USCIS Announces a Crucial Change to the Extension Period for Permanent Residents Who Applied for Green Card Renewals

For many immigrants, obtaining their green card likely included significant time, a substantial amount of money, and a lot of paperwork. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that simply obtaining a green card often isn’t the final chapter in your immigration journey. If you decide to remain in the United States for more than a decade, you’ll typically need to obtain a replacement green card, which is its own bureaucratic (and time-consuming) journey. Whether you’re seeking your initial green card or a replacement green card, an experienced Maryland green card lawyer can help you as you navigate the process to avoid errors that can cause needless (and potentially costly) delays.

When your initial green card is approaching its expiration, you have to file an “Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (Green Card),” or U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) Form I-90. While getting your initial green card takes a lot of time, the wait time for a renewal green card after you file your Form I-90 typically is shorter, but still often spans several months. To accommodate the possibility that your initial green card might expire while you’re waiting for the government to approve your Form I-90 and provide you with a new green card, you had an extra 12 months from the date of your Form I-90 receipt notice (a/k/a Form I-797, Notice of Action.) To travel abroad, reenter the U.S., or obtain new employment, you simply present your expired green card alongside your Form I-90 receipt notice.

Recently, though, Form I-90 processing times began stretching beyond the one-year mark, creating a need for the USCIS to take action. That action came on September 28, when the USCIS announced that, effective September 26, it was automatically expanding the extension period for those permanent residents waiting on the government to process their I-90 forms.

A Two-Year Extension Period Instead of One

Now, once you have your Form I-90 receipt notice, you have an extra 24 months instead of 12. The USCIS updated the wording that appears on I-90 receipt notices to reflect the change from 12 months to 24 months. For workers who have already sent in their I-90 forms and obtained a receipt notice, the USCIS will send them amended receipt notices to reflect the change from 12 months to 24 months.

As green card holders know, this is a very big deal, as the expiration of a green card can have massive and numerous negative impacts. Once your green card expires (in the absence of a valid extension or other special circumstances,) you may lose the ability to obtain new work in the United States and lose the ability to travel outside (or reenter) the United States.

While the green card renewal process is fairly simple in terms of paperwork, it remains easy to make mistakes that could trigger unnecessary delays and extra costs. For that reason, it pays to have skillful representation from an experienced immigration lawyer. The knowledgeable Maryland green card attorneys at Anthony A. Fatemi, LLC are here to help, offering you the diligent advocacy and keen attention to detail your case deserves. To learn more, contact us at 301-519-2801 or via our online form.

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