Authored By: Iowa Legal Aid
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Do I need to be a U.S. resident or citizen to apply for emergency disaster relief?
- No. You can qualify for non-cash FEMA disaster programs even without legal immigration status.
- However, getting other benefits depends on your immigration status.
Will I be considered a public charge and denied residency if I apply for Emergency Disaster Relief?
- No. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will not consider acceptance of Emergency Disaster Relief public cash assistance as an event that could prevent you from becoming a resident.
- You will not be classified as a public charge solely because you accept emergency disaster assistance.
If I lost my "green card" in the disaster, how can I get a replacement?
- You need to fill out Form I-90. You can file it by mail at USCIS, P.O. Box 21262, Phoenix, AZ 85036. You can also e-file it at http://uscis.gov.
- You can get the Immigration Form I-90 from USCIS by calling 1-800-375-5283 (1-800-767-1833 if you are hearing impaired) or by going to http://www.uscis.gov/i-90.
- Along with the Form I-90, you must submit a copy of a government-issued form of identification that includes your name, signature, date of birth, and photo. You must also include a cashier's check or money order for $365.00, plus an $85.00 fee for biometrics. (Total filing fee is $450.00). The cashier's check or money order must be made out to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security."
- If you can't afford the fee, you can fill out a Request for Fee Waiver, Form I-912, at http://www.uscis.gov/feewaiver. This form should be submitted with your completed Form I-90. All Requests for Fee Waivers must be done by mail and cannot be filed electronically.
If I lost my work permit in the disaster, how can I get a replacement?
- You need to fill out immigration Form I-765.
- You can get the Immigration Form I-765 from USCIS by calling 1-800-870-3676 or by going to http://www.uscis.gov/i-765.
- If you have a photocopy of your lost work permit, attach it to the I-765. Also include a photocopy of any papers that entitle you to a work permit, such as an application of asylum, suspension of deportation or adjustment of status.
- You have to include a $380.00 cashier's check or money order for a replacement work permit.
- The USCIS address you mail your Form I-765 to depends on your immigration status. To find out which address you should use, see http://www.uscis.gov/i-765-addresses, call 1-800-375-5283, or check with an immigration attorney.
- You can also e-file at http://www.uscis.gov.
- If you can't afford the fee, you can fill out a Request for Fee Waiver, Form I-912, at http://www.uscis.gov/feewaiver. This form should be submitted with your completed Form I-765. All Requests for Fee Waivers must be done by mail and cannot be filed electronically.
Can I work while waiting for a replacement?
- Maybe. You should check with an immigration attorney.
Do I need to let USCIS or the immigration court know that I have moved as a result of the disaster?
- The law requires nearly all non-U.S. Citizens to report a change of address within 10 days of moving by completing a Form AR-11. If you do not have a case before the immigration court, you can make the change online at: www.uscis.gov and click on "Change Your Address with USCIS."
- If you have a pending case, you should ask your attorney where to send notice of your change of address. If you do not have an attorney, you should check online or call 1-800-375-5283 to find out how to change your address.
- If you are in a shelter or tent site because your home was damaged, you should provide the address of a relative or friend who can receive your mail until you are able to obtain other housing.
- Be sure to include your alien registration number on all letters or forms to USCIS.
- Send all correspondence by certified mail and be sure to keep a copy of all mail you send or receive.
Where can I get more information?
- For more resources for immigrants, visit the National Immigration Law Center: https://www.nilc.org/issues/economic-support/disaster-help/.
· Iowa Legal Aid provides help to low-income Iowans.
· To apply for help from Iowa Legal Aid:
o call 800-532-1275
o Iowans age 60 and over, call 800-992-8161
o apply online at iowalegalaid.org
· If Iowa Legal Aid cannot help, you can look for an attorney on “Find A Lawyer” on the Iowa State Bar Association website – iowabar.org. A private attorney there can talk with you for a fee of $25 for 30 minutes of legal advice.