General Frequently Asked Questions
I received my initial green card in 1988 and it does not have an expiration date. I recently heard, however, that the USCIS (INS) is going to make me replace my green card with a newer version of the card. Please explain.
The United States Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS), formerly known as the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), announced a proposal on August 22, 2007 to require nearly 750,000 lawful permanent residents carrying “green cards” without an expiration date to replace their current cards. In connection therewith, the USCIS published a rule in the Federal Register that proposes to require lawful permanent residents to apply for a new Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551), commonly referred to as a “green card,” during a 120-day filing period. The USCIS has justified the change by claiming that it would better provide for more secure permanent resident cards and allow USCIS to update cardholder information, conduct background checks, and electronically store applicants’ fingerprint and photographic information.
Permanent Resident Cards are issued as evidence of the holder’s authorization to live and work in the United States. In August 1989, the INS began issuing new cards with a 10-year expiration date and required residents to apply periodically for a new card. Between 1979 and 1989, however, the cards were issued without expiration dates and those cards are the subject of the proposed rule.
The rule proposes that affected lawful permanent residents file an Application to Replace Lawful Permanent Residence Card (form I-90) in order to replace their current “green card.” The form I-90 requires applicants to provide current biographic and biometric (photographs and fingerprint) information at designated USCIS Application Support Centers and, therefore, the USCIS believes that its new automated filing procedures would give it the ability to process a large number of applications during a short period of time.
Finally, the rule proposes a mechanism for terminating “green cards” without an expiration date. Under the rule, USCIS would be able to terminate permanent resident cards without an expiration date via a subsequent notice in the Federal Register.
I own and operate a small business locally and have 20-25 employees. Am I required to do anything different for my employees because of any new immigration laws?
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a notice in the Federal Register on 26 Nov 2007 to introduce a newly amended Form I-9, “Employment Eligibility Verification”. In that regard, employers of any size are required to use the Form I-9 to verify the identity and employment authorization of newly hired employees. The amended Form I-9 contains an updated list of acceptable identity and employment authorization documents that reflect the regulations. Although the amended Form I-9 is the only valid version of the form as of 07 Nov 2007, the USCIS has announced that it will not seek penalties against employers for using a previous version of the Form I-9 until 26 Dec 2007.
The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) amended the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to reduce the number of documents that an employer may accept from newly hired employees when verifying their identity and employment eligibility. Although the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) published an interim rule on 30 Sep 1997 (“Interim Designation of Acceptable Documents for Employment Verification'') implementing those amendments, it did not concurrently amend the Form I-9, “Employment Eligibility Verification”, that employers must use to conduct the required verification to reflect the changes made by the interim rule. As a result, the most recent version of the Form I-9 contained an outdated list of acceptable documents. While USCIS now maintains the Form I-9 and still intends to pursue a broader rulemaking, it has none-the-less amended the Form I-9 document list to be consistent with the regulations and, on 07 Nov 2007, it posted the amended Form I-9 on its Web site, at http://www.uscis.gov. The amended Form I-9 has a revision date of 5 Jun 2007 and must be used as of 07 Nov 2007 as the only valid version of the form.
Additionally, the USCIS has published a new Handbook for Employers (form M-274).