Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE)


The Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) program is maintained and operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Verification Division. The SAVE program provides government agencies with a tool to verify the immigration status of noncitizens and certain U.S. citizen applicants seeking benefits. The information provided by SAVE is used to determine eligibility for state and federal benefits.

To be eligible, the applicant must first be a qualified noncitizen as defined by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1997 (IIRIRA).

The Commissioner or designee is required to report to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), information about noncitizens known to be in the U.S. unlawfully. Known to be in the U.S. unlawfully means that the Department or Department representative has seen a Final Order of Deportation or other formal document with a determination that the noncitizen is present in the U.S. illegally.

To initiate a verification case, SAVE requires the following information:

It is important to remember that the numeric identifiers requested will vary based on the type of immigration document.  You must identify the appropriate Document Type on the Create a Case – Applicant Information page of SAVE  and then enter the appropriate numeric identifier(s) in the appropriate field(s).



The data submitted to SAVE must be an exact match to the data from the client’s immigration documentation. This ensures that an accurate SAVE response pertinent to the client’s immigration status will be generated. Do not make up a number to use in the absence of any of the following numeric identifiers:

  • Alien Number

  • SEVIS Identifier

  • I-94 Number (I-94#)

  • Passport Number

  • Naturalization/Citizenship Number

  • Card Number (i.e., Permanent Resident Card or Form I-551 Number); or

  • Visa Number


Verification of Immigration Status

At application, the applicant must provide information of immigration status only for household members applying for benefits. Once provided, the information must be verified through SAVE. This is done by accessing the SAVE system, selecting the Create New Case button and completing the request form. Once submitted, the system will verify the information or, in certain circumstances, prompt the user to institute secondary or tertiary verification. The results of the SAVE request must be saved into the household’s electronic case folder (ECF).

If the client reports a change in their immigration status or it appears questionable, this must be confirmed through a SAVE request. At reevaluation/recertification, a new SAVE request must be initiated for all noncitizen household members who are applying for benefits or are already actively in the grant (even if the clients do not report a change in immigration status).  SAVE must not be run on household members not applying.  The results of the SAVE request must be saved into the household’s electronic case folder (ECF). This verification must be marked as a permanent verification.



If the noncitizen becomes a Naturalized Citizen, this must be confirmed through SAVE. The INS Designation page must be updated to reflect the client’s citizenship status. The Citizenship page must also be updated to Yes. Do not run further SAVE requests for Naturalized Citizens at subsequent reviews.


Overview of SAVE Process

The SAVE Program’s Verification Information System (VIS) is used to verify the noncitizen’s immigration status, primarily by using the noncitizen’s alien registration number (A-Number), if available. The information received from VIS verifies only the noncitizen’s immigration status. It does not verify eligibility for the particular program. The noncitizen immigration status is verified with USCIS data through an initial or additional verification process.

The initial verification (first step) process electronically compares information that is entered by you against immigration databases and returns a response within seconds. The system will respond with the noncitizen's USCIS status, code of admission (COA) code, country of birth, admitted to date, grant date, and the client’s A-Number (if available). A unique verification number that identifies the particular query and a message about whether the noncitizen has employment authorization will be displayed. Once received, this information must be saved to the ECF.

If more information is needed to obtain a response, a message to institute additional verification will be displayed at the bottom of the screen . The additional verification (second step) process is initiated electronically.

A status verifier with SAVE's Status Verification Operations (SVO) will conduct a manual search of immigration databases, including databases not automatically searched during the initial step. Results will be made available within three federal working days.

However, if no information is returned via the additional verification process, a message to institute third level verification will be displayed. The third level verification (third step) process is initiated electronically. You must submit photocopies (front and back) of all relevant immigration documents. A status verifier with SAVE's Status Verification Operations (SVO) will conduct an extensive search of immigration databases, including databases not automatically searched during the initial and second step. Results will be made available within five federal working days.  All third level verification requests must be submitted electronically through SAVE.


Logging in and Establishing Your Password

To log into SAVE for the first time, you must:

  1. Click in the User ID field and enter the letters ma followed by your Wel ID. For example, if your Wel ID is welxxa, then your User ID would be mawelxxa.

  2. Call the Help Desk and request a default password.  Enter it in the Password field and click the Login button.

  3. After successfully entering the default password you will be prompted to create a new password.

  4. Click in the Old Password field and enter the Default. Then enter your new password in the next two fields.

  5. Click the Submit button when finished. This will take you to the welcome screen of the SAVE website.


Passwords must be changed every 45 days.


How to Submit an Initial Verification Request

To verify a noncitizen’s immigration status through SAVE, you must:

  1. access the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Verification Information System (USCISVIS)

  2. review the Use Agreement pop-up

  3. click the "I Agree" button

  1. enter your Username and Password

  2. click the Sign In button


  1. click "Create New Case" on the SAVE welcome screen


  1. enter pertinent applicant information into the Create a Case – Applicant Information page. Data fields denoted with a red asterisk are mandatory elements



You must ensure that the data submitted to SAVE exactly matches data from the client’s immigration document(s). Additionally, you must:

  • Provide the A number when available

  • Provide more than one immigration numeric identifier, such as the Alien Number (A number), Passport Number, and the I-94 Number, when available (use as many as are available to you).


  1. click the Continue button.

  1. select the assistance program(s) the noncitizen is applying for

  2. if applicable, select any additional information that you need

  3. click the Continue button

  1. review the noncitizen’s information on the Review Case Details page.  If there is an error, click the Go Back button and enter/revise information.

  2. if the information on the Review Case Details page is correct, click the Initiate Verification button.



Photo Tool is an initial verification feature in the SAVE system available to all agencies. This feature helps ensure that the client’s verification matches the records available in DHS. The photo matching step occurs automatically when you create an initial verification case using the information from either a Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551) or an Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766) presented by the applicant. You must compare the photo displayed in SAVE to the photo on the applicant’s document to determine if the photos are reasonably identical. If the SAVE system does not return a photo, this means that there is no photo available in the system.

  1. carefully review the initial verification results and enter/cross reference the appropriate noncitizen pages in BEACON. The initial verification results must be saved into the ECF at application, recertification or anytime the noncitizen reports a change in their immigration status. You can save these results into the ECF by saving them as a PDF file or taking screenshots, and then attaching them to the BEACON narrative.


Closing an Initial Verification Request

After the Initial Verification results are saved to the client’s ECF, the worker must select “Close Case” from the bottom of the page to close the Initial Verification request. To close an Initial Verification request:

  1. click Close Case, after the initial verification results are saved into the ECF


Response to Duplicate Request During Initial Verification

SAVE has implemented a new initial verification response, “Unable to Create Case,” which SAVE will provide when a user tries to submit a duplicate request.

A case is considered a duplicate case only if the original case is still open and the following data elements are identical to those in the original case:

Instead of creating a duplicate request, the Unable to Create Case response will provide the case number for the original case. The user can then use the Case Search function to locate and track the original request by entering case number. This response will help to enhance SAVE response times by reducing backlogs and duplicate actions.    


Instituting Additional Verification

If SAVE is unable to locate a client’s immigration record during the initial verification process, SAVE will display a message to institute additional verification:

  1. enter comments into the Special Comments box

  1. you must scan and upload photocopies (front and back) of the noncitizen’s relevant immigration documents

  2. click the Initiate Additional Verification button


Following Up on Additional Verification Requests

You will receive an email once additional verification results are returned. To follow up on additional verification results:

  1. click the Search Cases button on the SAVE welcome screen

  1. under Case Status, select the option of Verification Response Returned

  2. to locate a previously submitted request, enter the applicant’s information such as their A-Number or search by the DTA case manager who instituted the additional verification request. You may apply additional filters such as the creation date, requestor name, etc


Resubmit Documentation

If SAVE is unable to locate a client’s immigration record during the additional verification process, SAVE will display a message to Resubmit Doc:


  1. repeat steps t. to v. to resubmit documentation.

  2. if SAVE is unable to produce results after this process, send a VC-1 for proof of the noncitizen’s immigration status.

Before any action is taken to terminate assistance due to invalid documentation, you or your supervisor must carefully review the documents, requesting further documents from the noncitizen if necessary. USCIS may have determined the document is invalid because of the expiration date, but the noncitizen could remain eligible for assistance. You are also reminded that children of undocumented noncitizens who are born in this country are eligible for benefits if they meet all other eligibility factors.

If your client disagrees with their status as it appears on SAVE, click U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to access the USCIS website where you may obtain an informational fact sheet the client can use to correct their status as it appears on SAVE.


Suspected Fraud

If you have reason to believe that immigration documentation presented by the client is fraudulent or altered, SAVE has a Requested Document Review button for uploading and submitting a copy of the documentation for SAVE Status Verification Operations (SVO) personnel to review:

Follow these steps to submit a copy of the document(s) for SAVE SVO to review:

  1. On the SAVE homepage, select the Create New Case button.

  1. Enter all applicable information in the Create a Case screen. This includes the First Name, Last Name, Date of Birth, and at least one numeric identifier from the benefit applicant and selecting the benefits for which you are creating the case.

  1. Select the Request Document Review button at the bottom of the page. A box for document upload will appear below. Uploading a copy of the applicant’s immigration documentation is required to proceed with initial verification for all cases requesting document review.

  2. If all required fields are filled correctly, the Continue button will be green and you can select it to proceed to the next step.

  1. Review the information entered from the previous page to ensure it is accurate before submitting the case for initial verification. If you would like to change an entry, click the Go Back button on the bottom of the page to navigate back to the previous page.

  2. If the information displayed is accurate, click the Initiate Verification button to submit the case.


Request Document Review cases proceed directly to additional verification, displaying a “Case Under Review” response saying that the case is under review by SAVE status verification personnel.

A final response appears on the SAVE response screen after SAVE status verification personnel resolve the case.


SAVE Resources

The SAVE website includes a variety of helpful resources, including the official Guide to Understanding SAVE Responses. You can access these resources by logging into SAVE, clicking “Help” on the menu bar, and then clicking “Resources”:



Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) Policy and Procedures




  Last Update: April 27, 2023