USCIS Advises Foreign Nationals Whose Work Permits Expire Before CNMI-Only Visa Categories Are Available
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on April 21, 2010, that it will grant parole-in-place status to certain foreign nationals in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). Foreign nationals without umbrella permits whose work permits expire before new visa categories are available to them under federal immigration laws may be eligible for this interim status.
Certain employers and their foreign national employees did not apply for umbrella permits covering the two-year transition period to federal immigration law. They may have planned to apply for CNMI-only transitional worker visas immediately after the transition period began in November 2009. However, a court ruling that month stopped this nonimmigrant category from being available. As a result, some foreign nationals face losing their legal immigration status because of a gap between the expiration of their current CNMI work permit and the availability of the new “CNMI-Only Transitional Worker” status.
Certain foreign nationals with CNMI investor permits may also face a gap between the expiration date of their CNMI investor permit and the availability of the “CNMI-Only E-2 Investor” status.
Parole-in-place would give affected foreign nationals authorization under federal immigration law to remain in the CNMI and permit continued employment authorization until the CNMI-only transitional worker program and the CNMI investor status are implemented.
USCIS’s announcement includes details about how and where to apply for parole-in-place and what documents to submit.