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Temporary Visas and Withholding Requirements

Hi all - for a temporary worker with a H-2B Visa, what is required to be withheld from his or her paycheck? Are there different requirements for different levels of Visas?


  • The basic difference for withholding is between a non-resident alien and a resident alien. There is a two tier test for determining a resident alien, the green card test and the substantial presence test. Certain visas allow exemptions from the substantial presence test. H-2B is not one of them.

    An alien in the US under an H-2B visa would not have a green card. If the substantial presence test is met, then the worker is a resident alien and is subject to the regular withholding rules. If the substantial presence test is not met then the worker is a non-resident alien and is subject to special withholding rules.

    IRS Publication 519 does a good job of describing the substantial presence test and dual alien status. Under dual alien status, the worker is a non-resident alien until the substantial presence test is met at which time the worker becomes a resident alien.

    IRS Notice 1392, Supplemental Form W-4 Instructions for Nonresident Aliens provides nonresident aliens special instructions when completing Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate, for compensation paid to such individuals as employees performing dependent personal services in the United States.