Permanent residents with expiring or lost green cards must file an I-90 application for replacement. According to the USCIS, the current processing time for I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, is approximately 6 months. However, it has been reported that some I-90 applications are pending well beyond the 6 months. The USCIS Field Operations Office attributes the delay to the fact that the National Benefits Center is understaffed and unable to handle the volume of I-90 applications. In an effort to resolve this issue, the USCIS has been forwarding applications to various local offices.
In the meantime, individuals with a pending I-90 application who are in need of evidence of their permanent resident status should obtain a temporary I-551 stamp in their passport. The stamp is obtained at a local USCIS office by scheduling an InfoPass appointment and may be valid for up to one year.
To apply for an I-551 stamp, the following documentation is needed:
- Valid passport;
- InfoPass appointment notice (if applicable);
- Form I-90 receipt notice;
- Proof of residence within the jurisdiction of the USCIS office;
- Copy of expired/lost green card (if available);
- Documents evidencing the need for the I-551 stamp, if request is based on an emergency walk-in (i.e. flight itinerary, doctor's letter or death certificate, along with evidence of the relationship to an ill or deceased relative; company letter if emergency travel is work-related, etc.);
- Copy of date-stamped ASC appointment notice evidencing biometrics capture (if applicable).
The USCIS will typically issue the I-551 stamp with a validity period of 6 to 12 months. However, if the applicant's passport expires prior to that time, the stamp will likely reflect the expiration date of the passport. Additionally, if biometrics have not yet been captured for the pending I-90, the office might further limit the validity period of the stamp to a period of 30 to 60 days.
Evidence of permanent resident status is essential for work, travel, or to obtain a state issued driver's license. Therefore, if you have an I-90 application pending, you should obtain an I-551 stamp to avoid issues related to the above mentioned matters.
Angela M. Lopez