USCIS Extends Policy for Automatic Extension of Green Cards For Naturalization Applicants

December 16, 2022

Effective December 12, 2022, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) updated its policy manual. This update allows the agency to extend the validity of permanent resident cards, better known as green cards, for lawful permanent residents who have applied for naturalization. It will also automatically provide these applicants with another 24 months of validity without additional filing.

The update intends to help naturalization applicants who often experience greater processing times. The higher processing times are due to an extension of lawful permanent resident status and not needing to file the Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (Form I-90). If a lawful permanent resident files an Application for Naturalization (Form N-400), they may obtain the extension even if they did not file Form I-90. The USCIS will adjust the language on the receipt notice for Form I-90 to extend the green cards for up to two years for eligible applicants.

Anyone with this receipt notice may use it and an expired green card as proof of employment authorization for completing the Form I-9 process. Before this change, the USCIS required applicants for naturalization to apply at least six months before their Permanent Resident Cards expiration.

Otherwise, these applicants would be required to file Form I-90 to maintain documentation of their lawful status. Applicants who applied more than six months before could receive an Alien Documentation, Identification, and Telecommunications (ADIT) stamp on their passports. This stamp would serve as proof of their status.

This policy expects Form N-400s to process within 180 days or six months, which would mean that filing a Form I-90 would be unnecessary. However, this is not always the case due to the agency’s current processing times. This policy recognizes that and eases the paperwork burden for the USCIS by reducing the number of appointments for ADIT passport stamps at field offices and Form I-90 filings.

All applicants filing Form N-400 on or after December 12, 2022, will become eligible for this extension. However, those who applied before this date must still file a Form I-90 or receive an ADIT stamp to prove their continued lawful permanent resident status.

Lawful permanent residents who have lost their permanent resident card must still file Form I-90, regardless of an application for naturalization. The need for this application is because noncitizens must carry proof of registration and evidence of extensions or potentially face criminal prosecution.

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