U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced that the application period for those seeking the new Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands long-term resident status will open on Feb. 19, 2020.
Eligible aliens will have 180 days to apply for the new status, which was created by the Northern Mariana Islands Long-Term Legal Residents Relief Act (48 U.S.C. 1806(e)(6)), signed by President Trump on June 25, 2019. Applicants must file Form I-955, Application for CNMI Long-Term Resident Status, together with Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, by Aug. 17, 2020. CNMI long-term resident status is not the same thing as lawful permanent residence and does not lead to lawful permanent resident status.
To be eligible for the CNMI long-term resident status, an alien 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 qualifying “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 qualifying 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, they 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. (PR)