Citizenship Requirements

Citizenship Requirements

In order to be eligible for federal financial aid, the student must be one of the following:

  • A U.S. citizen or national (by birth or naturalization)
    • Persons (except for the children of foreign diplomatic staff) born in the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and in most cases, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands, as are most persons born abroad to parents (or a parent) who are citizens, are considered U.S. citizens.
    • Natives of American Samoa and Swain’s Island are not U.S. citizens but are nationals and therefore may receive federal student aid funds.
  • A U.S. permanent resident
  • Citizens of the Freely Associated States: the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republics of Palau and the Marshall Islands
  • Other eligible noncitizens


The student should have an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94 Form) from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or other documentation to prove s/he is an eligible noncitizen. The classes of noncitizens are as follows:

  • Refugee – have Form I-94 or I-94A annotated with a stamp showing admission under Section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) or have an old Refugee Travel Document (Form I-571) or the new U.S. Travel Document mentioned above annotated with “Refugee Travel Document Form I-571 (Rev. 9-2-03).”
  • Victims of human trafficking
  • Asylees – have an I-94 or I-94A with a stamp showing admission under Section 208 of the INA
  • Conditional Entrants (valid only if issued before April 1, 1980) – have a stamp indicating the student has been admitted to the U .S. as a conditional entrant (DHS stopped using this category after 3/31/80).
  • Parolee – have a stamp indicating that the student has been paroled into the U.S. for at least one year, with a date that has not expired.
  • Cuban-Haitian Entrant – have a stamp on the face of the I-94 indicating the student has been classified as a “Cuban-Haitian Entrant (Status Pending)” – this is valid even if the expiration date has passed.

Students are NOT eligible for federal financial aid if they:

  • Have an approved “Application for Voluntary Departure Under the Family Unity Program” – this indicates the student has been grant relief from deportation under the Family Unity Program, but this status does NOT qualify the student for federal aid.
  • Documents individuals receive making them eligible to work while their application for permanent status is being processed – these include:
    • Employment Authorization Card (Form I-688A)
    • Employment Authorization Documents (Form I-688B or the I-766)
    • Temporary Resident Card (Form I-688)
  • Nonimmigrant visas including
    • F-1 Student Visa
    • F-2 Student Visa
    • M-1 Student Visa
    • B-1 Visitor Visa
    • B-2 Visitor Visa
    • J-1 Exchange Visitors Visa
    • J-2 Exchange Visitors Visa
    • H series Visa (allowing temporary employment in the U.S.)
    • L series Visa (allowing temporary employment in the U.S.)
    • G series Visa (pertaining to international organizations)
    • Notice of Approval to Apply for Permanent Residence (I-171 or I-464)
  • Form I-94 stamped “Temporary Protected Status” which is used for persons who are from countries that are in upheaval, but the status differs significantly from “Refugee” or “Asylee” because it provides no conversion to permanent resident status.

Acceptable Documents to Prove Citizenship or Eligible Noncitizen Status or include the following:

  • U.S. Passport
    • For a noncitizen national – it must be stamped “Noncitizen National.”
  • Certificate of Citizenship – issued to persons who were born abroad of U.S. parent(s) who became citizens when their parents were naturalized, or who were adopted by U.S. parents.
  • Certification of Birth Abroad – issued to U.S. citizens born abroad (valid certificate must have the embossed seal of the State Department).
  • Certificate of Naturalization (issued to naturalized U.S. citizens).
  • I-94 Arrival-Departure Record (see section above for valid stamps)
    • For permanent resident status – must be stamped “Processed for I-551” with expiration date or “Temporary Form I-551” with appropriate information filled in.
  • Form CBP I-94A (computer generated form that replaces most Form I-94 manual forms)
  • United States Travel Document – replaces Reentry Permit (Form (I-327) and the Refugee Travel Document (Form I-571) – used by lawful permanent residents, refugees, and asylees.
  • Machine Readable Immigrant Visa (MRIV) – will appear in a foreign passport – the passport must be unexpired and endorsed with an admission stamp and the statement “Upon endorsement serves as temporary I-551 evidencing permanent residence for 1 year.”
  • Alien Registration Receipt Card I-151 (aka “green card” even though it may not be green)
  • Resident Alien Card (I-551) – issued to permanent residents (aka “green card” even though it may not be green).
    • Conditional Resident Alien Card – this is an I-551 issued to conditional permanent residents such as alien spouses – is identified by a “C” on the front and has an expiration date on the back.