Obtaining I-551 Temporary Green Card Stamp During Covid-19
It’s never been a simple task for conditional lawful permanent residents to obtain an I-551 (ADIT) stamp from USCIS when their Permanent Resident Card was expiring. It’s become even more difficult recently since USCIS Field Offices are closed to the public for in-person services until at least June 4, 2020 due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP has successfully helped clients in obtaining these I-551 stamps, which are necessary for international travel, work authorization, and drivers’ license extensions. Please contact a Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP for assistance.
When a Form I-829 or Form I-751 is filed, USCIS will issue a Receipt Notice indicating that the conditional lawful permanent residency has been extended for 18 months, or when USCIS decides the case, whichever comes earlier. However, with normal processing times for these immigration petitions averaging beyond 18 months, the need for an I-551 ADIT Stamp is required as temporary evidence of one’s lawful resident status. See 8 U.S.C. 1304(e) (“Every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to him pursuant to subsection (d). Any alien who fails to comply with the provisions of this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall upon conviction for each offense be fined not to exceed $100 or be imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.”)
USCIS has confirmed that the USCIS Contact Center (1-800-375-5283) continues to schedule local office appointments for those seeking an I-551 stamp “where there is an emergent need.” Examples include the need to document continued status for employment verification purposes or necessary international travel. Strangely enough, even though U.S. immigration law requires every foreign national to have evidence of lawful immigration status at all times, the fact that the 18-month extension has or will be expired is not likely not sufficient to obtain a local appointment when USCIS field offices are closed.
When calling the USCIS Contact Center to request a field office appointment for an I-551 stamp, the caller should clearly explain the reason for which the request is being made (e.g., employment authorization, emergency international travel, driver’s license extension, etc.)
Unfortunately, there is little consistency among USCIS field offices on issuing the I-551 stamps during the time in which the Form I-829 or Form I-751 remains pending beyond the 18-month period. Sometimes appointments cannot be provided to family members on the same day or time, or to adult derivative children unless they make the phone call on their own. USCIS has yet to issue nationwide guidelines on the issuance of I-551 stamps by USCIS Field Offices and the National Customer Service Center.
If you need help obtaining an I-551 (ADIT) stamp, please contact a Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP for assistance.