Office of International Students and Scholars

Drop Shadow

Welcome to USD!

USD hosts international students and scholars from more than 70 countries around the world. We are delighted that you are joining this group of distinguished students and scholars, and we hope that your experiences here will prove intellectually challenging, culturally enriching, and personally enjoyable to you, whether you stay only for a few weeks, or several years.

Director's Welcome Message


Explosion 1: IMPORTANT INFO!! Did you miss the Resume & Cover Letter workshop?
A copy of the workshop powerpoint slides can be downloaded here

Did you miss the International Student Income Tax workshop?
Below is a summary of what you need to know.


A copy of the workshop powerpoint slides can be downloaded here

Keep in mind the deadline to submit a tax return (if you need or want to file one) is April 15th.

Even if you did not work last year, ALL international students should complete Form 8843 for each year for which they were in the United States on a student visa. This form essentially excludes your time on a student visa from counting towards your tax residency status. Confused? Don't worry, this form is very easy to complete. Failure to complete this form will not likely result in any short-term consequences but could cause issues if you apply for future immigration benefits like OPT or Permanent Residency (Green Card). Previous years' forms can also be found on-line (if you forgot to submit for other years) and the current form can be downloaded here. Complete Part I and Part III, sign, date and mail in the form.

OISS Frequently Asked Tax Questions

Question: Do I have to file an income tax return?

Answer: It really depends on how much income you made in the year 2013. If you made more than $3,900, then you are likely required to file a tax return by the April 15th deadline.

Question: I worked on campus in 2012. How do I file a tax return?
If you worked last year and you are a current USD student, you are in luck. The USD Payroll department uses an on-line tax software program for foreign citizens and Payroll will even help you fill out your forms! To schedule an appointment, Kaly McKenna Do this as soon as possible.

Question: What is the W-2 form I (or my parents) received in the mail?
The W-2 is a form produced by your employer that shows how much income your earned with separate sections for taxes withheld. This form is used to help file a tax return.

Question: I worked off campus in 2013. How do I file a tax return?
If you earned more than $3,900 in the United States, you will likely need to file a federal income tax return at a minimum (and perhaps a CA state return as well). These forms are known as the 1040NR-EZ and 540NR-EZ. The "NR" stands for non-resident. It is very important that you file the NR version as you are likely not a resident from a tax standpoint. The good news is that if you do file a tax return, you may qualify for a partial refund of taxes paid.

Question: My employer mistakenly deducted Medicare and Social Security from my wages?
If your W-2 form list deductions for Social Security or Medicare, this is a mistake and you should contact the Human Resources (HR) department of your employer to ask that these funds be refunded to you. If HR will not cooperate, you will need to file form 843 which is down-loadable here.

Question: Is my scholarship taxable? Do I need to file a tax return if I just received income in the form of a scholarship?
According to our income tax presenters, any amount you received as a scholarship is not taxable unless your scholarship exceeds the total cost for tuition and books (in this case, the excess amount is taxable). In general, this happens most often with international athletes where room and board may be taxable. (See "USD Payroll" portion above)

Question: Can't I just file my taxes with Turbotax, H & R Block or a similar tax service?
In general, no. These services are not designed for non-residents and their tax preparers are not likely to understand your situation or have electronic access to the NR forms. If you do choose to use one of these services, ask in advance if they have a tax preparer available with experience assisting non-residents and make it clear that you need to complete non-resident tax forms.

Question: What if I have a complicated situation (tax treaty country, property ownership, filing with a spouse etc)?
You can contact local tax accountant Kate Leonard if you have a complicated tax situation. Keep in mind that the fees can be considerable.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. Note that the OISS is not a tax preparation service.


  • All international students are required to maintain full-time status for the spring semester.
  • Please be sure to hand carry all of your updated immigration documents with you at all times.
  • Notify the OISS of any changes in address (within 10 days of your move) and contact information.
  • If you are experiencing any academic difficulty issues please contact our office immediately.

Tuesday, April 1st International Student Resume and Cover Letter Workshop
Friday, April 25th ISO (International EXPO and Fashion Show)

Check out USD's EXPO from last year!

Why we love USD!

Snapshots of International Students at USD