Revision 13-2; Effective April 1, 2013

All Programs

U.S. citizens and certain legally-admitted alien residents are
eligible for benefits if they meet all other eligibility criteria.

A person born in the 50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico,
Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, America Samoa, Swain's Island or Northern
Marianna Islands is considered a U.S. citizen.

A person born abroad to at least one U.S. citizen parent may claim derivative citizenship. See How to Verify Citizenship, A-351.4.

Exception: Undocumented aliens applying for Emergency Medicaid do not have to meet citizenship status eligibility requirements.

A-311 Alien Status Policies

Revision 22-2; Effective April 1, 2022

All Programs

Before certifying any alien resident, ensure that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS):

  • legally admitted the person to live in the United States; and
  • they meet the definition of a "qualified immigrant".

Review the person's USCIS document(s) and the Qualified Alien Status Eligibility charts to determine the programs where the person is potentially eligible. Disqualify a person who does not have acceptable alien status. Check USCIS documents for expiration dates. An expired document is not acceptable.


Do not disqualify the person:

  • if the person provides an expired USCIS document; and
  • the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) response indicates the person is a Lawful Permanent Resident – Employment Authorized; and
  • the ‘Date Admitted To’ response shows ‘Indefinite’, the person meets alien status criteria.


  • Use the TANF and Medical Programs Alien Status Eligibility Charts to determine Emergency Medicaid eligibility for aliens without acceptable status.
  • Before disqualifying a person with an expired document, check the expiration date of the document in SAVE. USCIS automatically extends certain I-766, Employment Authorization Documents, for up to 180 days when USCIS receives a renewal application for the document. When this occurs, SAVE displays the new expiration date. Do not disqualify the person if SAVE shows the I-766 is current.

Related Policy

Definition of Qualified Immigrant, A-311.1
Qualified Alien Status Eligibility Charts, A-340
Verification of Alien Status, A-352
Verifying Alien's USCIS Documents, A-355 

A-311.1 Definition of Qualified Immigrant

Revision 22-2; Effective April 1, 2022

All Programs

The USCIS defines a qualified immigrant as an alien in one of the following categories:

Note: The Qualified Alien Status Eligibility Charts list all the above categories.

Related Policy

Qualified Alien Status Eligibility Charts, A-340
How to Determine Eligibility for Battered Aliens, A-343

A-312 Contact with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015


An illegal alien is one who has received a final deportation order. Advisors must report applicants who are illegal aliens to USCIS in writing. The supervisor must sign a written notification and send it to the nearest USCIS office, which can be found at

Except for using the SAVE Verification Information System (VIS), advisors may contact USCIS on behalf of an alien only at the individual’s written request. If the alien does not wish to contact USCIS or give the advisor permission, the advisor must advise the household that the household may be certified without the alien (that is, disqualify the alien).

A-313 Absence of Proof of Alien Status

Revision 24-2; Effective April 1, 2024


Disqualify a household member from the certified group if the member does not have or refuses to provide proof of alien status. The remaining members of the group are certified if they meet all eligibility requirements.

Related Policy

TANF — Budgeting for a Legal Parent Disqualified for Alien Status, Failure to Prove Citizenship, Noncompliance with the Unmarried Minor Parent Domicile Requirement or State Time Limits, A-1362.1

SNAP — Budgeting for Members Disqualified for Citizenship, SNAP ABAWD Work Requirement or Noncompliance with Social Security Number Requirements, A-1362.3


If the applicant cannot provide verification of eligible alien status for a child, the child is considered ineligible rather than disqualified.

Medical Programs

If the applicant cannot provide verification of eligible alien status after the period of reasonable opportunity, the applicant is ineligible for benefits.

Required household members are included in the budget group or Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) household composition, even if the household members do not have proof of their alien status.

Related Policy 

Who is Included, A-241.1
Reasonable Opportunity, A-351.1

A-314 Re-verification of Alien Status Due to a USCIS Document's Expiration Date

Revision 18-1; Effective January 1, 2018

All Programs except TA 31, TP 32, TP 33, TP 34, TP 35 and TP 36

Advisors must re-verify the alien's USCIS card if the:

  • USCIS document has expired; and
  • alien wants to continue receiving or reapplies for benefits.

Advisors must allow an alien 10 days to update the card with the USCIS. If the individual cannot provide an updated document or proof within 10 days, the alien is disqualified until the individual provides a valid USCIS card or proof of application for a new card.

Exception: If the individual’s USCIS document is expired and the SAVE response shows the individual is a Lawful Permanent Resident - Employment Authorized and the Date Admitted To response is Indefinite, the individual meets alien status criteria. These individuals must not be disqualified.

TANF and Medical Programs except TA 31, TP 32, TP 33, TP 34, TP 35 and TP 36

When a certified alien's USCIS document expires before the periodic review date, the advisor must schedule a special review the month the document expires.


Advisors must set the certification period to end the same month the USCIS document expires or schedule a special review for the month the document expires.

For streamlined reporting (SR) households, the advisor must not set a special review for the month the document expires. A document that expires during the SR certification period does not cause an individual to lose eligibility. The advisor may assume that the household will renew the document upon expiration and re-evaluate at the next certification.

Related Policy

Alien Status Policy, A-311

A-315 Definition of Public Charge

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

All Programs

A public charge is defined by law as an alien who has applied for and received public cash assistance for income maintenance, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash assistance, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or institutionalization for long-term care at government expense, such as nursing home care.

A-315.1 Providing Information to Immigrants Regarding Public Charge

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015


If an immigrant inquires, staff must inform the individual that receipt of TANF cash benefits places the immigrant at risk of being considered a public charge and the individual may lose his or her immigrant status.

Exception: According to USCIS, the following individuals are exempt from public charge:

  • refugees,
  • asylees,
  • asylum applicants,
  • refugees and asylees applying for adjustment of permanent resident status,
  • Cuban/Haitian entrants and parolees,
  • Special Immigrant Visa holders from Iraq and Afghanistan,
  • Amerasian immigrants (for their initial admission),
  • individuals granted relief under the Cuban Adjustment Act (CAA),
  • individuals granted relief under the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA),
  • individuals granted relief under the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act (HRIFA),
  • individuals applying for a T Visa,
  • individuals applying for a U Visa,
  • individuals who possess a T Visa and are trying to become a permanent resident,
  • individuals who possess a U Visa and are trying to become a permanent resident,
  • individuals who have been certified by the Office of Refugee
    Resettlement as a victim of trafficking (prior to being issued a T Visa
    by USCIS),
  • applications for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and
  • certain applicants under the LIFE Act Provisions.

SNAP and Medical Programs

If an immigrant inquires, the advisor must assure the individual that receipt of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and/or medical program benefits does not place the immigrant at risk of becoming a public charge.

A-315.2 Receiving Other Benefits

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

All Programs

There are other public assistance programs that immigrants may apply for that do not result in public charge considerations. These programs
include: Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), immunizations, prenatal care, testing and treatment of communicable diseases, emergency medical assistance, emergency disaster relief, housing assistance, and child care.

A-316 Sponsored Alien

Revision 15-4; Effective October 1, 2015

All Programs

A sponsored alien is an individual who has been sponsored by a person who signed an affidavit of support (USCIS Form I-864 or I-864-A)on or after December 19, 1997, agreeing to support the alien as a condition of the alien's entry into the U.S.

A sponsor is someone who brings family-based or certain employment-based immigrants to the U.S. and demonstrates that he or she can provide enough financial support to the immigrant so that the individual does not rely on public benefits.

If necessary, advisors use the SAVE system to verify whether an alien has a sponsor. The SAVE system, through additional verification, can provide the sponsor's name and address.

A-316.1 Providing Verification of the Alien's Sponsor Income and Resources

Revision 16-2; Effective April 1, 2016

TANF, SNAP, TP 08, TP 43, TP 44, TP 48, TP 40, TP 07, TP 20, TP 56, TP 70, TA 84 and TA 85

For cases involving aliens and their sponsors, the alien is responsible for getting all verification from the sponsor and sponsor's spouse.

Request the following information from the alien if not otherwise available through Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlement (SAVE) or Texas Integrated Eligibility Redesign System (TIERS) inquiry or case documentation:

  • Alien sponsor name,
  • Alien sponsor date of birth,
  • Alien sponsor Social Security number,
  • Alien sponsor earned income,
  • Alien sponsor unearned income,
  • Alien sponsor self-employment income,
  • Alien sponsor resources (if applicable, as explained in A-1245, Resources of an Alien’s Sponsor), and
  • Alien sponsor citizenship status or alien number if the sponsor is a lawful permanent resident.

The income and resources (if applicable) of an alien's sponsor (and the sponsor's spouse if the spouse also signed an affidavit of support, USCIS Form I-864) must be counted (deemed) as belonging to the sponsored alien, regardless of actual availability when determining the sponsored alien's eligibility and benefit amounts.

Deeming of the sponsor’s income and resources (if applicable) to the sponsored alien lasts until the:

  • sponsored alien becomes a naturalized citizen,
  • sponsored alien can be credited with 40 qualifying quarters of work, or
  • sponsor dies.

Sponsored aliens not subject to sponsor deeming are:

  • children under age 18;
  • sponsored aliens who are ineligible for benefits (examples include
    those who are disqualified from getting benefits or those considered
    non-members, such as students who do not meet SNAP student eligibility
  • battered spouses or children;
  • refugees, parolees, asylees, people granted withholding of
    deportation, Amerasians, trafficking victims, and Iraqi and Afghan
    special immigrants;
  • aliens whose sponsor has not signed an affidavit of support;
  • aliens whose sponsor is in the same household/Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) household composition; and
  • indigent aliens.

TANF, TP 08, TP 43, TP 44, TP 48, TP 40, TP 07, TP 20, TP 56, TP 70, TA 84 and TA 85

If the sponsored alien fails to provide sponsor verification by the required date in B-115, Pending Verification on Applications, the alien's application is denied.

Note: Resources of an alien sponsor must only be verified if resources are counted for that program, as explained in A-1245.


If the sponsored alien fails to provide sponsor verification by the required date in B-115, the sponsored alien is disqualified until the alien provides the proof. If eligible, remaining household members may participate while the alien is disqualified. If the disqualified alien later provides the proof, the advisor processes it as a reported change. The Eligibility Determination Group (EDG) is denied if the household fails to provide proof of the disqualified alien's own income.

Related Policy

Resources of an Alien's Sponsor, A-1245
Alien Sponsor's Income, A-1361