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Filling Out the FAFSA Without a Social Security Number

Students in the United States come from all over the country and the world. A student’s citizenship status can affect their eligibility for federal financial aid. If a student doesn’t have a Social Security Number, they may not be able to complete the FAFSA. Continue reading to learn more about filling out the FAFSA without a r if you aren’t a US citizen!

Related: What does my FAFSA EFC number mean?

Students without a Social Security Number

A Social Security Number is required for a student to complete the FAFSA. A Social Security Number is also required to make an FSA ID. You’ll use your FSA ID to electronically sign your FAFSA, review your student aid information and manage your Federal Student Loans online.  

Undocumented students and DACA recipients are not eligible for federal financial aid, but they may be eligible for state or college-specific aid such as scholarships.

Also see: How long does it take for the FAFSA to be processed? 

Eligible noncitizens

If a student qualifies as an eligible noncitizen, they are able to complete the FAFSA and receive federal financial aid. According to the Department of Education, an eligible noncitizen is a United States national, including natives of American Samoa or Swains Island, permanent residents of the United States with a Permanent Resident Card, or a person whose Arrival-Departure Record has one of the following designations:

  • Refugee
  • Asylum granted
  • Cuban-Haitian entrant
  • Conditional entrant
  • Victim of human trafficking
  • Parolee

Additionally, citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, or the Republic of Palau can also receive federal financial aid. However, they are only eligible for Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, and Federal Work-Study. 

For the 2023/2024 FAFSA, the Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Department instructs eligible noncitizen students to select “No, but I am an eligible noncitizen”  for the citizenship question. For the 2024–25 FAFSA form, eligible noncitizen students should select the “Eligible noncitizen” option under the “Student Citizenship Status” section.

See also: FAFSA 101 guide

If you are unsure if your status or citizenship makes you eligible for federal financial aid, check with your high school counselor or your college’s financial aid office. 

Don’t miss: Scholarships360’s free scholarship search tool

Parents without a Social Security Number

Let’s say your parents are not US citizens or permanent residents. The FAFSA does not ask about your parents’ citizenship status, and their status does not affect the student’s eligibility for financial aid. Here are a few pieces of advice to note for students with undocumented parents:

  • If your parent doesn’t have a Social Security number, enter all 0s in the space.
  • Parents without a Social Security number will not be able to make an FSA ID to electronically sign the FAFSA. Instead, print the signature page, have the parent sign it, and mail it to the address indicated.
  • If your parents live and file taxes in a foreign country and don’t file U.S. taxes, there will be a chance to indicate that they have filed their taxes.

Students or parents who are not United States citizens may have concerns about indicating their immigration status. The FAFSA on the Web Worksheet allows students and parents to preview the citizenship questions before submitting the form.

See also: Who is my parent when I fill out the FAFSA?

Student must have a social security number or be an eligible noncitizen to fill out the FAFSA

In conclusion, students who  are not US citizens must be an eligible noncitizen in order to complete the FAFSA and be eligible for federal financial aid. If your citizenship doesn’t qualify you for federal financial aid, there are other forms of funding such as scholarships, college-specific aid, or state-specific aid. Be sure to talk to your high school counselor and college’s financial aid office to learn about additional options! International students can consult our guide for international FAFSA applicants for additional resources.

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Frequently asked questions about filling out the FAFSA without a social security number

What if you are undocumented and don't have a social security number when filling out the FAFSA?

 If you are an undocumented student, you are not eligible for a social security number and are ineligible to fill out the FAFSA. Reach out to the colleges you want to apply to and see if they have a system in place for financial aid for undocumented students.

Why does FAFSA need my Social Security number?

The FAFSA collects the student’s and dependent student’s parents’ Social Security numbers so they can validate the numbers by matching with the Social Security Administration (SSA).