A student must be one of the following to be eligible to receiving federal student 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 not have an A-number/ARN.
If a student must prove his status as a U.S. citizen or national, only certain types of documents are acceptable. 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. “Enhanced” driver’s licenses (provided by a limited number of states to permit non-air travel entry to the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean) are also not acceptable. The Department doesn’t specify all of the acceptable documents, but here are some documents you might choose to use:
- A copy of the student’s birth certificate showing that the student was born in the United States, which includes Puerto Rico (on or after January 13, 1941), Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands (on or after January 17, 1917), American Samoa, Swains Island, or the Northern Mariana Islands, unless the person was born to foreign diplomats residing in the U.S. 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 and which don’t receive as much scrutiny as a regular passport when applying). 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 a wallet-sized passport card that can only be used for land and sea travel between the United States and Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. It is adjudicated to the same standards as the passport book and is therefore a fully valid attestation of the U.S. citizenship and identity of the bearer.
- 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 USCIS to individuals who derive U.S. citizenship through a parent.
- A Certificate of Naturalization (N-550 or N-570) issued by USCIS (or, prior to 1991, a federal or state court), or through administrative naturalization after December 1990 to those who are individually naturalized.
The DHS assigns to all legal aliens an Alien Registration Number (ARN), which FSA uses to identify student records that must be sent to DHS for immigration status verification. If the applicant indicates on the FAFSA that he is an eligible noncitizen and provides an ARN, identifying information is sent to the DHS for primary (and, if necessary, automated secondary) confirmation. If the student is not confirmed as an eligible noncitizen, the student will need to submit additional documents to the Financial Aid Office at UACCM. Please see the link below for details on what documentation you will need to provide: studentaid.gov/understand-aid/eligibility/requirements/non-us-citizens. Please call the Financial Aid Office at 501-977-2055 for more information on how to resolve a citizenship issue.