Currently, there are numerous lawful permanent residents who possess
cards without expiration dates. USCIS intends to terminate the
validity of such Forms I-551. This rule proposes to establish a 120-
day period for lawful permanent residents who have Forms I-551 that do
not bear expiration dates to apply for replacement cards. This
proposed rule is published today with the comment date of 09/21/2007.
It will take some time before this rule is enacted as a final rule,
but those who do not possess the green card with the expiration date
may as well apply for the new card now.
Permanent Resident Cards (Forms I-551) are issued to permanent
residents to serve as evidence of immigration status, registration,
identity, and employment authorization; they also serve as entry
documents upon return from trips outside of the United States. A card
that is too old, with out-of-date photographs, cannot effectively
serve these purposes.
This proposed rule is an important initiative. Once final, it would
enable USCIS to update cardholder information, conduct background
checks, and electronically store applicants' biometric information. It
is important to remember that the cards impacted by this initiative
are now between 17 and 30 years old. The new card will be a modern
version with greater security, be more tamper-resistant, and will have
an expiration date requiring that the card be periodically renewed.
Replacement of the outstanding permanent resident cards without
expiration dates is critical to the national security mission of
USCIS. Replacement of the cards will ensure that cardholders'
fingerprints and photographs are updated so as to provide better
evidence of the identity of the cardholders, more modern and secure
cards are placed into circulation, and the replacement cards will be
more tamper-resistant. In the past, USCIS has recalled and replaced
earlier versions of the Permanent Resident Card that did not contain
an expiration date. It is critical that USCIS begin to remove from
circulation this final version of the Permanent Resident Card
containing no expiration date.
Since the replacement program is only proposed, affected individuals
are not yet required to replace their cards. However, they
nevertheless may choose to apply now to replace their cards. Early
applications may be processed in shorter times than those filed later,
given the number of permanent residents affected -