Publication 513 - Introductory Material


This publication is for visitors to the United States. If you have income from sources inside the United States, you may have to file a U.S. income tax return even if you are only visiting this country. For purposes of this publication, a “visitor to the United States” is a “nonresident alien.” This publication summarizes the requirements of U.S. income tax law relating to nonresident aliens and is for nonresident aliens only.

You are a nonresident alien unless you are either a U.S. citizen or a resident alien of the United States. You are a resident alien of the United States if you meet either the substantial presence test or the green card test. Even if you do not meet either of these tests, you may be able to choose to be treated as a U.S. resident alien for part of the year. See First-Year Choice under Dual-Status Aliens in Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.

Substantial presence test.   You meet the substantial presence test if you are physically present in the United States for at least:
  1. 31 days during 2010, and

  2. 183 days during the period 2010, 2009, and 2008, using the following chart.

(a) (b) (c) (d)
Year Days of physical presence Multiplier Testing days (multiply (b) times (c))
2010   1.000  
2009   .333  
2008   .167  
Total testing days (add column (d))  
For more information about the substantial presence test, see Publication 519.

Green card test.   You meet the green card test if you are a lawful permanent resident of the United States. You generally have this status if you have been issued an alien registration card, also known as a “green card.” You continue to be a resident under this test unless the status is taken away from you or is determined to have been abandoned. For more information about the green card test, see Publication 519.

Dual-status alien.   You can be both a nonresident alien and a resident of the United States during the same tax year. This usually occurs in the year you arrive in or depart from the United States. Aliens who have dual status should see chapter 6 of Publication 519 for information on filing a return for a dual-status tax year.

Under U.S. immigration law, most visitors who come to the United States are not allowed to work here. You must check with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before getting a job. Information is available at

Comments and suggestions.   We welcome your comments about this publication and your suggestions for future editions.

  You can write to us at the following address:

Internal Revenue Service 
Individual Forms and Publications Branch 
1111 Constitution Ave. NW, IR-6526 
Washington, DC 20224

  We respond to many letters by telephone. Therefore, it would be helpful if you would include your daytime phone number, including the area code, in your correspondence.

  You can email us at * (The asterisk must be included in the address.) Please put “Publications Comment” on the subject line. You also can send us comments from Select “Comment on Tax Forms and Publications” under “Information about.” Although we cannot respond individually to each comment received, we do appreciate your feedback and will consider your comments as we revise our tax products.

Ordering forms and publications.   Visit to download forms and publications, call 1-800-829-3676, or write to the address below and receive a response within 10 business days after your request is received.

Internal Revenue Service  
1201 N. Mitsubishi Motorway 
Bloomington, IL 61705-6613

Tax questions.   If you have a tax question, check the information available on or call 1-800-829-1040. We cannot answer tax questions sent to either of the above addresses.

Useful Items - You may want to see:


  • 519 U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens


  • W-4 Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate

  • W-8BEN Certificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding

  • W-7 Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number

  • 1040-C U.S. Departing Alien Income Tax Return

  • 1040NR U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return

  • 1040NR-EZ U.S. Income Tax Return for Certain Nonresident Aliens With No Dependents

  • 1040-ES (NR) U.S. Estimated Tax for Nonresident Alien Individuals

  • 2063 U.S. Departing Alien Income Tax Statement

  • 4868 Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return

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