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Resident Alien


A Resident Alien is a foreign individual living and possibly working in a country in which they are not a citizen, but have achieved resident status. In the United States, for instance, this is usually confirmed by having passed the substantial presence test for the calendar year. This status often affects an individual’s tax liabilities and rights.


The phonetic pronunciation of “Resident Alien” is: Resident: /ˈrɛzɪdənt/Alien: /ˈeɪliən/

Key Takeaways

  1. Unconventional Protagonist: “Resident Alien” revolves around an alien who crashes on Earth and poses as a human doctor in a small town, creating a unique blend of science fiction, mystery, and comedy. This creates a character that has to navigate unfamiliar human customs and emotions, providing both dramatic and comedic elements.
  2. Cultural Commentary: The series does not only entertain through its comedic and suspenseful scenes but also cleverly uses its alien protagonist to comment on the human condition and society. Through the alien’s perspective, audiences are encouraged to question and contemplate on various aspects of human nature and culture.
  3. Strong Supporting Cast: In “Resident Alien” , the ensemble cast is just as compelling and intriguing as the main character. The townsfolk’s characters are well-developed and contribute significantly to the narrative, providing additional layers of depth and intrigue to the storyline.


The term “Resident Alien” is important in business and finance because it refers to a non-U.S. citizen who resides in the U.S. and has met certain IRS criteria that define their tax obligations. As per U.S. tax law, resident aliens are subjected to tax on their global income, just like U.S. citizens. They may also be entitled to certain tax benefits. Incorrectly classifying an individual’s resident status can lead to errors in tax compliance or tax planning. Therefore, understanding the financial implications linked with the “Resident Alien” status is crucial for individuals in that category, as well as businesses that employ them.


A resident alien is an important classification used primarily for tax purposes within the context of the U.S. tax system. This term refers to a non-citizen who, based on the substantial presence test or acquired a green card, resides permanently in the U.S. and is thus legally obligated to pay taxes. Resident aliens are generally subject to the same tax implications as U.S. citizens: they have to report all sources of income, whether derived within the U.S. or internationally, on their U.S. tax returns. Consequently, the designation helps ensure fair taxation by treating all permanent residents, regardless of citizenship status, with uniformity in terms of income tax responsibilities.The purpose of defining somebody as a resident alien is to establish their obligation to contribute to the taxation system of their domicile (in this case, the United States), a responsibility that typically falls on those who benefit from the public goods and services paid for by these taxes. Apart from taxation perspectives, this immigration status also allows individuals to legally live and work anywhere in the U.S., travel in and out of the country, start a business or own any real estate. Thus, the classification not only enables proper revenue collection but also helps non-citizens to engage fully and actively in economic activities.


1. Javier, a citizen of Spain, is granted permission to work in the United States with a Green Card. He moves to the United States and legally lives and works in New York as a software developer while paying his taxes, hence he is a resident alien.2. Ling, a citizen of China, enrolled as a student at a university in California, USA. She then stayed and found a job after her graduation. Now, she holds an H-1B visa, working full-time and residing in the USA, making her a resident alien.3. Marie is from France and won the Diversity Visa Lottery, allowing her to permanently live and work in the U.S. She moved to Washington D.C, where she started a small bakery, therefore Marie is a resident alien, with the rights to conduct business in the U.S.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a Resident Alien?

A Resident Alien is an individual who is not a U.S. citizen but resides in the U.S. legally by regulatory standards. They have the right to live, study, and work in the United States on a permanent basis.

What determines if a person is a Resident Alien?

The U.S. IRS determines if a person is a Resident Alien by using the Green Card Test or the Substantial Presence Test. If a person passes any of these two tests, they are considered a Resident Alien.

How are Resident Aliens taxed?

Resident Aliens are generally taxed in the same way as U.S. citizens. They are subject to federal tax on their total income, with some exceptions according to international tax laws.

Do Resident Aliens need to file a U.S. income tax return?

Yes, Resident Aliens usually need to file a U.S. income tax return, IRS Form 1040, reporting all sources of income.

How does a person’s Resident Alien status affect their financial activities?

A Resident Alien has the same financial rights as a U.S. citizen, meaning they can own property, invest in stocks, and conduct business operations. However, different rules might apply for estate taxes and when making investments in foreign assets.

Can a Resident Alien start a business in the U.S.?

Yes, a Resident Alien can start a business in the U.S. However, regulations may vary from state to state, so it’s essential to understand local laws and requirements.

How does being a Resident Alien impact Social Security?

As long as a Resident Alien has earned enough credits and is lawfully residing in the U.S., they are eligible to collect Social Security benefits.

Can a Resident Alien’s tax status change?

Yes, a Resident Alien’s tax status can change. For instance, if they leave the country and no longer meet the Green Card Test or the Substantial Presence Test, they may be classified as a nonresident alien for tax purposes.

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