People who report that they are not United States citizens may have several factors that require verification. Non-citizens will generally have 1 of 2 forms (I-551 or I-94) that indicates current immigration status and the date it was attained. See 0010.18.24
(Verification - I-94 Cards), 0010.18.27 (Verification - I-551 Card).
Factors that you must verify include:
Current immigration status: A non-citizen’s status relates to permission to live and work in the United States. A lawful permanent resident (LPR) has permanent permission to live and work in the United States. See 0010.18.15 (Verifying Lawful Permanent Residence), 0010.18.15.03 (Lawful Permanent Resident: USCIS Class Codes), 0011.03.12 (Non-Citizens - Lawful Permanent Residents). Some people only have permission to live here for a temporary period and may need to apply for permission to work. Other people may only have permission to reside here on a temporary basis and are ineligible to work in the United States. See 0011.03.24 (Non-Citizens - Lawfully Residing People), 0011.03.27 (Undocumented and Non-Immigrant People).
An expired immigration document is NOT acceptable verification of current status. Do not assume that an expired document is an indication that the immigration status has changed or that the person should be considered undocumented. Verification of current immigration status is mandatory and eligibility does not exist until it is received. Obtain a signed release of information to contact USCIS to verify the person’s immigration status.
An Employment Authorization card may indicate immigration status, but in cases where entry date or status date are also needed, additional verification may be required.
Date of entry to the United States or date status granted: The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996 was signed on 8-22-96. Eligibility for federally-funded programs for non-citizens who arrived in the United States on or after that date may be different than for those who arrived prior to that date. With some EXCEPTIONS, people entering after 8-22-96 are subject to a 5-year bar to FEDERAL MEANS TESTED PROGRAMs, see 0002.23 (Glossary: Fair Hearing...). For exceptions, see 0011.03.03 (Non-Citizens - MFIP/DWP Cash).
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In some cases it may be necessary to verify eligibility factors by contacting USCIS, but ONLY after obtaining a release of information from the non-citizen household member.
Refusing to sign a release of information is a bar to eligibility for the non-citizen household member(s) only. Assistance is available for the remaining household members who meet all other eligibility criteria.
Do not attempt to verify the immigration status of household members who are not requesting assistance.
After you have determined eligibility, you may be required to use the SAVE process for some programs. See 0010.18.11.03 (Systematic Alien Verification (SAVE).