HRIFA At-a-Glance

May 11,1999

Section 902 of the Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act of 1998 (HRIFA), signed into law on October 21, 1998, provides relief in the form of adjustment of status to that of lawful permanent resident to eligible Haitian nationals. This sheet provides basic information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for HRIFA adjustment. Additional information can be found in the May 12, 1999, Federal Register, or on the internet at, or by contacting your local INS office.

Who is Eligible

To be eligible for these benefits, Haitians must belong to one of the five classes specified in section 902 (b) of HRIFA; must have been physically present in the United States on December 31, 1995; must have remained continuously physically present in the United States since December 31, 1995; and must not be inadmissible to the United States under any grounds of inadmissibility for which HRIFA does not specifically provide an exception. Certain Haitian dependents are also eligible.

The classes described in section 902(b) include any Haitian national who:

  • Filed for asylum before December 31, 1995;
  • Was paroled into the United States before December 31, 1995, after having been identified as having a credible fear of persecution, or paroled for emergency reasons or reasons deemed strictly in the public interest; and
  • Was a child (i.e., unmarried and under 21) at the time of their arrival and on December 31,1995; and:

– Arrived without parents and has remained in the United States without parents; or

– Became orphaned after arriving in the United States; or

– Was abandoned by their parents or guardians prior to April 1, 1998, and has remained abandoned.

"Continuously physically present" is defined as no more than a total of 180 days outside the United States between December 31, 1995, and the date the HRIFA adjustment application is granted unless the applicant received an Advanced Authorization for Parole or the absence occurred under certain circumstances.

How to File

Applicants should file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, with the application fee and the required supporting documents. Specific instructions pertaining to HRIFA applicants can be found in Supplement C. The application fee for Form I-485 is currently $220 or $160 for those under 14. In addition, applicants 14 years of age or older, must submit a $25 fee to cover the cost of fingerprinting.

Where to File

Applicants in exclusion, deportation, or removal proceedings before either an Immigration Court or the Board of Immigration Appeals who want to file with the INS must first move to have the proceedings administratively closed before they can apply with the Service, otherwise they may apply for benefits with the Immigration Court or Board of Immigration Appeals. Applicants who have never been in exclusion, deportation or removal proceedings, or whose proceedings have been administratively closed, or who are under final orders of exclusion, deportation or removal, should mail their applications, fees and attachments to: USINS Nebraska Service Center, P.O. Box 87245, Lincoln, NE 68501-7245.

When to File

Principal applicants can file from June 11, 1999, until March 31, 2000. There is currently no deadline for applications filed by dependents.

Last Modified 5/12/99

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 99051340.