The Green Card renewal process


A permanent resident card (Green Card) is normally valid for ten years. On its expiry, you have to go through the Green Card renewal process by filing Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card with the USCIS. Though those renewing expired Green Cards will not be penalized, make sure you renew your card at the earliest without waiting for the card to expire. Form I-90 is also used when you want to change any biographic information on your Green Card ( if your name has changed because of marriage, divorece, etc.) and also when you lose your card and need a replacement. You will also not lose your permanent resident status if you do not renew/replace your Green Card. Permanent resident status does not expire.

Though permanent resident status does not expire, per immigration laws, you should carry evidence of your status (a valid, unexpired Green Card or temporary passport stamp). If you do not renew your card, you might experience difficulties in getting employment, benefits and re-entry into the United States from abroad. Apply for your new Green Card before you travel abroad and have with you on any trip the temporary documentation you received. If you try to re-enter the US with an expired Green Card, you might experience a delay during the inspection process at the port of entry,

Additionally, your employers will not accept an expired Green Card while verifying employment authorization for new hires. You can use other documents that you will find on Form I-9 (Employment eligibility verification form) such as social security card and driver’s license or carry temporary evidence of status, such as an I-551 stamp or even the receipt notice that you received for your I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card.

A permanent resident is different from a conditional permanent resident. A conditional resident will be issued a card that is valid for two years only. A conditional card cannot be renewed and such card holders have to remove the conditions during the 90 day period before the card expires. You will lose your status if the conditions are not removed. You should file Form I-751 to remove the conditions. Once the application is approved and conditions removed, you will get a permanent resident card that will be valid for the next ten years.

After you send the completed application to the USCIS, you can expect an Application Receipt Notice with a 13-character Application Receipt number in it within 30 days of having filed the application. This notice acts as a proof that USCIS received your Green Card renewal application and that it is being processed. You can also check the status of your application with this receipt number. Subsequently, you also will be intimated about the dates for fingerprinting and your interview date with detailed instructions related to the supporting documents you need to carry. The entire Green Card renewal process takes three months on an average.

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