Previously, if lawful permanent residents are renewing their 10-year green card, at their biometrics appointment, they will be given a sticker on their green card to extend the validity of the green card for another 12 months. Now, such practice will be changed.
On January 12, 2021, USCIS announced that it will no longer give such extension sticker to green card renewal applicants. Alternatively, an updated Form I-797, Notice of Action (I-797 receipt notice) will be issued to the applicants who have filed a Form I-90 application. In the updated I-797 receipt notice, it will indicate the green card’s validity is extended for 12 months from the expiration date on the front of the green card and will serve as temporary proof of the lawful permanent resident’s status. As a result, as long as the green card renewal applicants have an expired green card and this I-797 receipt notice, they can work legally in the United States and return to the United States after international travel. In other words, such I-797 receipt notice with an expired green card serves as proof of one’s lawful permanent residency status.
Because USCIS just started the new practice, for those I-90 green card renewal applicants who have already been scheduled for a biometrics appointment, they will not receive an updated I-797 notice and will be issued an extension sticker at their biometrics appointment. Only those applicants who have not been issued a notice for a biometrics appointment will receive an updated I-797 notice and no extension sticker will be given to them.
Actually, USCIS’s such practice change is good for some I-90 applicants. Some applicants who had a biometrics appointment in the last few years are probably unnecessary to be scheduled for a new biometrics appointment for their I-90 application. USCIS can reuse their biometrics records (include fingerprint). In former practice, green card renewal applicants must appear at a biometrics appointment in order to get an extension sticker. Now, if their biometrics records have been stored in USCIS, there is no reason to have them appear at a biometrics appointment again.