Effective Dec. 12, 2022, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) updated the USCIS Policy Manual to allow USCIS to automatically extend the validity of Permanent Resident Cards (a/ka/a Green Cards) for lawful permanent residents who have applied for naturalization.
On December 9, 2022, USCIS issued policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual to provide that USCIS may automatically extend the validity of a Permanent Resident Card (PRC) (Form I-551) through an Application for Naturalization (Form N-400) receipt notice, without regard to whether the applicant has filed an Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (Form I-90).
This update 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 will update the language on Form N-400 receipt notices to extend LPR Cards for up to 24 months for these applicants. The receipt notice can be presented with the expired LPR 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 LPR Card expiration date needed to file Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, to maintain proper documentation of their lawful status. Applicants who applied for naturalization at least six months prior to their LPR 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 LPR Card expiration date. This 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.
The extension will apply to all applicants who file Form N-400 on or after December 12, 2022. LPRs who filed for naturalization prior to this date will not receive a Form N-400 receipt notice with the extension. If their LPR 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 LPR 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 LPR Card and any evidence of extensions or may be subject to criminal prosecution under INA 264(e).
Alka Bahal is a Partner and the Co-Chair of the Corporate Immigration Practice of Fox Rothschild LLP. Alka is situated in Fox Rothschild’s Morristown, New Jersey office though she practices throughout the United States and at Consulates worldwide. You can reach Alka at (973) 994-7800, or firstname.lastname@example.org.