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Questions & Answers: Types of Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) Decisions

Q. If I Am Eligible to Have My NACARA Application Approved, Will I Be Required to Do or Say Anything Else Before Being Granted Permanent Resident (Green Card) Status?
A. Yes. If the asylum officer intends to approve your NACARA application, you will be asked to sign a document in which you admit that you do not have legal status in the United States. This is necessary because we cannot approve your NACARA application until we have determined that you do not have legal status in the United States. Once you sign this admission document, the asylum officer will grant you permanent resident (green card) status.

Q. If I Sign the Admission of Inadmissibility or Deportability, What Am I Admitting?
A. You are admitting that you have taken actions that make you inadmissible or deportable under U.S. immigration law. For example, if you entered the United States illegally or overstayed your non-immigrant visa, you are subject to a ground of inadmissibility or deportability under U.S. immigration law.  Even if you presently have a work authorization card and a pending asylum application, you may still be inadmissible or deportable. The asylum officer will only ask you to sign the admission document if we are going to approve your NACARA application and grant you permanent resident status.

Q. What Will Happen if I Do Not Sign the Document Admitting That I Am Inadmissible or Deportable?
A. If you do not sign the admission document, the asylum officer will not be able to grant your NACARA application. In most cases, the asylum officer will refer your application to An Immigration Judge to make a decision. You may wish to consult with an attorney or representative before your interview if you have any concerns about signing a document in which you admit that you are inadmissible or deportable.

Q. What Will Happen if USCIS Approves My NACARA Application?
A. The asylum officer will grant you permanent resident status in the United States. If the asylum officer grants your NACARA application on the day of your interview, the asylum office will immediately give you temporary evidence of your permanent resident status, and USCIS will later send you a Permanent Resident Card (green card) by mail. If the asylum officer grants your NACARA application after the day of interview, you will receive temporary evidence of your permanent resident status either when you return to the asylum office to receive the decision, or by mail.

Q. If USCIS Approves My NACARA Application, What Will Happen to My Asylum Application?
A. You are still eligible under the law to seek asylum in the United States. Once the asylum officer approves your NACARA application, we will ask you if you want to continue to seek asylum in the United States or withdraw your asylum application.

Q. What Are the Possible Reasons for Continuing with My Asylum Claim if USCIS Granted Me Permanent Residence Status?
A. Under U.S. law, any individual present in the United States is permitted to apply for asylum regardless of his or her status. A NACARA beneficiary may want to pursue an asylum application because a grant of asylum permits a dependent spouse or unmarried child under the age of 21 who is included in the asylum application and inside the United States to be granted asylum. If your spouse or unmarried child is not included in the asylum application or is outside the United States at the time the asylum application is approved, you may request that these dependents receive derivative asylum status by filing Form I-730 Refugee/Asylee Petition. Upon approval of the request, those dependents may then join you in the United States. There also may be certain public assistance benefits that are available based on an approved asylum application. You may wish to consult with an attorney or representative before your interview if you have any concerns about withdrawing your asylum application.For more information, see the “Benefits and Responsibilities of Asylees” link to the right.

Q. What Happens if USCIS Determines That I Am Not Eligible for NACARA 203 Relief?
A. If the asylum officer cannot grant NACARA relief (permanent residence) and approves your asylum application, the asylum officer will dismiss your NACARA application. If the asylum officer cannot grant your NACARA application or approve your asylum application, or you did not have a pending asylum application with USCIS, the asylum officer will refer your NACARA application to the Immigration Court in most instances.

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