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Understand Citizenship Requirements for FEMA Assistance

Release Date Release Number
NR 001

Baton Rouge, LA --As survivors recover from the two Louisiana hurricanes, and since the deadline for registering with FEMA for assistance after Hurricane Laura is Oct 27, some people might have avoided seeking help since they are unsure of whether U.S. citizenship is required.

Here are the rules:

Applicants must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national or a qualified resident to be eligible. However, families with diverse immigration status only need one family member (for instance, minor child) who is a citizen and has a Social Security number to apply. A minor child must live with the parent/guardian applying on his or her behalf and be under the age 18 as of Oct. 5.  No citizenship information is collected by FEMA.

Qualified aliens are defined as: 

• Individuals who are Lawful Permanent Residents (Green Card holders);

• Asylees (someone seeking or granted political asylum), refugees, or aliens whose deportation status is being withheld;

• Aliens paroled into the U.S. for at least one year;

• Aliens granted conditional entry

• Cuban/Haitian entrants; or

• 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.

Other assistance may be available to an individual or family regardless of status. Additionally, many volunteer nonprofit agencies may provide help regardless of citizenship/immigration status.

Everyone, regardless of his or her legal status, affected by a major disaster may be eligible for in-kind emergency relief programs such as medical care, shelter, food and water.

To see if you live in a parish designated for FEMA assistance, visit: https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4559/designated-areas.

For the latest information on Hurricane Laura, visit www.fema.gov/disaster/4559 or follow the FEMA Region 6 Twitter account at twitter.com/FEMARegion6

For the latest information on Hurricane Delta, visit https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4570or follow the FEMA Region 6 Twitter account at twitter.com/FEMARegion6


Last updated October 26, 2020