Non-U.S. Citizens Qualifying for Federal Student Aid

Students must be U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens to receive federal student financial aid. A student is eligible for federal student aid even if he or she are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) includes questions to ask about the student’s citizenship status.

If a student has recently become a U.S. citizen, he/she should contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) to ensure that his/her citizenship status is correctly associated with his/her Social Security number. Otherwise, when the U.S. Department of Education matches FAFSA data with the SSA, the SSA may report that the student is not a citizen and may be considered ineligible to receive federal and state aid. For additional information regarding citizenship, please visit: Student Aid Guide – Citizenship at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/eligibility/non-us-citizens

For financial aid purposes, an eligible non-citizen is someone who meets one of the following criteria:

  • A U.S. permanent resident or other eligible noncitizens;
  • A citizen of the Freely Associated States: the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republics of Palau and the Marshall Islands. These students can only receive aid from some of the financial aid programs.


 
 
 
 
 

ELIGIBLE CATEGORIES REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION

 

U. S. Citizen or National 

 

U.S. Birth Certificate, U.S. Passport, current or expired (except limited passports); or Certificate of Naturalization (form N-550 or N-570); or Certificate of Citizenship (form N-560 or N-561); or Documentation of Birth of Citizen Abroad (form FS-240, FS-545 or DS-1350). Note: If you do not have the above documentation because you recently were naturalized, or you became a U.S. citizen as a minor, and you have not yet received a Certificate of Naturalization or U.S. Passport, submit an explanation.

 

U. S. Permanent Resident 

Form I-551; or Resident Alien Card (form I-551); or Departure Record (form I-94A) or Arrival Departure Record (form I-94) with the endorsement: "Processed for I-551", "Temporary I-551" or "Processed for I-551." Temporary Evidence of Lawful Admission for Permanent Residence Valid Until Employment Authorized" or other documentation of permanent resident status.

 

Conditional Resident Aliens 

Valid I-551C, I-94, I-94A, or a passport with an MRIV bearing the statement "Upon endorsement serves as temporary I-551C evidencing permanent residence for 1 year." Valid if documentation has not expired.

 

Refugee  


Form I-94A or I-94A annotated with a stamp showing admission under Section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Refugee Travel Document (Form I-571) or the newer U.S. Travel Document annotated with "Refugee Travel Document Form I-571 (Rev. 9-2-03)."

 

Person Granted Asylum 


Form I-94 or I-94A with a stamp showing admission under Section 208 of the INA or documentation as provided to refugees above.

 

Person Paroled into the U.S. for at Least One Year 


Evidence (such as having filed a valid permanent resident application) from the DHS that you are in the U.S. for other than a temporary purpose and intend to become a citizen or permanent resident. The documentation must have a stamp indicating that you have paroled into the United States for at least one year, with a date that has not expired.

 

Cuban-Haitian Entrants 

Form 
I-94 with stamp indicating "Cuban-Haitian Entrant (Status Pending). Reviewable January 15, 1981. Employment authorized until January 15, 1981 or "Customs and Border Patrol (CBP)" stamp, showing class of admission and date admitted on their passport.

 

Conditional Entrant  

Form I-94 with a stamp displaying "Section 203(a)(7)" and indicating that the person was admitted to the United States as a conditional entrant dated prior to March 31, 1980.

 

Victim of Human Trafficking or Spouse, Child or Parent of Victim 

Victim must submit certification or eligibility letter from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Spouse, child or parent of victim may submit a copy of the victim's certification letter and a copy of their I-94 with a T1, T2, T3 or T COA code.

 

Battered immigrants-Qualified Aliens 

Form I-797 or a court order from an immigration judge confirming your status.

 

Ineligible Categories 

DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) 

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status is conferred by the USCIS office in the Department of Homeland Security. While students granted DACA are normally assigned a Social Security number, they are not eligible for Title IV aid. However, DACA status students may still be eligible for state or college aid, and submitting a FAFSA can help you access those other types of aid.

 

Persons with nonimmigrant visas 
(work permits, students, visitors, and foreign government officials) 

A nonimmigrant visa is the visa issued to persons with a permanent residence outside the U.S. but who wishes to be in the U.S. on a temporary basis (i.e. Tourism, medical treatment, business, temporary work, or study. Form I-94 with one of the endorsements given in the eligible document section. Nonimmigrant visas include the F-1, F-2, or M-1 Student Visa, B-1 or B-2 Visitor Visa, J-1 or J-2 Exchange Visitors Visa, H series or L series Visa (which allow temporary employment in the U.S.), or a G series Visa (pertaining to international organizations). Someone who has only a “Notice of Approval to Apply for Permanent Residence (I-171 or I-464)” cannot receive financial aid funds.

 

Amnesty (IRCA of 1986) 

These individuals were given documentation that allowed them to work while their application for permanent resident status was being processed, but they aren’t eligible for aid unless their application was approved. Employment Authorization Card (Form I-688A), Employment Authorization Documents (Form I-688B or the I-766), or the Temporary Resident Card (Form I-688). None of these documents qualifies a student for financial aid.

 

Temporary Protected Status  


Form I-94 for persons who are from countries that are in upheaval, but status differs significantly from refugee or asylee because it provides no conversion to permanent resident status. These students are not eligible for financial aid funds.

 

Alien who is employment authorized in the United States 


Employment authorization doesn’t make you eligible for federal student aid funds. Unless you can provide documentation, that can be confirmed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

 

Person Paroled into the U.S. for at Least One Year 


Evidence (such as having filed a valid permanent resident application) from the DHS that you are in the U.S. for other than a temporary purpose and intend to become a citizen or permanent resident. The documentation must have a stamp indicating that you have paroled into the United States for at least one year, with a date that has not expired.

 

Aliens, not employment authorized in the United States 

Students with this status aren’t eligible for aid unless Citizenship and Immigration Services stamps the front of the G-845 in the signature block.

 

Alien who has an application pending  

Alien with an application pending is a person waiting for a new immigration status or a change of status. You are not eligible for financial aid unless you provide documentation of a qualified status.

 

Alien who is a non-immigrant 

A student with this status is not eligible for financial aid funds.

 

U-Visa 

The U visa is a nonimmigrant visa which is set aside for victims of crimes (and their immediate family members) who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse and are willing to assist law enforcement and government officials in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity.