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Terrorism-Related Inadmissibility Grounds (TRIG) - Situational Exemptions

Situational Exemptions to Date
Material Support Under Duress
Solicitation Under Duress
Military-Type Training Under Duress
Voluntary Medical Care
Certain Aliens with Existing Immigration Benefits

Material Support Under Duress

Exemptions may be granted for applicants who provided material support under duress to designated or undesignated terrorist organizations.

An example of material support under duress could include providing money or a service (such as transporting fighters and supplies) to a rebel group when threatened at gunpoint to comply with such a demand.

To be eligible for an exemption from the supplies support provision 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 each provisions of material support; and
  • Establish that he or she does not pose a danger to the safety and security of the United States.

USCIS will evaluate whether material support was provided under duress and whether the totality of the circumstances warrant an exemption. Factors to be considered in this determination include:

  • Whether the applicant reasonably could have avoided, or took steps to avoid, providing material support;
  • The severity and type of harm inflicted or threatened;
  • To whom the harm was directed;
  • The perceived imminence of the harm threatened and the perceived likelihood that the harm would be inflicted and;
  • Any other relevant factor

For more information on the Exemption for Providing Material Support to an Undesignated Terrorist Organization, please see the links below.

February 26, 2007 Exercise of Authority

May 24, 2007 USCIS Implementation Memorandum, “Processing the Discretionary Exemption to the Inadmissibility Ground for Providing Material Support to Certain Terrorist Organizations”

For more information on the Exemption for Providing Material Support to a Designated Terrorist Organization, please see the links below.

April 27, 2007 Exercise of Authority

May 24, 2007 USCIS Implementation Memorandum, “Processing the Discretionary Exemption to the Inadmissibility Ground for Providing Material Support to Certain Terrorist Organizations”

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Solicitation Under Duress

Effective January 7, 2011, 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, under duress, solicited funds or members for a terrorist organization.

To be eligible for an exemption from the solicitation provision 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 all activities and associations under the terrorism related inadmissibility grounds; 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.

January 7, 2011 Exercise of Authority

February 23, 2011 USCIS Implementation Memo, “Implementation of New Discretionary Exemption Under INA Section 212(d)(3)(B)(i) For Solicitation of Funds or Members Under Duress”

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Military-Type Training Under Duress

Effective January 7, 2011, 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, under duress, received military-type training from, or on behalf of, a terrorist organization.

To be eligible for an exemption from the military-type training provision 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 the military-type training and any other association or activity under the terrorism related inadmissibility grounds;
  • Not have received training that itself poses a risk to the United States or U.S. interests (e.g., training on torture, espionage, or production or use of a weapon of mass destruction); and
  • Establish that he or she poses no danger to the safety and security of the United States.

USCIS will evaluate whether military-type training was received under duress and whether the totality of the circumstances warrants an exemption.

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

January 7, 2011 Exercise of Authority

February 23, 2011 USCIS Implementation Memo, “Implementation of New Discretionary Exemption Under INA Section 212(d)(3)(B)(i) For Receipt of Military-Type Training Under Duress”

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Voluntary Provision of Medical Care

Effective October 13, 2011, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General, authorized an exemption for certain aliens who provided medical care to individuals that the alien knew, or reasonably should have known, committed or planned to commit a terrorist activity, or to members of a terrorist organization as described in INA Section 212(a)(3)(B)(vi).

An example of the provision of medical care could include providing services in the capacity of a medical professional to members of a terrorist organization.

To be eligible for an exemption from the medical care provision 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 any medical care provided and any other activity or association falling within the scope of the terrorist activity-related grounds of the INA;
  • Not have voluntarily and knowingly provided medical care on behalf of a designated terrorist organization, as described in (INA Section 212(a)(3)(B)(vi)(I) or (II), or 8 USC 1182(a)(3)(B)(vi)(I) or (II)’
  • Not have voluntarily and knowingly provided medical care with the intent of furthering the terrorist or otherwise violent activities of an organization of individual; and
  • Establish that he or she poses no danger to the safety and security of the United States.

USCIS evaluates whether the totality of the circumstances warrants an exemption.

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

October 13, 2011 Exercise of Authority

November 20, 2011, USCIS Implementation Memo, “Implementation of New Discretionary Exemption Under INA Section 212(d)(3)(B)(i) For the Provision of Material Support in the Form of Medical Care”

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Certain Aliens with Existing Immigration Benefits

On August 10, 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General, authorized an exemption for certain aliens with existing immigration benefits who are currently inadmissible under INA section 212(a)(3)(B)(i). Applicants eligible for this exemption must have only select voluntary, non-violent, associations or activities with certain undesignated terrorist organizations. This exemption applies to aliens who currently possess lawful status in the United States (i.e., asylee or refugee status, temporary protected status, or adjustment of status under the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act or Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act, or similar immigration benefit other than a non-immigrant visa), and to beneficiaries of an I-730 Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition filed at any time by such an asylee or refugee.

Undesignated terrorist organizations are generally defined in section 212(a)(3)(B)(vi)(III). In order to qualify for this exemption, the undesignated terrorist organization that the applicant is associated must not at any time have:

  • Targeted U.S. interests or persons, including planned or attempted attacks on U.S. interests or persons;
  • Engaged in a pattern or practice of torture, as defined in 18 U.S.C. 2441(d)(1)(A), genocide, as described in 18 U.S.C. 1091(a), or the use of child soldiers, as described in 18 U.S.C. 2242;
  • Been identified in either Executive Order 13224, as amended, or otherwise designated by the Secretary of State or the Secretary of the Treasury pursuant to the Specially Designated Nationals List (SDNL), or in lists established by United Nations Security Council Committee under Resolutions 1267 (1999) or 1988 (2011) concerning Al-Qaida and the Taliban and associated individuals and entities; or
  • Been designated as a Tier I or Tier II terrorist organization as described in subsections 212(a)(3)(B)(vi)(I) or (II) of the INA.

In addition to group qualifications listed above, 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;
  • Fully disclose, 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 any terrorist organizations not considered Tier III;
  • Establish that he or she has not knowingly provided material support to terrorist activities that targeted noncombatant persons, U.S. citizens or U.S. interests;
  • Establish that he or she has not received training that itself poses a risk to the United States or United States interests (such as training on production or use of a weapon of mass destruction, as defined by 18 U.S.C. Section 2332a(c)(2), torture or espionage);
  • Establish that he or she is not in removal proceedings or subject to a final order of removal, unless the applicant is the beneficiary of an I-730 Refugee/Asylee Relative Petition;
  • Establish that he or she poses no danger to the safety and security of the United States; and
  • Establish that he or she warrants an exemption in the totality of the circumstances.

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

August 10, 2012 Exercise of Authority

September 26, 2012, USCIS Implementation Memo, “Implementation of New “Limited General” Discretionary Exemption Under Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) Section 212(d)(3)(B)(i) for Qualified Applicants with Specified Associations and Activities with Qualified Undesignated, or ‘Tier III,’ Terrorist Organizations”

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 08/08/2014