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USCIS Updates Form I-797 Receipt Notices for Form I-751 and Form I-829

What Does This Mean for Legal Residents?

Certain residents of the United States that are nationals of other countries are given Conditional Resident Cards (Green Cards) that are valid for up to two years. These Green Cards

have conditions on them and in order for the holder of the Green Card to remain in the country after that two-year time frame and have a 10-year Green Card issued, they must have those conditions removed.

One of these Conditional Resident Cards is based on marriage and a Form I-751 must be filed in order to remove conditions by providing evidence that the marriage was entered in good faith. Another Conditional Resident Card is based on investment and Form I-829 must be filed in order to have conditions removed. Recently however, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released an updated Form I-797 receipt notice. But what is this notice? And what does it mean for legal residents with a two-year Green Card?

Essentially, the I-797 notice states that those with a Green Card can have their residency extended up to 18 months past the expiration date printed on their Green Card. Previously, the automatic extension after the filing of the Form I-751 or the Form I-829 to remove conditions was given for only 12 months. This new I-797 provides permanent residences another six months to remain in the country legally after the expiration date on their Conditional Resident Cards.

The reason USCIS issued the notices was due to a huge backlog of Form I-751 and Form I-829 within the past year. This has led to increased processing times and to account for those times, the USCIS is allowing Conditional Residents to remain in the country in status past the 12-month automatic extension in order for the agency to process all forms. More Form I-797 receipt notices are expected to be given to eligible Conditional Residents that have the appropriate forms still pending as of June 11, 2018.

It is important for Conditional Residents with a Green Card to understand that receiving the notice is not enough. Just as permanent residents must carry their Green Card on them as proof of their lawful permanent resident status, Conditional Residents should carry the Form I-797 receipt notice received by the USCIS. This will provide the proof needed that the resident has a pending application to remove conditions and that they have received an extension in the interim.

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