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SNAP Policy on Non-Citizen Eligibility

Only U.S. citizens and certain lawfully-present non-citizens may receive SNAP benefits. Non-citizens who are eligible based on their immigration status must also meet other SNAP eligibility requirements such as income and resource limits.

Non-citizens eligible with no waiting period

The following non-citizens are eligible with no waiting period:

  • Qualified alien children under 18 years old
  • 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 (INA)
  • 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 the INA
  • Certain American Indians born abroad
  • Members of Hmong or Highland Laotian tribes, legally living in the U.S., that helped the U.S. military during the Vietnam era, and their spouses or surviving spouses and unmarried dependent children
  • Elderly individuals born on or before August 22nd, 1931 and who lawfully resided in the U.S. on August 22nd, 1996
  • Lawful Permanent Residents in the U.S. who are 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 service member)
Qualified aliens eligible after a waiting period

A qualified alien is a non-citizen with a certain immigration status defined under the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA).

A qualified alien who does not belong to one of the non-citizen groups listed above can be considered for SNAP benefits after a waiting period if the person is:

  • A Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) who has earned, or can be credited with, 40 quarters of work, or
  • Is an alien in one of the following groups who has been in qualified status for 5 years:
    • Paroled for at least one year under section 212(d)(5) of INA
    • Granted conditional entry under 203(a)(7) of INA in effect prior to April 1, 1980
    • Battered spouse, child or parent with a petition pending under 204(a)(1)(A) or (B) or 244(a)(3) of INA
Page updated: January 26, 2023