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

Posted by Hugo Valverde | Jan 20, 2021 | 16 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.

Samantha M Reply

Posted Oct 28, 2021 at 20:35:11

What if the passport to put the 551 stamp after I-797 form is no longer valid, is expired?

Hugo Valverde Reply

Posted Nov 03, 2021 at 10:49:46

You can always make an infopass appointment to get a new I-551 stamp by calling 1-800-375-5283.

Ralu Reply

Posted Nov 08, 2021 at 10:45:46

Hello, I am currently waiting on my unconditional green card. My i797c expires Dec 1st 2021 so in a few days. I do not have a valid passport, I tried to acquire one but due to covid I won’t be able to get one for months. Wondering what I should do to get another extension. What are my options?

Hugo Valverde Reply

Posted Nov 08, 2021 at 10:53:31

Hello Ralu, you can make an inpass appointment to get a new I-551 stamp extending your permanent residence. If you do not have a valid passport, you can bring two passport style photos, your green card, your receipt notices, and any other form of government id you may have, such as a driver’s license. In many cases, USCIS will make a temporary card for you using an I-94 card. You may call USCIS to schedule an Infopass appointment by calling 1-800-375-5283. When the auto attendant answers make sure you clearly and loudly say “infopass” so that you can be placed in the appropriate queue.

Meena Reply

Posted Nov 09, 2021 at 13:48:51

Hi, My Green Card expired on Jun 2021. We applied for green card renewal. I have the I-797C receipt notice. I want to travel to make an international trip to India in 3 weeks. Can I travel with my expired Green Card and the I-797C notice. Will those two be enough?
I tried calling 800-375-5283 to get an appointment. After three weeks the officer called back and didnt give me an appointment. She asked me to place myself again the queue which I did. Again need to wait until they call and hopefully will give an appointment this time. Can I travel WITHOUT the I-551 stamp or the sticker. Really appreciate your guidance on this.

Hugo Valverde Reply

Posted Nov 10, 2021 at 07:00:15

Hello, please look closely at your I-797C receipt notice to see if it indicates that the notice along with the expired card provides evidence of your lawful permanent resident status. If you filed the I-90 form it should extend it for 12 months. If you filed the I-751 it will extend it for 18 months. Traveling with the expired card and the notices as proof of your lawful permanent resident status should be ok. However, it is not necessarily a guarantee that you will not have issues. For example, you may experience delays because the airline may not let you board because it does not understand the extension by receipt notice. If possible, get an I-551 stamp in your passport before traveling.

Jose Reply

Posted Nov 29, 2021 at 07:14:25

Hello, my father is visiting the Dominican Republic and his I797 expired on August 2021. Since this form expired he has been unable to return to the US. There is no current update on the uscis portal and is impossible to get in touch to some at 800-375-5283.
What can he do?

Hugo Valverde Reply

Posted Nov 29, 2021 at 07:19:38

If your father is a lawful permanent resident, he could contact the US embassy in Santo Domingo to see if he can get a travel document, such as an SB-1 visa. See for more information.

Sandra Watkins Reply

Posted Jan 03, 2022 at 18:28:16

Hi, my boyfriend has a permanent resident card that expired on 03/19. We didn’t know it was expired and applied for I-90 on 06/20, he had his biometric appointment on 7/21, I go online to check status it still says they are waiting to make a decision. What can he do so he may be able to work? He has not been able to work since

Hugo Valverde Reply

Posted Jan 06, 2022 at 06:54:49

He should still be able to work with an expired 10 year permanent resident card and showing the I-90 receipt. See

Kete Reply

Posted Jul 10, 2022 at 08:18:22

My green card has already been expired in May 2021 and I applied for renewal in Feb 2021. My I-90 application is still in process as of today. I have travelled to India in February 2022 and now want to come back to US but my I-797 extension is also expired and not letting me to come back. How do I get reentry to US? Please advise

Hugo Valverde Reply

Posted Jul 10, 2022 at 12:29:55

Hello, I would suggest contacting the U.S consulate for a travel document.

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