March 9, 2009: Travel With Expired Green Card and Pending I-90
Travel With Expired Green Card and Pending I-90
Can I travel abroad with an expired 10 year green card and an I-797C Notice of Action? My 10 year green card will expire in August 2009, I already filed a renewal application, and just received my I-797 Notice of Action letter (application receipt confirmation) and a letter with my biometrics appointment. I have a trip planned to Germany in September and USCIS customer service told me that the processing of my application will take 6-8 months. If I do not get my new green card on time, can I travel with my expired green card and the I-797C letter? In that case I should try to get a I-551 stamp into my passport? Thanks!
Generally, it would not be in your best interest to travel outside the United States with only your expired green card and a receipt notice indicating that you filed Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. If you must travel outside of the United States and you have not received the new green card, it would be wise to make an INFOPASS appointment to visit your local district office to have an I-551 stamp placed in your passport. That stamp is temporary evidence of your lawful permanent resident status.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict with any amount of certainty how long it will take the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) to make a decision on a pending application or petition. In our law firm’s history, we have received green card renewals, where there were no legal or factual impediments, anywhere from a few months to a year from the date the Form I-90 was filed. It is important to note that every case is different and there are a lot of factors (some of which that are out of the applicant’s control) that effect how long it will take USCIS to issue a decision on the application. Once you receive the green card and before you travel, you must verify that all of the information on the new green card is accurate. On occasion, USCIS will misspell the applicant’s name or print the wrong date of birth.
Overall, it appears that your Form I-90 is on the normal processing track and that you should receive a decision prior to your September trip to Germany. If you have additional questions about the I-90 application process, it would be wise for you to consult with an experience immigration attorney.
Michael Shane and Evan Shane, Immigration Attorneys