Good news! If you are a non-immigrant with an SSN and have filed your taxes for 2018 and/or 2019, expect to get a check credited to your bank account.
As part of the economic stimulus package called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, H1-B visa holders, their dependents, and other non-immigrant visa holders in the United States are eligible to receive a stimulus check.
The CARES Act is a one-time economic relief during the hardships of COVID-19. The U.S. government considers passing another bill to extend the CARES Act.
Non-immigrants who have been substantially present in the United States and are categorized as ‘Resident Aliens’ by the IRS are eligible to receive the stimulus check. Non-immigrants under a B1/B2 visa and international students on F1 student visas and non-immigrants without a Social Security Number are ineligible.
Will the Stimulus Relief Check affect my Green Card Application?
No, collecting the stimulus relief check will not affect any future immigration filings, including the application for U.S. citizenship. The check is considered a tax credit and not a state or federal benefit. You are receiving it like any other taxpayer.
Eligibility Criteria for Resident Aliens to Receive the Stimulus Check
All H1-B holders and other tax-paying resident aliens have to meet a minimum standard of eligibility requirements that are applicable to most U.S. citizens.
- Filed your 2018 and/or 2019 tax returns that provide the IRS with your bank account information.
- Have a Social Security Number (SSN).
- If taxes are filed together with an H4 dependent visa holder spouse, both filers should have an SSN.
- For parents to receive an additional $500 per child, the parent must have an SSN. The child will not receive the stimulus check even if the child has an SSN.
- People with an ITIN are not eligible.
Substantial Presence Qualifications
To be considered substantially present, the non-immigrant needs to have been physically present in the U.S. for at least:
- 31 days during 2020 and
- 183 days during the 3-year period that includes 2020 and the 2 years immediately before that. (The entire year of 2020, plus four months of 2019 and 61 days of 2018.)
If the H1-B visa holder and/or other tax-paying resident aliens have been physically present in the U.S. for the above days, they will be eligible for the stimulus check.
Distribution and Collection of Stimulus Checks
The IRS began distributing checks the week of April 13, 2020, and they will continue to be sent out in waves through September 2020. If you don’t receive the check in the next couple of weeks, first make sure that you are eligible and if you are, just wait patiently.
The IRS will deposit the stimulus check to your U.S. bank account using the direct deposit information on your 2018 or 2019 income tax return. The IRS will have an online portal available to those who did not file their federal tax return online or did not receive a federal tax refund to their bank account. If you do not opt-in for direct deposit, the check will be sent in the mail.
Income Thresholds to Qualify for the Stimulus Check:
- An unmarried visa holder, earning less than $75,000
will get a one-time payment of $1,200.
- Married couples who file joint taxes but earn less than $150,000,
will get a one-time payment of $2,400.
- Checks will not be given to single filers with income of $99,000+
or to joint filers earning $198,000+.
- Families with children can expect to receive $500 for each child, provided that the parents have an SSN.