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IRS.gov Website
Rev. date: 01/01/2011


Alien Tax Clearance

Tax Topic 858
rule
If you are either a resident or a nonresident alien departing the United States, you will usually have to show that you have complied with the U.S. income tax laws before departing from the United States. You do this by obtaining a tax clearance document, commonly called a "Departure Permit" or "Sailing Permit" from the IRS.
Certain foreign diplomats, employees of foreign governments, students, trainees and exchange visitors do not need a departure permit. To find out whether you belong in one of these excluded categories, refer to Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.


Nonresident Aliens

rule
Nonresident aliens who did not have taxable income for the past year and who do not have taxable income for the tax year up to and including the date of departure, may use Form 2063, U.S. Departing Alien Income Tax Statement, to apply for a departure permit. Nonresident aliens who have any U.S. taxable income must complete Form 1040-C, U.S. Departing Alien Income Tax Return, and pay your U.S. tax liability as shown on the Form 1040-C in order to receive a departure permit. In certain cases, you may furnish a bond guaranteeing payment of tax, but you must pay your tax liability when your final income tax return is due. Any tax you pay counts as a payment on your final return that you must file after the end of your tax year.


Resident Aliens

rule
If you are a resident alien and you did not have taxable income for the prior year and do not have taxable income for the tax year up to and including the date of departure, or you are a resident alien who is leaving only temporarily, use Form 2063 to apply for a departure permit. Resident aliens who have taxable income may still use Form 2063 to apply for a departure permit if the IRS is satisfied that your departure will not hinder the collection of tax. If you are a resident alien leaving the United States with no definite plans to return for the year, you will have to complete Form 1040-C, and pay your tax liability as shown on the Form 1040-C in order to get a departure permit. In certain cases, you may furnish a bond guaranteeing payment of tax, but you must pay your tax liability when your final income tax return is due. Any tax you pay counts as a payment on your final return that you must file after the end of your tax year.


When and How to Apply for a Departure Permit

rule
You must obtain your departure permit before you leave the United States. You should apply for the departure permit no earlier than 30 days before you plan to leave, but at least two weeks in advance of your departure. To get your departure permit, visit your nearest Taxpayer Assistance Center (walk-in IRS office). If you are married to an alien who is leaving the country with you, both of you must go to the IRS office. For information on the location of the Taxpayer Assistance Center (walk-in IRS office) nearest to you, call 800-829-1040, or visit www.irs.gov.
You must bring with you all the following records and information for the current year that apply to you:
If you have these documents and pay any tax due you should receive your departure permit immediately. For additional rules and information, refer to Publication 519.