US Immigration News

USCIS Extends Stay-Period for Foreign Nationals Applying for Green Cards

2.75 minute read
"As a foreign national applying for lawful permanent residence in the United States, you could be issued a conditional Green Card valid for 2 years under certain conditions. Generally, an applicant is issued a Green Card (Permanent Resident Card is the official name) with a maximum validity of 10 years. However, if you are applying for a marriage-based Green Card or as an entrepreneur, and your Green Card conditions are met, then the US government will allow you to continue your stay in the country with an unconditional Green Card valid for 10 years."
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  Jun 14, 2021
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As a foreign national applying for lawful permanent residence in the United States, you could be issued a conditional Green Card valid for 2 years under certain conditions. Generally, an applicant is issued a Green Card (Permanent Resident Card is the official name) with a maximum validity of 10 years. However, if you are applying for a marriage-based Green Card or as an entrepreneur, and your Green Card conditions are met, then the US government will allow you to continue your stay in the country with an unconditional Green Card valid for 10 years. 

How to Remove Conditions on Your Green Card?

For foreign nationals with a marriage-based conditional Green Card, Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, must be filed with the US citizen partner or as an entrepreneur, then you can remove said conditions by proving that your marriage was bona fide. For foreign nationals with an investment-based conditional Green Card, Form I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status, must be filed to remove said conditions. 

However, since your conditional Green Card is only valid for 2 years, many applicants have questions about what happens if your conditional Green Card expires while you have petitioned for removing the conditions?

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues Form I-797 to applicants who have applied to remove conditions on their Green Card. This form essentially states that such applicants will have their residency automatically extended for a certain period past the expiration date of their Green Card.

What Are the USCIS Updates for Form I-797?

Recently, the USCIS updated Form I-797. Instead of granting 12 months of automatically extended residence to applicants, the form will now authorize applicants to legally stay up to 18 months in the country even after their conditional status expires.

This extra six-month period was provided due to a huge backlog of Forms I-751 and Forms I-829 in 2020 due to partial operations of US immigration. Due to increased processing time and other barriers, given the ongoing global pandemic, it was thought best to provide conditional residents with extended status to stay in the country in case it takes longer than expected.

In addition, this form will also be issued to those whose applications are still pending as of June 11, 2018, for the removal of conditional status. However, just receiving Form I-797 is not enough to legally stay in the US. Applicants will be required to carry this form with them as lawful permanent residents are required to carry their Green Cards.

If you are outside the country with a conditional Green Card for more than a year, then you must apply for Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, before leaving the US to return without any hassle. 

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