Third stimulus check: is it necessary to live in the US to be eligible for payment?

US citizens living abroad are eligible to receive the first two stimulus checks and will be for the third direct payment in the American Rescue Act of 2021.

Third stimulus Check: is it necessary to live in the US to be eligible for payment?

The House passed President Biden’s first major piece of legislation, the $1.9 trillion covid-19 relief bill, which includes a third round of stimulus checks, this time for $1,400 per person. Now the bill must pass through the Senate with Democrats on a tight schedule to get the bill to Biden to sign before 14 March.

The current proposal will top up the $600 stimulus checks that were authorized in December with an additional $1,400 to reach the $2000 stimulus check pledged to voters. The bill expands eligibility for the checks to mixed-status families, who missed out on the first two rounds. Once again, many non-US citizens who live and work in America, US citizens who live abroad and residents of a US territories will be eligible.

Who is eligible to receive a stimulus check?

In the proposal passed by Congress the fiscal eligibility requirements will mirror those set for the first two rounds. Individuals who have an adjusted gross income (AGI) of less than $75,000 and couples with and AGI of less than $150,000 will be entitled to the full payment. Heads of household with an AGI of less than $112,500 will also be eligible for the full $1,400 per person.

Dependents 17 and younger and certain older dependents will now be eligible. Individuals or at least one member of the household, for those filing jointly, must have a Social Security Number. This includes all US citizens and non-US citizens with a Social Security Number who live and work in America. US citizens who live abroad and residents of a US territory will be eligible too.

US citizens living abroad are eligible for $1,400 stimulus checks

In the previous first and second stimulus payments US citizens living outside the country were eligible, if they met the other requirements. If you filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019, the IRS should have direct deposited your first two payments into your US bank account. If you don’t have a bank account in the US, the IRS would have sent you a check, since it can't deposit money into foreign bank accounts.

The third stimulus check will work the same and the IRS will use either your 2019 or 2020 income-tax filing, depending which they have on file when the bill passes and payments are sent out.

If you didn’t receive either of the first two stimulus payments you can still claim the money when you file your 1040 or 1040-SR (for senior adults) for the 2020 fiscal year. You’ll need to use the Recovery Rebate Credit on the 2020 tax forms.

Eligibility for stimulus checks in US Territories and Freely Associated States

People who live in or were a resident in 2020 of one of the US territories (Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or Guam) are also be eligible for the previous two stimulus check payments and the third should it pass. However, if you’re a citizen or a resident of the Freely Associated States the Federated States (Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands or the Republic of Palau) you may not be entitled to a payment. US citizens who live in either a US Territory or a Freely Associated State are eligible for the stimulus payments.

In order to claim the payment though you will need to get in touch with your local tax authority. The IRS doesn't distribute the payments in the US territories, the local tax authorities do, based on information provided by the IRS.