CNMI Long-Term Resident Status
The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) long-term resident status allows certain noncitizens who have resided continuously and lawfully in the CNMI since Nov. 28, 2009, to remain in the CNMI. This status was created by the Northern Mariana Islands Long-Term Legal Residents Relief Act (PDF) (Pub. L. 116-24) (48 U.S.C. section 1806(e)(6)), signed by President Trump on June 25, 2019.
To be eligible for the CNMI long-term resident status, you must fall into one or more of the following categories:
- Certain “stateless” individuals: Foreign nationals born in the CNMI between Jan. 1, 1974, and Jan. 9, 1978.
- Immediate relatives of “stateless” individuals: Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 of foreign nationals born in the CNMI between Jan. 1, 1974, and Jan. 9, 1978.
- CNMI permanent residents under CNMI immigration law: Individuals who were permanent residents of the CNMI on Nov. 27, 2009.
- Immediate relatives of CNMI permanent residents: Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 of an individual who was a permanent resident of the CNMI on Nov. 27, 2009.
- Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens: Individuals who, on Nov. 27, 2011, were either a spouse, child or parent of a U.S. citizen, and continue to have such family relationship with the citizen.
- In-home caregivers: Caregivers of critical medical or special needs individuals in the CNMI who on Dec. 31, 2018, had a grant of parole under the former USCIS parole program for certain in-home caregivers.
Additionally, you must:
- Have been lawfully present in the CNMI on Dec. 31, 2018, or June 25, 2019, under the immigration laws of the United States, including under a grant of parole under section 212(d)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(d)(5)) or deferred action;
- Be admissible as an immigrant to the United States under the INA (8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.), except that no immigrant visa is required;
- Have resided continuously and lawfully in the CNMI from Nov. 28, 2009, through June 25, 2019; and
- Not be a citizen of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia or the Republic of Palau.
USCIS only accepted applications for initial CNMI long-term resident status between February 19, 2020 and August 17, 2020. As of August 17, 2020, USCIS no longer accepts any Forms I-955.
If you are a CNMI long-term resident requesting renewal or replacement of your Employment Authorization Document, you must submit:
The eligibility category for CNMI long-term resident status on Form I-765 is listed as “Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Long-Term Resident-- (c)(37).”
The biometric services fee and the filing fee for Form I-765 cannot be waived.
There are no fee exemptions.
Where to File
File according to the instructions for Form I-765. Please visit the Form I-765 webpage to find the correct address.
After you receive CNMI long-term resident status, you will receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) that is valid for five years. You must renew your EAD every five years by filing Form I-765, with all applicable fees. You do not need to file another Form I-955 when renewing your EAD.
CNMI long-term residents are only authorized work in the CNMI.
As a CNMI long-term resident, you may remain in the CNMI for as long as you hold this status. You will lose status when you either cease to reside in the CNMI, or you adjust status under section 245 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1255) to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence, whichever comes first.
In addition, you will automatically lose such status if you travel to Guam or elsewhere in the United States without permission. See our Travel Outside the CNMI section below for more information.
You are subject to removal from the CNMI if you violate grounds of deportability from the United States under section 237 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1227), such as by committing a specified criminal offense.
The statute establishing the CNMI long-term resident status authorizes travel between the CNMI and foreign places. As a CNMI long-term resident, you are not required to obtain a grant of advance permission before traveling to a foreign country. If you have a pending Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence Status or Adjust Status, traveling to a foreign country without obtaining a grant of advance permission will not result in abandonment of your adjustment of status application.
As a CNMI long-term resident, however, there are restrictions on your travel to any other part of the United States (including Guam). You must obtain advance permission to travel to any other part of the United States (including Guam), except to travel in direct transit between the CNMI and a foreign place through Guam. If you travel to Guam or elsewhere in the United States in violation of these restrictions, your status will automatically terminate.
A direct Guam transit means a trip between the CNMI and a foreign place on a direct itinerary involving a flight stopover or connection in Guam (and no other place). CNMI long-term residents are not required to obtain advance permission from USCIS for a direct Guam transit, but U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will determine at the time of travel whether the travel qualifies as a direct Guam transit. When passing through Guam on a direct Guam transit, a CNMI long-term resident may temporarily leave the Guam airport for travel-related purposes such as staying overnight at a hotel, but other purposes such as conducting business, obtaining health care, etc. would require advance permission to travel.
To request advance permission to travel, you must file Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, with fee. Along with your completed Form I-131, you must include proof of CNMI long-term resident status and a statement describing:
- The purpose(s) of your intended travel;
- The specific dates of your trip;
- Travel destination(s); and
- Any supporting documentation you wish USCIS to consider in deciding your request.
Mail your Form I-131 to:
USCIS Dallas Lockbox
For U.S. Postal Service (USPS):
Attn: CNMI I-131
PO Box 650455
Dallas, TX 75265-0455
For FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries:
Attn: CNMI I-131 (Box 650455)
2501 S. State Highway 121 Business Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067-8003