Program Letter 24-1

Non-Citizen Eligibility Under 45 C.F.R. Part 1626

Ronald S. Flagg, President
March 4, 2024

On April 18, 2014, LSC published a final rule revising 45 C.F.R. Part 1626, “Restrictions on Legal Assistance to Aliens.” The rule became effective on May 19, 2014. On that date, LSC also issued Program Letter 14-2 which provided guidance regarding non-citizens who are eligible to receive legal assistance from LSC grant recipients. Revised Part 1626 was published without the Appendix, which was replaced by Program Letter 14-2 and an accompanying chart describing the categories of non-citizens eligible for legal assistance from LSC grant recipients and containing a non-exhaustive list of examples of acceptable documentation showing eligibility under Part 1626. These documents should be read together with Part 1626 in making eligibility determinations. This letter updates and supersedes Program Letter 14-2 by incorporating the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. This letter also restates information provided in the May 19, 2014, program letter.


The documents identified as acceptable to establish eligibility fall into one of two categories: 1) documents regarding the immigration status of a non-citizen, or 2) documents providing evidence that the non-citizen has experienced qualifying abuse or otherwise meets the requirements of 45 C.F.R. § 1626.4 regarding the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and other anti-abuse statutes.

Special Considerations

Victims of trafficking are covered by different provisions of 45 C.F.R. § 1626.4, depending on the nature of the trafficking activity. Recipients should determine whether a non-citizen is a victim of trafficking under VAWA or section 101(a)(15)(U) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, or a victim of severe forms of trafficking under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, 22 U.S.C. § 7101 et seq. The facts of a non-citizen’s situation may indicate that the non-citizen is eligible for assistance under one or more of these statutes.

Eligibility for assistance based on qualifying for a U-visa or being a victim of severe forms of trafficking requires consideration of other statutory factors in addition to the qualifying crime. See 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(15)(U); 22 U.S.C. § 7105(b)(1)(C). Recipients must document that a non-citizen meets all relevant statutory factors.

Individuals who are applying for assistance as spouses of U.S. citizens who have filed an application for adjustment of status must provide evidence of a valid marriage. This requirement applies to all applicant spouses, including spouses in same-sex marriages.[1]

Additional Resources

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this Program Letter or for further guidance, please contact LSC General Counsel Will A. Gunn at Additional information regarding the documentation contained in the chart can be found at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service website ( and at the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division of the Office of Refugee Resettlement within the Department of Health and Human Services website (

[1] Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. 644 (2015).