July 28, 2014

Foreign National Information System (FNIS) General Instructions

Anyone receiving employment, non-qualified scholarship, honorarium, research award or other income from the MBL must complete the online Foreign National Information Form in FNIS and meet with the Financial Services Administrator. The purpose of this procedure is to determine residency status for tax purposes and the appropriate method for taxation and/or applicable tax exemptions.

To use the Foreign National Information System (FNIS), you will first need to request a username and password. To do so, send an email to fnational@mbl.edu with the following information:

  • In the Subject Line, type: Request FNIS Access
  • In the Text Box, type: I am requesting a username and password to use FNIS. I am coming to the MBL as (state your reason).
  • Examples of reasons: a student in the Frontiers in Reproduction course; a lecturer in the Physiology course; a research award recipient; an employee in the Bay Paul Center, etc.
  • No other additional information or questions should be submitted in this email.
  • If approved for access, your username and password will be sent to you within 5 business days. Upon receipt of your username and password, go here: https://fnis.thomsonreuters.com/mbl/; Enter your username and password and complete the form.
  • You will need to have your passport, past visa history and immigration documents as well as present visa information, if available, to complete certain sections of the form.
  • Complete the form as best you can. Modifications can be made during your meeting with the Financial Services Administrator.

Helpful Hints

  1. The system is designed with most items being "required information." If you do not have the information that is being requested of you, it is OK to save and submit the document with the errors. If our office feels that that the information missing is vital to your tax analysis, we will notify you as soon as possible.
  2. In the Identification section please leave the Institution Assigned ID #, the Financial/Accounts Payable System, the Visa Immigration Status System, the Payroll System and Student System blank. If you do not know or don’t have a foreign taxpayer ID number you may leave that blank as well.
  3. If you do not currently live in the United States, you should use MBL’s address as your US address:
    Marine Biological Laboratory
    7 MBL Street
    Woods Hole, MA 02543-1015
    Phone: 508-548-3705
  4. Clicking on the questions marks (?) located throughout the form will provide you with additional help.
  5. RELAX! We do not want this to be a stressful process for you. Mistakes on the Form can be fixed after it has been submitted to our office. We will also verify your immigration information when you arrive at MBL to make sure that we are giving you the most accurate tax analysis.
  6. If you do not have an ITIN or Social Security number, it is recommended you fill your information in FNIS as soon as possible. After submitting your Foreign National Information into FNIS a treaty analysis and tax determination will be made. After reviewing the information, the Financial Services Administrator will let you know if there are treaty benefits available to you or not as well as inform you of any tax consequences. If the analysis indicates a treaty benefit is available, you will need to have an ITIN or Social Security Number before the MBL can honor the tax treaty. Please keep in mind that the application process for an ITIN can take 6 – 8 weeks once the IRS receives your W-7 Form.
  7. Step 5: Visa/Immigration Status History – since tax status is determined by your physical presence in the U.S. (visa history); please take time to follow the directions and complete this step as best you can. Note that if you are here for the first time, you will only have one visa record.
  8. Saving with errors – it is OK to save with errors in most cases except when filling in the information about your physical presence in the U.S. (visa history).
  9. Step 6: Confirmation – be sure to confirm your information
  10. When finished – press the ‘View Data’ button – print out the form – sign and date it. You will need to bring this form with you when meeting with the Financial Services Administrator.

When you arrive at the MBL you should make arrangements to see the Financial Services Administrator at your earliest convenience. Make sure to bring all of your immigration documents (passport, I-20, DS-2019, I-94 etc.), and your social security card (if you have one) along with your Foreign National Information Form to the meeting.

FNIS Log-in – Username/Password Required – See instructions above

Contact Information:
Kate Ahern-Wolseley
Financial Services Administrator
Marine Biological Laboratory
7 MBL Street
Woods Hole, MA 02543-1015

Office Location: Homestead 212
Phone: (508) 289-7275
Fax: (508) 289-7931
E-mail: fnational@mbl.edu