Non-U.S. citizens may qualify for federal student aid as eligible noncitizens.

Learn who is considered an eligible noncitizen and help your students find out if they can receive federal student aid.

Non-U.S. Citizens

If you have students who are not U.S. citizens and want to find out if they can receive federal student aid, point them to StudentAid.gov/noncitizen for a list of the noncitizen categories that qualify for federal student aid.

Tip: If the student provides background information, it's often easier to find out what category the student will fall in, rather than reviewing each categoriey.

How should an eligible noncitizen student fill out the FAFSA® form?
Does the student's parents' U.S. citizenship or immigration status matter?
How should the student fill out the FAFSA® form if the parents have no Social Security numbers?
How should the student fill out the FAFSA® form if the family lives outside the United States?
Can an undocumented student get any kind of financial aid for college?


How should an eligible noncitizen student fill out the FAFSA® form?

Under the citizenship question on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form, an eligible noncitizen student should select "No, but I am an eligible noncitizen."

Tip: During the applications process, students will often be worried how and when they will be asked about their citizenship or immigration status. Walk students through the question on the FAFSA form by using the FAFSA on the Web Worksheet. Knowing how the question will be asked will help them prepare, and reduce any fear of completing the application or completing it wrong.

Talking point: If the student identifies as an eligible noncitizen and reports an Alien Registration number on the FAFSA form, that information is checked against the Department of Homeland Security's database. If the match does't confirm the student is an eligible noncitizen, the student will have to submit immigration documentation to the college they plan to attend for review. A student is not eligible for federal student aid until the student's status as an eligible noncitizen is resolved.

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Does the student's parents' U.S. citizenship or immigration status matter?

The parents' immigration status is not taken into account in determining the student's eligibility for federal student aid.

Talking points:

  • When the FAFSA form is processed, only the student's citizenship/eligible noncitizen eligibility is verified.
  • The FAFSA form does not ask about a parent's citizenship status.

Note: Parents' U.S. citizenship or eligible noncitizen matters when the parent of a dependent undergraduate wants to take out a Direct PLUS Loan.

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How should the student fill out the FAFSA® form if the parents have no Social Security numbers?

If a parent does not have a Social Security number, the parent must enter all zeros without dashes (e.g., 000000000).

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How should the student fill out the FAFSA® form if the family lives outside the United States?

If the student's mailing address is in Canada, Mexico, a U.S. territory, or a military installation, the student should enter their address as usual. For the state question, choose the appropriate country, territory, or military installation from the following list:

  • American Samoa
  • Canada (provinces are listed)
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Guam
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mexico
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • Puerto Rico
  • Palau
  • U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Military

For all other addresses outside the United States, the student should do the following:

  • Enter the city and country in the space for City (abbreviations are acceptable but must be understandable).
  • Select “Foreign Country” for the answer to the State question.

For all foreign addresses outside of the United States (including Mexico and Canada), type 00000 in the ZIP code space.

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Can an undocumented student get any kind of financial aid for college?

If the student is neither a U.S. citizen nor an eligible noncitizen, you can help them find possible sources of aid for ineligible noncitizens via StudentAid.gov/noncitizen. Listservs for counselors and college access professionals can be a good source of information on which schools provide aid for undocumented students.

Financial Aid and Undocumented Students(Result Type: PDF)
Description: Fact sheet that provides answers to frequently asked questions about financial aid for undocumented students and DACA students. [83 KB]
Resource Type: Handout
Also Available in: Spanish(Result Type: PDF)

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