Congratulations – you’re finally eligible to apply for citizenship! But uh-oh, your greencard (I-551) is about to expire. What should you do? File an I-90 application to renew your greencard, or just go ahead and apply for the N-400 (citizenship application)?
In August 2016 USCIS clarified its informal policy for handling these situations. The following guideance was given to the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) directly from the USCIS Field Operations Directorate. All Sound Immigration attorneys are active members of AILA.
Expiration within six months: file an I-90.
USCIS says that if your I-551 (greencard) will expire within six months from the date you file your N-400, then you need to seek renewal of your greencard by filing an I-90 application. You can access the application for free here. Note that the filing fee for the I-90 is $365 plus $85 for biometrics. What if you filed your I-90, but your
What if you filed your I-90, but your geencard is about to expire? In that case, you should set an INFOPass appointment at your local USCIS office to get an extension stamp of your residency status – called an Alien Documentary Identification and Telecommunication (ADIT) stamp. You can schedule an InfoPass appointment for free at: https://my.uscis.gov/appointment. But you will need to bring your I-90 receipt to show that the application was filed. If you do so, then you should not be charged for seeking the ADIT.
Expiration in more than six months: not required to file an I-90.
If you file your N-400 and have more than six months left on your greencard, then you do not need to file an I-90. But what if you are worried the greencard will expire before your N-400 is approved? You are allowed to set up an INFOPass appointment at your local USCIS office to get an extension stamp of your residency status – called an ADIT stamp. You can schedule an InfoPass appointment for free at: https://my.uscis.gov/appointment.
File with more than six months on your greencard!
In light of this new policy, you should file the N-400 – if possible – while you have six months or more validity on your greencard. Doing so will save you nearly $500 in filing fees.