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USCIS Extends Green Card Validity for Naturalization Applicants

Lawful permanent residents who file Form N-400 naturalization applications with USCIS on or after December 12, 2022 will receive a 24-month automatic extension of their green card validity. USCIS will update the language on Form N-400 receipt notices to note that the applicant’s green card is automatically extended by 24 months. The receipt notice, along with their expired green card, will serve as evidence of the applicant’s permanent resident status.

The issue

Starting December 12, 2022, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will provide a 24-month automatic green card extension to naturalization applicants who properly file an N-400 naturalization application on or after that date. These applicants will receive the new extension regardless of whether they have previously filed a Form I-90 green card renewal application. USCIS will update the language on Form N-400 receipt notices to extend green cards for up to 24 months for these applicants.

In its announcement of the new policy, USCIS states that N-400 receipt notices issued with the new automatic extension may be presented with an expired green card as evidence of continued legal permanent resident (LPR) status. USCIS is expected to update its M-274 Handbook for Employers to reflect the change for purposes of Form I-9 employment eligibility verification.

What it means for foreign nationals

Naturalization applicants with expiring green cards will no longer be required to take additional steps to obtain evidence of their continuing LPR status as they await USCIS adjudication of their Form N-400 applications. Under the prior policy, naturalization applicants with expiring green cards were required to either file a Form I-90 renewal application (for those who filed Form N-400 less than six months before their green card expiration date) or visit a local USCIS office to obtain a passport stamp evidencing their LPR status (for those who filed Form N-400 at least six months before the expiration of their green card). The new 24-month automatic extension should eliminate or limit the need for such applicants to take these additional steps. If the LPR’s naturalization application is not approved by the end of the 24-month extension period, the individual may still visit a local USCIS office to request a passport stamp evidencing their ongoing LPR status.

The green card validity extension should also mitigate the impact of USCIS’s lengthy Form I-90 processing times, which have sometimes caused disruptions to a permanent resident’s ability to complete the Form I-9 employment verification process or to travel internationally.

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