Expat Living in the USA

1. Are “green card” holders required to report all income to the US Government?

Yes, all income must be reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), even that portion earned abroad. This does not mean that all income is taxable by the US, since international law treaties regulate where taxes are paid and off-setting credits applied. Failure to follow US tax laws is usually considered a criminal offense.

2. I am currently visiting friends in the US on a B-2 Visitors Visa. It is valid for six months, but I wish to stay longer. Must I leave the US and apply for another visa?

No, you may file an application for an extension with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (Form I-539) for a period not exceeding six months. This extension is not automatic, but may be granted for valid reasons.

3. I will soon be applying for a “green card.” I realize it will take a while before the application is approved. I would like to begin my employment as soon as possible. Should I file separately for employment authorization?

The best way is to file an Application for Employment Authorization Form I-765 with the “green card” paperwork. The Form I-765 will most probably be approved prior to the “green card” being issued. If so, you will receive an Employment Authorization Card, Form I-688.

4. I received some videos in the mail along with a bill addressed to me. I did not order them. What should I do?

Federal law states that if you receive something by mail that you did not order, you may either refuse it or keep it as a gift. However, to avoid any potential problems, you should notify the company in writing that you did not order the merchandise and that you are keeping it.

5. A friend is recommending I buy insurance through a company I do not know. How can I be sure if it is a good company?

Check out the company’s rating in Best’s Insurance Reports. It is routinely updated and is available at local libraries or by contacting them at (908) 439-2200. Look for a company with an “A” or “A+” rating.

6. What is the difference between prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines and generic medicines?

Prescription medicines are drugs ordered for someone by their doctor. They can only be obtained from a licensed pharmacist with a written prescription or phone call from a doctor. Over-the-counter(OTC) medicines can be purchased without a prescription. They are considered safe and effective for minor health care problems, such as headaches, common colds, constipation or diarrhea.Generic medicines are sold by their chemical name instead of the “brand” name given by the manufacturer. Both prescription and OTC medicines are usually available in generic form at a lower cost. The difference can be several cents or several dollars.

For American expats in Hong Kong or expats returning to the US our partners are experienced with helping American expats with the U.S. Expat Tax Filings.