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Exempt Individuals: Teachers and Trainees

A teacher or trainee is an individual, other than a student, who is temporarily in the United States under a "J " or "Q " visa and substantially complies with the requirements of that nonimmigrant status. You are considered to have substantially complied with the requirements of that nonimmigrant status if you have not engaged in activities that are prohibited by U.S. immigration laws and could result in the loss of your nonimmigrant status. Any nonimmigrant temporarily present in the U.S. in "J" or "Q" status who is not a student is included within the definition of "Teacher or Trainee." For example, alien physicians, au pairs, short-term scholars, and summer camp workers temporarily present in the U.S. in "J" nonimmigrant status are included within the IRS definition of "Teacher or Trainee." In addition, cultural exchange visitors in "Q" nonimmigrant status are also included within the IRS definition of "Teacher or Trainee".

Also Included Are Immediate Family Members of Exempt Teachers and Trainees

Members of the immediate family include the individual's spouse and unmarried children (whether by blood or adoption), but only if the spouse's or unmarried children's nonimmigrant statuses are derived from, and dependent on, the exempt individual's nonimmigrant status. Unmarried children are included only if they meet all the following:

  • Are under 21 years of age.
  • Reside regularly in the exempt individual's household.
  • Are not members of another household.

The immediate family of an exempt individual does not include attendants, servants, or personal employees.

When a Teacher or Trainee is Not Exempt

You will not be an exempt individual as a teacher or trainee if you were exempt as a teacher, trainee, or student for any part of 2 of the 6 calendar years preceding the current year. However, you will be an exempt individual if you were exempt as a teacher, trainee, or student for any part of 4 (or fewer) of the 6 preceding calendar years and:

  • A foreign employer paid all of your compensation during the current year.
  • A foreign employer paid all of your compensation during each of the preceding 6 years you were present in the United States as a teacher or trainee.

A foreign employer includes an office or place of business of an American entity in a foreign country or a U.S. possession.

If you qualify to exclude days of presence as a teacher or trainee, you must file a fully-completed Form 8843, Statement for Exempt Individuals and Individuals with a Medical Condition (PDF) with the IRS. Form 8843 may be attached to your U.S. federal income tax return for the tax year, or it may be mailed separately to the address indicated in the General Instructions attached to the Form 8843.

Example:

Carla is temporarily present in the United States as a teacher in J-1 nonimmigrant status. She entered the United States on August 15, 2012, and is employed by a university in California.  She has never been in the United States prior to this visit. Carla is an Exempt Individual for calendar years 2012 and 2013 because during those two years she meets the test that prior to the current year she was not present during two years in the United States in F, J, M, or Q nonimmigrant status during the 6 calendar years prior to the current year. However, for calendar year 2014 she is no longer an Exempt Individual because she was present during two years in the United States in F, J, M, or Q nonimmigrant status during the 6 calendar years preceding the current year. For calendar year 2014, Carla must count her days of presence in the United States for the purpose of passing the Substantial Presence Test.
 

References/Related Topics

Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 23-Jul-2013