Headline, Immigration

USCIS to automatically extend green cards for naturalization applicants

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Policy change starting Dec 12 to extend green cards for up to 24 months for such applicants

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will automatically extend the validity of Permanent Resident Cards or green cards for lawful permanent residents who have applied for naturalization starting Dec 12.

The new update of USCIS Policy Manual is expected to help naturalization applicants who experience longer processing times, because they will receive an extension of lawful permanent resident (LPR) status and may not need to file Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (green card).

LPRs who properly file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, may receive this extension without regard to whether they filed Form I-90, USCIS said in a press release.

USCIS said it will update the language on Form N-400 receipt notices to extend green cards for up to 24 months for these applicants.

Read: USCIS to issue 280,000 employment-based green cards by Sep 30 (September 13, 2022)

The receipt notice can be presented with the expired green card as evidence of continued status as well as identity and employment authorization under List A of Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9), if presented before the expiration of the 24-month extension period provided in the notice.

Prior to this change, under USCIS policy, naturalization applicants who did not apply for naturalization at least six months before their green card expiration date needed to file Form I-90 to maintain proper documentation of their lawful status.

Applicants who applied for naturalization at least six months prior to their green card expiration were eligible to receive an Alien Documentation, Identification, and Telecommunications (ADIT) stamp in their passport, which served as temporary evidence of their LPR status.

This policy was based on the processing goal of 180 days or six months for Form N-400s, which would make filing Form I-90 unnecessary for applicants who filed at least six months before their green card expiration date.

The new policy update recognizes USCIS’ current processing times, while improving flexibility and efficiency by reducing the number of ADIT stamp appointments in field offices and the number of Form I-90s filed, which allows for these resources to be focused on other immigration benefit adjudications, USCIS said.

The extension will apply to all applicants who file Form N-400 on or after Dec 12, 2022. LPRs who filed for naturalization prior to Dec 12 will not receive a Form N-400 receipt notice with the extension.

Read: Amazon seeks green card allocation to help immigrant employees (August 10, 2022)

If their green card expires, they generally must still file Form I-90 or receive an ADIT stamp in their passport, in order to maintain valid evidence of their lawful permanent resident status.

Lawful permanent residents who lose their green card generally must still file Form I-90, even if they have applied for naturalization and received the automatic extension under this updated policy.

This is because noncitizens must carry within their personal possession proof of registration, such as the green card and any evidence of extensions or may be subject to criminal prosecution under INA 264(e), USCIS said.

Applicants who require an ADIT stamp may request an appointment at a USCIS Field Office by contacting the USCIS Contact Center.

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