Some immigration attorneys in New York City are reporting that persons with expired “Green Cards” are not being allowed to Naturalize. In the past, an expired “Green Card” was not an automatic block on becoming a citizen. The expiration of the card did not mean that the immigrant’s underlying permanent residence status has expired, just that the card identifying the person and authorizing them to work was expired. In other words, someone with an expired permanent residence card is still a permanent resident.
We are not sure if these reports of denials represent a new policy. We do not know if citizenship applications will be widely denied if the immigrant has an expired Green Card. I spoke today with Elise Damas at CARECEN and she said that we have not seen denials for expired Green Cards at the Holtzville Homeland Security office, where most Long Island Naturalization interviews take place. Generally at CARECEN we advise immigrants to renew their Green Cards six months before they expire. That is still good advice.
I will let you know how this story develops.
If you need help applying for citizenship, CARECEN offers free legal assistance. Just call 516-489-8330 (Nassau) or 631-273-7821 (Suffolk) for an appointment.