USCIS opens application period for new status for long-term residents of CNMI

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(USCIS) — U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on Thursday announced that the application period for those seeking the new Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands long-term resident status will open on February 19, 2020.
Eligible aliens will have 180 days to apply for the new status, which was created by the Northern Mariana Islands Long-Term Legal Residents Relief Act (48 U.S.C. 1806(e)(6)), signed by President Trump on June 25, 2019.
Applicants must file Form I-955, Application for CNMI Long-Term Resident Status (https://www.uscis.gov/i-955), together with Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization (https://www.uscis.gov/i-765) by August 17, 2020.
CNMI long-term resident status is not the same thing as lawful permanent residence and does not lead to lawful permanent resident status.
To be eligible for the CNMI long-term resident status, an alien must fall into one or more of the following categories:
• Certain “stateless” individuals: Foreign nationals born in the CNMI between Jan. 1, 1974, and Jan. 9, 1978.
• Immediate relatives of qualifying “stateless” individuals: Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 of foreign nationals born in the CNMI between Jan. 1, 1974, and Jan. 9, 1978.
• CNMI permanent residents under CNMI immigration law: Individuals who were permanent residents of the CNMI on Nov. 27, 2009.
• Immediate relatives of qualifying CNMI permanent residents: Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 of an individual who was a permanent resident of the CNMI on Nov. 27, 2009.
• Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens: Individuals who, on Nov. 27, 2011, were either a spouse, child or parent of a U.S. citizen, and continue to have such family relationship with the citizen.
• In-home caregivers: Caregivers of critical medical or special needs individuals in the CNMI who on Dec. 31, 2018, had a grant of parole under the former USCIS parole program for certain in-home caregivers.
Additionally, they must:
• Have been lawfully present in the CNMI on Dec. 31, 2018, or June 25, 2019, under the immigration laws of the United States, including under a grant of parole under section 212(d)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(d)(5)) or deferred action;
• Be admissible as an immigrant to the United States under the INA (8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.), except that no immigrant visa is required;
• Have resided continuously and lawfully in the CNMI from Nov. 28, 2009, through June 25, 2019; and
• Not be a citizen of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia or the Republic of Palau.

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