As a foreign national, navigating the immigration process in the United States of America can be a daunting and lengthy process. One of the most crucial steps to becoming a U.S. citizen is obtaining lawful permanent resident (LPR) status by receiving a Permanent Resident Card, also known as a green card. Having a green card grants a wide variety of benefits to immigrants as they continue through the naturalization process; most notably the ability to live and work in the U.S. permanently. However, it is important to know that green cards can be revoked if you violate immigration law or fail to properly update them. Thankfully, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has recently updated its policy to make the transition from LPR to naturalized U.S. citizens much easier for naturalization applicants. Regardless of where you are along the immigration process, reach out to a Baltimore County, Maryland Immigration Lawyer at Sheri Hoidra Law Office, LLC for more information.
What does the USCIS update mean for both my green card and naturalization status?
As of December 12, 2022, the USCIS will provide an automatic 24-month green card extension for naturalization applicants. This policy change is applicable to anyone who has filed an N-400 naturalization application on or after this date. Even if you have already filed an I-90 green card renewal application, the new extension will still go into effect regarding your green card status. If your green card has already expired, you may also present your green card alongside an N-400 receipt notice reflecting the updated automatic extension as proof of your ongoing LPR status.
The new policy update is not only beneficial for naturalization applicants, but also helpful for USCIS officers as well. Prior to the policy change, naturalization applicants who filed their N-400 forms less than six months before their green card expiration date would have to also file an I-90 green card renewal application to maintain lawful and proper documentation. Those who filed their N-400 forms at least six months from their green card expiration date would have to visit a USCIS office to obtain an Alien Documentation, Identification, and Telecommunications (ADIT) stamp on their passport. Because of the policy update, processing time for naturalization applicants will be reduced due to less documentation and scheduled meetings for both N-400 applicants and USCIS officers.
What if I filed my N-400 application before the USCIS policy was updated?
Unfortunately, if you filed your naturalization application before December 12, 2022, the new policy regarding green card extensions will not be applicable to your status. In this scenario, the previous rules for green card extensions will still apply to you. If your green card has or will expire soon, you must either file an I-90 green card renewal application or receive an ADIT passport stamp at a local USCIS office.