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USCIS Issues Update on Permanent Resident Card Replacement Proposal
On August 22, 2007, USCIS published a proposed regulation in the Federal Register that, when implemented, would require lawful permanent residents to replace permanent resident cards (Form I-551) with no expiration date. USCIS accepted public comments on this proposal for 30 days until September 21, 2007. USCIS is currently reviewing the 298 comments received during the public comment period.
This proposed rule in no way affects the current validity of these permanent resident cards. Permanent residents who possess these cards may continue to use them as proof of permanent residency when traveling, when seeking employment, and at any time such proof is required.
After USCIS has reviewed and considered the comments generated by the proposed rule the agency will publish a final rule. USCIS cannot provide a time frame for when the review will be concluded or when the final rule will be published.
The final rule, once published, will explain the process to replace these green cards. The final rule will also set the time period during which USCIS will accept applications to replace these cards. To date, no time frame has been set.
When the period for submitting applications has ended, USCIS will determine how long it will take to adjudicate the applications received. USCIS will then publish a notice in the Federal Register establishing the date after which permanent resident cards with no expiration date are no longer valid. This will ensure that affected customers who have submitted their applications will receive their new cards before the validity of their old cards expires.
Customers who hold these permanent resident cards with no expiration date may replace their cards now, but there is currently no requirement to do so.
USCIS believes that the replacement of these cards is vital to the security of the immigration process. New cards will provide the agency with an opportunity to update the photograph and biometrics on the card. It will also provide the cardholder with a card containing greater security features and remove from circulation different versions of the same card.