The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in collaboration with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), has issued new guidance to support stateless noncitizens in the United States who seek immigration benefits or have submitted other requests to USCIS. Stateless individuals are those without legal citizenship in any country, facing challenges in accessing essential services like education, healthcare, and employment. The guidance clarifies how and when USCIS may consider an individual stateless for the purpose of adjudicating immigration benefits or other requests.
USCIS will now develop new procedures to assist officers in evaluating potential statelessness, including updated training documents and standard operating procedures. Specially trained personnel will provide advisory reports to officers to consider an individual’s statelessness when making decisions on their applications or benefit requests. The guidance also provides examples of documentation that may help USCIS officers determine statelessness for USCIS purposes.
The implementation of this update will enable USCIS to gather comprehensive data on this vulnerable group, estimated to be approximately 218,000 people residing in the United States by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).