Under the Stimulus bill, single Americans would receive $1,200, married couples would get $2,400, and parents would see $500 for each child under age 17.
Green Card holders should be eligible to receive stimulus payments if they previously filed tax returns in the United States, this also applies to EB-5 Investors already living in the United States, even if they have not filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019. The only requirement for them would be to file a tax return stating their SSN.
What about if I’m working in the United States under a Nonimmigrant visa (E-2, L-1, or H1-B)?
According to the CARES Act, if you are on a visa (E-2, L-1, etc.), you are eligible to receive the stimulus check if you pass the so-called Green Card Test. 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. In sum, regardless of your visa (“F”, “A” or “G” Visas 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.
Tax residents file a 1040 IRS form while non-residents, such as a B-1/B-2 visa holder, file a 1040 NR (Non-Resident) IRS form. The stimulus payment that is made will be made 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.
Therefore, if you have filed tax returns in the U.S. over the past few years, and you meet all eligibility criteria set out in the CARES Act (which narrows down to having a valid SSN and be classified as a Resident-Alien by the IRS), you should receive the stimulus package payment.
Married, but the wife is not working?
Many nonimmigrant workers bring their families to the United States with them; hence, their spouses and children have particular benefits as dependents, such as the possibility of applying for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). This is the case for an E-2 visa holder and its dependents. Still, other nonimmigrant visa categories do not allow dependents to obtain an EAD, as it’s the case with a T.N. visa holder (Principal Applicant) and its dependent (T.D.), who is not allowed to obtain an EAD.
Then, eligibility criteria for Resident Aliens vary, depending on how you filed your last tax return. Many people file as “Married filing Jointly” even if the wife does not have a work permit in the United States, needless to say, this is entirely legal.
When a dependant or derivative of a principal visa applicant files a tax return jointly with their spouse, they can do so with an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN), or if they have an EAD, they can file a tax return using their SSN.
To establish eligibility, we’ll consider the E-2 visa category as the Principal and the E-2 Derivative to guide the possible eligibility criteria in the following table. We have listed them to the best of our knowledge.
This table was created as per the best information available directly on the IRS website.
Stimulus Package Table
|Married Filing Jointly||Eligible for Check|
|E-2 SSN + E-2D Spouse ITIN + No Child||No|
|E-2 SSN + E-2D Spouse SSN + No Child||Yes|
|E-2 SSN + E-2D Spouse ITIN + E-2D Child ITIN||No|
|E-2 SSN + E-2D Spouse SSN + E-2D Child ITIN||Maybe. Without Child Credit|
|E-2 SSN + E-2D Spouse SSN + E-2D Child SSN||Yes|
|E-2 SSN + E-2D Spouse ITIN + Child SSN||No|
|E-2 SSN + E-2D Spouse SSN + E-2D Child SSN + E-2D Child ITIN||Maybe. Without Child Credit|
According to the National Law Center, the IRS will exclude people who filed “Married filing Jointly” returns if the spouse or anyone in the family does not have SSN, as reported by MiamiHerald. However, the rules are still being updated by the IRS. You can see the IRS rules here.
The same applies to L-2 dependents, but the crude reality is that many visa dependents use an ITIN until they get their own EAD. Therefore, if they have filed a joint tax return with their spouse who has an SSN, it automatically makes them ineligible to receive the stimulus check unless they obtain an SSN, as it’s shown in the first example of the table.
If your taxes were filed using an ITIN in 2018, but your spouse has now an EAD and Social Security Number, you should submit your 2019 tax returns with your spouse’s SSN as early as possible to be eligible for the check.
If you have any questions, contact us at Rahbaran Law here and we’ll help direct you through your immigration process and this time.