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Terrorism-Related Inadmissibility Grounds (TRIG) - Group-Based Exemptions

Group-Based Exemptions To Date
All Burma Students Democratic Front (ABSDF)
All India Sikh Students Federation-Bittu Faction (AISSF-Bittu)
Iraqi National Congress (INC), Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK)
10 Named Organizations in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008 (CAA)
Certain Association or Activities within the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA)
Iraqi Uprisings
Farabundo Marti para la Liberacion National (FMLN) and Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA)
Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Party (EPRP)
Oromo Liberation Front (OLF)
Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF)
Democratic Movement for the Liberation of Eritrean Kunama (DMLEK)
Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF)

Association or Activities with the All Burma Student’s Democratic Front (ABSDF)

Effective December 16, 2010, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General, exercised her discretionary authority not to apply terrorism-related inadmissibility grounds to certain aliens who have voluntary associations or activities with the All Burma Student’s Democratic Front (ABSDF) as described in INA section 212(a)(3)(B).

To be eligible for this exemption an applicant must:

  • Establish that he or she is otherwise eligible for the immigration benefit or protection;
  • Undergo and pass all required background and security checks;
  • Fully disclose, in all relevant applications and interviews with U.S. Government representatives and agents, the nature and circumstances of all activities and associations under the terrorism related inadmissibility grounds;
  • Establish that he or she has not participated in, or knowingly provided material support to terrorist activities that targeted noncombatant persons or U.S. interests; and
  • Establish that he or she poses no danger to the safety and security of the United States.

For more information on this exemption, please see the links below.

December 16, 2010 Exercise of Authority

December 29, 2010 USCIS Implementation Memo, “Implementation of New Discretionary Exemption Under INA Section 212(d)(3)(B)(i) For Activities and Associations Relating to the All Burma Student’s Democratic Front (ABSDF)”

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Provision of Material Support to the All India Sikh Student’s Federation- Bittu Faction (AISSF-Bittu)

Effective October 16, 2010, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General, exercised her discretionary authority not to apply an inadmissibility ground to certain aliens who have voluntary provided material support to the India Sikh Student’s Federation-Bittu Faction (AISSF-Bittu) as described in INA section 212(a)(3)(B)(iv)(VI).

To be eligible for this exemption an applicant must:

  • Establish that he or she is otherwise eligible for the immigration benefit or protection;
  • Undergo and pass all required background and security checks;
  • Fully disclose, in all relevant applications and interviews with U.S. Government representatives and agents, the nature and circumstances of all activities and associations under the terrorism related inadmissibility grounds;
  • Establish that he or she has not participated in, or knowingly provided material support to terrorist activities that targeted noncombatant persons or U.S. interests; and
  • Establish that he or she poses no danger to the safety and security of the United States.

USCIS will evaluate whether solicitation was conducted under duress and whether the totality of the circumstances warrants an exemption.

For more information on this exemption, please see the links below.

October 16, 2010 Exercise of Authority

December 29, 2010 USCIS Implementation Memo, “Implementation of New Discretionary Exemption Under INA Section 212(d)(3)(B)(i) For Material Support to the All India Sikh Student’s Federation-Bittu Faction (AISSF-Bittu)”

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Certain Association or Activities with the Iraqi National Congress (INC), Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK)

Effective September 21, 2009, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Attorney General, authorized exemptions for certain aliens who have voluntary associations or activities with the Iraqi National Congress (INC), Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) or Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) as described in INA section 212(a)(3)(B).

To be eligible for this exemption an applicant must:

  • Establish that he or she is otherwise eligible for the immigration benefit or protection;
  • Undergo and pass all required background and security checks;
  • Fully disclose, in all relevant applications and interviews with U.S. Government representatives and agents, the nature and circumstances of all activities and associations under the terrorism related inadmissibility grounds;
  • Establish that he or she has not participated in, or knowingly provided material support to terrorist activities that targeted noncombatant persons or U.S. interests; and
  • Establish that he or she poses no danger to the safety and security of the United States.

USCIS will evaluate whether the totality of the circumstances warrants an exemption.

For more information on this exemption, please see the links below.

September 21, 2009 Exercises of Authority

January 23, 2010 USCIS Implementation Memo, “Implementation of New Discretionary Exemption Under INA Section 212(d)(3)(B)(i) For Activities and Associations Relating to the INC, KDP and PUK”

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10 Named Organizations in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008 (CAA)

In December 2007, Congress named 10 organizations in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008 (CAA) that are not to be considered Tier III organizations on account of any activity prior to December 27, 2007, when the CAA was signed into law. These groups include:

  • Karen National Union/Karen National Army (KNU/KNA) - Burma
  • Chin National Front/Chin National Army (CNF/CNA) - Burma
  • Chin National League for Democracy (CNLD) - Burma
  • Kayan New Land Party (KNLP) - Burma
  • Arakan Liberation Party (ALP) - Burma
  • Tibetan Mustangs - Tibet
  • Cuban Alzados - Cuba
  • Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) - Burma
  • “Appropriate groups affiliated with the Hmong” – Vietnam
  • “Appropriate groups affiliated with Montagnards” – Vietnam
  • African National Congress (ANC) – South Africa (Added July 2008 by P.L. 110-257).

Association or activity with one of the named groups prior to December 27, 2007, does not make an individual inadmissible under INA Section 212(a)(3)(B). This is true even if the group engaged in terrorist activity after that date. However, any terrorist activity by one of these groups after December 27, 2007, will result in the group’s return to Tier III status. In addition, certain inadmissibility grounds remained unaffected by the CAA’s automatic relief provisions. In order to address this, the Secretaries of Homeland Security and State issued a number of exemptions in June 2008 that allowed the consideration of exemptions for individuals having exemptible activities or affiliations with the 10 groups named in the CAA.

For more information on these exemptions, please see the links below.

June 18, 2008, Exercise of Authority

July 28, 2008, USCIS Implementation Memo “Implementation of Section 691 of Division J of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008, and Updated Processing Requirements for Discretionary Exemptions to Terrorist Activity Inadmissibility Grounds”

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Certain Association or Activities with the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA)

Effective June 4, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General, authorized an exemption for certain aliens who have voluntary, non-violent associations or activities with Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) as described in INA section 212(a)(3)(B).

To be eligible for this exemption you must:

  • Establish that you are eligible for the immigration benefit or protection;
  • Undergo and pass all required background and security checks;
  • Fully disclose, in all relevant applications and interviews with U.S. Government representatives and agents, the nature and circumstances of all activities and associations under the terrorism related inadmissibility grounds;
  • Establish that you are not or have been subject to an indictment by an international tribunal;
  • Establish that you are not or participated in, or knowingly provided material support to terrorist activities that targeted noncombatant persons or U.S. interests; and
  • Establish that you pose no danger to the safety and security of the United States.

USCIS will evaluate whether the totality of the circumstances warrants an exemption.

For more information on this exemption, please see the links below.

June 4, 2012, KLA Exercise of Authority

USCIS Implementation Memo, “Implementation of New Discretionary Exemption Under Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) Section 212(d)(3)(B)(i) for Activities and Associations Relating to the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA)”

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Iraqi Uprisings

On August 17, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General, exercised her discretionary authority not to apply most terrorism-related inadmissibility grounds to certain aliens for participation in the Iraqi uprisings against the government of Saddam Hussein in Iraq from March 1 through April 5, 1991.

To be eligible for this exemption an applicant must:

  • Establish that he or she is otherwise eligible for the immigration benefit or protection being sought;
  • Undergo and pass all required background and security checks;
  • Have fully disclosed, to the best of his or her knowledge, in all relevant applications and interviews with U.S. Government representatives and agents, the nature and circumstances of all activities or associations falling within the scope of INA section 212(a)(3)(B), including those relating to organizations and events other than the Iraqi uprisings; and
  • Establish that he or she has not participated in, or knowingly provided material support to, terrorist activities that targeted noncombatant persons not affiliated with Saddam Hussein’s regime from March 1 through April 5 of 1991, or U.S. interests;
  • Establish that he or she has not engaged in terrorist activity, not otherwise exempted, outside the context of resistance activities directed against Saddam Hussein’s regime from March 1 through April 5 of 1991; and
  • Establish that he or she poses no danger to the security of the United States.

USCIS will evaluate whether the totality of the circumstances warrants an exemption.

For more information on this exemption, please see the links below.

August 17, 2012 Exercise of Authority

November 12, 2012, USCIS Implementation Memo, “Implementation of New Exemption Under Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) Section 212(d)(3)(B)(i) for Participation in the Iraqi Uprisings”

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Farabundo Marti para la Liberacion National (FMLN) and Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA)

On April 3, 2013, following consultation with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General, the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security exercised her discretionary authority not to apply certain terrorism-related inadmissibility grounds to certain aliens for voluntary activities or associations relating to the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) or to the National Republican Alliance (Alianza Republicana Nacionalista, or ARENA).

To be eligible for this exemption for voluntary activities or associations relating to FMLN, you must:

  • Establish that you are eligible for the immigration benefit or protection;
  • Undergo and pass all required background and security checks;
  • Fully disclose, in all relevant applications and interviews with U.S. Government representatives and agents, the nature and circumstances of all activities and associations under the terrorism related inadmissibility grounds;
  • Establish that you have not participated in, or knowingly provided material support to terrorist activities that targeted noncombatant persons or U.S. interests;
  • Establish that you have not engaged in terrorist activity in association with FMLN or Arena, as applicable, outside the context of civil war activities directed against military, intelligence, or related forces of the Salvadoran Government; and
  • Establish that you pose no danger to the safety and security of the United States.

USCIS will evaluate whether the totality of the circumstances warrants an exemption.

For more information on this exemption, please see the links below.

April 3, 2013 Exercise of Authority (FMLN)

April 3, 2013 Exercise of Authority (ARENA)

May 22, 2013, USCIS Implementation Memo, “Implementation of New Discretionary Exemption Under Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) Section 212(d)(3)(B)(i) For Activities and Associations Relating to the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) or to the Nationalist Republican Alliance (Alianza Republicana Nacionalista, or ARENA)”

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Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Party (EPRP)

On October 17, 2013, following consultation with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General, the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security (the “Acting Secretary”) exercised his discretionary authority not to apply certain terrorism-related inadmissibility grounds to certain aliens for voluntary activities or associations relating to the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party (EPRP). Specifically, the exercise of authority permits exemption of the following activities: solicitation of funds or other things of value for; solicitation of any individuals for membership in; provision of material support to; or receipt of military-type training from, or on behalf of, the EPRP.

To be eligible for this exemption you must:

  • Establish that you are eligible for the immigration benefit or protection;
  • Undergo and pass all required background and security checks;
  • Fully disclose, in all relevant applications and interviews with U.S. Government representatives and agents, the nature and circumstances of each instance of military-type training, solicitation ,and material support, and any other activity or association falling within the scope of the terrorism related inadmissibility grounds;
  • Establish that you have not participated in, or knowingly provided material support to terrorist activities that targeted noncombatant persons or U.S. interests; and
  • Establish that you pose no danger to the safety and security of the United States.

USCIS will evaluate whether the totality of the circumstances warrants an exemption.

For more information on this exemption, please see the links below.

October 17, 2013 Exercise of Authority

June 15, 2014, USCIS Implementation Memo, “Implementation of New Discretionary Exemption Under Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) Section 212(d)(3)(B)(i) For Activities and Associations Relating to the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party (EPRP)”

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Oromo Liberation Front (OLF)

On October 2, 2013, following consultation with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General, the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security (the “Acting Secretary”) exercised his discretionary authority not to apply certain terrorism-related inadmissibility grounds to certain aliens for voluntary activities or associations relating to the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF). Specifically, the exercise of authority permits exemption of the following activities: Solicitation of funds or other things of value for; Solicitation of any individuals for membership in; Provision of material support to; or Receipt of military-type training from, or on behalf of, the OLF.

To be eligible for this exemption, you must already have an existing or pending

immigration benefit such that:

  • On or before October 2, 2013, you were admitted as a refugee or granted asylum, or had an asylum or refugee application pending; or
  • You are the beneficiary of an I-730 Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition filed at any time by a petitioner who was an asylee or refugee on or before October 2, 2013.

In addition, to be eligible for this exemption you must:

  • Establish that you are eligible for the immigration benefit or protection;
  • Undergo and pass all required background and security checks;
  • Fully disclose, in all relevant applications and interviews with U.S. Government representatives and agents, the nature and circumstances of each instance of military-type training, solicitation ,and material support, and any other activity or association falling within the scope of the terrorism related inadmissibility grounds;
  • Establish that you have not participated in, or knowingly provided material support to terrorist activities that targeted noncombatant persons or U.S. interests;
  • Establish that you have not engaged in terrorist activity with the OLF outside of the context of civil war activities directed against military, intelligence, or related forces of the Ethiopian Government; and
  • Establish that you pose no danger to the safety and security of the United States.

USCIS will evaluate whether the totality of the circumstances warrants an exemption.

For more information on this exemption, please see the links below.

October 2, 2013 Exercise of Authority

December 31, 2013, USCIS Implementation Memo, “Implementation of New Discretionary Exemption Under INA Section 212(d)(3)(B)(i) For Activities and Associations Relating to the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF)”

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Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF)

On October 17, 2013, following consultation with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General, the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security (the “Acting Secretary”) exercised his discretionary authority not to apply certain terrorism-related inadmissibility grounds to certain aliens for voluntary activities or associations relating to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). Specifically, the exercise of authority permits exemption of the following activities: Solicitation of funds or other things of value for; Solicitation of any individuals for membership in; Provision of material support to; or Receipt of military-type training from, or on behalf of, the TPLF.

To be eligible for this exemption you must:

  • Establish that you are eligible for the immigration benefit or protection;
  • Undergo and pass all required background and security checks;
  • Fully disclose, in all relevant applications and interviews with U.S. Government representatives and agents, the nature and circumstances of each instance of military-type training, solicitation ,and material support, and any other activity or association falling within the scope of the terrorism related inadmissibility grounds;
  • Establish that you have not participated in, or knowingly provided material support to terrorist activities that targeted noncombatant persons or U.S. interests; and
  • Establish that you pose no danger to the safety and security of the United States.

USCIS will evaluate whether the totality of the circumstances warrants an exemption.

For more information on this exemption, please see the links below.

October 17, 2013 Exercise of Authority

June 15, 2014, USCIS Implementation Memo, “Implementation of New Discretionary Exemption Under INA Section 212(d)(3)(B)(i) For Activities and Associations Relating to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF)”

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Democratic Movement for the Liberation of Eritrean Kunama (DMLEK)

On October 17, 2013, following consultation with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General, the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security (the “Acting Secretary”) exercised his discretionary authority not to apply certain terrorism-related inadmissibility grounds to certain aliens for voluntary activities or associations relating to the Democratic Movement for the Liberation of Eritrean Kunama (DMLEK). Specifically, the exercise of authority permits exemption of the following activities: Solicitation of funds or other things of value for; Solicitation of any individuals for membership in; Provision of material support to; or Receipt of military-type training from, or on behalf of, the DMLEK.

To be eligible for this exemption you must:

  • Establish that you are eligible for the immigration benefit or protection;
  • Undergo and pass all required background and security checks;
  • Fully disclose, in all relevant applications and interviews with U.S. Government representatives and agents, the nature and circumstances of each instance of military-type training, solicitation ,and material support, and any other activity or association falling within the scope of the terrorism related inadmissibility grounds;
  • Establish that you have not participated in, or knowingly provided material support to terrorist activities that targeted noncombatant persons or U.S. interests; and
  • Establish that you pose no danger to the safety and security of the United States.

USCIS will evaluate whether the totality of the circumstances warrants an exemption.

For more information on this exemption, please see the link below.

October 17, 2013 Exercise of Authority

June 15, 2014, USCIS Implementation Memo, “Implementation of New Discretionary Exemption Under Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) Section 212(d)(3)(B)(i) For Activities and Associations Relating to the Democratic Movement for the Liberation of Eritrean Kunama (DMLEK)”

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Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF)

On October 17, 2013, following consultation with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General, the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security (the “Acting Secretary”) exercised his discretionary authority not to apply certain terrorism-related inadmissibility grounds to certain aliens for voluntary activities or associations relating to the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF). Specifically, the exercise of authority permits exemption of the following activities: solicitation of funds or other things of value for; solicitation of any individuals for membership in; provision of material support to; or receipt of military-type training from, or on behalf of, the ELF.

To be eligible for this exemption you must:

  • Establish that you are eligible for the immigration benefit or protection;
  • Undergo and pass all required background and security checks;
  • Fully disclose, in all relevant applications and interviews with U.S. Government representatives and agents, the nature and circumstances of each instance of military-type training, solicitation ,and material support, and any other activity or association falling within the scope of the terrorism related inadmissibility grounds;
  • Establish that you have not participated in, or knowingly provided material support to terrorist activities that targeted noncombatant persons or U.S. interests; and
  • Establish that you pose no danger to the safety and security of the United States.

In addition, if your activities or associations with the ELF occurred prior to January 1, 1980, to be eligible for this exemption, you must also already have an existing or pending immigration benefit such that:

  • On or before October 17, 2013, you were admitted as a refugee or granted asylum, or had an asylum or refugee application pending; or
  • You are the beneficiary of an I-730 Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition filed at any time by a petitioner who was an asylee or refugee on or before October 17, 2013.

USCIS will evaluate whether the totality of the circumstances warrants an exemption.

For more information on this exemption, please see the links below.

October 17, 2013 Exercise of Authority

June 15, 2014, USCIS Implementation Memo, “Implementation of New Discretionary Exemption Under Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) Section 212(d)(3)(B)(i) For Activities and Associations Relating to the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF)”

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 08/12/2014