USCIS will not approve any application for lawful permanent resident status or other certain immigration benefits until it completes checks against database systems within the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security. These processes are generally referred to as a background check and apply for Green Card, or Permanent Resident Card, renewals filed as
- Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card or
- Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence.
USCIS Policy for Processing Green Card Renewals
Green Card renewal applications go through a number of automated checks:
- USCIS must validate the Alien Registration Number, or A-Number, listed on the application. USCIS runs it against the Central Index System to ensure the number is correct, is valid, and matches the name and identifying information included on the application.
- USCIS uses the information submitted on the application to run a criminal and national security background check against the U.S. Custom and Border Protection’s TECS system. If the check reveals concerns regarding criminal activity or national security issues, USCIS refers the case to the USCIS Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate for investigation.
- USCIS submits information to the FBI’s National Name Check Program and Universal Index. These databases contain “personnel, administrative, applicant, and criminal files compiled for law enforcement purposes.”
- Once USCIS is able to validate the A-Number, it will schedule the applicant for a biometrics interview. USCIS sends the interview notice through the mail to the physical address that the applicant supplied on their petition or application.
Green Card Biometrics Appointments
Reporting for a biometrics appointment is a standard but important part of the Green Card renewal process. It allows USCIS to verify an applicant’s identity in person. At the time of the appointment, USCIS will usually collect
- The applicant’s fingerprints. USCIS uses this information to complete the required background and security checks. Fingerprints are valid for “15 months from the processing of the FBI.”
- A photograph of the applicant. USCIS uses the photo along with the fingerprints and digital signature to produce the renewal Green Card.
- A digital signature. USCIS will collect a digital signature at the time of the biometrics interview. By signing, applicants affirm that the information in their application is “complete, true and correct at the time of filing.” USCIS will not waive the signature requirement unless the applicant has a physical or mental disability that prevents it. Failing to provide a digital signature may result in an application’s denial.
USCIS may also conduct an interview to confirm information or request additional evidence.
Inadmissibility for Green Card
USCIS lists a number of classifications that result in inadmissibility or the denial of a Permanent Resident Card or its renewal. These include
- health-related issues;
- criminal and related grounds of inadmissibility;
- national security;
- public charge, or the need for public assistance;
- labor certification and select immigrant qualifications;
- illegal entrants and immigration violations;
- fraud and willful misrepresentation; and
- false claims to U.S. citizenship.
In some cases, applicants may be able to file Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility.
Purpose of Green Card Background Check
USCIS conducts background checks to ensure that applicants and petitioners
- are exactly who they claim to be and
- are truthful about their reasons for applying for an immigration benefit.
USCIS does this by researching all information presented and comparing applicant information with data held in numerous law enforcement and other federal databases. Discrepancies or records that indicate a person may be inadmissible can result in requests for additional evidence or denials of an application.