The Congressional Research Service (CRS), which works exclusively for the United States Congress to provide nonpartisan policy and legal analysis, has released a report confirming that many nonimmigrants are eligible to receive recovery rebates (frequently referred to as stimulus checks) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Requirements for Eligibility Grounded in Tax Law
As detailed in the CRS report, in order to qualify for the recover rebate, the foreign national must have a Social Security Number, and must be considered a resident alien under tax law. To be a resident alien, one must either be a lawful permanent resident (i.e., green card holder) or meet the “substantial presence test” under tax law. The report summarizes the substantial presence test as follows:
To meet the substantial presence test, you must be physically present in the United States on at least:
1. 31 days during the current year, and
2. 183 days during the 3-year period that includes the current year and the 2 years immediately before that, counting:
– All the days you were present in the current year, and
– 1/3 of the days you were present in the first year before the current year, and
– 1/6 of the days you were present in the second year before the current year
The substantial presence test has special rules for some aliens considered “exempt individuals,” such as nonimmigrant diplomats and students, and other aliens who demonstrate a closer connection to a foreign country.
Any individual with specific questions regarding eligibility for the recovery rebate should consult with a tax attorney.
No Public Charge Issue
Finally, the report clarifies that receipt of the recovery rebate will not be considered for public charge purposes.