305.21 Documentation of USCIS Status (FSM)

SR 04-30 Dated 05/04

Previous Policy


Require non-citizens to provide documentation of qualified alien status from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). District Offices are not required to assist an applicant in verifying citizenship.

A non-citizen is ineligible for Food Stamp benefits until acceptable documentation is provided unless:

• the District Office has had to submit copies of the non-citizens documentation to USCIS per instructions while conducting secondary verification using the Verification Information System (VIS). USCIS should respond to requests for secondary verification within 21 calendar days. If there is no response, call USCIS to determine the status of the request. Pending USCIS verification, base the eligibility decision on the original documents provided by the non-citizen to process the case within program time frames. Review the individuals eligibility when USCIS verification is received.

• the individual provides documentation that the SSA is conducting an investigation to determine if more quarters of work coverage can be credited. Pending the results of the SSA investigation, and if otherwise eligible, the individual may participate in the Food Stamp Program for up to 6 months from the date of the SSAs original finding that the number of qualifying quarters was insufficient. See Section 305.19, Crediting SSA Work Quarters; or

• the District Office has submitted a request to a Federal Agency other than USCIS for verification of information applicable to the individuals immigration status. Pending the results of the investigation, the individual may participate in the Food Stamp Program for up to 6 months from the date of the original request for verification.

Applicants are not required to provide information about the citizenship or immigration status of any non-applicant family or household member, nor can the applicant be denied benefits because a non-applicant family or household member has not disclosed his or her citizenship or immigration status.

Battered Non-Citizens

Non-citizens claiming qualified alien status due to battering or extreme cruelty must provide additional verification indicating that:

• the violence occurred while the individual was residing in the United States;

• the batterer was the spouse or parent of the battered non-citizen, or the non-citizen childs parent was the subject of the battering;

• the battered spouse or child was residing with the batterer at the time of the incident(s); and

• the battered individual no longer resides with the batterer.

Accept any reasonable evidence of physical violence against the individual, such as police reports, information from medical or school personnel, photographs, or signed statements from individuals familiar with the situation.

Other types of USCIS non-citizen documentation include notifications on USCIS letterhead, U.S. stamps on passports, or USCIS computer-printed fee receipts. Non-citizens may also present documentation not issued by USCIS. Verify all non-citizen documentation following the * VIS verification procedures outlined in section 305.23, Verification of Qualified Alien Status.


References: 7 CFR 273.2(f)(1)(ii), 8 USC 1611 & 1621, Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) [PL 99-603], 62 Federal Register 61347 (Nov. 17, 1997)