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Policy Alert: USCIS automatically extending validity of Green Card for Naturalization Applicants

Photo by Kerwin Elias on Unsplash

Permanent Resident Cards, known as Green Cards, serve as evidence for Lawful Permanent Resident (LPRs) status for noncitizens. Generally, if there was a mistake, lost card, or the card expired an LPR would file a Form I-90. At least 6 months before a Green Card expires, an LPR can apply for naturalization, through Form N-400 Application for Naturalization, and receive an Alien Documentation, Identification and Telecommunications (ADIT) stamp in their passport as proof of LPR status. 

USCIS received many public comments requesting an automatic extension of Green Cards due to long processing times for naturalization. In response, on December 12, 2022, USCIS has included language on the Form N-400 receipt Notice of Action (Form I-797) automatically extending Green Cards for 24 months from the “Card Expires” date listed on the Green Card and updated the related policy within the USCIS Policy Manual.

As it currently stands, a Form N-400 receipt notice providing an automatic 24-month extension of the Green Card, along with the expired card serves as valid, unexpired evidence of LPR status. Furthermore, applicants may not need to file an I-90 while their Form N-400 is pending because of the added language on the I-797 Notice of Action of a 24-month extension. This new policy provides some breathing space for LPRs with expiring Green Cards who are awaiting the naturalization process.