Global Payroll

Department Administrator 0

Employees Working Inside the United States

By definition, foreign nationals are individuals who are not citizens of the country where they are residing. They may be immigrants (permanent residents) or non-immigrants (temporary residents). The University of Pittsburgh hires both immigrants and employment eligible non-immigrants as faculty, researchers, academics, staff and student workers.


New hires are added to the HR/Payroll system via either paper Appointment Forms or PittSource, according to the Appointment Procedure for Non-immigrants Working in the US. Employees processed through PittSource, complete their hiring documents through the Compliance Center and send their required foreign documentation to Payroll for tax analysis.

Social Security Numbers and Names

Individuals receiving their first or updated social security number/name after they have completed their onboarding process must submit their name and number to the Payroll Department exactly as it appears on the card. The information can be uploaded through our secure site –

Students also need to notify the Office of the Registrar to update their student accounts.

I-9 Re-verifications

Non-immigrants are authorized to be in the US for a specific purpose for a specific period of time. When the authorized time period expires, the individual must renew the authorization they have been granted, or leave the US. Since the renewal process can take some time, US Citizenship and Immigration Services recommends applying for extensions well in advance of the scheduled expiration date.

Each month, the Foreign National Tax Office sends email reminders to employees and department administrators of approaching I-9 expirations. Employees are advised to visit the Office of International Services to re-verify their I-9. Payroll confirms the re-verification in I-9 Express and updates the Payroll system to reflect the extension.

Tax Treaty Process

For federal income tax purposes, non-immigrants are classified as resident aliens and non-resident aliens and are taxed at different graduated rates. Tax treaties make it possible to reduce or eliminate their federal tax withholding. Eligibility requirements include US social security number, tax residence status, current and prior visits to the U.S., and type of payment. Information provided on the Foreign National Information Form at the time of hire is analyzed by the Payroll Department. If it is determined the employee is eligible for the treaty benefit, it will be applied to the employee’s pay in the manner specified in the treaty.

Individual Appointments & Updates

New treaty benefit recipients receive an email prompting them to create an account in the Foreign National Information System (FNIS) and a second email when their paperwork is available. Benefit recipients with an existing FNIS account, receive an email notifying them when their paperwork is available for download. If the recipient does not return their signed paperwork by the assigned deadline, they are notified of their scheduled benefit suspension via email and their department administrator is copied.

Ineligible employees will receive a notice explaining the reason they were denied the treaty benefit along with instructions for completing their IRS Form W-4.

Annual Treaty Process

Treaty benefit eligible employees are required to sign acceptance paperwork each January in order to receive and maintain their benefit during that tax year. Benefit recipients receive an email notifying them their paperwork is available for download. They must return their signed acceptance paperwork to Payroll by the deadline or their benefit will not be applied to future pays.

Department administrators receive a list of their treaty eligible employees via email. Prior to the signing deadline, they receive a second email containing the names of those who have not delivered their signed treaty paperwork and are scheduled for benefit suspension. Read more regarding foreign taxation and the tax treaty process on the Employees Working Inside the US page.

Income & Tax Reporting Statements (Form 1042-S/Form W-2)

Resident and non-resident aliens may receive Form W-2, 1042-S, or both depending on the type of income they have received, whether they have received a tax treaty benefit, and their tax residency status. W-2s are mailed by January 31 and 1042-S forms by March 15.

Payment Federal Tax Status Resident Alien Non-Resident Alien
Wages Treaty Exempt
Non-Treaty Exempt
Form 1042-S
Form W-2
Form 1042-S
Form W-2
Individuals receiving postdoctoral scholarships, predoctoral fellowships and training grants Treaty Exempt
Non-Treaty Exempt
No form issued
No form issued
Form 1042-S
Form 1042-S


Contact the Payroll Foreign Tax Specialist.

Employees Working Outside the United States

Employers staffing outside the US are required to follow the laws of the host country. Such laws govern payroll, tax, immigration, employment and social welfare. The employer may need to register or become licensed in that country in order to conduct business there. Please contact Global Operations Support prior to beginning any hire process that involves staffing outside the US.

Taxation Overview

U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens

U.S. citizens and resident aliens (includes Lawful Permanent Residents) are taxed on their worldwide income. Individuals living and working outside the US may be able to exclude all or part of their foreign income and housing or deduct a foreign housing amount. For more information, read the Foreign Nationals Working Outside the US page.

Foreign Employees

Foreign persons working outside the United States are not subject to U.S. taxation of their wages. Tax withholding and reporting must be adjusted to meet the specific circumstance.