Immigrants with lawful permanent residence in the United States often are on edge during the U.S. citizenship through naturalization application process, since processing delays often force them to also apply for their green cards extension to avoid losing their legal status.
This headache will ease from now on. Last week, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced an update to its Policy Manual that will automatically extend the validity of a green card for holders who are applying for naturalization.
Until now, citizenship applicants who did not file the petition at least six months before their green card expiration date were required to file Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (Green Card), to maintain proper documentation of their status and to be able to work legally in the United States.
But as of Monday, Dec. 12, 2022, lawful permanent residents who properly file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, will be able to receive an automatic green card extension regardless of whether they file Form I-90, the immigration agency announced in a news release.
USCIS extends green cards for 24 months for U.S. citizenship applicants
USCIS said it anticipates that the regulatory update will “help naturalization applicants who experience longer processing times, because they will receive an extension of lawful permanent resident status.”
USCIS will “update the language on Form N-400 receipt notices to extend green cards for up to 24 months for these applicants.”
READ MORE: 55,000 green cards were awarded. Here’s how to check if you won the visa lottery
These are the policy highlights in USCIS’ new Policy Alert:
▪ Beginning Dec. 12, 2022, a Form N-400 receipt notice provides an automatic 24-month extension of the Permanent Resident Card and serves as valid, unexpired evidence of lawful permanent status, when presented with the expired green card.
▪ Naturalization applicants may not need to file Form I-90 while their Form N-400 is pending as a result of the 24-month extension period provided by their receipt notice.
Immigration authorities emphasized that the notice of receipt can be presented along with the expired green card, as well as an identity document as proof of eligibility for employment.
USCIS clarified that legal residents who have already applied for naturalization will not receive a notice of receipt with the automatic extension.
Additionally, the measure improves “flexibility and efficiency” by reducing the number of Alien Documentation, Identification and Telecommunications (ADIT) stamps in immigrant’s passports in field offices and the numbers of filed I-90’s, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agency said.
You can read this story about green cards extension and U.S. citizenship in Spanish in el Nuevo Herald.
This story was originally published December 13, 2022 3:03 PM.