December 2022: USCIS Updates Policy to Automatically Extend Green Card for Naturalization Applicants

27 Dec

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Update Applicable to: 
All employers of employees with Green Cards or who applied for citizenship in the United States.

What happened?
On December 12, 2022, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it would automatically extend the validity of permanent resident cards (green cards) for lawful permanent residents (LPRs) who have applied for naturalization, i.e., citizenship. 

What are the details? 
This extension 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 regardless of whether they filed Form I-90. 

USCIS will update the language on Form N-400 receipt notices to extend Green Cards for up to 24 months for these applicants. 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.

Before 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, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (Green Card), 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. This policy update recognizes USCIS’ current processing times, improving flexibility and efficiency by reducing the number of ADIT stamp appointments in field offices and the number of Form I-90s filed. This allows for these resources to be focused on other immigration benefits adjudications.

The extension will apply to all applicants who file Form N-400 on or after December 12, 2022. LPRs who filed for naturalization before December 12 will not receive a Form N-400 receipt notice with the extension. If their Green Card expires, they must still file Form I-90 or receive an ADIT stamp in their passport 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 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). 

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

For more information, please see the links below:

USCIS Announcement

USCIS Contact Center

Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (Green Card)

Form N-400, Application for Naturalization

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What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links above and provide the information to their employees with green cards or who intend to apply for naturalization in the United States.

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