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Can I get SNAP Benefits if I’m not a citizen of the United States?

You can get SNAP benefits as a non-US citizen. However, you have to meet the following requirements or belong to the following immigration groups.

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You can get SNAP benefits as a non-citizen of the United States. But only if you are lawfully present in the country and legally documented. You must also meet the general financial and non-financial eligibility requirements. This means that you must be living in the US legally with the necessary documents to prove it.

Non-citizen eligibility requirements for SNAP 

Eligibility for SNAP benefits for non-citizens depend largely on mode of migration. While some non-citizens are eligible for SNAP immediately, others have to have lived in the US for five years —known as a waiting period— or have at least worked for 40 qualifying quarters, or 10 years in the US. 

Non-citizens like tourists and students are not eligible for SNAP benefits in the United States

The table below gives a detailed breakdown of non-citizen groups that qualify for SNAP benefits, and their eligibility status. 

Groups of Eligible Non-citizensEligibility Status 
-Refugees 
-Individuals granted asylum
-Deportation withheld
-Victims of trafficking
-Amerasians
-Cuban and Haitian entrants
-Iraqi and Afghan special immigrants (SIV)
-Hmong or Highland Laotian tribal members
-Certain American Indians born abroad
Eligible immediately, with no waiting period provided they meet all financial and non-financial SNAP eligibility criteria
-Lawful permanent residents (LPR) or Green Card holders
-Battered non-citizens
-Those granted parole for a -period of at least one year
-Conditional entrants
Eligible after a 5-year waiting period, provided they meet all financial and non-financial SNAP eligibility criteria.

Individuals in this group may also be eligible for SNAP with no waiting period if they:
-Are a child under 18 years old
-Are blind or disabled and receiving benefits for assistance for your condition
-Were lawfully residing in the US and 65 or older on Aug. 22, 1996
-Have a US Military connection
Children under age 18 in any of the groups listed aboveEligible immediately, with no waiting period, provided they meet all financial and non-financial SNAP eligibility criteria

SNAP application requirements for Non-citizens 

To apply for SNAP benefits as a non-citizen, you must meet all general SNAP requirements including providing all applicable documents. 

In addition to this, you will be required to provide proof of your immigration status or citizenship, as this will be verified by the corresponding SNAP state agency. 

Can my child get SNAP benefits if I am an ineligible non-Citizen? 

You can apply for SNAP benefits for your eligible dependent even if you are an ineligible immigrant. However, you may need to show proof of relationship during the benefit application process. 

Furthermore, the Department of Transitional Allowance (DTA) will calculate your household income and assets in order to determine your family’s eligibility, and estimate the amount of benefits your child is due. 

Your child is unquestionably eligible for SNAP benefits if they are US born. 
SNAP applications are done in state districts, hence contact your local SNAP office for any questions regarding your non-citizen eligibility status or the SNAP application process.

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