This article is a section taken from Medical Assistance (MA), a part of the revisions and additions to the Minnesota Health Care Program Eligibility Policy Manual.

Medical Assistance (MA) Immigration Status

In order to receive Medical Assistance (MA), applicants must be U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals or certain lawfully present noncitizens. See the MA Citizenship policy for more information.

MA Eligibility for Noncitizen Children Under Age 21 and Pregnant Women

The following people are eligible for MA, regardless of their specific immigration status:

  • All lawfully present noncitizen children younger than age 21

  • All lawfully present noncitizen pregnant women

People granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) are not lawfully present noncitizens for the purpose of MA eligibility and therefore they are not eligible for MA.

See Appendix H Lawfully Present Noncitizens for more information about lawfully present noncitizens.

MA Eligibility for Noncitizens Age 21 or Older and Not Pregnant

To be eligible for MA, lawfully present noncitizens who are age 21 or older and not pregnant must have a qualified immigration status. People with certain qualified immigration statuses must wait five years after receiving the qualified immigration status before they are eligible for MA.

The date a person enters the United States (also called the date of entry) is not always the same date they acquire a qualified immigration status. The date of entry is used to determine eligibility for Refugee Medical Assistance for refugees who are ineligible for MA. The date a person obtains a qualified immigration status is used to determine the start of the five-year waiting period, when applicable.

Qualified Immigration Statuses Without a Five-Year Waiting Period

Lawfully present noncitizens with the following immigration statuses are eligible for MA without a five-year waiting period:

  • Afghan or Iraqi Special Immigrants

  • Amerasians

  • American Indian noncitizens

  • Asylees, including asylees who later adjust to lawful permanent resident status

  • Conditional Entrants

  • Cuban/Haitian Entrants

  • Qualified noncitizens who are U.S. veterans or on active military duty and their spouses and children

  • Refugees, including refugees who later adjust to lawful permanent resident status

  • T-Visa

  • Trafficking victims

  • Withholding of Removal

Qualified Immigration Statuses With a Five-year Waiting Period

Lawfully present noncitizens with the following qualified immigration statuses who entered the United States after August 22, 1996, are eligible for MA after a five-year waiting period:

  • Battered noncitizens

  • Immigrants paroled for one year or more

  • Lawful permanent residents (LPRs), except LPRs who adjusted from asylee or refugee status. LPRs who were formally asylees or refugees are eligible for MA without a five-year wait.

MA for Noncitizens Not Otherwise Eligible for Medical Assistance

Four programs are available to certain noncitizens who are not eligible for MA because of their immigration status.

  • Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) funded MA may be available for pregnant women who are undocumented or noncitizens not otherwise eligible for MA. Eligibility may continue through the 60-day postpartum period. CHIP-funded MA is not available to people enrolled in other health care coverage.

  • People who are receiving services from the Center for Victims of Torture (CVT) may be eligible for state-funded MA-CVT

  • People with a medical emergency may be eligible for Emergency Medical Assistance (EMA)

  • People who meet specific criteria may be eligible for federally funded Refugee Medical Assistance (RMA)


Immigration status may be verified electronically at the time of application. Applicants and enrollees whose immigration status cannot be verified electronically must provide proofs. See Immigration documentation types at for information about immigration documentation.

Eligibility is approved for applicants who meet all other eligibility criteria and attest to meeting the citizen or noncitizen eligibility requirements. A person approved for MA without verification of their immigration status has a reasonable opportunity to provide proof. A notice is sent to the enrollee to indicate they have 90 days, plus five days for mailing, from the date of the notice to provide proof. Coverage is ended with a 10-day advance notice if the person fails to cooperate with the verification process.

The county, tribal or state servicing agency must help applicants and enrollees obtain required proofs.

Legal Citations

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services State Health Officials letter re: Individuals with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (August 28, 2012), at
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) State Health Officials letter re: Medicaid and CHIP Coverage of “Lawfully Residing” Children and Pregnant Women (July 1, 2010), at
Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Action of 2009 (CHIPRA), Public Law 111-3, Section 214
Code of Federal Regulations, title 42, section 435.406
Code of Federal Regulations, title 42, section 435.945
Code of Federal Regulations, title 42, section 435.949
Code of Federal Regulations, title 42, section 435.952
Minnesota Statutes, section 256B.06, subdivision 4
Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), Public Law 104-193
United States Code, title 8, section 1641

CREDIT: The content of this post has been copied or adopted from the Minnesota Healthcare Programs Eligibility Policy Manual, originally published by the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

This is also part of a series of posts on Minnesota Healthcare Eligibility Policies.