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CNMI Long-Term Resident Status

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) long-term resident status allows certain aliens 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.

Eligibility for CNMI Long-Term Resident Status

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.

Applying for CNMI Long-Tem Resident Status

You may only apply for CNMI long-term resident status between February 19, 2020 and August 17, 2020. After August 17, 2020, we will not accept any Forms I-955.

To apply for CNMI long-term resident status, you must submit:

The eligibility category for CNMI long-term resident status on Form I-765 is listed as “Applicant for Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Long-Term Resident Status -- (c)(37).”

Fees

There is no filing fee for Form I-955. However, when you file Form I-955, you must file Form I-765 with all fees in accordance with the instructions for Form I-765.

The biometric services fee and the filing fee for Form I-765 cannot be waived. If you submit Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver with your Form I-955 application or do not include all applicable Form I-765 fees with your application, your entire submission will be rejected. 

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.

Employment Authorization

You must file your Form I-955 together with Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, listing your eligibility category as Applicant for Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Long-Term Resident Status -- (c)(37). You must submit the Form I-765 even if you do not plan to work. If you do not include Form I-765 with all applicable fees with your Form I-955, we will reject your entire application.

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.

Period of Stay

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.

Travel Outside the CNMI

As a CNMI long-term resident, there are restrictions on your travel outside of the CNMI. You must obtain advance approval 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, we will automatically terminate your status.

To request advance approval to travel, you must file Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, with fee, at the USCIS Guam Office by mail. Along with your completed Form I-131, you must include:

  • A statement describing the purpose of your intended travel;
  • The specific dates of your trip;
  • Travel destinations; and
  • Any supporting documentation you wish to have considered in deciding your request.   

Mail your Form I-131 to:

USCIS Guam Field Office
770 East Sunset Blvd, Ste. 185
Tiyan Barrigada
GU 96913

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