Temple University International Student and Scholar Services

International Student and Scholar Services


International students and scholars should not, under any circumstance, accept public benefits from the federal, state, county of local government agencies in the United States. This includes, but is not limited to, participation in programs such as Medicare/Medicaid, Supplemental Social Security Income, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, food stamps, and subsidized housing. Accepting such benefits can cause you to lose your legal status in the United States and create a bar to your re-entry to this country.

Cooperation between state social service agencies and the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS) and Department of State make it possible for a BCIS inspector or U.S. Consular officer to become aware of an individual who has accepted public benefits. The acceptance of public benefits is interpreted as a declaration that the individual is unable to meet his or her financial obligations (a requirement of obtaining and maintaining status) and thereby rendering him or herself ineligible for F-1 or J-1 status.

Occasionally a well-meaning social service agency, hospital or public housing administrator may offer such assistance, not realizing that non-immigrants are ineligible for such benefits. Additionally, even though U.S. citizen children of non-immigrant parents may be eligible for pre- and post-natal public benefits, the non-immigrant parent may be denied a visa or re-entry based on the child’s receiving the benefits. Again this is interpreted as the non-immigrant individual not being able to meet his or her financial obligations.

A condition of maintaining non-immigrant F-1 or J-1 status is that you, in addition to meeting your educational expenses, are able to provide shelter, food, clothing and health care for you and your dependents. Please contact an OIS advisor if you have questions or need assistance in meeting your financial obligations