SNAP Policy on Non-Citizen Eligibility
A person must be a U.S. citizen or an eligible, lawfully-present non-citizen
to qualify for SNAP benefits. Non-citizens who are eligible based on their
immigration status must also satisfy other SNAP eligibility requirements
such as income and resource limits to receive SNAP benefits.
eligible with no waiting period.
The following non-citizens are eligible with no waiting period:
- Qualified alien children under 18.
- Refugees admitted under section 207 of INA (includes victims of
severe forms of trafficking).
- Victims of Trafficking under the Trafficking Victims Protection
Act of 2000.
- Asylees under Section 208 of the Immigration and Nationality Act
- Deportation withheld under 243(h) or 241(b)(3) of INA.
- Amerasian immigrants under 584 of the Foreign Operations, Export
Financing and Related Programs Appropriations Act.
- Cuban or Haitian entrants as defined in 501(e) of the Refugee
Education Assistance Act of 1980.
- Iraqi and Afghan special immigrants under Section 101(a)(27) of
- Certain American Indians born abroad.
- Members of Hmong or Highland Laotian tribes that helped the U.S.
military during the Vietnam era, and who are legally living in the
U.S., and their spouses or surviving spouses and unmarried dependent children.
- Elderly individuals born on or before Aug. 22, 1931 and who
lawfully resided in the U.S. on Aug. 22, 1996.
- Lawful Permanent Residents in the U.S. and receiving government
payments for disability or blindness.
- Lawful Permanent Residents with a military connection (veteran,
on active duty, or spouse or child of a veteran or active duty
Qualified aliens eligible after a waiting
A qualified alien is a non-citizen with a certain immigration status as
defined under PRWORA.
A qualified alien who does not belong to one of the non-citizen groups
listed above as eligible
with no waiting period can get SNAP benefits if the person is otherwise
eligible, and is:
- A Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) who has earned, or can be
credited with, 40 quarters of work; or
- A qualified alien in one of the following groups who has been in
qualified status for 5 years:
o Paroled for at least one year under section 212(d)(5) of INA.
o Granted conditional entry under 203(a)(7) of INA in effect prior
o Battered spouse, battered child or parent or child of a battered
person with a
petition pending under 204(a)(1)(A) or (B) or
244(a)(3) of INA.
Some States have programs to supply food benefits in lieu of SNAP to
non-citizens who do not qualify for SNAP benefits. This information can be
accessed in the
SNAP State Options Report.