Citizenship and Immigration Requirements in the Housing Authority Choice Voucher (HCV) and Public Housing Programs

When must proof of citizenship or immigration status be provided?

  • You are not required to provide proof of your status when you place your name on the waiting list for assistance
  • You must provide documentation for everyone in your family when we process your full initial application for assistance.
  • Anyone you wish to add to your household must provide documentation before they can be approved.

Who is eligible for HCV and public housing programs?

Citizens of the United States of America who provide proof of citizenship, or:

Non-citizens with eligible immigration status, including non-citizens who:

  • Are lawfully admitted for permanent residence (permanent resident, immigrant, special agricultural worker)
  • Entered the US before January 1, 1972, have continually maintained residence since, are not eligible for citizenship, but have been determined to be lawfully admitted for permanent residence by the Attorney General.
  • Have been granted refugee status, asylum status, or conditional entry due to persecution based on race, religion, political opinion, or catastrophic national calamity.
  • Are lawfully present for emergent reasons or reasons deemed in the public interest.
  • Are lawfully present due to threat to life or freedom.
  • Are lawfully admitted for temporary or permanent residence due to amnesty.

What happens if someone in my family does not have eligible citizenship or immigration status?

Depending on the situation, your family may still receive some assistance even if some of your family members do not have eligible status.

If you are an Applicant:

  • If no family members are citizens or have eligible immigrant status, the family will be denied assistance.
  • If some but not all members of the family are citizens or have eligible immigrant status, your assistance will be prorated. This means that you will get some assistance based on the number of people in your family who are eligible.

If you are a Program Participant:

If you wish to add someone who is not eligible, your family’s assistance may be pro-rated or reduced. See our Reporting Changes Q&A for more information about adding family members.

What kinds of documentation are required?

Every family member must present one of the following forms of documentation in order to be eligible to receive assistance (parents may sign for children under age 18).

United States citizens must sign a declaration, under penalty of perjury, that they are a citizen of the United States. They must provide proof of citizenship (i.e. birth certificate or passport).

Eligible immigrants 62 years of age or over must sign a declaration, under penalty of perjury, that they have eligible immigrant status and provide proof of age. No other documentation is required.

Eligible immigrants under age 62 must sign a declaration, under penalty of perjury, that they are an eligible immigrant; provide the INS Immigration documentation listed to the right; and sign a consent form allowing the Housing Authority to release evidence of immigration status to the INS and to HUD for verification purposes.

Ineligible immigrants who are unable to provide required INS documents may choose to sign an Elect Not to Contend Form.

Acceptable INS Documentation consists of:

Form I-551, Alien Registration Receipt Card

Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record, with one of the following:

  • Admitted as Refugee Pursuant to Section 207
  • Section 208 or Asylum
  • Section 243h or Deportation stayed by Attorney General
  • Paroled Pursuant to Sec 212d5

If Form I-94 is not annotated, it must be accompanied by one of the following:

    • A final court decision granting asylum (if no appeal is taken)
    • letter from the INS granting asylum
    • A court decision granting or withholding deportation, or
    • A letter from an asylum officer granting withholding of deportation (if application filed on or after 10/1/90)

Form I-688, Temporary Resident Card, which must be annotated with Section 245A or Section 210.

Form I-688B, Employment Authorization Card, which must be annotated “Provision of Law 274a.12(11)” or “Provision of Law 274a.12”

Form I-766, which may replace I-688 or I-688B

A receipt issued by the INS indicating that an application for issuance of a replacement document in one of the above-listed categories has been made and the applicant’s entitlement to the document has been verified.

What happens if the INS does not verify my Eligible Immigrant Status?

You may appeal to the INS. If the Housing Authority denies your assistance or terminates you based on your immigrant status, you have the right to a hearing with the Housing Authority.

Applicants will not be denied housing assistance, nor will participants be terminated from housing assistance programs, during verification, appeal, or hearing processes, except that assistance to an applicant may be delayed if eligibility cannot be verified by the INS appeal process.