Good afternoon! I am an individual and I want to register an invention in the United States. I can't apply for a patent because I have to wait more than 18 months, which is a very long time. I would like to get guarantees as soon as possible that no one will be able to use my invention. Can I apply for a PPA if I am not a citizen of the United States and the European Union? How can I do this?

Thank you.

1 Answer 1


The USPTO, like other patent offices, is obligated to treat everyone the same for national applications due to international treaties. But you should check your country’s laws to see if there is a requirement to file locally first or otherwise get permission before filing outside your country.

So, yes, you can file a provisional application (not preliminary) with the USPTO. For a provisional to have any usefulness it needs to be followed up with a non-provisional application within 12 months.

If something is keeping you from filing a non-provisional for 18 months, filing a provisional now won’t help you.

Since a provisional’s substantive content requirements are the same as a non-provisional I can’t image what would keep you from filing a non-provisional for 18 months but contemplate filing a non-provisional now.

We might be able to be more helpful if we understood your 18 month constraint. It might be based on an incorrect assumption.

  • I suspect the OP is confusing the 18 month delay in the non provisional application publishing with when patent protection begins. The OP may also not understand how long it actually takes to get a patent approved.
    – Eric S
    Commented Apr 27, 2022 at 22:59
  • I imagine it is some such misunderstnading
    – George White
    Commented Apr 27, 2022 at 23:33

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