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USCIS Making it Easier For Those Renewing Their Lawful Permanent Resident Cards

Posted by Hugo Valverde | Jan 20, 2021 | 4 Comments

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Are you needing to renew your Green Card (lawful permanent resident card) soon?

When looking to replace an expiring green card, lawful permanent residents (LPRs) apply through a Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. Typically after applying LPR renewers will receive a Form I-797 receipt notice providing them with a case number and then the applicant must wait. And wait and wait some more. 

During this period while they are waiting for their new green card to arrive their existing card may have expired, especially due to the increased government processing times.  With an expired green card, to get proof of their lawful permanent resident status to renew driver's licenses or obtain employment the applicant had to schedule an in-person appointment with USCIS to get an I-551 stamp in their passport.

Because the ability to schedule these appointments online was eliminated during the Trump administration, one can only schedule such an appointment by calling the USCIS customer service number.  As you can imagine, this can be a very frustrating experience.

To help this situation, on January 12, 2021, USCIS released an Alert notifying LPRs that the Form I-797 receipt notice, together with the expired card, will serve as an extension of one's lawful permanent residence.  You will need to hold onto your Form I-797, as it will serve as a receipt notice for your Form I-90. USCIS states that “When presented together with the Green Card, the revised Form I-797 notice will extend the Green Card's validity for 12 months from the date on the front of the Green Card and will serve as temporary proof of the LPR's status.”  No more need to schedule an in-person appointment to extend your expiring lawful permanent residence.

The exact wording of the receipt notice will state:

“This notice provides evidence of your lawful permanent resident status for 12 months from the expiration date on your Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card (also known as a Green Card). You remain authorized to work and travel. This notice, presented with your expired Permanent Resident Card, is evidence of your status and work authorization.”

So… Does this Make it Easier or Harder for Me?

For now, easier! If you haven't been issued a new notice for a biometrics appointment and are still in possession of your green card, you no longer have to visit an application support center to receive temporary evidence of your LPR status! (Also, don't worry if you haven't received a biometrics appointment notice yet, read our blog from last week about why there's been so many delays with appointments). 

Remember that lawful permanent resident status is permanent - just because your green card is expiring does not mean that your status is expiring. However, all LPRs are required to have a valid, unexpired Green Card or equivalent documentation with you at all times. 

If you have questions about applying for renewal of your lawful permanent residence status 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 immigration attorneys by clicking on this link

About the Author

Hugo Valverde

Hugo's passion for immigration law stems from his own family's immigration experience. His father and mother came to the United States from Peru fleeing political persecution, and as he grew up, Hugo spent many summers in Peru. Hugo uses his experience growing up in an immigrant family and time a...


van Elizabeth Reply

Posted Sep 19, 2021 at 13:00:56

Thank you for your helpful information on your website concerning the role of form I-797 in extending the validity of a green card for one year. I am in the possession of this I-797 form. However, my green card expired on Sep 29, 2020. Therefore, the validity of the I-797 form is expiring in 10 days. I have had my biometrics done on Jun 130, 2021, but have not heard anything since then. When I visit the USCIS website and enter my receipt number, it tells me that USCIS is actively looking at my case. What can you advise me to do concerning the expiring I-797?

Kate Reply

Posted Oct 02, 2021 at 11:42:39

Thank you for your informative and accurate article. I currently have an expired green card and have been informed I will be scheduled for an interview since Dec 2019. I have an I-797 that extended my green card for 18months which would be April 2020. I am still waiting for an interview and report every two weeks that I do not have valid paper work as my I-797 has expired but hear nothing back. I would really like to go home and see friends and family in Canada this year but I am worried that I will have trouble getting back into the US without a valid I-797. Do you have any suggestions on what I can do?

Hugo Valverde Reply

Posted Oct 19, 2021 at 11:55:44


You can make an Infopass Appointment to get a stamp in your passport extending your green card further by calling 1-800-375-5283.

Hugo Valverde Reply

Posted Oct 19, 2021 at 11:57:17


You can make an Infopass Appointment to get a stamp in your passport extending your green card further by calling 1-800-375-5283.

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