Tax Guide for Aliens

I want a job. A proper one. I don’t want to work under the table like some kind of illegal alien. I don’t want to work at the school’s library or tutoring center, either. A lot of my American friends keep forgetting that I am, indeed, an “alien.” Whenever I voice concerns about getting a job, they can’t seem to comprehend that it is a much more complicated process than they think.

I’ve been offered jobs before. A few of them were modeling jobs. I would love to look pretty for money. I’m not saying that modeling is an easy job, but I much rather endure the pain of high heels than the pain of being ordered around the office making copies and coffee as somebody’s bitch… or the pain of waiting on rude customers (I would despise being a waitress. I’d get fired on my first week, I’m too clumsy to be a waitress). Anyways, that’s besides the point. The job conversation flows smoothly until I mention that I’m here on a student visa. The dreaded “OH” response. They say it’s fine, as long as you have a guardian to sign with you. Umm, that’s another thing. Both my parents live in Asia. “Ohhhhhhhhhh… Hmm.”

When I attended the international student meeting regarding employment and OPT (ç† before employment), I was taken back by how complicated everything was. Applying for OPT. Applying for employment visa. Applying for this and that. We, as a group, have to go through multiple steps that citizens generally don’t even think about.

We have to file a ton of paperwork to Immigrations. We then have to pay to have Immigrations go through the paperwork. Whoever hires you is required to file paperwork to Immigrations (who the hell wants to do that when you can just hire a good ol’ American citizen instead?). We have to refer to the “Tax Guide for Aliens” packet when we have a question (when I picked it up, I couldn’t help but laugh. Paying taxes. And being called an alien. Awesome). We have to do this and that. We can’t do this, we can’t do that, we most definitely can’t do this, we will be deported if we do that. Taxes really confuse the shit out of me. I still don’t have a social security number. There’s a whole bunch of rules for applying for that as well. So, I don’t have it yet. I don’t have a proper state ID. I don’t have credit. Is that bad? That’s probably bad. Do I care? Probably not.

If I leave the country without getting my I-20 (a document that validates my F-1 visa) signed, I can’t come back in. I lost my I-20 once. I left it in a copy machine at a Staples store. The copy just wouldn’t do. The copy meant nothing. I needed the real thing to travel. Thankfully, the international student department mailed me a new I-20 to my address in China. A piece of paper. With it, I’m good. Without it, I’m barred. I’ve been here for over two years now, and there are still so many fucking things that I don’t understand. I just… don’t… understand. I don’t really want to, either.

Sometimes I wish I was an illegal alien. But then again, no I don’t. Legal or not, I just don’t want to be an alien at all. Being treated differently makes me feel… alienated 😥 sob sob. America has a great way of making everyone feel included while excluding people at the same time. It’s hard to describe or understand. For those of you who are citizens of this peculiar country, congratu-fuckin-lations. I envy you.


About Han J.

Located in NYC.

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