TN 23 (11-23)

SI 00502.105 Exemption from Alien Provisions for Certain Noncitizen Indians

A. Policy

Noncitizen members of Federally-recognized Indian tribes, and certain American Indians born in Canada are exempted from all SSI noncitizen provisions of P.L. 104-193, as amended by P.L. 104-208 and P.L. 105-33.

B. Procedure

When discussing alien eligibility requirements with a non-citizen, determine if the individual alleges membership in any U.S. Indian tribe or, if Canadian born, alleges 50 per cent American Indian blood. If such a status can be established, the individual does not need to meet the alien eligibility requirements in SI 00502.100.

If evidence cannot be provided, follow alien eligibility instructions in SI 00502.100.

1. American Indian Born in Canada

Certain Canadian born Indians who establish “one-half American Indian blood” are considered LAPR and may freely cross borders and live and work in the U.S. without DHS documentation. DHS will provide documentation, if the individual requests it. SSA may also make a determination of LAPR status for SSA purposes, based on receipt of evidence of at least 50 per cent American Indian blood and evidence of birth in Canada.

  1. a. 

    To establish LAPR status for an American Indian born in Canada and covered by section 289 of the INA, accept: DHS Form I-551 with the code S13 (see GN 00303.400F.1. and GN 00303.400F.2. for exhibits)

  2. b. 

    If the individual does not have an DHS document, accept as evidence of “one-half American Indian blood”:

    • Satisfactory evidence of birth in Canada (refer to GN 00312.078 for instructions on how to request a Canadian public birth record), and

    • A document that indicates the percentage of American Indian blood in the form of a:

      — birth certificate issued by the Canadian reservation, or

      — a letter, card or other record issued by the tribe.

    Each tribe provides some type of evidence.

    CAUTION: Do not accept a Certificate of Indian Status card (“Band” card) issued by the Canadian Department of Indian Affairs or any other document not directly issued by the individual's tribe.

  1. a. 

    If the individual cannot present any listed document, refer the person to DHS to determine their status.

2. Non-Citizen Member of a Federally-Recognized Indian Tribe

Federally recognized U.S. Indian tribes, under section 4(e) of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, are each authorized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs to define the requirements for tribal membership. Some tribes afford membership to non-U.S. born individuals. However, such tribal members are not considered LAPR.

  1. a. 

    If a foreign-born individual claims membership in a federally recognized Indian tribe:

    • Request a membership card or other tribal document showing membership in the tribe, if the individual has one.

    • Contact your Regional Office (RO) to determine if the named Indian tribe is included on the list of recognized Indian tribes published annually by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the Federal Register. (Your RO has a list of recognized Indian tribes and a Tribal Leaders Directory. The RO will provide a Tribal contact with whom to verify membership.)

    • Contact the designated tribal contact for confirmation of the individual's membership in all cases.

  2. b. 

    If tribal membership cannot be confirmed, follow alien eligibility instructions in SI 00502.100.

To Link to this section - Use this URL:
SI 00502.105 - Exemption from Alien Provisions for Certain Noncitizen Indians - 11/29/2023
Batch run: 11/29/2023