In continuing its efforts to deal with processing backlogs, USCIS is allowing longer automatic extensions of green cards for lawful permanent residents who have applied for naturalization.

Although legal permanent residence (green card status) must be maintained, it does not expire once it is granted. The card that is issued to memorialize the status, however, does expire.

USCIS hopes this new automatic extension will eliminate the need for legal permanent residents who have applied for naturalization to apply for extensions of their green cards while they are waiting to naturalize. This new extension aligns with the previously announced 24-month extension granted to those who properly file a Form I-90 to renew or replace an expired or expiring green card unrelated to a naturalization filing.

The language on Form N-400, Application for Naturalization receipt notices will be revised to extend green cards for up to 24 months. That receipt notice, along with the expired green card, will be evidence of continued status and identity and employment authorization under List A of the Employment Eligibility Verification, Form I-9.

The 24-month extension receipt will be issued to all applicants who apply for naturalization on or after December 12, 2022. Those who applied to naturalize earlier will still have to file a Form I-90 to extend their green cards or receive an ADIT/Form 551 stamp in their passport at a district office to have evidence of their continuing status. A legal permanent resident who loses their green card even after receiving one of the 24-month receipt notices will need to file a Form I-90 because all noncitizens are required to carry proof of registration, in this case, a green card. The receipt notice is not enough to ensure compliance with that regulation.

To complete Form I-9, employers should enter the information from the employee’s expired green card in Section 2 as they normally would, then enter a date in the Expiration Date field that is 24 months from the “Card Expires” date shown on the card. Remember, employers must not reverify current employees who are lawful permanent residents – even if their green cards have expired.

Jackson Lewis attorneys are available to assist in navigating the green card and naturalization processes.