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Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) 203: Eligibility to Apply With USCIS

Eligibility To Apply For NACARA 203 Relief 

To be eligible to apply for NACARA 203 relief, you must be one of the following:· 

  • A Guatemalan who first entered the United States on or before October 1, 1990 (ABC class member); registered for ABC benefits on or before December 31, 1991; applied for asylum on or before January 3, 1995; and was not apprehended at time of entry after December 19, 1990. For more information on ABC benefits, see the “American Baptist Churches v. Thornburgh (ABC) Settlement Agreement to the right.
  • A Salvadoran who first entered the United States on or before September 19, 1990 (ABC class member); registered for ABC benefits on or before October 31, 1991 (either directly or by applying for Temporary Protected Status (TPS)); applied for asylum on or before February 16, 1996; and was not apprehended at time of entry after December 19, 1990.
  • A Guatemalan or Salvadoran who filed an application for asylum on or before April 1, 1990 and have not received a final decision on your asylum application.
  • An individual who entered the United States on or before December 31, 1990; applied for asylum on or before December 31, 1991; and at the time of filing the application was from one of the former Soviet bloc countries (Soviet Union, Russia, any republic of the former Soviet Union, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Yugoslavia, or any state of the former Yugoslavia).

You must not have been convicted of an aggravated felony to qualify for NACARA 203.

A qualified family member of an individual in one of the above categories is also eligible under NACARA 203.

Battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by an individual above, may be eligible to apply for NACARA 203 relief with an Immigration Judge (IJ). If you believe you may fall into this category, you should consult an immigration attorney or accredited representative to help you assess whether you may be eligible to apply for NACARA 203 relief.

Final Orders of Deportation or Removal

  • If you would qualify for NACARA but have received a final order of deportation or removal, you must have filed a motion to reopen with the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) by September 11, 1998.
  • If you did not file a motion to reopen by that date or do not believe you are still subject to the final order of deportation or removal, you should consult an immigration attorney or accredited representative to determine if it is still possible to file a late motion to reopen and to help you assess whether you may be eligible to apply for NACARA 203 relief.

Suspension of Deportation or Special Rule Cancellation of Removal

  • After you determine that you are eligible to apply for NACARA 203 relief with the USCIS you must also show.
  • Seven years of continuous physical presence in the United States;
  • Good moral character during those seven years.· 
  • That you are not removable under certain criminal grounds (certain criminal convictions will result in different eligibility requirements for this relief).
  • That your deportation or removal would result in extreme hardship to you or to your spouse, child, or parent who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.· 
  • That you deserve the benefit.

If you have been convicted of certain crimes, you may still be eligible to apply under a heightened standard, depending on the type of crime committed. If you applied with USCIS and you are subject to the heightened standard, we will refer your NACARA application to the Immigration Court for a decision.

Filing for NACARA 203 benefits with USCIS

File Form I-881, Application for Suspension of Deportation or Cancellation of Removal. For more information on how to file, see the “Form I-881, Application for Suspension of Deportation or Cancellation of Removal” link to the right. For more information on what happens after you file Form I-881, see the “NACARA 203 Decision Making Process” link to the right.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 09/03/2009