In the state of Texas, food stamps benefits are available for legal non U.S. citizens. Legal non-citizens may be eligible to receive SNAP benefits, so long as they are able to meet other eligibility requirements. Applicants who are legal non-citizens are subject to the same eligibility requirements as citizens, such as demonstrating a financial need for food assistance. Non-citizens who are residing in the United States illegally are not qualified to receive food stamps, though they may be eligible in the future if their citizenship status changes.

Legal non-citizens of Texas applying for food stamps may have to endure a waiting period before benefits can be granted. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 placed restrictions on government benefits for non-citizens, including a waiting period of up to five years before becoming eligible for food stamps benefits.

Sometimes, immigrant groups with special protections in the United States are able to receive food stamps benefits without the waiting period. Legal immigrants who fall under the following categories may not have a waiting period for food stamps benefits:

  • Certain groups of Native Americans who were born outside of the United States
  • Immigrants from Cuba or Haiti who fall under 501(e) in the Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980
  • Children under the age of 18 legally residing in the United States
  • Legal residents born on or before August 22, 1931 who have been residing in the United States legally since August 22, 1996.
  • Legal residents who are receiving disability benefits
  • Legal residents who are serving the United States military or have immediate family members serving the military
  • Immigrants seeking asylum under Sections 101(a)(27), 207 , or 208 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), or are the victims of human trafficking under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.
  • Legal immigrants who have had deportation delayed or cancelled under 243(h) or 241(b)(3) of INA.
  • Legal immigrants of both American and Asian descent under 584 of the Foreign Operations, Export Financing and Related Programs Appropriations Act.
  • Legal residents who are members of the Hmong or Highland Laotian tribes that assisted the United States during the Vietnam War.

If a legal resident does not qualify for SNAP benefits without a waiting period, he or she may be eligible when the waiting period is over. To meet eligibility requirements after the waiting period ends, legal permanent residents must show proof of employment in the United States for at least 40 quarters.

If a legal non-citizen does not meet the employment requirement, he or she may still be eligible for SNAP in Texas if all other requirements have consistently been met for the past five years, and:

  • Under Section 212(d)(5) of INA, has been paroled for one year or more
  • Has a petition pending under Sections 204(a)(1)(A) or (B) or Section 244(a)(3) of INA; is an abused child or spouse, or the parent or child of an abused legal resident.