60 day Immigration ban, Q&A on Stimulus Rebate Checks & Taxes

Hello everyone,
Here are two important updates.
Update #1President Trump's executive order came out today.  It does not include or affect F-1 international students.  It does stop the processing/entry of any immigrant application that is filed from outside the U.S. for 60 days* starting tomorrow 4/23/2020 at 11:59pm. *The 60 days may get extended.  
The executive order also mentions a "review of nonimmigrant visa programs".  Any change would need to be statutory/regulatory (meaning it would take a long time to do, many steps with Congress and other agencies), so for now it is not a big concern.  If you would like more details, please contact me.
Update #2: Many PAU F-1 International students have received rebate stimulus checks as part of the U.S. federal CARES Act
Q: I received a rebate stimulus check, what should I do?
  • F-1 students who filed 2018 and/or 2019 tax return(s) as a resident for tax purposes only by using form 1040 are eligible under the CARES act to receive stimulus checks.  
  •  F-1 students who filed 2018 and/or 2019 tax return(s) as a non-resident for tax purposes by using form 1040NR are NOT eligible under the CARES act to receive stimulus checks. If you filed taxes as a non resident and received a stimulus check, you must return it.  Follow these instructions.
Q: I'm not sure if I'm a resident or non-resident for tax purposes?
  • Do the Substantial Presence Test to determine whether you should file taxes as a resident or non-resident. Use years 2019, 2018 and 2017.
Q. I think I may have filed my taxes incorrectly, what should I do?
  • If you feel that you filed your taxes incorrectly, you can file an amended tax return (don't worry, the IRS received hundreds of amended tax returns all the time) no later than July 15th.  Read this for step by step instructions. Sprintax does a great job and knows non-resident/F-1 issues better than Turbotax.
Q: Will accepting these federally-funded payments negatively affect my chances of obtaining lawful permanent resident status (i.e., a green card) in the future as a result of the new public charge rule (see next question for description)?
Q: What is the 'Public Charge' rule?   
  • Per the USCIS website: "A public charge is defined as an alien who has received one or more public benefits, as defined in the rule, for more than 12 months within any 36-month period".   Public benefits examples include: food stamps, housing vouchers, etc.).  So if you used a public benefit, and then later applied for an immigration benefit, like work permission, change of status to H-1B, etc. USCIS might deny your application because you were a "public charge".
 As always, please let me know if you have more questions and/or concerns!


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