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FAQ / LIGHTHOUSE ARTICLES:

(#104-6/01/99)

How to renew Green Card
and Naturalization Ceremony Schedule


Q.

I got my green card through the lottery program in 1991. It says "expires January 2001." How should I renew its period? Should I do it myself or hire an attorney?

A.

If you have a green card with an expiration date on it and it is expiring, you need to file an application to replace it with the local INS office. The local INS office in Los Angeles is located at 300 North Los Angeles Street. The INS form is I-90, and the INS fee is $110. The application can be obtained by mail by calling the INS FORMS REQUEST LINE at 1-800-870-3676.

Once you complete the application you must go to the INS in person with 2 INS green card photos, the INS fee, your old green card, and your passport. The procedure must be done in person because the INS requires that you sign a form in front of them and they take your fingerprint. The INS will stamp a temporary green card into your passport for up to one year. If your passport expires prior to the 1 year the INS will only stamp the temporary green card for the duration of your passport. Usually you will receive your plastic green card in the mail within 10 months.

The choice on whether to use an attorney is up to you. Many people do not like to deal with the long line at the INS building in downtown Los Angeles. The procedure can take the entire day if done without an attorney. Sometimes the INS will ask you to return the next day if too many people get in line before you. On the other hand, the INS has a special window for attorneys and their clients to have this procedure done. The window is currently open on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings. I usually meet my clients at 9 a.m. and they finish by 11 a.m.


Q.

Can you update me on the naturalization processing times in Los Angeles?

A. In Los Angeles, it is taking approximately 10 to 12 months from the time you file your naturalization application to receive an INS fingerprint appointment. Interviews take approximately 18 to 20 months from the time you file the application. Swearing-in ceremony dates are scheduled approximately 2 to 3 months after your application is approved.

The following is a tentative schedule for naturalization swearing-in ceremonies for the Los Angeles area: June 10, June 11, July 2, July 27, July 28, August 18, August 19, September 17, September 23, and September 24.


Q.

I filed for a green card interview in Los Angeles based upon my marriage to a US citizen over 1 year ago. How long is it taking these days?

A.

The INS is currently scheduling interviews for people who filed their applications the first week of September 1997.

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