The big question on our minds today: Will USCIS ever catch up to the backlog of petitions it has?
It is said that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results” [a quote usually attributed to Einstein], and lately it feels like every few weeks USCIS is announcing the same thing - that the validity of an immigration status is getting extended for renewers because of how far behind USCIS is in processing petitions.
While it almost feels like a broken record repeating, it is good news for you!
USCIS recently announced that if you have a conditional green card and have filed Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, or Form I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status, your green card will be automatically extended for 48 months past its current expiration date. Removal of conditions on a green card is applied for with certain family based green cards and entrepreneur green cards.
Typically after applying, conditional LPR holders will receive a Form I-797 receipt notice providing them with a case number and then the applicant must wait. But like many other USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) processes, the waiting period for new Green Cards has reached excessive time periods.
USCIS currently lists the average wait time of receiving a new Green Card after applying to remove conditions at 19.5 months for a Form I-751 and a whopping 61.5 months for a Form I-829.
USCIS stated it will issue new receipt notices to eligible conditional permanent residents who previously received notices with an extension shorter than 48 months and whose cases are still pending. You will need to present both your expired green card and your receipt notice of your petition in order to prove continued status.
Can I Work While I am Waiting for my New Green Card?
Yes, as long as you have your new I-797 receipt notice that shows an extension of 48 months, you may work while you wait for USCIS to decide on your petition.
Can I Travel While I am Waiting for my New Green Card?
Yes, as long as you have received your new I-797 receipt notice that shows an extension of 48 months, you may travel during that time period. Remember the following important guidelines for travel while waiting for your new green card:
- Do not stay out of the United States for longer than six months at a time.
- With the extension, travel is only authorized for 48 months from the expiration date on the front of your expired Green Card.
- You must present both your new I-797 receipt notice stating the extension, and your physical green card when re-entering the United States.
If you have questions or need help renewing your green card or applying to remove its conditions, please reach out to us at (757) 422-8472, or send us a message on our website. You can also schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys by clicking on this link.