U.S. Citizenship and Eligible Non-Citizens

A student must be one of the following to be eligible to receive Federal Student Aid (FSA) or State of Georgia Financial Aid:

  • A U.S. citizen or national;
  • A U.S. permanent resident or other eligible noncitizen; or
  • A citizen of the Freely Associated States:  the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republics of Palau and the Marshall Islands.  These students can only receive aid from some of the FSA programs and do no have an A-number/ARN (see Citizens of the Freely Associated States section later in this section)

Additionally, the State of Georgia Financial Aid Programs require the eligible non-citizen status to have been granted from 12 to 24 months prior to the first day of classes of the term for which the student wishes to receive the state aid.

A parent of a dependent student who wishes to borrow a Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan must also be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.

The U.S. Department of Education matches all Free Applications for Federal Student Aid (FAFSAs) with the Social Security Administration.  All FAFSAs with Alien Registration Numbers (ARNs) are also matched with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) data base.

U.S. Citizen:  If the Social Security Administration is unable to electronically confirm a student’s U.S. Citizenship during FAFSA processing, the student must provide original documents to the UGA Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) confirming citizenship before any Federal Student Aid (FSA) funds can be disbursed.  A Social Security card or driver's license isn't acceptable for documenting U.S. citizenship or national status since noncitizens and non-nationals can also have these forms of identification.  Acceptable forms of U.S. citizenship documentation are:

  • A copy of the student’s birth certificate reflecting he or she was born in the United States, which includes Puerto Rico (on or after January 13, 1941), Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Swain's Island, or the Northern Mariana Islands, unless the person was born to foreign diplomats residing in the U.S.  Note also that if a student has a birth certificate from a U.S. jurisdiction showing that the student was born abroad (i.e., not in the U.S. or its territories), that birth certificate is not acceptable documentation.
  • A U.S. Passport, current or expired, (except "limited" passports which are typically issued for short periods such as a year).  In the case of nationals who are not citizens, the passport will be stamped "Noncitizen National".  Five-year-duration U.S. passports (commonly issued to younger students) are considered acceptable documentation, and are not considered "limited".  Passport cards are also acceptable; however one-year-duration U.S. passports are NOT acceptable documentation.
  • The State Department issues wallet-sized passport cards that can be used for land and sea travel between the United States and Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. This document also confirms U.S. citizenship.
  • A copy of Form FS-240 (Consular Report of Birth Abroad), FS-545 (Certificate of birth issued by a foreign service post), or DS-1350 (Certification of Report of Birth). These are State Department documents.
  • A Certificate of Citizenship (N-560 or N-561), issued by the USCIS to individuals who derive U.S. Citizenship through a parent.
  • A Certificate of Naturalization (N-550 or N-570), issued by USCIS through a federal or state court, or through administrative naturalization after December 1990 to those who are individually naturalized.

U.S. National (includes natives of American Samoa, Swain's Island, or the U.S. Minor Outlying Islands)

Eligible Non-CitizensIf the DHS/USCIS is unable to confirm a student’s eligible noncitizen status during FAFSA processing, the student must provide original documents to the UGA Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) confirming eligible non-citizen status.  Federal Student Aid (FSA) eligible noncitizen statuses are:

U.S. Permanent Residents aka Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs).  Acceptable forms of documentation are:

  • A Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551 since 1997), or
  • A Resident Alien Card (Form I-551 before 1997), or
  • An Alien Registration Receipt Card (Form I-151, issued prior to June 1978), or
  • An Arrival/Departure Record (CBP Form I-94) or the Departure Record (Form I-94A which is used at land border points of entry with the endorsement "Processed for I-551. Temporary Evidence of Lawful Admission for Permanent Residence. Valid until (Date Cannot Have Passed). Employment Authorized.", or
  • A machine readable immigrant visa (MRIV) in the holder's passport. The MRIV will have an admission stamp, and the statement "UPON ENDORSEMENT SERVES AS TEMPORARY I-551 EVIDENCING PERMANENT RESIDENCE FOR 1 YEAR" which appears directly above the machine readable section. An MRIV with this statement, contained in an unexpired foreign passport and endorsed with the admission stamp, constitutes a temporary I-551, valid for one year from the date of endorsement on the stamp.
  • A United States Travel Document (mint green cover), which replaces the Reentry Permit (Form I-327) and the Refugee Travel Document (Form I-571). It is used by lawful permanent residents (as well as refugees and asylees) and is annotated with "Permit to Reenter Form I-327 (Rev. 9-2-03)."

Citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia and the republics of Palau and Marshall IslandsNote: Citizens of Palau are eligible only for the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grant or Federal Work-Study (FWS). Citizens of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands are only eligible for the Federal Pell Grant. None of these students are eligible for Federal Direct Student Loans.

Other Eligible Non-Citizen resident statuses and documentation:

  • Refugee status continues unless revoked by DHS.  Refugees are required to apply for Lawful Permanent Residency (LPR) status after one year, and continue to be refugees even after the grant of LPR status.  A refugee will have an electronic I-94 showing "RE" as the class of admission and "DS" as the admit until date.  Refugees may also have a Form I-94 or I-94A annotated with a stamp showing admission under Section 207 of the Immigration Nationality Act (INA). Also acceptable is the old Refugee Travel Document (Form I-571) or the newer U.S. Travel Document cited in paragraph 6. above annotated with "Refugee Travel Document Form I-571 (Rev. 9-2-03)."
  • Asylee status can apply for permanent residence after one year.  Asylee status continues unless revoked by DHS or until permanent resident status is granted.  Asylees will have a Form I-94 or I-94A and a stamp reflecting admission under Section 208 of the INA, or the same travel documents described for refugees.
  • Note: A refugee or an asylee who has applied for permanent resident status and may have an I-94 that includes the endorsement "209a (or 209b) pending. Employment Authorized." These students are eligible for federal student aid funds if the I-94 has not expired.
  • Parolees with a Form I-94 or I-94A with a stamp indicating they have been paroled into the United States for at least one year, with a date that has not expired.  Student must also provide evidence from the USCIS that he/she is not in the United States for a temporary purpose and that he/she intends to become a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident.
  • Victims of Human Trafficking have the same eligibility for FSA as refugees under the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (VTVPA). Because this status is certified by the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and not the DHS, these students must submit their certification or eligibility letter from the HHS to us for review and subsequent contact with the Office of Tracking in Persons to verify its validity and confirm the eligibility has not expired.  These individuals may have an I-94 with a T1, T2, T3, or T COA code for principal, spouse, child, or parent, respectively. which must be submitted to us along with the certification letter.  The spouse, child, or parent of a trafficking victim might be eligible for aid.  He or she will not have a certification letter but will have a T-Visa (e.g., T-2 or T-3).
  • Battered Immigrants-Qualified Aliens are victims of domestic violence by their U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR) spouses or parents. The student must submit a copy of DHS-USCIS I-797, Notice of Action form to OSFA for review. OSFA will then inform the applicant of any additional steps or additional documents needed to confirm his or her federal student aid eligibility. Students applying for federal Title IV aid as eligible non-citizens whose citizenship status is not electronically confirmed by the FAFSA process must provide OSFA with documentation. OSFA will then initiate a secondary confirmation process with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The confirmation of an eligible citizenship status must be received before students can be awarded any aid.