Tax Form 8843 for Nonresident Aliens

With the tax season upon us, it can be confusing to know what your filing responsibilities are. Here are some helpful questions and answers for international students and scholars regarding the Form 8843.

Do all nonresident aliens need to file a tax return?

Not all nonresident aliens for tax purposes need to file taxes. Only students with U.S.-sourced income such was wages, scholarships, fellowships, income exempt through tax treaty benefits, capital gains, etc. are liable to file a tax return. Please note that nonresident aliens for tax purposes are still responsible for filing the Form 8843, even if they did not earn any U.S.-sourced income.

Do all nonresident aliens need to file the Form 8843?

All nonresident aliens for tax purposes exempting days of presence from the Substantial Presence Test need to file Form 8843, regardless of whether they need to file a tax return. This includes dependent spouses and children who are nonresident aliens for tax purposes. This form records the days of presence exempted from the Substantial Presence Test and is not the same as filing taxes. You can use GLACIER Tax Prep to prepare your Form 8843. Alternatively, you can follow the instructions for the Form 8843 provided by the IRS

What is the Substantial Presence Test?

The Substantial Presence Test (SPT) is one of the two tests that the IRS uses to determine whether international students and scholars are resident aliens for tax purposes or nonresident aliens for tax purposes. It measures whether or not the taxpayer has been present in the US for at least 183 days total over a three year period using the IRS calculation. International students in an F, J, Q, and M visa status are able to exempt 5 years of presence from the SPT, while international scholars in a J or Q visa status are able to exempt 2 years of presence from the SPT. GLACIER Tax Prep is able to help calculate whether or not you pass the SPT as there are several nuances to the SPT.

Do all international students and scholars need to file Form 8843?

Not all international students and scholars need to complete the Form 8843. Those considered resident alien for tax purposes, including spouses and dependents, do not have to file the Form 8843. Generally, students who have been in the U.S. for longer than 5 years and scholars who have been in the U.S. for longer than 2 years qualify as a resident alien for tax purposes. U.S. citizens also do not need to file the Form 8843. GLACIER Tax Prep can assist in determining whether you qualify as a resident alien or nonresident alien for tax purposes.

Is a SSN or ITIN required to file Form 8843?

You do not need an SSN or an ITIN to file Form 8843. There is a place to enter your tax identification number if you have one, but you do not need a tax identification number to file this document.

When is the deadline to file Form 8843?

The deadline for Form 8843 depends on whether the Form 8843 is included with your tax return. If you are submitting a tax return along with your Form 8843, then the documents should be submitted by April 17, 2018. If you are filing the Form 8843 by itself because you did not have any U.S.-sourced income, then the filing deadline is June 15, 2018.

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2018-2019 Good Neighbor Scholarship Deadline Reminder

ISSS is now accepting applications for the Good Neighbor Scholarship (GNS) for the 2018-2019 academic year! The GNS provides for one year of tuition (fall, spring, and summer) to students who were born in and are residents of a nation in the Western Hemisphere (excluding Cuba and the U.S.). The full list of eligibility requirements are included within the application itself.

Incoming UT students, both graduate and undergraduate, and current UT Students are eligible for the GNS. Incoming students must be accepted to The University of Texas at Austin by the submission deadline to be considered for the GNS.

The GNS application requires a statement of purpose that addresses all of the following points:

  • Campus and community involvement -Discuss your involvement with student groups, university committees, and/or community involvement/volunteering and how they contribute to your success as a student.
  • Academic Goals – Explain your current academic interests and plans after graduation.
  • Financial Need – Indicate need for financial assistance, including any recent changes in your financial situation (e.g. medical bills, loss of sponsorship).

Current UT students may use on-campus writing resources at the University Writing Center (

The deadline to submit the 2018-2019 Good Neighbor Scholarship is February 23, 2018. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board will decide the recipients of the Good Neighbor Scholarship in early-May and all applicants will be notified in mid-May via email. Questions regarding the scholarship may be directed to

Good luck!!

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Spring 2018 Tax Seminars

Confused about U.S. taxes? You are not alone!

U.S. taxes are oftentimes complex and difficult to understand to people new to the U.S. The International Office is hosting two separate tax seminars through the spring 2018 semester to help clear up some confusion and questions regarding the U.S. tax system. These seminars will serve as an introduction to the US tax system and will briefly cover several topics including:

  • Your Tax Filing Obligations
  • How to File a US Tax Return
    • International Office Tax Filing Resources
    • GLACIER and GLACIER Tax Prep
  • Tax Treaties
  • Claiming Dependents
  • Tax Scams
  • and much more!

When and Where:

February 21, 2018, 5-6 PM – Avaya Auditorium (POB 2.302)
March 19, 2018, 5-6 PM – International Office

Space is limited! An RSVP will be sent out to all enrolled international students and active scholars a week before each seminar. Be sure to monitor your email during that time to save your spot.

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Dating & Healthy Relationships

Are you curious about dating and romantic relationships in the US? Where do you meet people, how do you ask someone on a date, where do you go on a first date, who pays for the meal, how do you know if someone likes you? If these are some questions that you have thought of, then this is the workshop for you! You’re invited to attend the ISSS/CMHC lunch seminars this spring, starting on February 16th, 2018.

Who?  YOU and your fellow international students

When?  12:00 – 1:00 pm

February 16 (Dating & Healthy Relationships)

March 23 (Topic TBD)

April 20 (Topic TBD)

Where?  Student Services Building (SSB) – Glenn Maloney Room (SSB – G1.310)

Why?  Enjoy the provided LUNCH, meet new people, and connect with some of the resources on campus to help manage times of transition and stress.


Looking forward to welcoming you to the spring lunch seminars and building a healthier community together. Please contact with any questions.


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Attend the International Snackathon

The International Snackathon is hosted by the Graduate Student Assembly.

It will feature snacks from all over the world and will be the last big event for the International Student Agency. It will be an opportunity for all graduate students to come together and enjoy snacks from different countries and make friends from all over the world. This event is open to all international and domestic students, both undergraduate and graduate levels!

Date: February 16, 2018
Location: SAC Ballroom North
Time: 7:30PM to 10PM

Please check out their Facebook page for more information.

Pizza and international snacks will be provided.

poster for international snackathon

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Exploring Austin

Hello! In this blog post I will share some of my favorite spots in Austin – all places you can get to very easily on foot or by bus!

On or Near Campus (walk-able):

  • Darrell K. Royal Football Stadium – You can study downstairs or upstairs in the Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports (which is a really great space)!
  • Blanton Cafe – Once a month they will host a live music performance during lunch hours.
  • Harry Ransom Center – This is a great place to go on a rainy day. I always snag a $1 postcard of my favorite piece at the tiny stand on my way out.
  • AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center – There is a great outdoor sitting area and cafe upstairs that is open to the public.
  • Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary – Just north of campus, they have a beautiful chapel and also a small library that is very quiet.
  • Austin-Hemphill Neighborhood Park – Take a break from studying and take a walk to the park!
  • Texas French Bread – This is a nice spot for breakfast, baked goods, and coffee.

803 North Bound – (Bus stop next to the Communications  building on Guad. or bus stop in front of the Union Building)

  • Central Market – One of my favorite spots in all of Austin. There is live music on the weekends and an upstairs sitting area to read, study, or meet a friend! They have smoothies, soups, salads, and a cafe! (Rosedale stop)
  • Blue Elephant/Paper Place boutiques – These are small, local shops with great gift ideas and quirky items. (Rosedale stop)
  • Houndstooth Cafe – This cafe is known for their good coffee and is also a great spot to meet with a friend. (Rosedale stop)
  • Domain Mall (Domain stop)

803/801 South Bound – (Bus stop in front of Kerbey Lane or Co-op on Guadalupe)

  • Violet Crowne Movie Theater – A small local theater with drinks and food; buy your tickets in advance! (Republic Square stop on 4th street)
  • Halcyon – For table-top s’mores and hangouts. (Republic Square stop on 4th street)
  • Starbucks on 3rd street – This is a great spot to people-watch if you get the corner table in between the windows. (Republic Square stop on 4th street)
  • Jo’s (Republic Square stop on 4th street)
  • PRIZE Boutique and Luxe Apothetique Boutique – PRIZE has a wonderful selection of fun greeting cards. (Republic Square stop on 4th street)

801 Southbound  – (Bus stop in front of Kerbey Lane on Guadalupe and Co-op on Guadalupe)

  • South Congress Shops and Restaurants (SOCO stop)
    • Hopdoddy’s (well-known burgers in Austin)
    • Homeslice (well-known pizza in Austin)
    • Big Top Candy Shop (get an ice cream cone here)
    • Uncommon Objects (antique store): This store is no longer located on South Congress. Please click the link for directions to the new location. [updated 2/14/2018]
  • Tom’s Cafe (SOCO stop)

801 Northbound – (Bus stop next to the Comm. building on Guadalupe and the bus stop in front of the Union Building)

I would love to hear from you about any of the recommendations and what you thought of them. Also, let me know if you have suggestions to add in the comments below!

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Optional Practical Training (OPT) for Spring 2018

Are you an F-1 student who will graduate in spring 2018? Do you want to work in the U.S. after graduation? If you answered yes to both questions, then you want to apply for Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT). OPT is work authorization for F-1 students that allows you to work in your field of study.

You must attend an OPT workshop (presented at the International Office) before you can apply for Post-Completion OPT. Additionally, the earliest you can apply is 90 days prior (February 19) to the official graduation date of the semester. Applying for OPT early is recommended because USCIS can take around 3 months to approve your application.

If this is something that you are interested in, we encourage you to apply. Sign-up for an OPT workshop now to begin the process.

More information is available online about OPT.

*Note – OPT used prior to graduation is called Pre-Completion OPT. Attendance at an OPT workshop is not required for Pre-Completion OPT.*

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Spring 2018 Employment Seminar – February 28, 2018

The ISSS Advising Team will be hosting FREE information sessions on post- completion/graduation employment options, different work visa types, and permanent residency options for the international student and scholar population at The University of Texas at Austin.  The sessions will be held in the Peter O’Donnell Jr. building (POB) on the corner of 24th St. and Speedway on February 28, 2018.

5:30 PM: F-1 Student Session (Avaya Auditorium /POB 2.302)

5:30 PM: J-1 Student/Scholar Session (Avaya Auditorium/POB 2.402)

6:30 PM: Immigration Attorney Presentation  (Avaya Auditorium/POB 2.302)

Employment Seminar Flyer

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New Exchange Students at UT

This spring we welcome 240 new exchange students to campus! Most of our new exchange students will only be at UT for 1 semester, so they are eager to make the most of their time here. We are so proud of the impression they are already making at UT and in the community.

On Jan. 18 and 25, exchange students volunteered to help distribute food to the homeless and hungry at Micah 6 Food Pantry. Our group of exchange student volunteers served approximately 300 individuals and families needing assistance.

volunteers serving salsa

Exchange students also volunteered on campus at the Study Abroad Fair, promoting exchange programs by sharing information with other UT students about their home countries and home universities.

We are looking forward to catching up with exchange students at our monthly meet ups throughout the semester to find out more about their adventures.
students tabling at study abroad fairstudents browsing study abroad fair

All photos credited to Daniel Han.

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2018-2019 Scholarship Applications Open!

The following scholarship applications for 2018-2019 school year are now available!

General ISSS Financial Aid Award

  • NEW! All awards will be distributed as cash awards for the upcoming 2018-2019 school year.
    • Awards will be automatically applied towards any outstanding debts with UT. Any scholarship amount in excess of UT debt will be distributed to the student via direct deposit.
    • 14% of the scholarship will be withheld for tax purposes per US tax law, unless a tax treaty for scholarships is in effect or the recipient is considered a resident alien for tax purposes.
    • Recipients will be obligated to file a tax return for the scholarship income earned, but may also receive a tax refund for the amount withheld from the scholarships.
      • It is recommended that the recipient applies for a taxpayer identification number if they do not already hold an ITIN or SSN. You will also need a taxpayer identification number in order to claim any applicable tax treaty benefits.
  • ISSS is able to provide up to $2,500 each semester for fall and spring and $1,500 for the summer semester to students who are able to demonstrate financial need.
  • Only international students who have completed at least 2 semesters at UT by the time the award is disbursed are eligible to apply for this award.

International Education Fee Scholarship

  • The International Education Fee (IEF) Scholarship benefits first-time incoming UT international students who have faced significant barriers accessing education in their home country and who are able to demonstrate financial need.
  • The IEF Scholarship provides an in-state tuition waiver, and covers tuition and required fees for up to 4 years.

Tuition Assistance for Mexican Students

  • To be eligible for the TAMS award, you must be a citizen and resident of Mexico who demonstrates financial need.
  • The Tuition Assistance for Mexican Students (TAMS) award provides a waiver of the nonresident portion of a recipient’s tuition bill.
  • The TAMS award is available to both incoming and continuing students at UT.

Good Neighbor Scholarship

  • The Good Neighbor Scholarship (GNS) applicants must be international students who were born in and are residents of a nation in the Western Hemisphere (excluding Cuba and the U.S.)
  • Recipients are provided one year of tuition assistance, excluding fees.
  • The GNS is available to both incoming and continuing students at UT.

Jerry D. Wilcox Community Engagement Scholarship

  • The Jerry D. Wilcox Community Engagement Scholarship is open to current undergraduate international students at UT  who demonstrate active participation and leadership within the campus or the greater community.
  • The scholarship provides recipients with one-time $2,500 fall tuition award.
  • Thank you letters are required upon selection for the Jerry D. Wilcox Community Engagement Scholarship.

All the scholarship applications can be found on our website under the appropriate scholarship name, and all applicants will be notified via email.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to reach out to

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