A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration attorney and counsel. Contact Info: 732-632-9888, http://www.1visa1.com/ (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Delay in Processing of I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card

When U.S. permanent residents need to replace or renew their green cards, they file the Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, with the USCIS.  Lately, the processing of the I-90 application has been slower than normal.  In fact, the issue of delays in the processing of Forms I-90 was raised by AILA in their October 9, 2014 liaison meeting with USCIS Field Operations.



I-90 applications are taking 6 months or longer to process
The current processing time for I-90s is 6 months but some cases are taking longer to process. The reason for the delays, according to USCIS, is that the National Benefits Center (NBC) currently does not have enough employees to handle the case volume.  Consequently, USCIS is asking various local offices to help process these applications.

What can I do if I need proof of permanent resident status?
The green card is needed by permanent residents for various purposes including employment, travel, getting a driver’s license, applying for government benefits, etc.   Delays in the processing of their I-90 applications can cause substantial inconvenience. Fortunately, permanent residents may obtain temporary proof of their permanent resident status at a local USCIS office.  It is basically a stamp in their passport called "I-551 stamp".  Form I-551 is actually the official name of the Alien Registration Card, aka Green Card.  The I-551 stamp may serve as a temporary green card for up to one year.

How to obtain a temporary green card stamp?
To apply for a temporary I-551 stamp, applicants should schedule an InfoPass appointment first with their local USCIS office on the USCIS website.  If there are no InfoPass appointments available, applicants may also try walking-in without an appointment.  It should be noted each local office's walk-in policy may be different.   The following documents are usually needed for an I-551 stamp:

  • Valid passport;
  • InfoPass appointment notice (if applicable);
  • Form I-90 receipt notice;
  • Proof of residence within the jurisdiction of the USCIS office;
  • Copy of expired/lost green card, if available;
  • Documents evidencing the need for the I-551 stamp as an emergency walk-in (i.e. flight itinerary, doctor’s letter or death certificate, evidence of the relationship to an ill or deceased relative; company letter if emergency travel is work-related, etc., copy of date-stamped ASC appointment notice evidencing biometrics capture (if applicable).

Validity of the I-551 stamp
The I-551 stamp is usually issued with a validity period of 6 to 12 months, or until the passport's expiration date.  If the applicant's biometrics have not yet been captured, then the I-551's stamp will have a validity period of 30 to 60 days only.  

Please also note that the above reflects only the current USCIS policy, which is subject to change without advance notice.  

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