“Northern Mariana Islands Long-Term Legal Residents Relief Act” Guidance for Certain Individuals Present in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)

According to recently enacted legislation, USCIS announced today it will automatically extend parole, and employment authorization if applicable, for certain residents of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). This specific extension of parole as authorized by law will provide relief while USCIS establishes procedures for obtaining the new CNMI Resident status, which was created by the Northern Mariana Islands Long-Term Legal Residents Relief Act (PDF) (Public Law 116-24), signed by President Trump on June 25, 2019.

USCIS previously ended categorical CNMI parole programs to ensure that parole authority under section 212(d)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act is exercised only on a case-by-case basis when there is a significant public benefit or urgent humanitarian reason. Following USCIS’ termination of these categorical parole programs, Congress acted to provide long-term legal residence status to certain individuals in the CNMI. This temporary grant of parole, as authorized by the new law, is the first step in the process to ensure that the affected but limited population of individuals in the CNMI have the ability to obtain lawful status.

Extending Parole

Parole for individuals under the previous CNMI categorical parole program is scheduled to expire on June 29, 2019. DHS is automatically extending parole for those individuals without interruption, under authority granted to it in Pub. L. 116-24, through Oct. 28, 2019. This automatic extension of 120 days will provide an opportunity for individuals to submit a re-parole request.

Parolees who want to maintain their parole status beyond Oct. 28, 2019, should submit a re-parole request as soon as possible. Additional information on requesting this type of parole is available on the Parole for Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens and Certain Stateless Individuals page.

Individuals who submit a re-parole request will receive a letter from USCIS granting parole, unless there is a specific reason to deny the request as determined on a case-by-case basis. USCIS will grant parole with an expiration date no later than June 29, 2020.

Automatic Employment Authorization Extension

For parolees with an EAD expiring at the same time as their parole (June 29, 2019), USCIS is automatically extending employment authorization through Oct. 28, 2019. The following documentation will serve as evidence of identity and work authorization for employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) purposes through Oct. 28, 2019:

  • A copy of this web alert; and
  • A USCIS EAD (Form I-766) bearing category code “C-11” with an expiration date of June 29, 2019.

Parolees who wish to work beyond Oct. 28, 2019, or who do not have an EAD, must file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. A parolee should not file Form I-765 until after they have requested and received a grant of parole beyond Oct. 28, 2019, but it should be filed as soon as possible after receiving the letter granting parole.   

CNMI Resident Status

Individuals eligible for this new CNMI Resident status include those who qualify under section 2 of the Northern Mariana Islands Long-Term Legal Residents Relief Act (PDF). USCIS will provide more information and announce the procedures for applying for this status in the coming months. Eligible individuals should begin applying for CNMI Resident status as soon as the procedures are in place because their parole will not be extended indefinitely.

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