Thanks to new legislative changes, the answer to “Can I apply for citizenship if my residency has expired?” is YES.
The Biden administration announced that innovations have been made in the way certain immigration applications are processed in order to speed up the serious backlogs that have plagued the immigration courts since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, with 8.7 million cases now stuck without answers.
Now, immigrants whose permanent residency has expired or is about to expire will not have to apply for another green card to apply for U.S. citizenship or naturalization. In this way, not only has it been beneficial to the government and administrative officials, but it is also incredibly positive for the migrant community in the country.
As of December 12, 2022, if you found yourself wondering “Can I apply for citizenship if my residency has expired?“, the answer will now be a definite “yes.” At Jaskot Law, we’ll tell you every detail, the Immigration Service statements, and how to get your citizenship.
Why have the rules changed?
With the new changes, lawful permanent residents (LPRs) with expired or soon-to-expire green cards will be able to submit their application for naturalized citizenship without also submitting evidence of having applied for what is called a replacement credential through Form I-90. What will happen now is that the green cards of those who have applied for naturalization will be extended automatically.
This major change is due to the fact that, at the end of November, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had 8,753,371 forms stuck in its courts waiting to be processed. Among these forms, the one that ranked third on the list of the most overdue forms was, in fact, Form I-90.
The change in processing rules will speed up long lines at immigration, benefiting those residents who face interminable waits. From now on, they will be able to send the Form N-400 directly, without the need to fill out and send the Form I-90. Saving this step will definitely make waiting times much faster, making it possible to not only alleviate immigration court backlogs, but also to fix the statuses of thousands of people much more easily.
Renewal of expired green card: the details
The new rule for those who fear because they say “my residency has expired, and I want to apply for citizenship,” dictates that those who file for naturalization will automatically get a 24-month extension of their expired green card. In addition, the application form can be submitted along with the expired permanent resident card as part of the evidence to obtain the status, and also to obtain the Identity Document and Authorization of Employment (Employment Eligibility Verification).
Originally, this immigration process had an estimated time by USCIS of 6 months. However, from 2016 until today, the times had already become three to four times longer. In fact, the backlog of forms at the federal agency’s offices continued to grow, generating endless lines of migrants with expired green cards and much fear for their future.
Fortunately, the government has decided to take matters into its own hands and has made great efforts to solve the major issues. At Jaskot Law, we can help you initiate your proceedings, fill out forms, and properly present your documents and evidence.
What should I do if my residency has expired?
If your permanent residency has expired, you should renew it as soon as possible. You can submit your renewal application up to 6 months before the expiration date of your green card.
What documents do I need to renew my residency?
The documents needed to renew your permanent residency may vary depending on your specific situation, but in general you will need to submit a renewal application, a processing fee, a copy of your green card, and other documents that may be required by USCIS.
Can I travel outside the United States if my residency has expired?
Travel outside the United States is not recommended if your permanent residency has expired. However, if you need to travel for an emergency or other important reason, it is possible to apply for a re-entry permit.
How long does the residency renewal process take?
The processing time for residency renewal varies depending on many factors, such as USCIS workload, and the complexity of your specific case. However, the current average processing time is around 12 months.
What happens if I did not renew my visa on time?
If you did not renew your permanent residency on time, you could face serious consequences, such as loss of your permanent resident status and deportation. It is important to take immediate action to correct the situation.