Employing Nonresident Aliens (NRA): Staff


In order to comply with Federal (Internal Revenue Service and Treasury Department) and State (Franchise Tax Board) rules and regulations, each SFSU department must comply with these procedures when employing nonresident aliens. The Chancellor’s Office requires SFSU campuses to comply with the Internal Revenue Code, California Revenue and Taxation Code, and California State University polices and procedures regarding nonresident alien taxation issues. These procedures are intended to outline each campus department’s responsibility when employing/appointing nonresident alien faculty, graduate teaching associates, graduate assistants and special consultants. These procedures for nonresident aliens are in addition to all current hiring/payment procedures required by Human Resources, Safety, & Risk Management (HRS & RM).


Procedure and Responsibility 

Step 1

Campus Department

Upon recommending a candidate for a staff position, complete all required appointment/hiring forms and forward the forms to Human Resources, Safety, and Risk Management - - Employment Unit, who will contact the candidate to make the official job offer.

Step 2

Human Resources, Safety, and Risk Management Department

The Employment Representative will:

  1. Make the job offer to the candidate (employee) recommended by the Department.
  2. Request the employee to pick up and complete a hiring packet in the Human Resources, Safety, and Risk Management Department – ADM 252 and make an appointment with one of the two Employment Representatives to go through the new hire process and benefit information.  
  3. Determine if the newly appointed staff (employee) is a “US Citizen or Permanent Resident Alien or Nonresident Alien” by administering the Federal Form I-9 -- “Employment Eligibility Verification”. All newly hired employees must already have a Social Security Number or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). The Employment Representative is responsible for obtaining and verifying appropriate documents and certifying the I-9.

The employee is responsible for completing Section 1 of the I-9. The employee must determine his/her residency status in the United States by selecting one of the boxes under the statement, “I attest, under penalty of perjury, that I am (check one of the following):”

  • A citizen of the United States
  • A noncitizen national of the United States
  • A lawful permanent resident (Alien # ___)
  • An alien authorized to work until (Alien # or Admission # _______________until (expiration date, if applicable - month/day/year) ___/___/___

If the employee is a “US Citizen or National, or Permanent Resident Alien (“green card holder”)”;  the Employment Representative will follow usual departmental and Human Resources, Safety, and Risk Management employment practices/procedures.

5. If the employee is “An Alien” (nonresident alien)  the Employment Representative will provide and request the alien to complete a “SFSU Foreign National Information Form”--

All nonresident alien employees must complete this form (designed to collect information necessary to determine the US tax residency status of non-US citizens) before receiving any type of payment(s) and/or disbursement(s), including a paycheck, from San Francisco State University:

Request the nonresident alien employee to complete the rest of the new hire paperwork with the exception of the Employee Action Request (EAR) form:

  1. Direct the nonresident alien employee to schedule a meeting with the Tax Specialist to discuss his/her tax residency status, tax withholding requirements and Federal tax treaty benefits; and BRING the following documents to his/her appointment with the Tax Specialist.
  2. SFSU Foreign National Information Form along with all the required supporting documents stated on the form:
    • Passport page showing picture, name, and number;
    • U.S. Visa;
    • I-94 Form “Arrival and Departure Record” (a small white card inside the passport);
    • FORM I-20 or DS2019 or EAD card (Employee Authorization Card).
    • Social Security or ITIN Card.
  3. Employee Action Request (EAR) form (the form should be blank). The Tax Specialist will assist in completing this form: In order to ensure that all information required to make the proper tax determination and to minimize any delays in analyzing, the Employment Representative should inform the NRA employee to be sure to bring all the documents and forms required.

Step 3

Internal Audit

At the meeting with the NRA employee, the Tax Specialist will:

A. Review and discuss the SFSU Foreign National Information Form along with all the supporting documents. The Tax Specialist will determine the nonresident alien employee’s tax residency status, the applicable income tax withholding rate, and whether some or all of the wages of the employee are exempt from income and FICA tax withholding under a federal income tax treaty.

B. Request the employee to complete the Employee Action Request (EAR) form based on whether any tax treaty benefit is available to the employee. The EAR is San Francisco State University’s version of the IRS Form W-4 (Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate). California tax regulations do not mirror federal tax regulations; therefore the appropriate withholding of California taxes will be recommended.   California does not recognize any federal tax treaty exemptions.

C. Stamp the EAR form (yellow copy) with the appropriate Federal and State tax withholding information. The stamp also indicates that the Tax Specialist has discussed Federal and State tax withholding rates with the nonresident alien employee.


If the NRA employee requests a different State tax withholding rate than the Federal rate, the employee will need to indicate this change on the Employee Action Request form, Box E. II. (Special Treatment of State Allowances). If the NRA employee does not request Special Treatment of State Allowances, the Federal rate will be used as indicated in Box E. I. of the Employee Action Request form. Request the employee to bring the completed EAR form back to the appropriate Employment Representative in Human Resources, Safety, and Risk Management.

Step  4

Human Resources, Safety, and Risk Management Department

The Employment Representative will complete the hiring process.

The procedures above are the steps needed to employ and pay a nonresident alien staff. The above procedures do not fully describe the entire process but do outline the necessary steps each department needs to adhere to. Should a campus department need further clarification on the above procedures or need additional information regarding employing nonresident alien staff, they should contact Young Kim, Tax Specialist at (415) 338-2325. These procedures were developed in conjunction with the Employment Unit of Human Resources, Safety, and Risk Management.