FICA/Social Security and Medicare tax


FICA represents pension and health insurance. FICA tax rate is 15.3% off the earnings. By law, the employer must pay 50% of this tax, while the employee pays the other half. The percentage of earnings that both an employee and employer have to pay is 7.65% (6.2% for Social Security Tax and 1.45% for Medicare Tax).

However, if you have a J (exchange visitor), M (student) or F (student) non-immigrant visa, you are not obliged to pay these taxes. If an employer makes a mistake and starts withholding FICA taxes from J, M, or F program participants, this problem can be solved in two ways:

  • The easiest way is to inform the employer about your USA non-immigrant status and your type of visa as soon as you notice this irregularity, so that they can give you the refund on your next paycheck. You can do this by referring to the IRS publication 519, chapter 8, page 45, where it is clearly stated that, as J, M or F visa program participants, you are not obliged to pay these taxes.
  • If by any chance you fail to get the refund from your employer, you can always contact the tax collection authorities in the USA to get the refund in question. The process of getting the FICA tax refund can last up to one year.

If you have been in the USA on a work visa you are required to pay Social Security and Medicare tax, which means that you are not entitled to a refund of FICA tax to the US tax authorities.

If your employer deducted Social Security and Medicare taxes from your paycheck(s), in order to get a refund, along with the aforementioned documentation, you need to enclose the following documents, as well:

    • W-2 form - from the employer who withheld your FICA tax
    • Copy of DS-2019 Form - the DS form must be scanned (in color), signed and stamped by the consul
    • Copy of Visa (in color)
    • Copy of I-94 form.

Important: In order to get a tax refund for these taxes, it is necessary to have a W-2 form.

If you have any further questions, please contact us.


When you fill out the documentation, send it to:

1.      By email to:

2.      By mail or bring it to: Maksima Gorkog 3/4, 21000 Novi Sad, Serbia


Self-employment FICA tax

American taxpayers are not just people who live and work for companies in America. If you are an entrepreneur, you are a self-employed individual in the IRS system for tax purposes. In this regard, the self-employed are obliged to pay the entire Social Security and Medicare taxes themselves. In 2021, the self-employment tax was $ 15.3% ($ 12.4% for Social Security and $ 2.9% for Medicare Tax). These tax rates refer to 92.35% of earnings.

Retirement for nonresidents

When you work in the United States as a seasonal worker or as a self-employed person, by paying SSmed&care taxes you collect a credit for exercising your right to a pension. Even though you do not have the status of an American citizen, if you have worked legally in the USA for years, you have a valid Social Security Number and if your employers withheld SSMed&care taxes and paid into the pension fund, you can qualify for retirement.

The Social Security system is paid for by workers and employers. Your employer withholds Social Security taxes from your pay, matches this amount, and sends the funds to the Internal Revenue Service. The law requires your employer to report your earnings to the Social Security Administration (SSA). You must earn at least 40 Social Security credits to qualify for Social Security benefits. You earn Social Security credits when you work and pay Social Security taxes.

The number of credits does not affect the amount of benefits you receive. It only determines if you are eligible or not. You do not get extra benefits for earning more than the minimum number of credits.

The maximum number of credits you can earn per year is 4. So, in order to apply for SS benefits, you must work for a minimum of 10 years in the USA. Credits are based on your total wages and self-employment income for the year. You might work all year to earn four credits, or you might earn enough for all four in much less time.

The amount of earnings it takes to earn a credit may change each year. In 2021, you could earn one Social Security or Medicare credit for every $1,470 of covered earnings each year. You had to earn $5,880 to get a maximum of four credits for the year.

You can get Social Security retirement benefits after the age of 62. However, they will reduce your benefit if you start receiving benefits before your full retirement age. The best way to keep track of how many credits you have earned is through W-2 forms. Each year, the employer is required to provide you with a W-2 form. For a document to be valid, it must contain your personal information and Social Security number. The earnings listed on the W-2 form are the earnings that are taken into account. By creating a personal account on the Social Security Administration website, you can keep track of all the information that concerns you.

The United States has international agreements with many countries that eliminate dual coverage, so you pay taxes to only one country. International agreements help people who have worked in both the United States and another country, but who have not worked long enough in a single country to qualify for its Social Security benefits.

Under the agreement, SS Administration can count your work credits in the other country if this helps you qualify for U.S. benefits. If you already have enough credits under the U.S. Social Security system to qualify for a benefit, we will not count your credits in the other country. Countries that have this kind of agreement with the USA are: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Greece, Hungary, Slovenia, Spain etc.