FNIS Guide for Foreign Nationals

Download a PDF of this Guide for scholars

Congratulations on your new position at Washington University in St. Louis!

After your hiring department submits your I-9 or NEEPIF to the Office for International Students and Scholars (OISS), the OISS will send an e-mail to the e-mail address you provided on your I-9 instructing you to complete a record in the Foreign National Information System (FNIS.) FNIS is used to gather information required to determine how, and if, you are taxed.

For your convenience, we offer this guide to assist you in submitting your FNIS record right the first time. This guide contains helpful hints to completing the fields that tend to generate the most frequently asked questions.

All fields that are in bold type are required fields. If left blank, they will become highlighted in red when you attempt to continue to the next page. You should not leave any required fields red, as it will result in your record being returned to you for correction.

PAGE 1
  • Identification
    • Social Security Number: Provide your U.S. SSN, if you have one. If you have an ITIN instead, put it in the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number If you do not currently have either one, select “Yes” indicating that you have applied for one. (Even if you have not applied for one, you will need to, so select ‘Yes’.)
    • All other ‘System’ ID numbers: Do not enter any other numbers. The only number that should appear is the “Institution-Assigned ID Number”, which has already been entered for you.
    • Student type and Trainee type: You must select the appropriate option for what you are doing in your new position for each drop-down.
  •  Institution Information
    • Department at Institution should contain the name of your hiring department
    • Occupation at Institution should contain your job title/position
PAGE 2
  • Date First Ever Entered USA: Enter the first time you stepped foot on U.S. soil, regardless of what visa type you had at the time.
PAGE 5
  • Create a list of the ALL of the times that you have physically been present in the U.S. You need to enter the date you were PHYSICALLY on U.S. soil. The best way to do this is by using the I-94 entry/exit dates. DO NOT use the dates your entry visa was valid.
  • The first record should begin with your first time ever in the U.S.; that is the same date you entered on page 2. Each record you create should begin with the date that you entered the U.S., and end with the date that you left. You will do this for each time you visited/stayed in the U.S. for any reason and with any visa. If you do not have exact dates, enter your best estimate.
    • If you entered under the Visa Waiver program, please select the appropriate “VW-Visa Waiver” option toward the bottom of the list.
    • The Visa Number is the red number in the bottom right portion of your visa.
      • For visits to the U.S. made without a visa, simply enter “0000” in the Visa Number field.
    • Visa record start and end dates cannot overlap. If one record ended on January 5, 2017 the next record must start on January 6,
    • Pay attention to your Primary Purpose. If what you were doing changed, you need to make sure you indicate the change. For example:
      • You were on an F-1 pursuing a bachelor’s degree from 2010-2014. So you would have F-1 records with a primary purpose of Studying in a Degree Program; don’t forget to make as many records as needed to show each time you entered/left the U.S. as a student.
      • After you graduated in 2014, you began working on Optional Practical Training. So, you would make more records with a primary purpose of Practical Training; again, make as many records as needed to show each time you entered/left the U.S. while on OPT.
  • The very last record you create on page 5 should begin with the date of your most recent entry into the U.S., and because you are still here in the U.S., enter the expiration date of your work authorization document (I-20, DS-2019, EAD Card, etc.) as your Last Day in U.S., NOT the expiration date of your visa.

Additional information can be found on our website:

If you still have questions, please contact the OISS at oiss@wustl.edu or 314-935-5910 to be routed to the appropriate payroll administrator.