Foreign National Payroll Process at WashU

Specific payroll requirements apply to recipients of funds from Washington University in St. Louis. These requirements apply if you are receiving funds of any kind from WashU, including, but not limited to, salary, stipends, fellowships and assistantships.

Process Overview

There are two parts to the payroll process for foreign nationals, completing payroll paperwork with your department and completing data online in the Foreign National Information System. Both pieces must be completed before checks can be issued to ensure WashU complies with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations.

The IRS requires that WashU apply U.S. withholding and reporting rules consistent with your U.S. tax status as a resident alien or nonresident alien. Resident aliens are taxed like U.S. citizens, while nonresident aliens are taxed under different withholding and reporting rules. Your U.S. tax status depends on your U.S. immigration status and U.S. presence. Also, you may be entitled to tax exemptions, applicable tax treaty, or both depending on your U.S. tax status. Since your immigration actions and U.S. presence may change the way you are taxed, we request that you provide us with up-to-date information each year so that we may verify your status and any applicable tax exemptions. Without this information, we cannot provide you with tax exemptions which might otherwise be applicable; meaning Social Security, federal or state taxes may be withheld from any payments you receive.

Step One – Eligibility Paperwork

If you will be working at WashU or receiving funding, you must meet with your departmental payroll representative to complete the appropriate eligibility paperwork (note that most paperwork must be completed within three days.) Make sure to take your immigration documents with you, to ensure you are able to provide documentation demonstrating your ability to work and receive payment in the U.S. Your department will enter you into the university’s Human Resources Management System (HRMS) and send your paperwork to the appropriate OISS international coordinator for processing.

Note that new WashU sponsored F-1s must be registered in SEVIS and WashU sponsored J-1s must be validated in SEVIS before payroll can be approved.

*If you are a student taking a job on campus, you must have prior authorization from the Office for International Students and Scholars.

Step Two – Foreign National Information System

Before the HRMS appointment can be approved, and checks released, information must be submitted via FNIS.
This website collects data needed to allow for the tax analysis described in the overview.

Be prepared to enter information about:

  • Your employment at Washington University,
  • Your foreign and local addresses
  • Your visa/immigration status history
  • You will also give consent for applicable tax forms to be made available to you electronically.

For details, see the Foreign National Information System Instructions.

Step Three – Tax Forms

After the OISS approves your FNIS data entry, it will be forwarded to Payroll Services. Within a week, you will receive an email from Payroll Services directing you to return to FNIS, print the applicable tax forms, sign them and return to Payroll Services.  More information will be contained in the email.

Step Four – End of Year Filing

All foreign national employee and nonemployees are also required to file a year end tax return, regardless of whether income was received. Read more about the yearly process of filing taxes.