Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness

Alert: Employment authorization for Liberians under Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) will expire on March 30, 2020, but Liberians covered by DED may be eligible for permanent resident status (a Green Card) under recently enacted legislation known as Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (LRIF).

Liberians who satisfy the statutory requirements to apply for adjustment of status under the new law and apply for a Green Card are eligible to apply for employment authorization.

USCIS encourages individuals who wish to prevent a gap in employment documentation to submit their completed adjustment of status and employment authorization applications as early as possible.

Upon request, USCIS may expedite the processing of any Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, based on a pending application for adjustment of status under the LRIF for any Liberian with a DED-based employment authorization document (EAD) who files the Form I-765 on or before March 30, 2020, accompanied by a copy (front and back) of their DED-based EAD. To request expedited processing, follow the instructions on the How to Make an Expedite Request webpage. If the Form I-765 is not submitted concurrently with the Form I-485, evidence of the previous Form I-485 filing must be submitted with the Form I-765.

Section 7611 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (LRIF), allows Liberian nationals and their spouses, unmarried children under 21 years old, or unmarried sons and daughters 21 years old or older living in the United States who meet the eligibility requirements to apply to become lawful permanent residents (receive Green Cards).

This page provides specific information for Liberian nationals in the United States who want to apply for a Green Card (adjust status) based on the LRIF. You should also read the Instructions for Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (PDF, 614 KB) before you apply.

Eligibility for Adjustment of Status

In order to be eligible for a Green Card under the LRIF, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You properly file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status by Dec. 20, 2020;
  • You are a national of Liberia;
  • You have been continuously physically present in the United States during the period beginning on November 20, 2014, and ending on the date you properly file your Form I-485;
  • You are otherwise eligible for an immigrant visa; and
  • You are admissible to the United States for lawful permanent residence or eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility or other form of relief.

You are not eligible for adjustment of status under the LRIF if you have:

  • Been convicted of any aggravated felony;
  • Been convicted of two or more crimes involving moral turpitude (other than a purely political offense); or
  • Ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in the persecution of any person on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

Liberian National Requirement

If you are applying as a national of Liberia, you must submit evidence of being a Liberian national.

Continuous Physical Presence Beginning on November 20, 2014, through Filing of Form I-485

To be eligible for a Green Card based on the LRIF, you must have been continuously physically present in the United States during the period beginning on November 20, 2014, and ending on the date you properly file your Form I-485.

Aliens will be considered to have maintained continuous physical presence if their absences from the United States amount to not more than 180 days in the aggregate (total).

Grounds of Inadmissibility

To qualify for a Green Card, you must be admissible to the United States. Reasons why you may be inadmissible are listed in INA 212(a) and are called grounds of inadmissibility.

In general, USCIS can only approve your Green Card application if none of the relevant grounds of inadmissibility apply to you, or if you obtain a waiver of inadmissibility for any ground that applies to you. If you are applying for a Green Card based on the LRIF, all of the grounds of inadmissibility apply to you except for:

If you are inadmissible, the law may allow you to apply for a waiver or other form of relief that can overcome the ground of inadmissibility. You may apply for a waiver or other form of relief by using Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility, and Form I-212, Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission into the United States after Deportation or Removal.  If your waiver or request for another form of relief is granted, USCIS may approve your application for a Green Card if you are otherwise eligible.

Whether a waiver or other form of relief is available depends on the specific inadmissibility ground(s) that applies to you. Eligibility requirements for waivers and other forms of relief vary. For information on the grounds of inadmissibility and waivers, please see USCIS Policy Manual Volume 8, Admissibility, and Volume 9, Waivers.

How to Apply

If you are currently in the United States, you have been continuously physically present since November 20, 2014, and you meet certain other requirements, you may file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, to apply for a Green Card based on the LRIF.  You may not apply for adjustment of status based on the LRIF after Dec. 20, 2020.

Note:  On your Form I-485, in Part 2, you must choose “Other Eligibility” under Item Number 1.g. In the text box, write “LRIF” to indicate that you are applying to adjust status based on the Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness provision.

Family Members

Eligibility Criteria for Family Members

You are eligible to apply for a Green Card as a family member based on the LRIF if you meet the following requirements:

  • You are currently the spouse, unmarried child under 21, or unmarried son or daughter 21 years old or older of a Liberian national who meets the requirements of the LRIF;
  • You properly file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status no later than Dec. 20, 2020;
  • You are otherwise eligible for an immigrant visa; and
  • You are admissible to the United States for lawful permanent residence or eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility or other form of relief.

The same bars to adjustment and inadmissibility grounds apply to family members as to Liberian nationals applying for adjustment based on the LRIF.

Employment Authorization and Advance Parole Documents

When you have a pending Form I-485 based on the LRIF, you may apply for employment authorization by filing a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.

Note:  If you are applying for adjustment of status based on the LRIF, enter (c)(9) as your eligibility category when completing Part 2, Item 27 of Form I-765.

If you need to leave the United States temporarily while your Form I-485 is pending, please see the Instructions for Form I-131, Application for Travel Document for more information. 

For further information, see our Employment Authorization and Travel Documents pages.

Legal Reference

For more information, see the following:

Sec. 7611. Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020  (PDF), pages 1112-1115.

 

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