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NACARA | Immigration Through the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central Relief Act

Serving San Antonio, Austin and McAllen, Texas

What is NACARA?

The Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act is an American law that provides a lawful means for certain classes of immigrants to enter and remain in the United States. Passed in 1997 as a response to the brutal civil wars that wracked Central America during the late 20th century, the law is designed to expedite the protected-status applications of individuals who hail from formerly unstable parts of the world. Upon passage, the law covers refugees from Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Cuba, former Soviet republics and former Yugoslavian republics. However, the provisions that applied to Nicaraguans and Cubans have since expired. Although individuals from the act’s other covered countries are still eligible to apply, they must adhere to certain procedures and protocols. Talk to a NACARA attorney today to find out more about securing protected status in the U.S.


Individuals who apply for relief under NACARA may be eligible for certain key benefits. As refugees, they may be able to earn a path to legal permanent residency and citizenship. After their applications have been accepted, they may remain in the United States on an ongoing basis. Using the provisions of the act as well as certain family-based immigration options, qualifying family members may legally be permitted to join NACARA-protected individuals in the United States. Finally, NACARA-protected individuals may obtain work authorizations and find full-time employment here.


NACARA applications are governed by a complex set of regulations and requirements. Those who wish to use the law to claim protected status should contact a competent immigration attorney to ensure that their applications are successful. In general, NACARA applicants must adhere to several guidelines:

  • Guatemalans must have entered the U.S. before October 2, 1990
  • Salvadorans must have entered the U.S. before September 20, 1990
  • Former Soviet Bloc and Yugoslavian nationals must have entered the U.S. before January 1, 1991

It is important to note that NACARA may also be used to challenge removal proceedings. To learn more, contact a NACARA lawyer today.


NACARA expedites the protected-status applications of individuals from certain countries. However, the act’s confusing requirements are a major drawback. Additionally, the expiration of the provisions that covered Nicaraguans and Cubans closes off an avenue of legal immigration for individuals from those countries. In addition, applicants who have criminal histories or suspected ties to repressive regimes in their home countries may not be eligible for protected status.

How We Can Help

At the Gutierrez Law Firm, we sympathize with those who have suffered through wars, famines and other hardships. We stand ready to utilize the full force of the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act to help such individuals immigrate to the United States legally and permanently. With a quarter-century of experience in all aspects of the immigration process, our professional NACARA attorneys can expedite and simplify our clients’ applications.

For more information about applying for protected status, meet with a NACARA lawyer by calling 210.225.7114.

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