Substantial Presence Test

The Substantial Presence Test helps determine if nonresident aliens should be treated as residents for tax purposes.

There are two tests that determine residency for tax purposes: the Green Card Test and the Substantial Presence Test. Under the Green Card Test, a lawful permanent resident is considered a resident for tax purposes. The Substantial Presence Test, on the other hand, involves counting eligible days in the U.S. to determine residency for tax purposes.

The Substantial Presence Test consists of two parts: The 31-day test and the 183-day test. You must be present in the U.S. for at least 31 days during the calendar year, and 183 days during the three-year period that includes the current year and the two previous years. To determine if you've reached substantial presence, add together all eligible days you were in the U.S. in the current year, one-third of the eligible days present in the preceding year, and one-sixth of the eligible days present in the second preceding year.

There are certain exceptions to counting days toward substantial presence and "exempt individual" rules, for F or J visa holders, to determine your eligible days. See our web page Claiming U.S. Residency for Tax Purposes—Substantial Presence for more information on how to determine substantial presence.

Use the Substantial Presence Worksheet (pdf) to help determine if you can claim residency for tax purposes. If you pass the Substantial Presence Test, you can complete a Form W-9 and send it to Payroll Services at B20 Donhowe Building. Once the W-9 form is processed, if appropriate, you can change your W-4 allowances to claim tax withholding as a resident (in MyU, go to the My Pay tab and click on W-4 Tax Information