522.3 Non-Citizens

SNAP policy for non-citizens is as follows:

522.31 Non-citizens Who May Receive Immediate Benefits

The following non-citizens do not have to be “qualified”  as described in Section 522.32, Qualified Non-Citizens and may get SNAP benefits immediately as long as they meet other eligibility conditions:    

7 CFR § 273.4(a)

NOTE: If the applicant was born after May 7, 1975, neither the applicant nor his or her spouse qualifies as a tribal member.

522.32 Qualified Noncitizens

Determining the eligibility of non-citizens not listed in Section 522.31 is a two-step process.  First, the non-citizen must be considered a qualified non-citizen under number 1 below. Secondly, the qualified non-citizen must meet corresponding requirements listed under number 2 or 3 to qualify for SNAP benefits.

  7 CFR § 273.4(a)(6)(i)

1.  The following are qualified non-citizens:

NOTE:  Adding periods of admission for less than one year to total a year is not permitted.

To be "qualified" under the "battered or subjected to extreme cruelty" criterion, the non-citizen must meet the following rules:


2.  The following qualified non-citizens may get  SNAP benefits with no waiting period if otherwise eligible:

A refugee may eventually qualify for permanent resident status. The USCIS provides a Resident Alien Identification Card (I-551) to a noncitizen granted permanent resident status. The I-551 includes a class code identifying the individual as a refugee.

The following class codes show eligibility for Refugee Assistance benefits as described in Supplemental Handbook, Chapter 730:


In addition, the following codes are common for Hmong and Highland Laotian tribal members who entered the United States as refugees: RE1, RE2, RE3, RE6, RE7, RE8, R86, IC6, and IC7.

SI1,SQ1,SI2, SQ2, SI3, SQ3 or an I-551 with SI6, SQ6, SI7, SQ7, SI9, SQ9—Iraqi and Afghani SIVs admitted under Section 101(a)(27) of the INA.

Qualified non-citizens in this category who later adjust to LPR status may continue to receive SNAP benefits if otherwise eligible.


3.  The following qualified non-citizens  above may receive SNAP  benefits with no waiting period if they meet one of the following criteria and are otherwise eligible:

 7 CFR § 273.4(a)(6)(ii)  

  1. A spouse or unmarried dependent child or children of a veteran or current member of the U.S. armed forces.


  1. Under age 18 and legally in the United States.  There is no sponsor deeming requirement for qualified non-citizen children under age 18.  When the non-citizen reaches age 18, review his/her status.  The non-citizen child is then subject to deeming requirements.

  2. LPRs who meet the SNAP definition of disabled or blind, and receive blindness or disability benefits. Disability benefits include SSI, Social Security disability, state disability or retirement pension, railroad retirement disability, veteran’s disability, disability-based Medicaid, if the disability determination uses criteria as stringent as those used by federal SSI.  An individual also meets the definition of disability if:

  3. A licensed physician, psychologist, physician's assistant or certified registered nurse practitioner indicates on Form PA 1663 (Employability Assessment Form)  that the individual is permanently or temporarily disabled fora period of 12 months or more.  The medical provider must check either block 1 or 2 in Section II of the form.


 7 CFR § 273.4(a)(6)

     NOTE:  Qualified non-citizens in this category who later adjust to LPR status may continue to receive SNAP benefits if otherwise  eligible.


4.  The following qualified non-citizens must be in a qualified status for five years or more from date of entry before getting SNAP benefits:

Five years in qualified status may be consecutive or nonconsecutive.

Temporary absences from the U.S. of less than six months with no intent to give up living in the U.S. do not end or interrupt the individual's five-year-period.

If the individual is absent for six months or more, the CAO must assume that his or her living in the U.S. was interrupted unless the individual gives evidence of his or her intent to live in the U.S. again. 

When determining whether the individual with an interrupted period of living in the U.S. has been in the U.S. for five years, the CAO must consider all months the individual lived in the U.S., including months before the interruption.

NOTE:  Review ABAWD requirements.  See Chapter 575, Section 575.28.


522.33 Sponsored Non-citizens

Sponsors sign an affidavit of support (I-864) and Contract between Sponsor and Household Member (I-864A) or similar agreement such as an I-134 Affidavit of Support on behalf of the noncitizen as a condition for the non-citizen to enter the U.S. The income and resources of the sponsor and the sponsor's spouse must be considered available for the support of the non-citizen for as long as the affidavit of support is binding.  Form I-864 is a legally enforceable document.  Form I-134 is not legally binding.                                                       

    7 CFR § 273.4(c)

The income of sponsors who signed an affidavit of support before December 19, 1997, is deemed available to the non-citizen for three years.  These sponsors do not have to sign a new affidavit..

Important: The non-citizen must be a qualified non-citizen to consider the income and resources of the sponsor and sponsors spouse as available to the non-citizens household.

The income of sponsors who signed affidavits of support on or after December 19, 1997 is deemed available to a non-citizen until:

Sponsor deeming rules do not apply to a non-citizen who is:                                                                                                         

      7 CFR § 273.4(c)(3)

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

Office of Policy and Strategy

20 Massachusetts Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C.  20529-0001


NOTE:  The phrase “is unable to get food and shelter" means :

The eligible sponsored noncitizen’s household’s own income


Cash contributions received from the sponsor and others


The value of in-kind assistance the sponsor and others provide


No more than 130% of the federal poverty income guidelines for the household’s size



NOTE:  After 12 months, the CAO must not deem the batterer’s income and resources if:

The battery is recognized by a court or the USCIS.

The battery is substantially connected to the need for benefits.

The non-citizen does not live with the batterer.

522.331 Responsibilities of a Sponsored Noncitizen

A sponsored noncitizen must:

  7 CFR § 273.4(c)(4)

At application, the CAO must do the following:  

 7 CFR § 273.2(c)

 7 CFR § 273.4(c)

 7 CFR § 273.2(c)

522.332 Responsibilities of the CAO

The CAO must:  

 7 CFR § 273.2(f)(1)

 7 CFR § 273.4(c)(5)

522.333 Counting Sponsor Resources and Income

If the sponsor lives with his or her spouse, the CAO must count the spouse's income and resources, even if they were married after the sponsor signed the sponsorship agreement.

  7 CFR § 273.4(c)(2)

Figure out the total countable resources of the sponsor and spouse as follows:

1.  Add the resources of the sponsor and his or her spouse.

2.  Deduct $1,500.

3.  Assume the amount left is available to the noncitizen.

Figure out the income deemed to the noncitizen's household as follows:

1.  Deduct the 20% earned income deduction from the combined countable earnings of the sponsor and spouse.

2.  Combine the amount left with any countable unearned income of the sponsor and spouse.

NOTE:  The sponsor is entitled to standard SNAP earned and unearned income exclusions.  See 550.5, Income Excluded in Determining Eligibility.

3.  Figure out household size by counting the number of individuals who the sponsor claims or could claim as a dependent for Federal income tax purposes.

4.  Get the monthly gross income limit based on household size from Chapter 568, Appendix A.

5.  Subtract the monthly gross income limit from Step 4 from the sponsor’s income from Step 2.   The amount left is considered unearned income.

6.  Deem the amount left from Step 5 to the non-citizen's household as unearned income regardless of whether the non-citizen gets the money from the sponsor. 

If the sponsor's actual payment to the household is more than the deemed amount, the CAO must count the amount paid as unearned income available to the non-citizen's household.  

 7 CFR § 273.4(c)(2)(iii)

If the sponsor can prove that he or she sponsors other non-citizens, the CAO must divide the deemed income and resources equally among the sponsored non-citizens who have applied for or are getting SNAP benefits.  

 7 CFR § 273.4(c)(2)(v)

The number of sponsored households or household members is not a factor. The CAO must deem income and resources in equal shares to each sponsored non-citizen whether or not he or she lives in the same household.

522.334 Changes in sponsorship

If the non-citizen reports a change in sponsors, the CAO must recalculate the deemed income and resources, using information from the new sponsor. The new sponsor's income and resources are deemed until the affidavit of support is no longer binding. The change is made for the first month for which the CAO can meet the deadline.         

 7 CFR § 273.4(c)(4)  

The CAO must continue to deem the sponsor's income and resources until the non-citizen gets a new sponsor, the sponsor dies, the non-citizen dies or the affidavit of support is no longer binding.

522.335 Overissuances

If an overissuance happens due to incorrect sponsor information, the CAO must apply the rules of Supplemental Handbook Chapter 910, Restitution and Disqualification.  

 7 CFR § 273.4(c)(4)


522.34 Ineligible Non-citizens

Ineligible non-citizens who may not receive SNAP benefits under any circumstance are individuals:                                           

 7 CFR § 273.4(a)

NOTE:  Ineligible non-citizens may not get SNAP benefits for themselves but may apply for and get benefits on behalf of other eligible household members.


Revised October 6, 2014, replacing March 1, 2013