Are Immigrants & Non-US Citizens Eligible for EBT Cards?

can non-citizens apply for food stamps?
The number of legal immigrants and non-US citizens in America is soaring. According to The Immigrant Learning Center, there are approximately 44 million immigrants in the United States, and many live in densely populated, urban areas. For those struggling, the question arises for immigrants, and non-citizens, if they are eligible to have an EBT card (electronic benefit transfer card).

In the vast majority of cases, the answer is a yes. EBT cards for immigrants and for non-US citizens in this country legally are allowed, except for those here on temporary visas. These cards are the modern-day equivalent of food stamps. In order them to be used, immigrants must meet the same income level and other resources as any US citizen.

Immigrants and non-US citizens also do not need to worry about whether applying for the cards through the Federal SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Program) will affect their immigration status. According to, a legal encyclopedia, non-immigrants and non-US citizens that obtain EBT cards legally (non-fraudulently) will not affect their ability to apply for naturalization. They will be able to buy items such as bread, milk, fruits and vegetables, and poultry and fish.

For legal immigrants to be eligible is great news for owners of small to mid-sized groceries, convenience stores, and gas station mini-marts that accept EBT. Many may not realize that they are eligible. If immigrants and non-US citizens do not know that they qualify for this program, it must be advertised properly. A merchant can advertise on social media, on signs in business windows, and throughout the physical establishment.

A store owner may also want to give instructions on applying for the cards and explain that using the card won’t affect the ability to apply for citizenship in the future. Remember, knowledge is power. Once you’ve reached out to the community, word of mouth will follow, gaining new customers and revenue-generating opportunities.

In general, business owners that offer EBT acceptance are ahead of the competition. This will likely draw more customers into your store that can’t find EBT acceptance elsewhere. These consumers will also likely purchase non-EBT eligible goods on their shopping trips, further generating profits. This will also increase word of mouth and create positive relationships.

When setting up your store to be EBT-compliant, consider using companies that offer approachable programs, such as those provided by National Retail Solutions (NRS), the nation’s leading point of sale systems for small-to-mid-sized businesses, including establishments that sell food.

The NRS Pay EBT Unlimited program features one flat monthly fee, free equipment, no transaction limits, and is entirely transparent. There’s no fine print and hidden fees and no surprises. By accepting EBT cards and encouraging and educating legal immigrants and non-US citizens about their eligibility for these benefits, business owners will be able to increase revenue generation.

To find out more about EBT Unlimited, visit or call 888-677-3280.