Nonresident Aliens – Dependents

Only nonresident aliens who are U.S. nationals, residents of Canada, Mexico and South Korea; or residents of India who were students or business apprentices can have a qualifying dependent.

In general, a dependent is a qualifying child or a qualifying relative. Three exceptions apply.

  1. An individual who is a dependent of a taxpayer is treated as having no dependents.
  2. An individual who files a joint return is not a dependent if the individual files a joint return, unless the joint return is filed only to claim a refund of estimated or withheld taxes.
  3. An individual claimed as a dependent must be a citizen, national, or resident of the United States, or a resident of Canada or Mexico.

You must show the SSN (or ITIN) of any dependent you list in the Dependents section of your Form 1040NR.  If you do not include such information, certain tax benefits may be disallowed.

Residents of Mexico or Canada or U.S. Nationals

If you are a resident of Mexico or Canada or a national of the United States, you can claim each of your dependents who meet certain tests. Residents of Mexico, Canada, or nationals of the United States must use the same rules as U.S. citizens to determine who is a dependent. See Publication 501 for these rules.

Residents of South Korea

A nonresident alien who is a resident of South Korea (other than an employee of the Korean government) may be able to claim his or her child as a qualifying dependent. In addition to using the same rules as U.S. citizens to determine who is a dependent, under the income tax treaty with South Korea, the child must have lived with the nonresident alien in the United States at some time during the tax year.

Students and business apprentices from India
Students and business apprentices who are eligible for the benefits of Article 21(2) of the United States-India Income Tax Treaty can claim their dependents if they meet the same rules that apply to U.S. citizens. 

References/Related Topics

Aliens – Repeal of Personal Exemptions 
Taxation of Nonresident Aliens
Taxation of Dual-Status Aliens