Form I-90 Processing Time: What to Expect in 2023

The processing time for Form I-90, the Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, varies based on several factors, including the workload at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the complexity of the individual case. Ensuring the continuity of permanent resident status, this form is vital for those whose Green Cards have expired or are about to expire, as well as for those who need to update their card for other reasons. It is important for applicants to understand the expected time frame for processing to plan accordingly, especially since having a valid Green Card is crucial for employment, travel, and proving legal residency in the United States.

When an applicant properly files Form I-90, the USCIS responds by issuing a receipt notice, which typically arrives within 2 to 4 weeks after filing. This receipt not only acknowledges the receipt of the application but also serves as a temporary proof of the applicant’s permanent resident status while the application is being processed.

As of the latest updates, USCIS has implemented an automatic extension to the validity of Green Cards for lawful permanent residents who file Form I-90, expanding the extension to 24 months. This measure aims to alleviate the concerns of residents facing prolonged processing times.

Applicants can generally expect a communication from USCIS confirming the receipt of Form I-90 shortly after submission. While the exact processing time can fluctuate, the completion of cases in the previous month informs the estimation of processing times for new applications. For personalized cases that are pending for an extended period, USCIS has stipulated a default timeframe of six months for applicants to submit an inquiry, which provides a benchmark for when further action might be necessary.

Overview of Form I-90

Form I-90 is utilized for the renewal or replacement of a Permanent Resident Card, informing eligibility criteria and recent changes in the processing approach.

Purpose of Form I-90

The purpose of Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, is for lawful permanent residents to renew or replace their Green Card. Whether their current card is lost, stolen, damaged, or contains outdated information, this form serves as the official application to address these issues.

Eligibility Criteria for Form I-90 Renewal

Eligibility for renewing or replacing a Green Card via Form I-90 includes lawful permanent residents whose card has expired or will expire within six months. It also applies to those with cards that have incorrect information due to USCIS error, as well as residents who have changed their legal name or other biographic information.

Key Updates in Form I-90 Processing

A significant update in Form I-90 processing is the automatic extension of the validity of Green Cards to 24 months for applicants who file Form I-90. This extension allows for continuous proof of residency while the application is processed. It ensures that residents maintain their rights without disruption during the extended processing timeframe.

Current Processing Times

The processing times for Form I-90, the Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (Green Card), can vary due to multiple factors and differ by Service Center location.

Factors Influencing Processing Times

  • Volume of Applications: Service Centers with higher application volumes may experience longer processing times.
  • Individual Case Complexity: Cases requiring additional review or documentation can extend processing times.
  • Service Center Workload: Fluctuations in workload and staffing can affect how quickly a Service Center processes applications.
  • Policy Changes: Amendments to policies governing the I-90 process can result in changes to processing timescales.

Average Processing Times by Service Center

Below is a table of the average processing times based on the latest available data for the top USCIS Service Centers:

Service Center Average Processing Time
Nebraska 6 to 8 months
Potomac 8 to 10 months
National Benefits 9 to 11 months
Texas 6 to 8 months
California 7 to 9 months

Note: These times represent the median duration it typically takes to process an I-90 application. Individual experiences may vary.

Steps to Apply for Form I-90

Filing Form I-90, the Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, requires careful attention to documentation, adhering to submission guidelines, and ensuring correct payment.

Documentation Required

Applicants need to provide several pieces of documentation when applying for Form I-90. This includes:

  • Evidence of Permanent Residence: A copy of the front and back of the current Green Card, or if lost, a government-issued identification that contains a photograph.
  • Supporting Documentation: This varies depending on the reason for replacement, such as a name change certificate, marriage certificate, or court order if applicable.

Submission Guidelines

Strict adherence to USCIS guidelines ensures smoother processing of Form I-90:

  1. Correct Version of the Form: Applicants must use the most recent version of Form I-90.
  2. Accuracy: Complete all sections with accurate and current information.
  3. Signature: The form must be signed; unsigned forms will be rejected.

Payment Information

The cost associated with filing Form I-90 includes a form fee and a biometric services fee, if applicable. USCIS provides the most current fee schedule on their website, but applicants should verify the fees at the time of filing as they are subject to change. Fee waivers are available in certain circumstances and require additional documentation.

After Submission

After an applicant submits Form I-90, the receipt notice, biometric appointment, and consistent case status updates form the core post-submission processes. Applicants must also be prepared to respond to any requests for further evidence to avoid delays.

Receipt Notice and Biometrics

Upon successful submission of Form I-90, the applicant usually receives a receipt notice from USCIS within 2 to 4 weeks. This notice confirms that USCIS has received the application. Following this, the applicant will get an appointment notice to have their biometrics taken – fingerprints, photo, and signature – at a local Application Support Center (ASC).

  • Timeline:
    • Receipt Notice: 2 to 4 weeks after filing
    • Biometrics Appointment: Date set by USCIS after receipt notice

Case Status Updates

Applicants can receive case status updates through an online account if they filed electronically, or by mail if they filed by paper. Electronic filing offers benefits such as secure messaging and alerts. Checking the USCIS Case Status Online tool regularly is recommended for any updates on the application.

  • Case Updates Include:
    • Confirmation of receipt
    • Notice of biometrics appointment
    • Updates on case progress
    • Approval, RFE, or denial notifications

Responding to Requests for Further Evidence

If USCIS requires more information or documents during the process, they will issue a Request for Further Evidence (RFE). It is crucial that applicants respond to an RFE as promptly as possible, within the timeframe specified in the notice, to prevent processing delays.

  • Important Points:
    • Respond Quickly: Follow the deadline in the RFE notice
    • Be Thorough: Provide all requested information and documents

Potential Issues and Delays

Processing times for Form I-90, the Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, may be influenced by various factors. Understanding these factors is crucial for managing expectations and addressing any obstacles that might arise during the application process.

Common Causes of Delays

There are several reasons why the processing of Form I-90 applications might be delayed. Firstly, the volume of applications received by USCIS can lead to longer processing times, especially if the staffing levels are not sufficient to handle the workload effectively. Secondly, incomplete or inaccurately filled out applications can result in additional time spent on clarifications and corrections. Lastly, applications might also be delayed due to security checks and background investigations, which are thorough and time-consuming processes.

  • High Application Volume: Increased number of submissions can overwhelm current processing capabilities.
  • Errors in Application: Incomplete or incorrect information requires additional follow-up.
  • Security Checks: Extensive background checks add to processing time.

How to Address Delays

To address potential delays in the processing of Form I-90, applicants should ensure that all sections of the application are completed accurately and that all required documents are submitted. It’s also advisable to routinely check the application status online using the receipt number provided by USCIS. If there are concerns about the time taken, applicants can inquire with USCIS through the provided channels, such as the USCIS Contact Center or by submitting an e-Request for applications outside the normal processing time frame.

  • Submit Complete and Accurate Applications: This minimizes the need for additional correspondence.
  • Check Status Online: Use the receipt number to stay updated on the application’s progress.
  • Inquire With USCIS: Utilize the USCIS Contact Center or e-Request if delays extend beyond typical processing times.

When to Contact USCIS

Applicants should consider contacting USCIS if the processing time for their Form I-90 application extends significantly past the published processing times, which can fluctuate from 6.5 to 15.5 months. When an application’s processing time exceeds the 90th percentile of the published national averages, it may be warranted to reach out for assistance. Furthermore, if applicants receive notice of action from USCIS requesting further evidence or information, it is important to respond promptly and to follow any specific instructions provided.

  • Exceeds Published Times: If processing goes beyond the typical 6.5 to 15.5-month window.
  • Request for Additional Evidence: Prompt response to USCIS communications is essential.
  • Failure to Update on Change in Circumstances: Contact USCIS if there are significant changes, such as a legal name change, that may affect the application.

Preparing for the Interview

When applying for the renewal of a Permanent Resident Card using Form I-90, an applicant needs to understand the interview process, if applicable, and prepare accordingly.

Interview Waiver Criteria

Certain applicants may qualify for an interview waiver when processing their Form I-90. Waivers are often granted to those who:

  • Meet the age criteria: Applicants under 14 or over 79 years of age.
  • Have no substantial changes in information: If no significant information has changed since the previous card issuance, an interview may be waived.
  • Are not involved in criminal activities: A clear criminal record supports waiver eligibility.
  • Hold a valid card that is expiring or expired: Current legal status is mandatory.

What to Expect at the Interview

Applicants that do not meet the waiver criteria should prepare for an interview. Here is what they can normally expect:

  1. Confirmation of identity: They will need to bring official identification documents.
  2. Verification of application details: The information provided on Form I-90 will be corroborated.

Documentation to bring may include:

  • Original and copies of your current Permanent Resident Card (Green Card)
  • Any additional supporting documentation requested in the interview notice

Interviewees should answer questions honestly and provide accurate information, as discrepancies might delay processing times or lead to denial of the application.

Renewal and Expiration

When a lawful permanent resident’s Green Card nears its expiration, they must renew it through Form I-90 to maintain valid proof of their immigration status.

Validity Period of the New Green Card

After successfully filing Form I-90 for the renewal of their Permanent Resident Card, individuals receive a card with a validity of 10 years. The new expiration date is an important aspect of maintaining lawful status, and residents must keep track of their card’s validity to ensure continuous proof of status.

Travel and Employment During Processing

  • Travel: Individuals may travel with the expired Green Card and the receipt notice from USCIS, proving that they have filed for renewal. This notice typically extends the validity of the Green Card for a specific period, allowing for re-entry to the U.S. during travels.
  • Employment: For employment verification, the receipt notice can also serve as evidence of the individual’s status as a lawful permanent resident during the processing period. Employers should refer to the notice for the temporary validity.

Legal Considerations

When applying for the renewal or replacement of a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) through Form I-90, applicants need to consider the legal implications of the application process, including the consequences of a denied application and the rights and responsibilities tied to holding a Green Card.

Implications of a Denied Application

If an individual’s Form I-90 application is denied, it may have serious legal implications. A denial can result from incorrect or incomplete information on the application, failure to establish eligibility, or for various other legal reasons. The applicant will receive a written notice explaining the reason for the denial. No appeal is available for a denied I-90 application; however, the applicant may file a motion to reopen or reconsider with the office that made the unfavorable decision.

Rights and Responsibilities with a Green Card

Holding a Green Card affords individuals the right to live and work permanently in the United States. They have the responsibility to obey all federal, state, and local laws, file income tax returns, and support the democratic form of government. A Green Card holder must also carry proof of their permanent resident status, and failing to do so may have legal consequences. It’s crucial that a Green Card remains valid; an expired card could lead to difficulties in proving legal status, obtaining employment, and re-entering the United States after travel abroad.

Additional Resources

This section provides information on resources for individuals seeking assistance with Form I-90 processing times. It includes contacts for direct inquiries and options for legal support.

USCIS Contact Information

For individuals seeking detailed information on processing times and case status, the USCIS Contact Center is available. Applicants can call the toll-free number at 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833). The Contact Center operates Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time. They can assist with receipt numbers, case status, and general inquiries related to Form I-90.

Legal Assistance and Representation

Applicants may seek legal assistance for the Form I-90 application process. Representation can be crucial, especially in complex cases. Below is a list of resources to find legal assistance:

  • American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)
    • Locating immigration attorneys who can provide legal advice on green card renewal.
  • Non-profit Organizations
    • Often provide low-cost or pro bono immigration legal services.
  • Referral Services
    • State and local bar associations often have lawyer referral services.

Obtaining a legal representative is not required but can provide peace of mind throughout the application process.