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NACARA

Immigration Through the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) Section 203

Overview of NACARA 203:

  • Section 203 of NACARA ("NACARA 203") applies to certain individuals from Guatemala, El Salvador, and the former Soviet bloc countries who entered the United States and applied for asylum by specified dates or registered for benefits under the settlement agreement in the class action lawsuit American Baptist Churches v. Thornburgh, 760 F. Supp. 796 (N.D. Cal. 1991) (ABC)
  • After October 2000, NACARA also applied to qualified family members and to certain individuals who have been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by a permanent resident, U.S. citizen, or by certain NACARA 203 beneficiaries.
  • Section 203 of NACARA allows qualified individuals to apply for suspension of deportation or for cancellation of removal (“NACARA 203 relief”) under the standards similar to those in effect before the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996.

Suspension of Deportation and Special Rule Cancellation of Removal

These are types of relief from deportation (or removal). Traditionally, suspension of deportation and cancellation of removal have only been available to eligible individuals who are in deportation (or removal) proceedings in Immigration Court.

NACARA 203 allows certain individuals to apply for relief from USCIS even if they have not been placed in deportation (or removal) proceedings before an immigration judge.

If USCIS grants you relief under section 203 of NACARA, you will be a permanent resident and will obtain an I-551, Permanent Residence Card, commonly referred to as a "green card".

Eligibility

To be eligible to apply for NACARA 203 relief, an individual must fall within one of the following groups.

  1. A Guatemalan national who:
    1. first entered the United States on or before October 1, 1990 (ABC class member);
    2. registered for ABC benefits: on or before December 31, 1991; and
    3. has not been apprehended at time of entry after December 19, 1990.
  2. A Salvadoran national who:
    1. first entered the United States on or before September 19, 1990 (ABC class member);
    2. registered for ABC benefits on or before October 31, 1991 (either by direct registration or by applying for Temporary Protected Status – TPS); and
    3. has not been apprehended at time of entry after December 19, 1990.
  3. A Guatemalan or Salvadoran national who filed an application for asylum on or before April 1, 1990.
  4. An individual who:
    1. entered the United States on or before December 31, 1990;
    2. applied for asylum on or before December 31, 1991; and
    3. at the time of filing the application was a national of one of the former Soviet bloc countries, which are the Soviet Union, Russia, any republic of the former Soviet Union, Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Yugoslavia, or any state of the former Yugoslavia.
  5. A "qualified family member" of an individual in one of the above categories. A qualified family member is the spouse, child, unmarried son, or unmarried daughter under 21.