Citizenship and FEMA Eligibility

Release Date:
October 4, 2022

FEMA is committed to helping all eligible disaster survivors recover from Hurricane Ian, including U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals and qualified aliens.

Disaster survivors in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Flagler, Hardee, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Orange, Osceola, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, St. Johns, Sarasota, Seminole and Volusia counties may apply for assistance from FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program (IHP). You or a member of your household must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or qualified alien.

If you do not meet the status of either U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or qualified alien, your household may still apply for and be considered for IHP assistance if:

  • Another adult member of your household meets the eligibility criteria and certifies their citizenship status during the registration process or signs the Declaration and Release form, or
  • The parent or guardian of a minor child who is a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or a qualified alien applies for assistance on behalf of the child, if they live in the same household. The parent or legal guardian must register as the co-applicant, and the minor child must be under age 18 at the time the disaster occurred.

Qualified aliens

“Qualified alien” includes:

  • A legal permanent resident (“green card” holder).
  • An asylee, refugee or an alien whose deportation is being withheld.
  • An alien paroled into the U.S. for at least one year.
  • An alien granted conditional entry (per law in effect prior to April 1, 1980).
  • A Cuban or Haitian entrant.
  • Certain aliens subjected to extreme cruelty or who have been a victim of a severe form of human trafficking, including persons with a “T” or “U” visa.
  • Aliens whose children have been abused and alien children whose parent has been abused who fit certain criteria.

Non-citizen Nationals

A non-citizen national is a person born in an outlying possession of the U.S. (e.g., American Samoa) on or after the date the U.S. acquired the possession, or a person whose parents are U.S. non-citizen nationals. All U.S. citizens are U.S. nationals; however, not every U.S. national is a U.S. citizen.

Qualified Minor Children

The parent or guardian of a minor child living in the same household may apply for assistance on behalf of the minor child who is a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien. The minor child must be under age 18 as of the first day of the incident period, Sept. 23, 2022.

See Citizenship and Immigration Status Requirements for Federal Public Benefits for more information in multiple languages at

If you’re unsure of your immigration status, talk to an immigration expert to learn if your status falls within the immigration status requirements for FEMA disaster assistance. Visit to learn about other voluntary organizations.

Apply for FEMA Disaster Assistance

To be eligible for any FEMA Individual Assistance program, you must apply to FEMA. There are three ways to apply: 1), 2) download the FEMA App for mobile devices, 3) call toll-free 800-621-3362 (FEMA).

For an accessible video on how to apply for assistance go to, WZGpWI2RCNw.

FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters.

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