This week’s question comes from Ron, a payroll department manager. We have a student who works for us who holds a J-1 Visa. He says that he should not have FICA tax withheld. Is a student holding a J-1 visa exempt from FICA tax withholding? Answer: Non-resident aliens are exempt from paying FICA tax, variously known as social security tax, Medicare tax, or OASDI. A foreign student who arrives in the United States on a J-1 visa is considered a non-resident alien during the first five calendar years of physical presence in the United States. After five years of physical presence, a student is considered a resident alien and therefore is subject to FICA tax withholding. Therefore, students with a J-1 visa are exempt from FICA tax during their first five years of physical presence and subject to FICA tax withholding thereafter. Contact Vision Payroll if you have any questions on FICA tax withholding for J-1 visa holders.