So, you want to know how many days you can spend In the U.S.? Now, I imagine if you are asking this question, you are an Expatriate who is concerned with passing the Physical Presence Test come tax time so you can utilize the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion.
As it turns out, according to the Physical Presence Test, it is necessary for you to be physically present in a foreign country or countries at least 330 days out of any 365 day period. This test applies to both U.S. resident aliens and U.S. citizens.
Quick Physical Presence Test Math
So if we do some quick math… 365 days (over any 12 month period) – 330 days (spent in a foreign country or countries) = 35 U.S. days.
You get 35 days to spend in either the U.S. or on international waters. We will dig more into the international waters issue in a bit.
These Days Don’t Count
When it comes to “counting days” there are a couple of things to keep in mind. First off, if you are in violation of any U.S. laws, your days spent overseas will not count as you being physically present in a foreign country while you were in violation of any U.S laws.
Are There Physical Presence Test Exceptions or Exemptions?
Also, there are no exceptions or exemptions for how your days are counted for the Physical Presence Test. Every day you spend in the U.S. is one less day you are spending in a foreign country. It does not matter if you have business to conduct, you needed a well-deserved vacation to the U.S., you or a loved one gets sick and requires medical attention, your dog ate your passport or you have orders from an employer. It just does not matter why you stepped on U.S. soil so use your days in the U.S. wisely and to their fullest because you only get 35 of them.
What’s is a Full Day
So, what exactly is a full day? According to the IRS, a full day is a 24 hour period that begins and ends at midnight. For a full day to be counted, towards the 330 days, you must spend that entire day in a foreign country or countries of your choice.
Travelling Over or On International Waters
Another little detail to consider is that any time you spend traveling over international waters by either sea or air does not count towards your 330 overseas days either. This is very important to consider when traveling from country to country. Because one small miscalculation can end up costing you thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars,