All nonresident aliens present in the U.S. under F-1, F-2, J-1, or J-2 nonimmigrant status must file Form 8843 "Statement for Exempt Individuals and Individuals With a Medical Condition” — even if they received NO income during 2016. Form 8843 must be filed if an individual is:
If an individual meets all three qualifications above, the individual must file Form 8843, regardless of the individual's age and even if the individual is not required to file a U.S. income tax return (Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ).
Form 8843 is not an income tax return. Form 8843 is merely an informational statement required by the U.S. government for certain nonresident aliens (including the spouses or dependents of nonresident aliens).
Generally, no. Nonresident aliens who are not required to file an income tax return (Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ), but who are required to file Form 8843, need not apply for a Social Security number (SSN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). If, however, an SSN/ITIN has been assigned, the number must be included on Form 8843.
An exception to this rule is for individuals who are eligible to be claimed as dependents on a U.S. income tax return. Such individuals must have an SSN/ITIN. Only nonresident aliens from a very limited number of countries may claim an exemption for their dependents on their U.S. income tax return (Form 1040NR). In such a case, any dependent who is claimed must have a SSN/ITIN. An exemption for spouse and/or dependents is only applicable if the country of tax residence is: