Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) 203: The Decision Making Process

After You File Your Application

  • We will mail you a receipt notice acknowledging that we received your application.
  • We will mail you an Application Support Center (ASC) appointment notice with a date for you to have your fingerprints taken.
  • Once your fingerprints have been taken, we will send your fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for a background check.
  • Later, we will mail you another notice with an appointment date for your interview with an asylum officer regarding your NACARA application.


  • We cannot grant NACARA relief to you if the fingerprint response from the FBI has expired. Fingerprint responses are valid for 15 months.
  • If you are 14 years of age or older, you must be fingerprinted after you apply for NACARA 203 relief.
  • If we received your NACARA application before July 2000, you should have already received an ASC Appointment Notice for fingerprinting.
  • If you have not received an ASC Appointment Notice, you should submit a request to be scheduled for fingerprints. You may submit your request to the asylum office listed on the I-881 receipt notice you previously received in the mail evidencing that you filed an I-881.
  • If we have not scheduled you for fingerprinting and you have a child in the United States who will turn 21 years old within the next year, and the child entered the United States after October 1, 1990, you should submit a request for you both to be scheduled for fingerprints.

For more information about where we are located, see the ASC Locator or Asylum Office Locator pages.

Scheduling Your Interview

  •  We cannot provide a specific time period when we will schedule you for an interview.
  • We give priority scheduling to individuals who have children in the United States who entered the United States after October 1, 1990 and who will turn 21 years old within a year,
  • We are also making every effort to schedule interviews for individuals who have filed a NACARA 203 application and have received an ASC Appointment Notice.
  • We may schedule your NACARA interview at a USCIS field office if you live in an area not located closely to one of our asylum offices.

If there are reasons for you to request an expedited scheduling of your NACARA interview, you should submit a request, either by mail to, or in person at the asylum office having jurisdiction where you reside, explaining the reason for your request.

Preparing for the Interview

  • If you would like to bring an attorney or an accredited representative with you to your interview, you are entitled to do so at your own expense.
  • If you do not feel comfortable speaking in English, you must bring at your own expense, an interpreter who is fluent in English and in the language you speak.
  • If you bring an interpreter, your interpreter must be at least 18 years old and cannot be your attorney or representative or a witness testifying on your behalf.· 
  • If you also have an asylum application pending, your interpreter cannot be a representative of your country of nationality.

In order to receive your decision as quickly as possible after the interview, please be prepared to give the asylum officer any documents needed to establish your eligibility. Such documents may include:

  • Proof of your relationship to family members (marriage/birth certificates).· 
  • Proof that you have filed income taxes during the requisite seven years of continuous physical presence.· 
  • Proof of hardships you and/or your family members would suffer if you are removed from the United States.
  • Court disposition documents related to any past criminal proceedings or serious traffic violations.
  • Your passport, travel documents, and other forms of identification even if they are now expired. 

If you have a validly issued passport and USCIS approves your NACARA application, your passport may be stamped with temporary evidence of your permanent resident status.

If You Cannot Attend Your Interview

  • You should contact the asylum office before your scheduled interview date.
  • You can reschedule your interview one time without a reasonable excuse, if the request is received at least two days before the scheduled interview date.· 
  • You must request to reschedule your interview in writing by:
    - Sending a fax to the asylum office where you are scheduled
    - Mailing a letter to the asylum office where you are scheduled
    - Delivering a written request in person at the asylum office where you are scheduled
  • You cannot reschedule or discuss your case by telephone.

See the Asylum Office Locator page for fax numbers and addresses.

If You Change Your Address

  • You must inform USCIS in writing within 10 days of moving using one of the following methods
    - Use the online change of address tool
    - Mail Form AR-11, Alien’s Change of Address Card, to the address on the form.
  • If you choose to mail your Form AR-11 you must also inform the asylum office of your new address to change your address in the asylum computer system.

You may:

-Provide your new address to the asylum office in-person or at your interview.
- Fax or mail a copy of your AR-11, Alien’s Change of Address Card, or letter to the asylum office
- Call the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283. For people who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability: TTY 800-767-1833.

Your Interview

Your interview will be conducted in a non-adversarial manner; it is not a court hearing.

If you have both a NACARA and asylum application pending with the asylum office, we will normally conduct a NACARA interview first. If the asylum officer grants you NACARA relief, you will be given the option of withdrawing your asylum application. If you decide not to withdraw your asylum application, we will schedule you for an asylum interview.

Your Decision

The asylum officer may tell you the decision on the day of your interview. If the asylum officer does not tell you the decision on the day of your interview, we will either ask you to return to the asylum office to receive the decision at a later date, or we will send you the decision by mail.

USCIS cannot grant your application until after you sign a document admitting that you do not have legal status in the United States.  The asylum officer will ask you to sign this document only if the officer intends to grant your application, granting you permanent resident status.

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