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Old 16-02-2020, 05:15 PM   #1778
BBCWatcher
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 12,050
If I understand correctly, I won't need to do anything to my IWDA/EIMI portfolio while I'm on F-1, and I should use the available plans (e.g. 401(k)) with tax advantages when I do start working in the US?
You won't need to do anything with non-U.S. funds such as IWDA and EIMI, but those funds (and others like them) are U.S. tax "hostile" to U.S. persons. The only way they work is if you never become fully subject to the U.S. tax code. For example, if you remain on your F-1 visa for 4 years, maybe earn a little bit of U.S. income working for the university (within the bounds allowed on your F-1), then you leave.

If you think you might stay -- you meet the love of your life and get married, for example -- then you don't want to be holding non-U.S. funds like IWDA or EIMI since they're considered "Passive Foreign Investment Companies" (PFICs). Even things that seem like simple stocks often are PFICs. So, strictly before you become a U.S. person -- and highly preferably sometime the calendar year before -- I would exit those positions and recast them into a more U.S. tax friendly posture. One simple way to do that is to sell both IWDA and EIMI and reinvest the proceeds in VT, Vanguard's U.S. domiciled Total World Stock ETF listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

There doesn't seem to be any limitation on F-1 visa holders participating in U.S. tax advantaged accounts such as IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and 529s as long as you otherwise qualify. It'd be a good idea to avail yourself of those opportunities if you can, if you qualify.

Note that you're evidently allowed to enter the Diversity Immigrant Visa lottery every October. Note also that you'll likely have some future difficulties renewing your Re-Entry Permit (REP) for your Singapore Permanent Residence if/when you're no longer a de facto resident of Singapore.
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