immigration information related to the Corona Virus below.

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89 Comments

  • Vikrant Gaikwad says:

    Will immigrants who’s L1b extension in progress will receive stimulus check? Are there any rules regarding that ?

  • Max says:

    I’m on an O-1 and got a check – I believe I’ll need to return it based on 2020 income. How do I do that? Is it sufficient to just not deposit it?

  • Gon says:

    Hi, I was an intern in 2017 to 2018 undr J1 visa, but I already returned to my home country in 2018. I lived and worked in the US for a year. I received a check for the stimulus fund. Should I return it? Am I even eligible? How should I return it? Thank you.

    • IanScott says:

      You should check with A CPA when they do your taxes for the next year. I believe you have to be a resident for tax purposes.

  • Marcos Garcia says:

    Hello,
    I have a visa TN and my wife and kids the visa TD, therefore they not have a SSN (only I have it). I Always submit my taxes with their ITIN number as married filing jointly. So far I have not receive the stimulus and the portal of the IRS shows “Status Not Available” when I try to track the status.
    I have read that mixed status families (SSN + ITIN) will not receive the government stimulus, will this also affects the work visa holders?

    Any information will be highly appreciated.

    • IanScott says:

      The check is available to residents for tax purposes. You should check with a CPA to assess the details regarding eligibility and tax status in future years.

  • Linn says:

    Hi,
    So I have been on a student visa (F1) the past four years. I am now working in California because I have an OPT, which I think is still included in F1. I applied for the stimulus check because a lot of my foreign student friends got it, and it got accepted. What should I do? What can happen if I get it?
    Best,
    Linn

    • IanScott says:

      The check is available to residents for tax purposes. You should check with a CPA to assess the details regarding eligibility and tax status in future years.

  • SG says:

    I moved to US for work in January 2020 on L1 Visa . My wife has just got an EAD on L2 visa – are we eligible for stimulus cheque ?

    • IanScott says:

      The check is available to residents for tax purposes. You should check with a CPA to assess the details regarding eligibility and tax status in future years.

  • Sam says:

    I got my H1 visa just recently in 2020 and based on the Presence test, I became a resident alien in 2020.Since my 2019 tax file was submitted as a nonresident alien, how could I let IRS know that I am eligible for the stimulus check and receive my payment, while the online tool in IRS website is designed only for PR and citizens?

    • IanScott says:

      The check is available to residents for tax purposes. You should check with a CPA to assess the details regarding eligibility and tax status in future years.

  • Helena says:

    I’ve been in the US for the past 8 years on an F-1 visa… read the IRS guidelines but am unsure whether I classify as a resident for tax purposes, hence eligible for the stimulus check. Am currently on my OPT and unemployed because of the pandemic. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated, thank you!

    • IanScott says:

      The check is available to residents for tax purposes. You should check with a CPA to assess the details regarding eligibility and tax status in future years.

  • Isabel says:

    people with TN visa will benefit from the second stimulus check? or only citizens and residents

    • IanScott says:

      The check is available to residents for tax purposes. You should check with a CPA to assess the details regarding eligibility and tax status in future years.

  • Andrew says:

    If I’m a G-4 visa holder who is a resident for tax purposes (in that I pass the substantial presence test) would I qualify?

    I can only file a 1040INT which this year and past years is below the standard deduction.

    • IanScott says:

      The check is available to residents for tax purposes. You should check with a CPA to assess the details regarding eligibility and tax status in future years.

  • Karolina says:

    Hey there! I am extending my o1 visa, I have been in the Country since 2013 and I am currently in the middle of the process right now, my visa expired on April 15 and I am in the US waiting to be approved, I have paid my taxes. Am I eligible to get the stimulus check?

    • IanScott says:

      The check is available to residents for tax purposes. You should check with a CPA to assess the details regarding eligibility and tax status in future years.

  • Allister Mills says:

    Hello,
    I went to the US for work purposes in 2018 on a J1 visa. I have since gone home and recieved the stimulus. Am I qualified to recieve it? Because I wouldnt want to use it and then find myself in legal problems with the federal government. Please send me and emailed reply.

    • IanScott says:

      The check is available to residents for tax purposes. You should check with a CPA to assess the details regarding eligibility and tax status in future years.

  • Marek says:

    How does it work in the situation when L visa holder (possibly other types as well) quits the job and leaves the country before check is distributed? Is such a person eligible for stimul check (based on tax payer status from previous year)? Can it happen that the check is deposited to still existing bank account despite the person has left the US?

    • IanScott says:

      The check is available to residents for tax purposes. You should check with a CPA to assess the details regarding eligibility and tax status in future years.

  • Mariana says:

    I’ve been with J1 visas since 2016 until last year, I’ve been filing my taxes since that year. Now I am on an F1 visa since January and I received the stimulus check, I guess from filing my taxes last two years. Not sure if I am eligible or not or what should I do with the money,

    • IanScott says:

      The check is available to residents for tax purposes. You should check with a CPA to assess the details regarding eligibility and tax status in future years.

  • Maria says:

    Do O1 Visa holders apply for the Stimulus?

    • IanScott says:

      The check is available to residents for tax purposes. You should check with a CPA to assess the details regarding eligibility and tax status in future years.

  • Evan says:

    I have a L1 visa and filed tax in 2018 and 2019, but according to IRS portal, “we cannot determine your eligibility for a payment at this time” Is there other way I can verify my eligibility?

    • IanScott says:

      The check is available to residents for tax purposes. You should check with a CPA to assess the details regarding eligibility and tax status in future years.

  • Krish says:

    Hi there, thanks for the information!

    I had a J1 visa and an active SSN last year, I lived and worked around 3 months in SC, I filed my taxes and everything. Am I elegible for the stimulus check ?

    • IanScott says:

      The check is available to residents for tax purposes. You should check with a CPA to assess the details regarding eligibility and tax status in future years.

  • anna says:

    what if i dont have a ssn and im waiting for an adjustment status ? my wife claimed me on her taxes??

    • IanScott says:

      Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your business and look forward to helping you. Please find attached a link that you can use to set up a 30 minute ($150) or 1 hour ($250) consultation. The system allows you to select a lawyer and a day and time that is convenient to you. If you end up hiring the firm and your bill is greater than $2,500, we will apply this consultation fee to your final bill. Please reach out if you have any questions.

      https://ScheduleScottLegalConsultation.as.me/

  • thibault says:

    I am on a F1 visa, but have been present and declaring taxes in the U.S. since 2014 (1040NR for 2014,15,16,17,18. I was told that since I have been exempted for 5 years I now have to go by the substantial presence rule and therefore filed a regular 1040 for 2019. Am I eligible for the stimulus check or to I need to return it?

    • IanScott says:

      Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your business and look forward to helping you. Please find attached a link that you can use to set up a 30 minute ($150) or 1 hour ($250) consultation. The system allows you to select a lawyer and a day and time that is convenient to you. If you end up hiring the firm and your bill is greater than $2,500, we will apply this consultation fee to your final bill. Please reach out if you have any questions.

      https://ScheduleScottLegalConsultation.as.me/

  • Harish says:

    Does L1 visa holders who have filed taxes in 2018 and single receive stimulus checks?

  • Naresh says:

    I am on F-1 OPT-EAD, working since 2018 and I filed tax returns 2018 and 2019. Do I get the stimulus check?

    • IanScott says:

      The check is available to residents for tax purposes. You should check with a CPA to assess the details regarding eligibility and tax status in future years.

  • Redi says:

    My green card is still processing, I already have work permit. My husband is a US citizen and we have 2 US citizens kids. Will we receive the stimulus?
    On the IRS website says:
    “Payment Status Not Available
    According to information that we have on file, we cannot determine your eligibility for a payment at this time.”

    • IanScott says:

      The check is available to residents for tax purposes. You should check with a CPA to assess the details regarding eligibility and tax status in future years.

  • Edgar Aguilar says:

    Good afternoon.
    I have a TN and a valid-to-work SSN, my wife has TD visa and only ITIN Number, we have a 3 yo son born here in USA with SSN.
    The rule in the IRS website says that a person is ineligible if does not have a valid Social Security number.

    So we are not going to get the money at all, am I assuming correctly?

    Thanks for your help.

    • IanScott says:

      The check is available to residents for tax purposes. You should check with a CPA to assess the details regarding eligibility and tax status in future years.

  • Ken says:

    I hold a TN visa and have worked and lived continuously in the USA for several years. I filed 2018 income tax return but have not filed the 2019 income tax return. My 2018 or 2019 gross income is more than $75K but less than $150K. My wife earns no income. My filing status was Married Filing Jointly. Therefore She and I together meet the income criteria. When I used the IRS online tool to check my payment status, it displayed a message saying “According to information we have on file, we cannot determine your eligibility for a payment at this time.”. What can I do about this situation?

    • IanScott says:

      Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your business and look forward to helping you. Please find attached a link that you can use to set up a 30 minute ($150) or 1 hour ($250) consultation. The system allows you to select a lawyer and a day and time that is convenient to you. If you end up hiring the firm and your bill is greater than $2,500, we will apply this consultation fee to your final bill. Please reach out if you have any questions.

      https://ScheduleScottLegalConsultation.as.me/

  • kairi says:

    im a j1 visa holder, i arrived in usa last May 2020. Am I considered eligible if I alredy received the stimulus?

    • kairi says:

      May 2019 I mean.

      • IanScott says:

        Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your business and look forward to helping you. Please find attached a link that you can use to set up a 30 minute ($150) or 1 hour ($250) consultation. The system allows you to select a lawyer and a day and time that is convenient to you. If you end up hiring the firm and your bill is greater than $2,500, we will apply this consultation fee to your final bill. Please reach out if you have any questions.

        https://ScheduleScottLegalConsultation.as.me/

  • Marcus Miller says:

    I have been in the US for less than 183 days, am I elegible for the stimulus check? I had work for May – October 2020 and it has been cancelled…I filed taxes in 2019

  • Dindo Capuras says:

    I think Its not true Scott that TN visa with Social Security number then wife and kids are ITIN married filling jointly will get stimulus package. Its a bit unfair because we are here legally and stayed for 4 yrs. Filling income tax retuxrn every year and pay taxes. Something wrong with the IRS system.

    • IanScott says:

      The check is available to residents for tax purposes. You should check with a CPA to assess the details regarding eligibility and tax status in future years.

  • Felipe says:

    What about J1 Visa holders

    • IanScott says:

      The check is available to residents for tax purposes. You should check with a CPA to assess the details regarding eligibility and tax status in future years.

  • Jae says:

    I am a J1 Visa holder and filed for 2018 and 2019 taxes. Am I eligible for stimulus checks?

    • IanScott says:

      The check is available to residents for tax purposes. You should check with a CPA to assess the details regarding eligibility and tax status in future years.

  • Jason says:

    I have F2 visa and filed my last year tax return with ITIN. I have SSN in 2020 but have not filed the tax yet. Will I get the check?

    • IanScott says:

      The check is available to residents for tax purposes. You should check with a CPA to assess the details regarding eligibility and tax status in future years.

  • Mark says:

    Hi Ian – great article!

    I’m hearing contrasting information… I’m currently on a J-1 visa (18 months) and filed my 2019 taxes, where I have already received the stimulus payment. Although, I’ve had an email from my visa company stating that as I’m a non-resident alien – I wouldn’t be eligible for the payment? Can you advise?

    Thanks

    • IanScott says:

      The check is available to residents for tax purposes. You should check with a CPA to assess the details regarding eligibility and tax status in future years.

  • Diane says:

    If i plan to apply for naturalization in the future, will my stimulus payment be considered a public charge and can it hurt my chances?

    • IanScott says:

      The check is available to residents for tax purposes. You should check with a CPA to assess the details regarding eligibility and tax status in future years.

  • Marcos Valadez says:

    I have a TN visa, at 2019 I worked few days only (28) in USA, so my tax return was recently submited as Non resident. Now at 2020 Im still working in USA …. Am I eligible for stimulus payment? Thank you for your help

    • IanScott says:

      The check is available to residents for tax purposes. You should check with a CPA to assess the details regarding eligibility and tax status in future years.

  • Natasha says:

    I am an f1 student filed my taxes 2 years in a row and has a Ssn and is authorized to work, should I receive a check?

    • IanScott says:

      The check is available to residents for tax purposes. You should check with a CPA to assess the details regarding eligibility and tax status in future years.

  • HELIO says:

    I have been working in USA since 2016 under TN Visa and I have been paying taxes since that year. Do I will receive the stimulus?

  • Ainara Gonzalez Cabodevilla says:

    I am a J1 visa holder working as a postdoctoral researcher since March 2019. Today I noticed that I had received the $1200 stimulus payment from the government in my bank account. This raised some alarms because as a non resident I am not entitled to this payment. I have since realized that I filed my taxes wrong (I did not know that I was not supposed to use TurboTax as a J1). I am going to file an amendment with the help of a CPA, but I don’t know how can I return the $1200 to the IRS. Their phone assistance services have been interrupted due to Covid 19 and I can’t find any other way to contact them. Do you know if there is anything I could do?

    • IanScott says:

      Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate your business and look forward to helping you. Please find attached a link that you can use to set up a 30 minute ($150) or 1 hour ($250) consultation. The system allows you to select a lawyer and a day and time that is convenient to you. If you end up hiring the firm and your bill is greater than $2,500, we will apply this consultation fee to your final bill. Please reach out if you have any questions.

      https://ScheduleScottLegalConsultation.as.me/

  • Bikramjeet Wahla says:

    I am a TN visa holder works in Michigan but lives in Canada, am I eligible for stimulus payment?

    • IanScott says:

      You would be eligible if you were a resident for tax purposes I believe but if you live in Canada you likely are not.

      • Bikramjeet Wahla says:

        I do pay taxes and recently filed 2019 return too.

        • IanScott says:

          The check is available to residents for tax purposes. You should check with a CPA to assess the details regarding eligibility and tax status in future years.

      • lisa says:

        I am a TN Visa holder who works and lives in the US, but I have not received my payment. Is it because I file jointly with my husband who had an ITIN last year?

        • IanScott says:

          The check is available to residents for tax purposes. You should check with a CPA to assess the details regarding eligibility and tax status in future years.

  • Rahul says:

    Hi, Thanks for the information.

    I filled my 2018 and 2019 taxes with my SSN# and ITIN# of my Spouse and kid. Can you tell me if I am eligible to receive Stimulus payment?

    • IanScott says:

      Likely if you are a resident for tax purposes.

      • Robin says:

        TN Visa holder since ’98. I received nothing the last time despite filing as a resident, with 3 US born children. My wife has an ITIN and that made us ineligible. Based on the IRS website it doesn’t look good for me this time either

        • IanScott says:

          The check is available to residents for tax purposes. You should check with a CPA to assess the details regarding eligibility and tax status in future years.

  • Nadia says:

    I heard that stimulus checks are not applicable for temporary workers, TN VISA goes under that category. I think we all figure it out by the end of this week if we don’t get the deposit.

  • patty says:

    Can some one that has a work authorization and started working last year qualify for the stimulus check?

  • rao says:

    do g-4 visa qualify for this, g-4 have social security number.

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