Q: Can I apply for naturalization if my green card expired 2 months ago instead of renewing the green card?
I am married (23 years and counting) to a US citizen and have been living in the USA since 1995 legally. I was gained permanent resident status back in 1999.
I meet all the criteria as per the N-400 form. My green card expired 2 months ago, and I would like to apply for citizenship instead of renewing my green card.
A: Although I have not known USCIS to deny one's naturalization application under circumstances such as those that you describe, what I do know is that USCIS has a policy/guidance whereby they want applicants under such circumstances to submit an application for replacement green card in addition to the naturalization application. USCIS’ guidance appears to originate from 8 CFR § 264.5(b)(2) which provides, “A permanent resident shall apply for a replacement Permanent Resident Card … when the existing card will be expiring within six months….” Moreover, INA § 264(e) makes it a misdemeanor offense subject to a fine of $100 and/or imprisonment for not more than thirty days for failing to carry a certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card at all times.
Mario Musil agrees with this answer
A: Generally speaking, you are supposed to apply for a green card renewal if you are applying for naturalization within 6 months of your green card expiring. If the card has more than 6 months left, then the local USCIS offices are not requiring a renewal. This policy has been given at many of the local offices.
A: Yes. Although the card expires your status does not. However the bad news is that you will have to renew your greencard before you will be granted Naturalization. You can apply for the NATZ before you have your new green card. However, you should try to time the two applications so that you have your new green card for the NATZ interview.
A: Usually that is not a problem as you remain a resident despite the expiration of the card. Some officers will at least want to see an I-90 receipt, but given the long adjudication times, some are more understanding.
A: If your green card has expired or is within 6 months of expiring, you need to renew your green card before applying for citizenship. You can try to file without renewing (it is not necessary to wait for approval of the renewal; just send a copy of the receipt notice), and it is possible, likely, in fact, that USCIS will ask you to file the application to renew.
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