USCIS recently announced a new policy change that should benefit permanent residents who need to prove their status while their renewal applications are pending. Starting this month, the agency will discontinue issuing the extension stickers that are normally affixed to expiring/expired green cards and instead issue a revised receipt notice that will acknowledge receipt of the I-90 application but more importantly, serve as official evidence of lawful permanent residence for twelve months from the expiration date of the green card (denoted on the front). This welcome change eliminates the need for green card holders with expiring cards to appear at their biometric appointments—which can be delayed––and request the sticker there. With the new receipt notice, which the applicant should receive within approximately seven to ten days after USCIS receives the application (provided the application is properly filed), a green card holder will have proof of continuing status which may be used for identity, continuing employment authorization, as well as authorization to re-enter the US after a trip abroad.
As always, it is important to distinguish the I-90 application from the I-751 application. The I-90 is filed to renew green cards for people who have been granted permanent residence without conditions. The cards normally expire every ten years. In contrast, immigrants who obtained permanent residence through marriage and who have been married for less than two years at the time of the initial grant are accorded conditional green cards. Such individuals must file the I-751 to remove the conditions, although it is erroneously referred to as “renewing the green card” by some. The I-751 receipt notices already incorporate the practice referred to above: that is, the receipt notices serve to acknowledge that the application has been received and also serve to extend the applicant’s green card for an additional eighteen months while the application is pending.
Filing the wrong application can be disastrous and jeopardize one’s status. We have unfortunately had several consultations where the individuals mistakenly filed I-90s by themselves when they should have filed the I-751 to remove the conditions on their residence. As a result, they missed the filing deadline, which is critically important. (Fortunately, our office was able to rectify the problem by filing the proper application with an explanation and secure their permanent residence.)
For more information on the process of renewing one’s green card or removing conditions on a green card, please contact our office. The above is general information only. It is not specific legal advice nor intended to create an attorney client relationship. If you need advice, please consult with an attorney.