U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Allows Automatic Green Card Extensions with N-400 in Process

Effective Dec. 12, 2022, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is updating the USCIS Policy Manual to allow automatic validity extensions of green card where they expire during the naturalization process (this will apply only to naturalization cases filed after the December 12, 2022 effective date).

Due to the longer processing times of naturalization cases these days, more individuals face a situation where their card would expire during the naturalization process while awaiting an interview.  While the naturalization process filed at least six months before green card expiration can proceed even after expiration of the card, a valid card remains a requirement for international travel or for demonstrating eligibility to accept employment.  Naturalization applicants may therefore, through no fault of their own and due solely to longer processing queues, be forced to file an application for a replacement card that will hopefully be unneeded once they naturalize – long before the card would expire – just to accept new employment or travel.

Under the new guidance, Receipt Notices issued for N-400s will contain an extension of an existing green card for up to 24 months – allowing ongoing travel and proof of employment eligibility even after the card expires without having to filing an I-90 and/or obtain a temporary passport stamp.

If the N-400 is filed within six months of green card expiration, however, the requirement of an I-90 filing to extend the card before naturalization can be approved remains in effect.