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I Filed An I-751 But My One-year Extension Is Expiring – What Do I Do?

I filed an I-751 but my one-year extension is expiring – what do I do?

Conditional lawful permanent residents (C-LPRs) are required to file a Form I-751 petition in the 90 days before their status expires. Once the Form I-751 is filed, the individual’s resident status is automatically extended for a period of one year. This one-year extension is proven with the receipt notice for the Form I-751, which indicates that the person’s status has been extended. That receipt notice can be used for employment purposes, and also for travel purposes to demonstrate that the person is still a resident.

So what happens if a year has gone by and USCIS still has not approved your Form I-751?

Unfortunately, this is happening quite a lot these days. We see many Form I-751 petitions that have been waiting for more than a year. That does not indicate a problem with the case – it is simply a matter of adjudications taking a long time. This can lead the conditional resident to panic, since she thinks that her legal status is about to expire.

First off, let’s be clear about one thing: once the Form I-751 is filed the individual remains in residency status until the Form I-751 is approved (or denied). That happens by “operation of law,” which is basically a way of saying that it happens automatically. In other words, even if the date of the one-year extension has come and gone, the person remains in legal status until the Form I-751 is adjudicated. The individual remains legally eligible to work, and legally entitled to re-enter the U.S. as a resident.

Now, of course, you still want to be able to prove that you remain a resident. So how do you do that?

Actually, it’s quite easy. You can set up an appointment at the local USCIS field office with jurisdiction over your case. To get started, just visit the InfoPass system online and schedule a free appointment. Generally, it’s possible to find an appointment slot within a couple of weeks.

Preparing for the appointment is simple. According to recent guidelines released by USCIS, all you need to bring to the appointment is:

  • Your Form I-751 receipt notice.
  • Your unexpired passport.
  • Or – if you do not have an unexpired passport – two passport-style photographs.

The appointment will be a simple, short one. Most of these are conducted informally at a counter – you will generally not be interviewed at length. It is a simple, administrative request. The USCIS officer will then physically stamp an extension either on your I-551 (green) card, or in your passport.

For lengthy cases, you may have to go through this procedure more than once. I believe the record at our firm is three times. It is a hassle to go into the USCIS office, but far better than being without proof of your residency status.

I filed an I-751 but my one-year extension is expiring – what do I do?
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Sound Immigration

All Sound Immigration attorneys are members of the American Immigration Lawyers Associations. They practice immigration law exclusively, focusing on helping families start new lives in the United States.

This Post Has 10 Comments
  1. I came in the US April 2015, with a conditional status. My green card has expired. My NOC extension is expired with a receipt date of feb 03, 2017. My I-751 is still pending. I got an I-551 stamp on my passport which is extended for another year. Am I safe to travel out of the US? Especially traveling back to US?

    1. A Conditional Lawful Permanent Resident whose I-751 is pending, with an extension stamp if needed, is treated as a resident for travel purposes. The person is treated as a “returning resident” so long as the I-751 is still pending. With I-751s taking about 2 years, it seems your interview is potentially coming up very soon.

  2. I filed I-751 and got my one year extension and it seems like it will take more than that. My DL expiration date is same as the one year expiration date. Can I take infopass before my One year extension expires so that I can have my passport stamped and use it to renew my DL. Or do I need to wait until my One year extension is expired?

    Any suggestions will be be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi, Croz. ACS/biometrics appointments are different from InfoPass appointments. The former are used for your photo and fingerprints for the I-751; the second can be scheduled for additional work authorization stamp requests. If you need a stamp extension you need to schedule an InfoPass appointment, and usually they will grant extensions shortly before expiration of a 1-year letter to avoid lapse in authorization documentation.

      1. My NOA is expiring at the end of April and I am finding it hard to get a Info Pass appointment. What happens if I can’t get an appointment before my NOA expired?

        1. With a pending I-751 your LPR status (and work authorization) is automatically extended by operation of law until the I-751 is adjudicated. Depending on your employer, they may or may not be pro active in asking for updated employment authorization. All you can do is get in there for an InfoPass as soon as possible.

  3. Hi,
    I was reading your article “Filed I751 extension expiring” and I have a question. Is the one year extension letter one year from the NOA date on the letter itself, or one year from the expiration date noted on the green card itself? Thanks.

      1. so my GC expired last august and the NOA with the extension was sent and dated last may. so the year started from may not august? so my year is expiring in may? i just want to be clear as possible.
        thanks 🙂

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