Is COVID Relief Check Public Charge (for H1B, L1?)

H1B, L workers - Stimulus bill 2020 Coronavirus help payments are not public charge. Return money to IRS if not eligible or not living in US.

Written by AM22Tech Team
  AM22Tech Team    Updated  5 Sep, 21

DHS and USCIS have reverted their public charge policy on Mar 9, 2021 that they introduced during Trump administration.

H1B, L legal visa workers can receive IRS payment and it will not be considered a public charge by USCIS.

Check if you should return money to IRS using this snapshot:

Married Filing JointlyEligible for Check
H1B/L1 SSN, H4/L2 Spouse ITIN,

Child ITIN or
Child SSN
H1B/L1 SSN, H4/L2 Spouse SSN,
No Child
H1B/L1 SSN, H4/L2 Spouse SSN,
Child ITIN or Child SSN

You should return the money to the IRS if a child with ITIN was counted in the payment amount (only the portion for ITIN)
H1B/L1 SSN, H4/L2 Spouse SSN,
Child SSN

In the first stimulus check, IRS said that spouse should have an SSN on the Married filing jointly tax return to be eligible for the check.

You can claim the first check amount in your 2020 tax return if you were eligible but did not get one due to the above SSN+ITIN rule.

H1B is Resident Alien (L1, L2, H4 EAD)

For the purpose of income tax calculation in the USA, IRS considers H1B and L visa workers as ‘resident alien‘.

L2 EAD and H4 EAD are also resident aliens and they are eligible for check payment. You must be using the form 1040 to file your taxes either as single or married filing jointly to be eligible.

Examples of ‘nonresident aliens’ for tax purpose in US:

  • The B1/B2 visa visitors.
  • F1 study visa holders including students working on OPT/CPT. You may want to check with your CPA too as it is based on how much time you have spent in the US.

Under the Stimulus bill, single Americans would receive $600, married couples would get $1,200, and parents would see $600 for each child under age 17.

Calculate My COVID Relief Check Payment >

The income level will be judged using your 2019 IRS returns or 2018 if the 2019 return was not filed.

Married but wife is not working?

It depends on how you filed your last tax return. Check your form 1040 from 2019 or 2018.

Many people file as “Married filing Jointly” even if the wife does not have a work permit in the USA. This is legal.

Am I eligible for Stimulus 2020 Check? H1B, L Visa, Green Card Test

With H4 EAD, you do get SSN and then you will be eligible for a Stimulus check. The same holds true for L2 dependents.

Many H4 visa dependents use ITIN until they get their own H4 EAD.

Is Child SSN Mandatory?

The child should have a valid USA Social Security Number to be eligible for the child’s portion of the stimulus CARE Act payment.

  • Many H1B and L worker visa holders would have a kid with ITIN but not SSN. You will not get a Child’s credit here.
  • The US-born kids who are US citizens automatically get SSN and hence are eligible.

The payments will reduce for people with adjusted gross incomes of more than $75,000.

If your income is more than $75,000, you would not qualify at all. For families where both members are working, the income limit is 150k.

Single/Family IncomeSingleMarried filling Jointly
Income Up-to $75k/150k$600 + $600/Child$1,200 + $600/Child
Income above $99k/$198kNot eligible for PaymentNot eligible for Payment


Will help check be counted as Public charge?

The stimulus check will not be considered a public charge as it is a tax credit.

Similarly, USCIS announced that Coronavirus medical help will not be counted as a public charge.

Green card public charge rule

Will help check money be taxed by IRS?

The direct payment check under the stimulus bill will not be taxed by the IRS.

The payment will be considered a tax credit and hence will not be taxed in the 2020 return.

You do not need to add it to your tax return as income in 2020.

I did not receive check even though I am eligible. How can I claim?

IRS said that you can claim the stimulus check amount on your 2020 Tax return if you were eligible but were not sent a check for any reason.

It is possible that you may receive it automatically by the end of 2020 too.

Should H1B Return Check?

Should H1B Return Stimulus Check Payment back to IRS is a common question asked by many people. My answer is that it depends on your individual eligibility.

The check is being sent as a tax credit, which is legal if you had filed the tax return correctly using the form 1040.

You should consider returning the IRS stimulus check if you fall in these conditions (talk to a qualified CPA first to assess your situation):

  • If you filed tax returns using a wrong form (like using the 1040 tax resident form when you should use 1040-NR, 1040NR-EZ, 1040-PR, or Form 1040-SS) and then got the check mistakenly, you should return the money to the IRS.
  • H1B/L1 with SSN Outside USA in 2020 (worked and filed taxes in 2018 or 2019 in the USA) – If you are not a resident alien in the US in 2020 as per IRS substantial presence test, you should consider returning the money.

Here is what IRS officially said:

Non resident alien h1b, l1 are not eligible for stimulus payment
Non resident alien h1b, l1 are not eligible for stimulus payment

Instructions by IRS on how to return money if you have received it even though you were not eligible.


Written by AM22Tech Team
  AM22Tech Team     

Recent discussion on forum

  1. laknk


    Please refer latest update on stimulus cheques for H1b and H4. It is not mandatory to have SSN to get stimulus checks. ITIN holders also get cheque…

    Can we update blog for benefit of H1b families filing Married jointly

  2. girish.sjce

    Yes Anil, I saw your post after posting my query, it was similar only and cleared my doubt :slight_smile:


  3. a4andy999

    sorry to over whelm with too many posts just trying to understand the consequences

  4. Ajanth

    I am on H1B filed jointly (wife on H4 ITIN). When I checked “Get my payment” on IRS website it showed “According to information that we have on file, we cannot determine your eligibility for a payment at this time”.
    Some website says I am not eligible because wife is on H4 (with ITIN), but some website says I am eligible to receive $1200.
    Not sure though!

  5. a4andy999

    Got my stimulus money today. Let’s call it X
    I didn’t file my 2019 taxes yet so they considered 2018 wherein I was single. Got married in 2019 so now when I check the ‘stimulus calculator’ the expected amount is more than 2X

    Can I do something or claim the rest now?
    Please advise!

  6. ag4ind

    I didn’t get the stimulus check. My situation is H1b-SSN + H4Spouse-ITIN + Citizen-child SSN. My colleague who has the same status didn’t receive single cent either.

  7. anil_am22

    Hi @ag4ind

    IRS is processing payments in batches. If you have not received yet does not mean that you won’t receive it.

    Have patience.

  8. ag4ind

    Hello Anil Gupta- Thanks. In the other post you have mentioned such scenario and confirmed. Have you heard from the people who are in the same boat with me?

  9. Madhukar_Rao


    IRS Says H1B(SSN) + H4(ITIN) will not be eligible. your post says otherwise. Did anyone actually get money?

    Q14. I filed a joint return with my spouse. Will we receive a Payment if I have a valid SSN and my spouse has an IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)?

    A14. No, when spouses file jointly, both spouses must have valid SSNs to receive a Payment with one exception. If either spouse is a member of the U.S. Armed Forces at any time during the taxable year, only one spouse needs to have a valid SSN.

    If spouses file separately, the spouse who has an SSN may qualify for a Payment; the other spouse without a valid SSN will not qualify.



  10. rlnit5

    Hi, I accidentally filed my 2019 tax return with spouse ITIN even though she got SSN this year. And yet to get my tax returns. Is there any possibility to be eligible for stimulus package?

  11. anil_am22

    People have confirmed to me directly that they have received money for H1B SSN + H4 ITIN combination.

    Now, i cannot really check anybody’s account but more than 1 person has confirmed.

  12. Prabha_Chetlapalli

    Hi All, I have a query related to stimulus Bill check. Could someone please provide information.
    I was there in US from Aug 2018 - Dec 2018 on H1B visa and returned to India. After coming to India, I have filed 2018 tax returns.
    Now I got a stimulus check on my name to our address there. Now I am not sure whether I can use that amount. Is it legal to cash that check? Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks in advance.

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