Social Security and Taxes

All international medical graduates and students who earn money in the United States must obtain a Social Security card – after they arrive, but before they can begin receiving payment for their assignment.

This requirement applies to residents and fellows at Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM) training hospitals, research scholars and others who are paid for their services, as well as students who work on or off campus. (Note that visa requirements severely limit work opportunities for students.)

International medical graduates who have F-1 or J-1 visa status are not subject to pay Social Security tax (FICA) but still need this Social Security number for income tax filing purposes, if employed by TUSM training hospitals.

Getting a Social Security Card: Application is made to the local U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) office. The hiring department at the applicant’s TUSM-affiliated or training organization will provide the necessary information and/or forms. Generally, applicants are required to bring their Form I-20, DS-2019, or Approval Notice I-797, as well as their passport, I-94 card (issued by Customs officials upon U.S. arrival), and an employment verification letter from the Office of International Affairs to the SSA office. For additional information, please visit the Social Security Administration Web site. The SSA office nearest to TUSM is located at:

O’Neill Federal Building 
10 Causeway Street
Boston

Federal and State Income Tax: In most cases, international physicians, scholars and students are subject to all federal and state taxes if employed in the United States. They are required to file both federal and state income tax forms by April 15 of each year for any work completed during the previous calendar year. Tax forms are available on federal and state revenue department web sites. When filing tax returns, it is best to consult someone at your place of employment who is knowledgeable, visit an office of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), or consult a tax attorney/tax accountant.