Can Immigrant Workers Get the EITC?

Many documented immigrants who are employed can get the EITC.

You, your spouse, and children listed on the Schedule EIC must each have valid Social Security numbers that permit you to work in the United States. Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN) issued by the IRS to you or non-work Social Security numbers issued to you cannot be used to claim the EITC. 

In addition, you must be a “resident alien for tax purposes” for the entire tax year to claim the EITC. If you were a non-resident alien at any time during the year, you cannot claim the EITC unless you were married to a U.S. citizen or a resident alien as of December 31 of the tax year, file a joint tax return with your spouse, and choose to be treated as a resident alien for the entire year. For more information on how resident alien status is determined, see IRS Publication 519, “U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.” 

If you are a “resident alien for tax purposes”, you may be a legal permanent resident and have a “green card” (I-551 card). Keep in mind, if you do not have a green card, you may still be a resident alien for tax purposes.  

For example, the following scenarios may apply where you have legal work authorization and Social Security numbers: 

  • Amnesty temporary residents and amnesty family members granted “Family Fairness” or “Family Unity” status 
  • Refugees, asylees, and those granted Temporary Protected Status 
  • Applicants for these and other immigration statuses who have legal work authorization and Social Security numbers

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