Substantial Presence Test

Substantial Presence Test

Substantial Presence Test (SPT)

A foreign person will be considered a U.S. resident for tax purposes if they meet the substantial presence test for the calendar year. To meet this test, the foreign person must be physically present in the U.S. 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 the indivdiual was  present in the current year, and
    • 1/3 of the days the individual was present in the first year before the current year, and
    • 1/6 of the days the individual was present in the second year before the current year.

SPT Exceptions & Exemptions

Days that a foreign person is considered an "exempt individual" do not count towards the SPT.

F-1 and J-1 student visa holders: 5 exempt calendar years

because of this, student employees are generally considered non-residents for tax purposes

J-1 non-student (scholars): 2 exempt calendar years of the preceeding 6.

generally, J-1 non-student visa holders will need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis


Saint Mary's College of California and its affiliates, including the Payroll Office, do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. The information on this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own qualified advisors when making tax, legal or accounting decisions.