Obamacare Eligibility & Supporting Documents: Your Guide

10 January 2014 |

Obamacare has arrived – otherwise known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). You can apply for discounted health insurance coverage through the new Health Insurance Marketplace if you are a US citizen but there are Obamacare benefits for non-US citizens too.

Crucially, if you are not a US citizen you need to supply certain documentation in order to access health care savings through the Obamacare Health Insurance Marketplace. At first glance, the process seems complicated – exactly what documentation do you need? If you don’t have the required documentation, where can you get it? Here we look at what paperwork you need as a non-US citizen, and where to locate the essential numbers, as described in the PDF instructions to complete the application for Obamacare health coverage.

Non US Citizens

First of all, you need to understand if you are eligible for health insurance under the Obamacare scheme. Not everyone is eligible for reduced healthcare costs. Undocumented immigrants, for example, are not included in the coverage options. But international students and permanent residents may be. The instructions for completing the application for reduced healthcare costs include a list of people for whom Obamacare applies, for example – lawful permanent resident (Green Card holder) and individual with non-immigrant status (international student, worker on working visa.) If your status appears on the list, check the box “yes” and provide your document type and document ID number.

Here is a list of the required documentation for each non-immigrant individual:

If you have: Permanent Resident Card, “Green Card” (I-551)
You need: Alien registration number or Card number

The Alien Registration Number (also known as the“A” Number or Alien Number) is a seven-, eight- or nine-digit number assigned to you when your permanent residency file is created. You will find it written on your card, starting with an A. The Card Number is the same as the Alien Registration Number and it is listed on the front of a Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551) that was issued after May 10, 2010.

If you have: Reentry Permit (I-327)
You need: Alien registration number

Your Alien Registration Number was given to you when you started the non-immigrant process. As listed above, it is a seven-, eight- or nine-digit number preceeded by the letter A on your correspondence or card.

If you have: Refugee Travel Document (I-571)
You need: Alien registration number

A refugee travel document is a document that allows a refugee to travel internationally while being denied a passport from their state of nationality. The refugee travel document is issued by the US to non-US citizens.

If you have: Employment Authorization Card (I-766)
You need: Alien registration number, Card number, Expiration date, and Category code

The employment authorization card is issued by the government and it entitles the holder to be able to work in the United States without being a US citizen or Green Card holder. You need to add your alien registration number plus the numbers listed above – which are found on the card – in order to apply for reduced-cost healthcare.

If you have: Machine Readable Immigrant Visa (with temporary I-551 language)
You need: Alien registration number and Passport number

If you have an unexpired foreign passport with a machine-readable immigrant visa (MRIV) inside you are entitled to be employed in the United States provided the statement in the visa includes the wording “upon endorsement serves as temporary I-551 evidencing permanent resident status for 1 year.” Again, the alien registration number should be included with all your visa application process paperwork and you will find your passport number inside your non-US passport.

If you have: Temporary I-551 Stamp (on passport or 1-94/1-94A)
You need: Alien registration number

The I-551 stamp in a foreign passport or on  Green Card documentation is authorization of temporary permanent residency and employment authorization.

If you have: Arrival/Departure Record (I-94/I-94A)
You need: I-94 number

The Arrival-Departure Record is a document issued to non- US citizens when they arrive in the United States. Your form may be stamped to authorize employment in the United States. Your  I-94 number is an 11-digit number which you can find on the Arrival-Departure Record (Form I-94 or Form I-94A). You use this when you don’t have an alien registration number.

If you have: Arrival/Departure Record in foreign passport (I-94)
You need: I-94 number, Passport number, Expiration date, Country of issuance

See above for details of the I-94 number. If your Arrival-Departure Record is included in a foreign passport you also need the above numbers, which can be found on your non-US passport.

If you have: Foreign passport
You need: Passport number, Expiration date, Country of issuance

If you have: Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status (I-20)
You need: SEVIS ID

SEVIS stands for Student and ExchangeVisitor Information System. Your SEVIS ID is a unique number given to you when your I-20 (authorization to study in the US as a non-immigrant student (F and M visa), exchange visitor (J visa), or dependent (F-2, M-2, and J-2)) is created. Find your SEVIS ID on the initial print-out of your I.-20.

If you have: Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status (DS2019)
You need: SEVIS ID

If you have: Notice of Action (I-797)
You need: Alien registration number or an I-94 number

If you have any other form of non-US citizen eligibility documentation, list this on the form under the documentation number. Describe the document or type of document – for more information look at the guide to accessing healthcare help PDF.