USCIS Extends Green Card Validity Due to Processing Delays
Due to the accrued delays caused by backlogged processing, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) decided to grant an automatic 24-month extension to eligible green card holders.
The green card extension is intended to help non-immigrants eliminate the need to apply to renew their green card while also awaiting approval for naturalization.
The update aligns with the most recent 24-month extension for green card holders that went into effect in September 2022, allowing non-immigrants to file Form I-90 (“Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card”) to renew or replace an expired or expiring green card unrelated to naturalization filing.
What Is Required of Green Card Holders for the Extension to Apply?
Fortunately, very little effort is required from green card holders to take advantage of the 24-month extension for green card renewals.
Green Card Renewals Unrelated to Naturalization
As per the USCIS’s announcement in September 2022, applicants needing to renew or replace their green card unrelated to a pending naturalization application can take advantage of the 24-month extension by properly filing Form I-90.
Green Card Renewals with a Pending Naturalization Application
Depending on when they filed for naturalization, applicants with pending naturalization applications can take advantage of the 24-month extension in one of two ways:
- If the applicant applied for naturalization on or after December 12, 2022: Petitioners who applied for naturalization on or after this date will receive a 24-month extension receipt. This receipt and the expired green card are sufficient evidence for an applicant to maintain their green card status.
- If the applicant applied for naturalization before December 12, 2022: Petitioners who applied for naturalization before this date must either 1) file Form I-90 to extend their green card, or 2) receive an I-551 stamp in their passport at a district office. Either of these actions is sufficient to remain in good standing.
Benefits of Getting a Green Card in the U.S.
A green card, also known as a lawful permanent resident card or Form I-551, is a U.S. immigrant visa granting cardholders permanent work and residence in the United States. Green card holders are commonly referred to as Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs).
There are various advantages to getting a green card. Green card holders are not only permitted to live and work permanently in America, but can also:
- Enter and exit the U.S. with ease.
- Apply for Medicare benefits and other government assistance. Green card holders may apply for Medicare and other government assistance after 5 years.
- Study at a U.S. university for a lower cost. Higher education opportunities are approximately 80% more affordable with a green card.
- Apply for federal student loans. Green card holders are eligible for federal financial aid in the U.S.
- Remain unaffected by travel embargoes.
- Obtain business and commercial licenses with ease.
- Sponsor a family member or relative to obtain a green card. Green card holders may sponsor a relative, such as a spouse, parent, or sibling, to obtain a green card as well.
- Apply for U.S. citizenship 3-5 years after getting a green card. Getting a green card is one of the most efficient and popular ways to obtain U.S. citizenship.
A green card is one of the most highly sought-after U.S. visas. There are numerous ways to obtain a green card as a non-immigrant. Keep reading to learn some of the most common paths to obtaining lawful permanent residence in the United States.
Family-Based Green Card
Obtaining a green card through family is one of the most common means of acquiring lawful permanent residence. This route also includes marriage-based green cards, in which a non-citizen acquires a green card through a spouse.
However, the mere act of having a relative with a green card doesn’t automatically guarantee that your green card application will be approved. To avoid getting rejected by the USCIS, it’s imperative to consult with an experienced immigration attorney, as they can help ensure that your green card application is completed correctly and in its entirety.
To qualify for a family-based green card, the applicant must be one of the following:
- An immediate relative of a green card holder. The applicant may be the spouse of a U.S. citizen, the unmarried child (under the age of 21) of a U.S. citizen, or the parent of a U.S. citizen who is at least 21 years old.
- A family member of a citizen. Eligible applicants may include the unmarried child of a U.S. citizen (aged 21 or older), the married child of a U.S. citizen, the sibling of a U.S. citizen (aged 21 or older), the spouse of a lawful permanent resident, and the unmarried child of a U.S. resident.
- A fiancé/fiancée of a U.S. citizen. Eligible applicants include those admitted to the U.S. as a fiancé/fiancée of a U.S. immigrant (“K-1 nonimmigrant”) and those admitted to the U.S. as the child of a fiancé/fiancée of a U.S. immigrant (“K-2 immigrant”).
- A widow/widower of a U.S. citizen. Eligible applicants include widows or widowers of a U.S. citizen that were married to their spouse at the time of death.
- A VAWA self-petitioner. VAWA stands for the Violence Against Women Act. Eligible applicants include the abused spouse of a U.S. citizen, the abused child (unmarried and under age 21) of a U.S. citizen, and the abused parent of a U.S. citizen.
Employment-Based Green Card
Non-citizens may also obtain an employment-based green card through their employer as a first, second, or third-preference immigrant worker:
- A first-preference immigrant worker has “extraordinary ability” in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics; is an outstanding professor or researcher; or is a multinational manager or executive who meets certain criteria.
- A second-preference immigrant worker is a member of a profession that requires an advanced degree; has exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business; or is seeking a national interest waiver.
- A third-preference immigrant worker is either 1) a skilled worker with at least 2 years of training or experience; 2) a professional in an occupation requiring at least a U.S. bachelor’s degree or a foreign equivalent; or 3) an unskilled worker with less than 2 years of training or experience.
Additional candidates who may qualify for an employment-based green card include 1) physicians who agree to work full-time in a designated underserved area; and 2) immigrant investors who intend to invest at least $1,050,000 in a new commercial enterprise in the U.S. that will create full-time positions for at least 10 employees.
Special Immigrant Status
Qualifying applicants can obtain a green card through special immigrant status, including:
- As a religious worker
- As a special immigrant juvenile
- As an Afghanistan or Iraq national
- As an international broadcaster
- As a retired officer or employee of an international organization or NATO (or an eligible family member of such an employee)
Refugee or Asylee Status
Non-citizens with asylee or refugee status may apply for a green card if they were granted asylum or admitted as a refugee at least 1 year prior to applying.
As a Victim of Human Trafficking or Qualifying Crime
Non-citizens who were the victim of human trafficking or other qualifying crime are eligible for a green card.
Qualifying applicants will 1) help with the U.S. investigation and/or prosecution of the criminal activity of which they were a victim and 2) have a U nonimmigrant visa.
As a Victim of Abuse
Non-citizens who have experienced abuse may be eligible for a green card. Qualifying applicants will fall under one of the following classifications:
- VAWA self-petitioner. The applicant is either 1) the abused spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident; 2) the abused child (unmarried and under 21 years old) of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident; or 3) the abused parent of a U.S. citizen.
- Special immigrant juvenile. The applicant is a child with SIJ status who has been abused, abandoned, or neglected by their parent(s).
- A victim of abuse under the Cuban Adjustment Act. The applicant is the abused spouse or child of a lawful permanent resident who received an HRIFA-based green card.
Passionate Advocacy for Immigrants in SC
Our fearless founding attorney at Maghzi Law Firm, LLC has the extensive legal knowledge and experience to help with a wide range of immigration matters, from adjustment or status to deportation defense to sponsoring a loved one to come to the U.S.
Even after investing full energy and effort into obtaining lawful residence in America, thousands of deserving immigrants are rejected every year. Unfortunately, the U.S. immigration system can be inefficient and even dehumanizing toward immigrants, many of whom are fleeing violence, in search of economic opportunity to support their families, or simply trying to reunite with loved ones in the United States.
As a former immigrant herself, Attorney Maghzi is sympathetic to the needs of others who are currently struggling through the costly and emotionally draining U.S. immigration process. Our passionate legal advocate has firsthand experience navigating the complexities of immigration law and knows how frustrating it can be to navigate the many pitfalls and roadblocks along the way.
If you’ve been denied lawful residence in the U.S. after applying for a visa, green card, or other form of U.S. citizenship, it’s crucial to turn to a legal advocate you can trust. Our firm is here to advocate for your best interests and fight tirelessly to obtain a favorable outcome in court.
If you’re an immigrant who was recently denied U.S. citizenship, you deserve experienced representation in court. Call (843) 800-2750 or contact us online to discuss your case with a skilled immigration attorney.