305.09 Determining Qualified Alien Status SR 03-06, 04/03 (FSM-A)


To be eligible for food stamp benefits, non-citizens must first be qualified aliens.

Exception: Certain Native American Indians and Hmong or Highland Tribe Members are eligible for food stamp benefits on the same basis as citizens (i.e., they do not have to be qualified aliens). See Section 305.14, Special Category Non-Citizens Eligible Without Restriction, and Section 305.01, Definition of US Citizen.

A qualified alien is a non-citizen whose status on the date of their entry into the U.S. is listed below:

• Lawfully admitted permanent resident (LPR) under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA);

 Exception: Permanent Residents previously admitted under a status in the Refugee group, have eligibility determined the same way as the Refugees group without regard to work quarters.

• Asylee granted such status under section 208 of the INA;

• Refugee admitted to the U.S. under section 207 of the INA;

 Exception: Non-citizens who have been certified as a victim of trafficking by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), have eligibility determined in the same way as Refugees, without regard to qualified alien status. See Section 305.15, Qualified Aliens Eligible Only for the First 7 Years in the U.S.

• Non-citizen whose deportation is being withheld under section 243(h) of the INA (Note: after April 1, 1997, withholding of deportation is under section 241(b)(3));

• Parolee paroled into the U.S. under section 212(d)(5) of the INA for a period of at least 1 year;

• Conditional entrant into the U.S. under section 203(a)(7) of the INA as in effect prior to April 1, 1980;

• Cuban or Haitian entrant under section 501(e) of the Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980;

• Amerasian immigrant under section 584 of the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act of 1988 (usually the children of Vietnamese women and Americans present in Vietnam during the Vietnam War era); or

• a battered immigrant spouse, battered immigrant child, immigrant parent of a battered child or an immigrant child of a battered parent:

- with a petition pending under 204(a)(1)(A) or (B) or 244(a)(3) of the INA;

- who is no longer living in the same household as the abuser; and

who can establish a connection between the battery and the need for food stamp benefits. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following situations in which benefits are needed: to enable the applicant to become self-sufficient, to escape the abuser to ensure the safety of the applicant, because the applicant has lost financial support or his or her home in leaving the abuser, or because of a disability that was a result of the abuse.


Also see section 305.21, Documentation of BCIS Status.


All other non-citizens, unless otherwise specified, are ineligible for food stamps regardless of date of entry into the U.S. or BCIS status.