Skip to Main Content


You are in the main content

International Employee Information

Important Notices

  • 2016 1042S forms will be available/mailed from James Madison University by March 15, 2017.
  • Special withholding rules apply to wages paid to Foreign Nationals who are Nonresidents.

Topics of Interest

Calendars & Deadlines
Payments to Short-Term Foreign National Visitors

IRS Publication 515 - "Withholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens and Foreign Corporations"

Annual Tax Return Forms and Instructions
Form 1040 NR for Federal Tax Reporting Instructions
Form 1040 NR EZ for Federal Tax Reporting Instructions
Form 763 for State Tax Reporting Instructions

General Information for Hiring International Employees   Updated: January 2005

  • Can we hire an international employee?
    Definitely YES! Just be aware that there are special steps you must take in processing the hiring of this individual.
  • What are these special steps?
    The first thing you must do is schedule an appointment for the individual to meet with Delores Blough (568-6336) from the Office of International Student and Faculty Programs. Once it has been verified that the person is eligible to work in the United States and has completed the needed and required paperwork to certify this, they will be advised on the steps that must be taken to maintain their eligibility.
  • What's next?
    There are special withholding rules that apply to wages paid to international employees who are nonresidents. Please have the employee schedule an appointment to meet with Sherry Willis in Payroll Services (568-8034). She will see that all tax related forms are completed accurately and submitted to the correct international or governmental agency.
  • What forms must I complete?
    The same employment forms apply to international employees with the exception of (a) the I-9 form and (b) in some cases, tax forms. You still must get a Direct Deposit Authorization Form from the employee, as well as, complete the appropriate hiring paperwork.
  • What else should we know about international employees?
    International student employees in F-1 and J-1 status' are limited to working a maximum of 20 hours per week. Also, international employees are sometimes eligible for exemption from FICA depending on their immigration status. Payroll Services will make this determination. If the employee is eligible for a FICA exemption, then your department will also not be charged the employer's share of FICA.

NRA Form W-4 Instructions

The IRS has special withholding rules for non-residents. Whether you are a nonresident employee for tax purposes depends upon the results of the 183-day residency formula as determined by the International Tax Navigator using your immigration status/history and U.S. days. The goal of the new rules is to provide withholding on wages that more closely approximates your income tax liability. The new rules accomplish this with new Form W-4 rules and special payroll computations for withholding on wages. When completing Form W-4 under the new form rules, a nonresident employee must:

  1. Check only "Single" marital status on line 3 (regardless of actual marital status).
  2. Claim only one withholding allowance on line 5, unless a resident of Canada, Mexico, or South Korea, or a US National.
  3. Write "Nonresident Alien" or "NRA" above the dotted line on line 6.
  4. Do not claim "Exempt" withholding status on line 7.

Nonresident employees are not required to request an additional withholding amount, but they can choose to have an additional amount withheld on line 6.

Nonresident employees may be exempt from tax or the withholding of tax. Even if no tax treaty exists to exempt the NRA from withholding federal and state taxes, the NRA may still qualify for the FICA tax exemption. It is strongly recommended that the hiring department have the NRA complete a Foreign National Information Questionnaire and contact Payroll Services for a tax analysis. Payroll Services will see that all tax related forms are completed accurately and submitted to the correct international or governmental agency.

NOTE: The new tax rules/additional income adjustment does not apply to students and business apprentices from India.

Other items:
What to do if you do not receive your W-2/1042S Form