Do I Have to File?

Yes! All international students are required to report to the U.S. tax service (known as the Internal Revenue Service) each year — even if they did not work during the prior year. You will not necessarily need to pay taxes; but you must at least report your presence in the U.S. This is a legal requirement.

International students are not permitted to file electronically; you must file paper forms. The tax filing deadline is April 15, no exceptions, so please do not wait until the last minute. If you have any questions, please email Susan Ambrose, Assistant Director of International Programs.

*Please note: If you first arrived in the U.S. on or after January 1, 2018 and if you were not present in the U.S. at all during 2018, you currently have no tax filing obligations — but you will need to file next year, so check back then on what to do.

How Should I Prepare to File?

Gather the following information and documents you may need. (Note: You may not need or have some of these documents; this is simply a list of all materials you could possibly need.)

  • Passport, visa, I-94 record
  • Your entry and exit dates for all past U.S. visits
  • Your I-20 or other immigration documents
  • Social Security (SSN) or Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN), if you have one
  • Current U.S. Address AND Permanent Foreign Address
  • Name of Educational Institution or Sponsoring Organization
  • Form(s) W-2, 1042-S, 1099
  • Copy of past year's tax forms (if you had any)

What Forms do I Need to File?

There are several different scenarios that may apply to you as a Siena College international student. Please read each scenario below, determine which category you fall into, and prepare the indicated forms.

1. I am an international student, and I had no earned income in 2018. Nor did I receive a W-2. What am I required to file?
Any international student who did not have any earned income (and who did not receive a W-2) in 2018 is still required to file a Form 8843 with the IRS. Anyone who received a W-2 should proceed to #2 below. 

Note: All students and scholars in F-1 and J-1 non-immigrant status, and their F-2/J-2 dependents are required to file the IRS Form 8843 regardless of whether or not they have income in the U.S.

2. I worked for Siena College (or for another employer) in 2018, and I have a W-2 for wages earned and taxes paid. What am I required to file?
An individual who received a W-2 and who was employed in the U.S. in 2014 is required to file a Federal Tax Return and a State Tax Return. State Tax Returns may be required for each state in which you were employed. We will cover information specific to New York State.

Federal Return: All nonresident aliens for tax purposes who earned income in the U.S. in 2014 must complete and file the Form 1040NR or, if eligible, Form 1040NR-EZ. Note: Most Siena College international students are eligible to complete the far simpler 1040NR-EZ form.

State Return: Siena College international students should complete Form IT-203.

Note: All nonresident aliens are also required to complete and submit Form 8843 as well. 

3. I am a student who received scholarship or fellowship funds, but did not receive a W-2 for earned income. What am I required to file?
If a nonresident alien only has a 1042-S, and not a W-2, such as someone who has only received scholarship/fellowship payments or if all of their income is exempt under a tax treaty, they should fill out Form 1040NR or, if eligible, Form 1040NR-EZ. Again, most Siena College international students should fill out the much simpler 1040NR-EZ. 

Note: All nonresident aliens are also required to complete and submit Form 8843 as well. All state and federal forms come with detailed instructions. Please read them carefully. If you need to apply for an ITIN please contact Susan Ambrose.

4. I am a student who received scholarship or fellowship funds AND I worked for Siena College (or another employer) in 2018, and I have received both a W-2 for earned income AND a 1042-S for scholarship/fellowship payments. What am I required to file?
Please follow the instructions as outlined in #2 above. You will need your W-2 and 1042-S to complete you federal return (Form 1040NR-EZ). You will need only your W-2 to complete your New York State return (Form IT-203).

Note: Once again, ALL international students must file Form 8843. If you need to apply for an ITIN please contact Susan Ambrose.

Where Can I Learn More?

The IRS provides instructions for all forms required of international students. Read them carefully:

If, after reading the information on this site, you have more questions, please make an appointment to meet with the Assistant Director of International Programs, Susan Ambrose


The information contained on this site does not constitute professional tax advice. The Center for International Programs is able to provide general advice and information, and direction to resources. We cannot make determinations or recommendations on your individual tax situation, and it is your responsibility to file correctly based on your individual situation. The information housed here is not a substitute for advice obtained from the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) or from a qualified tax professional.