Monday, November 14, 2016

STEM OPT Extensions for Employees

Global HR has developed a process to facilitate STEM OPT Extensions for eligible Georgia Tech employees. We will work with you, your supervisor and your departmental HR representative to ensure all parties have the information necessary to complete Form I-983.

If you are a Georgia Tech F-1, these forms are in addition to the forms required by OIE.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Changes to Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced changes to the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) program that will require some individuals to renew their ITIN. The IRS will send a letter to taxpayers with expiring ITINs.

Which ITINs will expire January 1, 2017?

The following ITINs will expire January 1, 2017:
  • ITINs with middle digits of 78 and 79 (e.g. 9NN-78-NNNN). The IRS will send Letter 5821 to taxpayers with these expiring ITINs.
  • ITINs that have not been used on a tax return for Tax Year 2013, Tax Year 2014, or Tax Year 2015 

Which ITINs will NOT expire January 1, 2017?
Any ITIN that does not have a middle digit of 78 or 79 and was used on a tax return for Tax Year 2013, Tax Year 2014, or Tax Year 2015 will not expire January 1, 2017.

What should I do if my ITIN is expiring January 1, 2017?
You will need to renew your ITIN if you will be filing a tax return or claim for refund after the ITIN expires and you will be using the expiring ITIN on that tax return or claim for refund.  You should not renew an ITIN if the ITIN holder now has or is qualified to get a social security number (SSN). See Q&A12.

When may I renew my ITIN that will expire January 1, 2017?
Beginning October 1, 2016, taxpayers whose ITIN will expire on January 1, 2017 can begin the renewal process.

For more information on ITINs expiring and answers to some common questions about the program changes, visit on the IRS website.

Friday, October 28, 2016

US CBP Clarifies Policies for Certain Nonimmigrant Admissions

From Morgan Lewis, 10/27/2016

The agency confirms the admissibility of certain nonimmigrants who hold visas from different employers.

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently clarified its policy on admissions to the United States after an applicant for admission changes employment or adds a concurrent employer. CBP confirmed that those applying for petition-based employment (H-1B, L-1, O-1, P-1, and R-1) who hold valid nonimmigrant visas need only present the valid visa and an I-797 approval notice for the new (or additional) employer. TN applicants may present either an I-797 approval notice issued by US Citizenship and Immigration Services or an employment letter from the new employer along with standard evidence of TN qualification. This formally confirms the CBP’s past practice of allowing certain nonimmigrants to be admitted to the United States with a petition approval in one employer’s name and a visa stamp in a different employer’s name.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Social Security Update for Foreign Nationals Who Applied at GSEP

If you applied for your SSN at the Graduate Student Employee Processing (GSEP) event in August, 2016 you may be wondering why you haven’t gotten your number yet.  Global HR has confirmed with the Social Security Administration that they are still in the process of approving those applications.  SSA has indicated that they have completed nearly half of the applications, but are still working on the rest.  If you have not yet received your SSN, don’t panic!  We expect to see the rest of the numbers approved in the very near future.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

USCIS Announces Final Rule Adjusting Immigration Benefit Application and Petition Fees

From USCIS, 10/24/2016

WASHINGTON – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced a final rule published in the Federal Register today adjusting the fees required for most immigration applications and petitions. The new fees will be effective Dec. 23.
USCIS is almost entirely funded by the fees paid by applicants and petitioners for immigration benefits. The law requires USCIS to conduct fee reviews every two years to determine the funding levels necessary to administer the nation’s immigration laws, process benefit requests and provide the infrastructure needed to support those activities.
Fees will increase for the first time in six years, by a weighted average of 21 percent for most applications and petitions. This increase is necessary to recover the full cost of services provided by USCIS. These include the costs associated with fraud detection and national security, customer service and case processing, and providing services without charge to refugee and asylum applicants and to other customers eligible for fee waivers or exemptions.
The final rule contains a table summarizing current and new fees. The new fees will also be listed on the Our Fees page on our website. Form G-1055 will not reflect the new fees until the effective date. Applications and petitions postmarked or filed on or after Dec. 23 must include the new fees or USCIS will not be able to accept them.
"This is our first fee increase since November 2010, and we sincerely appreciate the valuable public input we received as we prepared this final rule," said USCIS Director León Rodríguez. "We are mindful of the effect fee increases have on many of the customers we serve. That’s why we decided against raising fees as recommended after the fiscal year 2012 and 2014 fee reviews.  However, as an agency dependent upon users’ fees to operate, these changes are now necessary to ensure we can continue to serve our customers effectively.  We will also offer a reduced filing fee for certain naturalization applicants with limited means."
Read more about the new fee schedule on the Our Fees page. 
In preparing the final rule, USCIS considered all 436 comments received during the 60-day public comment period for the proposed rule published May 4.

Summary of Fee Changes Impacting Georgia Tech 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Online I-94 Application Now Available for Travelers at Land Ports of Entry

From GreenbergTraurig, 10/12/2016

On Sept. 29, 2016, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that it has enhanced the I-94 website for travelers arriving to the United States at land ports of entry.  Travelers now can apply and pay the $6 fee for their I-94 card online up to seven days prior to their entry.
An I-94 form is needed by all persons except U.S. Citizens, returning resident aliens, aliens with immigrant visas, and most Canadian citizens visiting or in transit.  Air and sea travelers will continue to be issued I-94 records during the admission process at the port of entry.  However, for those travelers seeking admission to the United States at a land port of entry, taking advantage of this new enhancement will quicken and simplify the admission process.
The application requires travelers to submit their biographic and travel information; in return, they will receive a provisional I-94 card after submitting the application and payment of the fee online.  The application collects the information that would otherwise be collected during the in-person inspection at the land port of entry, including name, date of birth, country of citizenship, passport details, visa details (if applicable), and petition/SEVIS number (if applicable).  To finalize the I-94 issuance process and admission, the traveler must present him or herself at the land port of entry within seven (7) days of the application, submit biometrics, and be inspected by a CBP officer.  Travelers always should be prepared to show evidence of their residence, employment and/or travel plans to the inspecting CBP officer, depending on the category of nonimmigrant admission being sought.
CBP expects for the new online I-94 application process to increase efficiencies during inspection and admission, decrease paper usage, and streamline the process at the land border, thereby reducing operating costs.  The secure website is easy to use and payment can be made via credit card, debit card, direct debit, or through PayPal.

Monday, August 1, 2016

August 8 is the Deadline to Apply to Add 7 Months to a 17-Month STEM OPT Extension

From USCIS, 08/01/2016

If you currently have a 17-month STEM OPT extension, you may apply to add 7 months to your STEM OPT period. If you want to apply for this 7-month extension, you must properly file your Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization (with the required fee and signature) on or before August 8, 2016. USCIS will deny applications filed after August 8, 2016.

You may apply to add 7 months to your 17-month STEM OPT period if:

  • You are currently participating in STEM OPT based on a 17-month extension;
  • You request the additional 7-month period by filing a new Form I-765 between May 10, 2016 and August 8, 2016, and within 60 days of the date your designated school official’s enters the recommendation for the 24-month OPT extension into your SEVIS record;
  • You have at least 150 days of valid employment authorization remaining on your 17-month STEM OPT period on the date you properly file your new Form I-765; and
  • You, your designated school official, and your employer meet all the 24-month STEM OPT extension requirements.

For more information on the STEM OPT extension, visit the USCIS Optional Practical Training Extension for STEM Students (STEM OPT) page.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Mission India Announces Significant Delays in US Nonimmigrant Visa Processing

From Morgan Lewis, 06/28/2016

The US Department of State recently announced that US consular posts in India are experiencing unusually long wait times for nonimmigrant visa (NIV) interview appointments. Current wait times for H and L visas are between 75 and 100 days. Current wait times for nonimmigrant visa interview appointments (not including B, F, and J visas) are as follows:

  • Chennai—75 days
  • Hyderabad—93 days
  • Kolkata—96 days
  • Mumbai—88 days
  • New Delhi—100 days

  • These backlogs will likely increase throughout the summer, especially with the enormous increase in student applications that typically occurs in the summer months. The Department of State hopes to add consular positions to alleviate the increase in visa wait times. There are also plans to open a new US consulate in India in the foreseeable future.

  • Requests for expedited processing of visa applications will usually be granted only on a humanitarian basis involving the loss or threatened loss of life. Those required to travel abroad who must obtain a visa stamp in India should consider delaying travel to India until after the backlogs have subsided. Should an Indian national have reason to travel to another jurisdiction, applying outside of India as a Third Country National may be possible, however, Indian nationals are urged to check requirements at consular posts carefully since not every consulate accepts such applications.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

STEM OPT Extension E-forms Now Available!

Attention employees eligible for a STEM OPT Extension: STEM OPT Extension e-forms are now available in iStart

If you have already completed the Intent to Pursue STEM Extension and it has been approved, you may complete the remaining forms. If you've not completed the Intent to Pursue STEM Extension e-form and your current OPT expires in the next 6 months, please begin the e-forms as soon as possible.

If you are a Georgia Tech F-1, these forms are in addition to the forms required by OIE.

Monday, May 9, 2016

U.S. Consulate in Toronto Suspends Third Country National Appointments in Summer 2016

From GreenbergTraurig, 05/06/2016

Following a trend from past summers, the U.S. Consulate in Toronto has suspended Third Country Nationals’ (non-Canadian Nationals’) visa appointments in the summer months of June, July, and August. This suspension only applies to Third Country Nationals and Canadian citizen applicants. Those Third Country Nationals who are legally living in Canada are unaffected. Third Country Nationals with an appointment already scheduled during the summer months may not be affected. However, applicants should consult with counsel or call the Consulate in advance to confirm prior to traveling to Canada.  For now, it appears that the other U.S. Consulates in Canada will continue processing Third Country Applicant visa applications during, but this could change as in years past.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

USCIS Processing Times

Message adapted from USCIS Stakeholder Communication, 04/28/2016

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services recognizes that some cases are taking longer to complete than usual and apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused. Current personnel resources do not align with the present caseload, but they are working to address the staffing shortages and workload issues that are causing the delays. 

USCIS continually reviews their workload capacity at each service center and, based on their findings, redistribute the work among the service centers. This type of planning allows USCIS to maximize their resources and minimize any delays when work is transferred. USCIS has recently transferred cases between all of the service centers, including their newest center, the Potomac Service Center. This work includes all recently filed Forms I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, submitted by F-1 and M-1 students for Optional Practical Training.  For more details, you can visit the workload transfer updates page.

While this may not reduce wait times immediately, USCIS hopes you will see improvement over the next few months. Transferring cases will assist with backlog reduction, ensure processing times are consistent across service centers, and provide customers and stakeholders with faster responses.

Here is what you need to know if your case is transferred to another center for action: 
  • Your case will be worked based on the processing times of the receiving center
  • All notices and requests will come from the new center
  • Please notify USCIS any time you change your address
  • If you receive notice that your Green Card has been approved, please wait 120 days to receive it in the mail
Customers can access current processing times on the USCIS website at

USCIS encourages you to sign up for an account with Case Status Online to get an email or text notification when there is an update to your status, including when your Green Card is mailed. They also encourage you to keep your address up to date to ensure that your card is delivered to your most current physical address. You can update your mailing address online at

Friday, April 8, 2016

Changes Coming for USCIS Filing Fees

A new USCIS fee schedule is currently under review at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). OMB has 90 days to review the fee schedule before it is published in the Federal Register for public comment. The proposed fee schedule is expected to be published by July 1, 2016. As fees have not changed since 2010, some fee increases could be significant.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

USCIS Message: Beware of Immigration Scams

Immigrants all over the country are being targeted for phone scams. Don’t be one of the victims!

Scammers pretend to be a government official and call immigrants saying there is a problem with their immigration record. Sometimes they know personal information about the immigrant. They ask for personal and sensitive details, and demand immediate payment to fix the problem. They get angry and threaten people with deportation if payment is not made immediately with electronic money transfers.

Sometimes, scammers use special software to make it look like our 800 number is calling. Other times they leave a message to call a number that sounds exactly like our 800 number.

Remember, USCIS officials rarely call customers on the phone, and WE WILL NEVER ASK FOR PAYMENT OVER THE PHONE. If we need payment, we will send a letter on official stationery requesting payment.   

If you receive a call like this, hang up and report it to the Federal Trade Commission at  

Visit for information on where to report scams in your state. If you have a question about your immigration record, please call customer service at 800-375-5283, or make an InfoPass appointment at

Thursday, March 24, 2016

USCIS Message: Reminder for H-4 Applicants When Traveling Abroad

From USCIS Public Engagement, 03/24/2016

USCIS would like to remind individuals applying for a change of status to H-4 that if you travel abroad before we approve your Form I-539, Change of Status (COS) application, we will consider your application to be abandoned. This means we will deny your COS application. If you filed your Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and travel abroad before your COS is approved, it will be considered abandoned, along with your I-539 application. This will result in a denial of your Form I-765 even if you are re-admitted as an H-4 nonimmigrant.  If re-admitted as an H-4 nonimmigrant, you would need to file a new Form I-765, with fee, in order to apply for employment authorization.

I can’t find my 1042-S?! I have always received one in the past, and I know I am eligible for the treaty!

If you expected a 1042-S but do not have one in GLACIER, most likely you did not take the treaty through Georgia Tech in 2015. However, you can still receive the treaty benefit through your tax return. If you use Sprintax, the program will know from your other forms that you haven't yet taken the treaty and (if you are eligible) Sprintax will make the appropriate adjustments to your tax refund. You do not need a 1042-S to claim a treaty benefit, it is simply a form for reporting a benefit that has already been claimed.

Both resident and nonresident aliens for tax purposes who already claimed treaties in 2015, as well as all those students who are nonresident aliens for tax purposes receiving scholarships greater than tuition, will use a form 1042-S to complete their tax return.  1042-S forms were released on February 12, 2016.  Recipients received an email from GLACIER when the form was ready.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

New STEM OPT Extension Rule Brings Welcomed Relief to Employers and International Students

From OgletreeDeakins, 03/09/2016

On March 9, 2016, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released an advance copy of the final rule pertaining to optional practical training (OPT) for certain students with degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM). The official version of the final rule is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on March 11, 2016. The new rule will permit employers to retain the talents of certain individuals currently dependent on an F-1 nonimmigrant student visa for a longer period. USCIS will begin accepting applications under this provision on May 10, 2016. Prior to that date, USCIS will continue to accept applications per the existing 17-month STEM OPT procedures.
What Employers Need to Know About the New Rule
This new regulation includes the following major provisions:
  • increases the STEM OPT extension period from 17 months to 24 months;
  • automatically extends work authorization if students properly file a STEM OPT extension;
  • permits students currently approved for a 17-month extension of work authorization to apply for the balance of the new 24-month extension if they meet certain requirements pertaining to timing of their applications;
  • allows students enrolled in a subsequent STEM degree program at a higher level to become eligible for an additional 24-month STEM OPT extension upon completion of the subsequent, higher level program;
  • permits eligibility for the 24-month STEM OPT extension under the new rule to be based on a previously obtained STEM degree (with certain limitations);
  • provides clearer definitions of STEM fields of study within the Department of Education categories;
  • requires students and employers to submit a formal training plan (i.e., learning objectives for the student) and certain employer attestations to protect the U.S. workforce—both of which the student and employer must submit on Form I-983 Training Plan for STEM OPT Students (to be released by USCIS);
  • adds new reporting requirements for students and their employers, including confirmation of the student’s physical residence and employment status every six months, regular evaluations regarding the student’s progress with the training plan, and immediate notification regarding termination of the student’s employment; and
  • provides for DHS site visits to employer locations in which STEM OPT students are employed. The DHS will generally give advance notice of such visits but may also conduct an unannounced visit if triggered by a complaint or other evidence of violation of the regulations.

In addition, the updated rule retains other original provisions from the 2008 interim rule, such as:
  • E-Verify and reporting requirements for STEM OPT employers; and
  • a cap-gap extension for F-1 nonimmigrants with timely filed H-1B cap-subject petitions requesting change of status.

Mentoring and Training Programs for OPT Participants
One of the most notable changes in the new rule is the requirement for employer implementation of formal mentoring and training programs for OPT participants. Employers must now create a mentoring and training plan, which is signed by the employer and the student as a prerequisite to obtaining the STEM extension period; this plan must be submitted on USCIS’s new Form I-983. The plan must describe the field in which the employee will receive training; list the name, title, and contact information of a designated supervisor within the company; and describe in detail the following parameters:
  • how the proposed work assignment is directly related to the student’s degree;
  • a list of the goals and objectives of the program, including a detailed explanation on how the goals will be achieved;
  • a list of the supervisor’s qualifications to provide training and how often the supervisor will interact with the student to further training;
  • a list of other employees who will supervise or train the student and their respective qualifications; and
  • the methodology for measuring the student’s acquisition of the required skills and knowledge for the position.

Special Requirements for Current Holders of 17-Month STEM OPT Seeking 7-Month Extension
As a transitional measure, starting on May 10, 2016, certain students with the 17-month Employment Authorization Documents (EAD) will have a limited window in which to apply for the additional 7 months of OPT to benefit from the full 24-month STEM OPT period. In order to qualify for the additional 7 months of OPT, these students must satisfy the following requirements:
  • The student must meet all requirements for the new 24-month STEM OPT extension, including but not limited to submission of the required training plan to the university on the new Form I-983. The student must also obtain the necessary recommendation for the additional 7-month STEM OPT extension from the university’s Designated School Official (DSO).
  • The student must file Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization with USCIS on or before August 8, 2016and within 60 days of the date that the DSO updated the SEVIS record.
  • The student must have at least 150 calendar days remaining prior to the expiration of the 17-month STEM OPT EAD at the time Form I-765 is filed. The purpose of this 150-day period is to ensure that the student will have at least one year of practical training under the enhancements introduced in this rule, including site visits, reporting requirements, and a statement and evaluation of goals and objectives.

The new rule also expands the amount of time a student may be unemployed while in OPT status. Students may not be unemployed for an aggregate of more than 90 days during the initial OPT period. Under the new rule, students granted a 24-month OPT extension may not be unemployed for an aggregate of more than 150 days (which, prior to the new rule, was 120 days) during the total OPT period (i.e., students may not be unemployed for more than 150 days for the 12 months of initial OPT plus the 24-month STEM extension period).

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week: Phone Scams

This is Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week, and we want you to be aware of tax scams! Today’s lesson: phone scams.

Do not fall victim to scammers who call and say they are with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)! There has been an increase in aggressive phone scams where people call and threaten you with police arrest or deportation if you don’t pay them.

Even if you do owe taxes…
·         The IRS will NEVER call and demand immediate payment over the phone.
·         The IRS will NEVER try to threaten or intimidate you, demand payment with a prepaid debit card, or ask for your credit card or debit card number over the phone.
·         The IRS will NEVER threaten to call the police or immigration agents if you don’t pay.

If you get a call like this, report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration by calling 800-366-4484 or visiting Also, report it to the Federal Trade Commission at

For more information on tax scams, watch this video and read this IRS Tax Tip

Visit or to learn how to recognize and avoid immigration scams and find authorized legal services. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Judge Grants Extension of Work Program for International Students

From Inside Higher Ed, 01/25/2016

The current rule governing a popular postgraduation work program for international students will remain in place until May 10.
The regulation governing the STEM OPT program, which grants students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields the right to spend an additional 17 months working in the U.S. on top of the 12 months available to all international students, was set to expire Feb. 12 after a federal judge ruled the regulation invalid on procedural grounds. In a decision issued Saturday, however, U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle granted the Department of Homeland Security’s request that the ruling be stayed for an additional 90 days, which the agency argued would give it time to implement a new proposed rule for the program and prevent disruption or hardship for participating students and employers.
“The significance of that hardship cannot be overstated,” Judge Huvelle wrote. “According to DHS, there are approximately 23,000 STEM OPT participants, 2,300 dependents of STEM OPT participants, 8,000 pending applications for STEM OPT extensions and 434,000 foreign students who might be eligible to apply for STEM OPT authorizations … If the stay is not extended, many of these people would be adversely affected, either by losing their existing work authorization, not being able to apply for the OPT extension or not knowing whether they will be able to benefit from the extension in the future. And of course, the U.S. tech sector will lose employees, and U.S. educational institutions could conceivably become less attractive to foreign students.”

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Over 4.5 Million Are Waiting for Green Cards—Over 100,000 of them are Employment-Based

From GreenbergTraurig 01/12/2016

The Department of State (DOS) recently published its annual report of immigrant visa applicants (2015 Annual Immigrant Visa Report), which tallies up the number of total applicants—including spouses and children—who are waiting for their respective priority date to become current, allowing for them to obtain their green card. The annual report, which totals the number of applicants up to Nov. 1, 2015, does not take into account those applicants who have adjustment of status applications pending with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as of Nov. 1.
Overall, 2015 saw a three precent increase of total applicants compared against last year, increasing from a total of 4,422,660 for 2014 to 4,556,021 for 2015. This total includes both family-based green cards and employment-based green cards. Employment-based green card applicants only accounted for roughly 100,000 of the 4.5 million. When compared against 2014, the percentage of employment-based applicants waiting to apply for their green cards increased from 90,910 to 100,747—an increase of 10.8 percent.
While a 10.8 percent increase seems like a marginal increase, examining specific categories individually reveals that certain categories—namely Employment First, Second, and Fifth—have grown in popularity with employers and investors. Employment First encompasses green card applications for aliens of extraordinary ability, outstanding researchers, and multi-national managers or executives. From 2014 to 2015, the Employment First category saw an increase of 27.1 percent on the waiting list, from 2,733 to 3,474. Employment Second is reserved for Aliens of Exceptional Ability, which is measured by positions that require a U.S. Master’s degree (or higher), or a Bachelor’s degree and five years of progressive experience.  In 2015, there was an increase of 36.5 percent for Employment Second, with 11,440 on the waiting list as opposed to 8,380 in 2014. Finally, Employment Fifth is reserved for investors and entrepreneurs who invest substantial capital into the U.S. economy, among other requirements. Employment Fifth saw the greatest increase from 2014 to 2015—175.2 percent. The specific wait list numbers, broken down by category, are below:

At first glance, the 140,000 of expected employment-based green card approvals this year seems like it would clear the existing backlog of green card applications of 100,747 left from 2015, but this is not the case because there is a seven percent per-country limit, which visa issuances to any single country, including China and India, cannot exceed. What this looks like for applicants from countries such as China and India is that the wait for green cards will only increase, absent legislative or executive action.
Reviewing the 2015 Annual Immigrant Visa Report by country reveals that India and China remain the world’s largest applicants across each Employment Category, a trend that will likely continue into 2016. For Employment First, China represents more than 25 percent of all applicants, with India coming in a distant second at 9.6 percent.
For Employment Second, India accounts for a two-thirds of all applicants at 66.8 percent; China, on the other hand, accounts for only 7.8 percent, falling just behind South Korea at 8.4 percent.

For Employment Fifth, China leads the applicant-pool with 89.6 percent of all applications.  The next two countries—Hong Kong S.A.R., and Vietnam, only account for 1.4 percent each.

For 2016, approximately 140,000 employment-based green cards are projected to be approved, meaning that the wait will continue for most of the 100,747 who are already waiting for their priority date to become current so that they can obtain their green cards. As the U.S. economy continues to rebound, it is safe to assume that only more applicants, especially from India and China, will continue to apply for employment-based green cards in the higher preference categories—Employment First, Second, and Fifth—where the wait is shorter as compared to Employment Third and Fourth, reserved for skilled workers, and special immigrants, respectively.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Help for International Taxpayers Begins on; Six YouTube Videos Now Available to Assist

IRS Newswire, 01/07/2016

The Internal Revenue Service reminds U.S. taxpayers living abroad, as well as other international taxpayers, that provides the best starting place for getting answers to their important tax questions. This filing season, six new YouTube videos on common issues that international taxpayers face are also available.

The International Taxpayers page on is packed with information designed to help taxpayers living abroad, resident aliens, nonresident aliens, residents of U.S. territories and foreign students. The web site also features a directory that includes overseas tax preparers.

“These resources provide critical information to assist taxpayers with many different needs,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.  “Tax issues can be even more challenging for international taxpayers, and provides important details they need to understand their obligations.”

International taxpayers will find the online IRS Tax Map and the International Tax Topic Index to be valuable sources of answers for their tax questions. These online tools assemble or group IRS forms, publications and web pages by subject and provide users with a single entry point to find tax information.

In 2015, the IRS also created videos to assist international taxpayers with some of their most common questions. The videos cover the following international taxpayer topics:

By law, Americans living abroad, as well as many non-U.S. citizens, must file a U.S. income tax return. In addition, key tax benefits, such as the foreign earned income exclusion, are only available to those who file a U.S. return. These online resources and videos are designed to help affected taxpayers understand how these rules apply to them.

Federal law requires U.S. citizens and resident aliens to report worldwide income, including income from foreign trusts and foreign bank and securities accounts. In most cases, affected taxpayers need to complete and attach Schedule B to their tax return. Part III of Schedule B asks about the existence of foreign accounts, such as bank and securities accounts, and usually requires U.S. citizens to report the country in which each account is located.

Taxpayers with an interest in, or signature or other authority over, foreign financial accounts whose aggregate value exceeded $10,000 at any time during 2015 must file with the Treasury Department a Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR). It is due to the Treasury Department by June 30, 2016, must be filed electronically and is only available online through the BSA E-Filing System website. For details regarding the FBAR requirements, see Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR).

U.S. taxpayers with foreign accounts should also understand their reporting requirements under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). Third-party information reporting from foreign financial institutions or through intergovernmental agreements began in 2015.

In addition, under FATCA, certain U.S. taxpayers holding financial assets outside the United States must report those assets to the IRS on Form 8938, Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets.  Generally, U.S. citizens, resident aliens and certain non-resident aliens must report specified foreign financial assets on this form if the aggregate value of those assets exceeds certain thresholds. Reporting thresholds vary based on whether a taxpayer files a joint income tax return or lives abroad. See the instructions for Form 8938 for more information.

To help avoid delays with tax refunds, taxpayers living abroad should visit the Helpful Tips for Effectively Receiving a Tax Refund for Taxpayers Living Abroad page.

The IRS has also added two new international tax topics to Tax Trails, the agency’s interactive online tool that helps taxpayers get answers to their general tax questions. The two topics involve filing requirements and filing status of a U.S. citizen or resident alien married to a nonresident alien.

More information on the tax rules that apply to U.S. citizens and resident aliens living abroad can be found in, Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad, available on