Statelessness | USCIS (2024)

Deferred action

Deferred action is an exercise of prosecutorial discretion, made on a case-by-case basis by USCIS, not to pursue the removal of a noncitizen from the United States. Deferred action is not a lawful immigration status, and it does not excuse any past periods of unlawful presence.

To request deferred action, you must submit:

  • A signed written request stating the basis for your deferred action request; and
  • Form G-325A, Biographic Information (for Deferred Action). Provide the name of the country where you are a citizen or national. This is not necessarily the country where you were born. If you believe that you do not have citizenship in any country, type or print “stateless.”

You may also submit:

  • Proof of identity, including a birth certificate, a passport or identification card, driver’s license, notarized affidavits, school or medical records, etc. If you are currently married, submit a copy of the marriage certificate;
  • Documents or other evidence that may be relevant to determining whether you are stateless, if you would like USCIS to consider your potential statelessness in the adjudicationof your deferred action request, such as a written statement that identifies your country of origin and country of last habitual residence and explains the circ*mstances related to your potential statelessness;
  • Evidence of any additional factors supporting a decision to grant deferred action; and
  • If applicable, any document you used to lawfully enter the United States.

Effective Nov.13, 2023, submit these items to:

USCIS Western Forms Center
Attn: Deferred Action
10 Application Way
Montclair, CA 91763-1350

Employment authorization after a grant of deferred action

If we approve your request for deferred action, you may fileForm I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, to request employment authorization. In general, we only provide employment authorization to noncitizens granted deferred action at our discretion, and only if an applicant “establishes economic necessity for employment.”

  • File Form I-765 to request employment authorization;
  • In Part 2, Question 27, mark (c)(14) as your eligibility category; and
  • File at the appropriate location listed on theDirect Filing Addresses for Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization webpage, with the applicable filing fee and a completed Form I-765WS.

Parole in place

We may grant parole in place on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit under section 212(d)(5)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. You may be eligible for parole in place in 1-year increments.

We can only grant parole in place if you are present in the United States without admission and are an applicant for admission. If you were admitted to the United States lawfully but are present in the United States beyond the period of stay authorized, you are not eligible for parole in place because you are not an applicant for admission. However, you may qualify for deferred action. See the Deferred Action section above for more information.

  • File Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, by mailing the application and supporting documents to theUSCIS field officethat has jurisdiction over where you live.
  • Handwrite “PIP” in Part 2 instead of checking a box.
  • Provide the name of the country where you are a citizen or national in box 2.f., Country of Citizenship. This is not necessarily the country where you were born. If you do not have citizenship in any country, type or print “stateless.”
  • Include a letter stating the basis for your parole in place request.

You may also submit:

  • Documents or other evidence that may be relevant to determining whether you are stateless, if you would like us to consider your potential statelessness when we adjudicate your parole in place application, such as a written statement that identifies your country of origin and country of last habitual residence and explains the circ*mstances related to your potential statelessness;
  • Evidence of any additional factors supporting a decision to grant parole in place; and
  • Any available primary or secondary proof of identity and nationality, including, but not limited to:
    • Birth certificate;
    • Passport or identification card;
    • Notarized affidavits (See8 CFR 103.2);
    • School or medical records; and
    • 2 identical, color, passport-style photographs

If you are a member of the military or enlistee, please follow the instructions at theDiscretionary Options for Military Members, Enlistees and Their Families webpage.

Asylum

USCIS may grant asylum to noncitizens who have been persecuted or fear they will be persecuted on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion and are otherwise eligible to apply for and receive a grant of asylum.

Asylum is a form of protection that may be available to noncitizens who meet the definition of a “refugee” and either are already in the United States or are seeking admission at a port of entry. For more information on asylum status, please visit theUSCIS Asylum webpage.

To request asylum, you must fileForm I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal,either on paper or online. Most applicants who are currently in proceedings with the Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review may not file for asylum with USCIS. Certain applicants may not be eligible to file for asylum online and must submit a paper application. Please see theWhere to Fileinstructions before you file for asylum with USCIS.

  • If you do not currently have citizenship in any country, type or print “stateless” in the box for Question 14, Present Nationality (Citizenship) on Form I-589. If you did not have citizenship in any country at birth, type or print “stateless” in the box for Question 15, Nationality at Birth on Form I-589.
  • Provide information about your statelessness in Parts B and C on Form I-589 as appropriate and relevant. TheUSCIS Policy Manualidentifies documents or other evidence regarding potential statelessness that may be helpful to submit, including (but not limited to) a written statement that identifies your country of origin and country of last habitual residence and explains the circ*mstances related to your potential statelessness.

Employment authorization after filing a complete asylum application

Noncitizens with a pending asylum application may apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) 150 days after filing their asylum application.

Noncitizens who apply for an EAD may be eligible to receive an EAD 180 days after filing their asylum application.

  • UseForm I-765to request employment authorization; refer to theAsylumwebpage for more information, including information about the effect of applicant-caused delays on your Form I-765 adjudication;
  • In Part 2, Question 27, mark (c)(8) as your eligibility category; and
  • File at the appropriate location listed on theDirect Filing Addresses for Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorizationalong with a completed Form I-765WS. There is no filing fee for your initial application for employment authorization.

U or T Nonimmigrant Status

U nonimmigrant status is an immigration benefit available for victims of certain qualifying criminal activity who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse, have been, are being, or are likely to be helpful to law enforcement or other certifying officials in the investigation or prosecution of the qualifying criminal activity, and meet other requirements.

U nonimmigrants can remain and work in the United States for up to 4 years, with extensions available in limited circ*mstances. They can also apply for certain family members to obtain derivative U nonimmigrant status and may be able to adjust status to lawful permanent residence (obtain a Green Card) after 3 years of continuous physical presence in the United States if they meet other requirements.

To learn more about U nonimmigrant visas, visit theVictims of Criminal Activity: U Nonimmigrant Statuswebpage. For information on updates to the U nonimmigration status program, visit the U Nonimmigrant Status Program Updatespage.

T nonimmigrant status is an immigration benefit available for victims of a severe form of trafficking in persons who comply with any reasonable request for assistance from law enforcement in the detection, investigation, or prosecution of human trafficking (or qualify for an exemption or exception), and meet other requirements.

T nonimmigrants can remain and work in the United States for up to 4 years, with extensions available in limited circ*mstances. They can also apply for certain family members to obtain derivative T nonimmigrant status and may be able to adjust status to lawful permanent residence (obtain a Green Card) after 3 years of continuous physical presence in the United States (or after maintaining physical presence for a continuous period during the trafficking investigation or prosecution that the attorney general has determined is complete), if they meet other requirements.

To learn more about T nonimmigrant status, visit theVictims of Human Trafficking: T Nonimmigrant Statusand Questions and Answers: Victims of Human Trafficking, T Nonimmigrant Statuswebpages.

  • If you would like USCIS to consider your potential statelessness when we adjudicate your petition for U nonimmigrant status application for T nonimmigrant status, provide documents or other evidence that may be related to determining whether you are stateless. TheUSCIS Policy Manualidentifies documents that may be helpful to submit, including (but not limited to) a written statement that identifies your country of origin and country of last habitual residence and explains the circ*mstances related to your potential statelessness.
  • If you are filing a principal or derivative application for T nonimmigrant status or a principal or derivative petition for U nonimmigrant status and you do not have citizenship in any country, type or print “stateless” in the relevant section of Form I-914, Form I-914A, Form I-918, or Form I-918A.

Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

The secretary of homeland security may designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning in safety or, in certain circ*mstances, when the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately. A country may be designated for TPS due to an ongoing armed conflict, environmental disaster, epidemic, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions.

We may grant TPS to noncitizens who are already in the United States and are eligible nationals of a designated country (or part of a country), or to noncitizens having no nationality who last habitually resided in the designated foreign country. For information on countries currently designated for TPS, please visit the USCISTemporary Protected Status webpage.

Apply for TPS usingForm I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status.If you do not have citizenship in any country, type or print “stateless” in response to Question 16.a., and provide documents or other evidence that may be related to your potential statelessness. TheUSCIS Policy Manualidentifies documents that may be helpful to submit, including (but not limited to) a written statement that identifies your country of origin and country of last habitual residence and explains the circ*mstances related to your potential statelessness.

Employment authorization with TPS

Applicants for TPS may apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) at the same time they apply for TPS, or they may choose to apply for an EAD separately later by filingForm I-765. TPS applicants may receive employment authorization before we make a final decision on their TPS application, if they demonstrate that they are prima facie eligible for TPS.

  • UseForm I-765to request an employment authorization document;
  • In Part 2, Question 27, please type or print (a)(12) if you are requesting your first EAD or are re-registering for the first time, or (c)(19) if you have a pending TPS application and USCIS previously issued you a (c)(19) EAD as your eligibility category; and
  • File at the appropriate location listed on theDirect Filing Addresses for Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorizationwebpage, along with the applicable filing fee and a completed Form I-765WS.
Statelessness | USCIS (2024)

FAQs

What is meant by statelessness? ›

The international legal definition of a stateless person is “a person who is not considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law”. In simple terms, this means that a stateless person does not have the nationality of any country. Some people are born stateless, but others become stateless.

How does a person become stateless? ›

The following are some common causes of statelessness: Lack of birth registration and birth certificates; Birth to stateless parents; Political change and transfer of territory, which may alter the nationality status of citizens of the former state(s);

What is an example of a stateless person? ›

For example, a country may not grant nationality based on birth alone but based on descendance from a national. Children born in a foreign country may become stateless if the country does not allow their parents to pass on nationality through family ties, leaving entire generations stateless.

Why is statelessness a problem? ›

Without citizenship, stateless people have no legal protection and no right to vote, and they often lack access to education, employment, health care, registration of birth, marriage or death, and property rights.

Is statelessness a human right? ›

the Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons," as well as the Universal Declaration. Indeed, the right not to be stateless, or the right to a nationality, is widely recognized as a fundamental human right.

Why does statelessness still exist? ›

Conflicting nationality laws are one of the causes of "stateless births". At birth, nationality is usually acquired through one of two modes, although many nations recognize both modes today: Jus soli ("right of the soil") denotes a regime by which nationality is acquired through birth on the territory of the state.

Can a US citizen become stateless? ›

Most US Citizens who renounce their US Citizenship already have another one, or are very close to finishing the process of getting one. If one renounces their US Citizen without another one they become Stateless.

Can I be stateless in the US? ›

Individuals can be born stateless or become stateless because of discrimination, war and conflict, or changing borders and laws. The new guidance clarifies when and how USCIS may consider a noncitizen stateless for the purpose of adjudicating immigration benefits or other requests.

Do stateless people get deported? ›

Paradoxically, stateless people are generally unable to be deported (because no country recognizes them as citizens), but they remain subject to removal orders in the US and therefore at risk of repeated detention and deportation.

Who is a famous stateless person? ›

N
  • Antal Nagy (footballer, born 1944)
  • Mehran Karimi Nasseri.
  • Prince Nicholas Romanov.
  • Friedrich Nietzsche.
  • Henry Martyn Noel.
  • Nasser Mahmoud Noor.

What are the biggest stateless people? ›

The Rohingya: The world's largest stateless population.

Where do the most stateless people live? ›

Stateless Persons by Country of Asylum as of mid-year 2022

The map highlights that the largest stateless populations reside in Cote d'Ivoire, Bangladesh, and Myanmar.

Can stateless people travel? ›

Before getting my Green Card, each time I wanted to travel outside the US, I had to apply for a “travel document” – a document for stateless individuals that is used in lieu of a passport.

How to end statelessness? ›

The 10 Actions to end statelessness are:
  1. Action 1: Resolve existing major situations of statelessness.
  2. Action 2: Ensure that no child is born stateless.
  3. Action 3: Remove gender discrimination from nationality laws.
  4. Action 4: Prevent denial, loss or deprivation of nationality on discriminatory grounds.

What are the disadvantages of stateless? ›

Cons of Stateless Architecture:

Increased network traffic: Since state information is not stored on the server, each client request must include all relevant data, increasing network traffic. This can impact performance and response times, particularly when large volumes of data need to be transmitted.

What happens if a person is stateless? ›

Stateless individuals are those who are not legally considered a citizen of any country, and therefore may be denied legal identity, and struggle to access education, healthcare, marriage, and job opportunities.

What are the types of statelessness? ›

Over time, legal experts have come to recognise two categories of statelessness: de jure statelessness and de facto statelessness. A person is de jure stateless when they meet the international legal definition of statelessness: they do not have a nationality under the laws of any country.

What is the meaning of stateless society? ›

A stateless society is a society that is not governed by a state.

What is the difference between stateless and undocumented? ›

Statelessness is different from being undocumented. Undocumented people may not have legal immigration status in one country but have nationality or citizenship elsewhere. Stateless people do not have a recognized nationality at all, regardless of their immigration status.

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