Citizenship Requirements: Survivors Applying for FEMA Assistance

Release Date Release Number
Release Date:
September 23, 2021

Citizenship Requirements: Survivors Applying for FEMA Assistance

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – FEMA is committed to helping all eligible disaster survivors recover from Tropical Storm Fred, including U.S. citizens, non-citizen nationals and qualified non-citizens.

To qualify for assistance from FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program (IHP), you or a member of your household must be a U.S. citizen, non-U.S. citizen national or qualified non-citizen. 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-citizen; and has a Social Security number to apply.

The deadline to apply for FEMA assistance is Nov. 8, 2021.

A qualified non-citizen includes the following:

  • Legal permanent resident (“green card” holder)
  • An asylee, refugee, or an non-citizen whose deportation is being withheld
  • Non-citizen paroled into the U.S. for at least one year
  • Non-citizen granted conditional entry (per law in effect prior to April 1, 1980)
  • Cuban/Haitian entrant
  • Certain non-citizens 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.

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.

Qualified Minor Child

Adults who don’t qualify under one of the three categories above, including the undocumented, can apply on behalf of a minor child who does qualify and has a Social Security number. A minor child must live with the parent or guardian applying on their behalf. The parent or guardian will not have to provide any information on their own immigration status or sign any documents regarding their own status.

Voluntary Organizations

Voluntary organizations often offer help regardless of citizenship status. To find voluntary organizations in your disaster area:

Survivors in affected counties can apply for assistance in the following ways:

To apply for FEMA disaster assistance, go online to, call 800-621-3362, or use the FEMA app for smartphones. If you use a relay service, such as video relay service (VRS), captioned telephone service or others, give FEMA the number for that service. Lines are open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. local time, seven days a week.

For more information about Tropical Storm Fred recovery in North Carolina, visit and Follow us on Twitter: @NCEmergency and @FEMARegion4.


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

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