Exemption from FICA Tax

F-1 and J-1 visa students and J-1 scholars who are non-resident aliens for tax purposes are NOT required to pay FICA tax. FICA tax is different from federal, state or local tax and may not be claimed on your tax return as a payment or deduction.

Because you are NOT required to pay FICA tax, your employer should refund to you any amounts shown on your Form W-2, Box 4 or Box 6. Please contact your employer’s payroll office (the institution that issued your Form W-2) and ask for a refund of FICA tax because you qualify for the exemption from FICA tax under Internal Revenue Code section 3121(b)(19).

If your employer refuses to give you a refund, go to or click on FAQ above to print Form 843 and Form 8316. Complete both forms and submit them as a refund request directly to the IRS; DO NOT include Form 843 or Form 8316 with your tax return.

In the meantime, if you owe federal tax, you must pay it with your federal tax return, irrespective of any FICA tax refund that may or may not be due to you.