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Citizenship and FEMA Disaster Assistance

Release Date:
December 22, 2021

FEMA is committed to helping all eligible disaster survivors recover from the Dec. 10 tornadoes in Kentucky.

Citizenship and FEMA Disaster Assistance

To qualify for assistance from FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program, you or a member of your household must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or qualified noncitizen. However, undocumented families with diverse immigration status only need one family member (including a minor child) who is a U.S. citizen, non-U.S. citizen national or qualified non-U.S. citizen who has a Social Security number to apply.

U.S. Citizen

A person born in one of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or the Northern Mariana Islands; a person born outside of the U.S. to at least one U.S. parent; or naturalized citizen.

Non-citizen National

A person born in an outlying possession of the U.S. (e.g., American Samoa or Swain’s Island) 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 Noncitizen

A qualified noncitizen includes:

  • Legal permanent resident ("green card" holder)
  • An asylee, refugee, or a non-U.S. citizen whose deportation is being withheld
  • A noncitizen paroled into the U.S. for at least one year
  • A noncitizen granted conditional entry (per law in effect prior to April 1, 1980)
  • A Cuban/Haitian entrant
  • Noncitizens in the U.S. who have been abused, subject to battery or extreme cruelty by a spouse or other family/ household member, or have been a victim of a severe form of human trafficking
  • Noncitizens whose children have been abused and noncitizen children whose parent has been abused who fit certain criteria

U.S. Code Definitions of qualified noncitizens

Qualified Minor Children

Adults who don’t qualify under one of the categories above, including the undocumented, the household may still apply for and be considered for FEMA assistance if:

  • Another adult household member 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 noncitizen, applies for assistance on behalf of the child, as long as 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.

Resources for Help

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.

Voluntary organizations often offer help regardless of citizenship status. To find voluntary organizations in Kentucky:

Apply for FEMA Disaster Assistance

Survivors in Caldwell, Christian, Fulton, Graves, Hart, Hickman, Hopkins, Logan, Lyon, Marshall, Muhlenberg, Ohio, Taylor and Warren counties can apply for FEMA disaster assistance.

You can also apply online at, call 800-621-3362 or use the FEMA app for smartphones. If you use a relay service, such as video relay (VRS), captioned telephone or other service, give FEMA the number for that service.

The deadline to apply for FEMA disaster assistance is Feb. 11, 2022.

FEMA is operating Disaster Recovery Centers and Mobile Registration Centers in several counties. For a list, visit:

For more information about Kentucky tornado recovery, visit Follow the FEMA

Region 4 Twitter account at

DHS is aware that some disaster survivors may fear applying for FEMA assistance due to their immigration status. FEMA does not collect information regarding immigration status or that of any member of an applicant’s household and does not proactively provide personal information to ICE or CBP for immigration enforcement. However, in rare circumstances, based on a specific request, ICE or CBP could request this information if a person poses a current threat to national security or public safety based upon an articulable risk of death, violence, or physical harm to any person.

Additional information: