Holders of a US green card enjoy permanent residency, but while that status is permanent, the green card itself is not. The green card must be renewed every ten years (unless it is a conditional green card, in which case it will need to be renewed more often). In addition, green card holders must carry their green card at all times and must replace the green card if it is damaged, lost, or is about to expire. In some cases, the name or other important information of a green card holder may change. In these cases, it is important to update the green card so that it is accurate and up-to-date.
Ensuring that all green card (sometimes known as Form I-551) are updated every ten years, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can help crack down on green card fraud. As well, by asking that all US green card holders replace green cards at least every ten years, the USCIS can introduce new security features which can help make US green cards more secure.
If your green card was stolen, damaged, or lost, you will want to apply for a replacement at once, as you are required to carry a green card with you at all times. If your card was lost or stolen, you will also want to file a police report to ensure that your green card (and your name) are not used in any criminal activity.
If the information on your green card is out of date, you will not lose your status. However, your green card will no longer be very useful. You can apply to renew your green card by filing Form I-90 with the USCIS. Once you apply, your new card will be mailed to you. If you are applying because your green card is out of date, you will need to file I-90 with proof of your name change or other biographic information changes. For example, if your name has changed, you will need to submit a court order with the name change or a certified copy of your marriage certificate with USCIS form I-90 to prove that your name has changed. In addition to your form and any supporting documents, you will need to submit a filing fee with Form I-90, made out to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Currently, some applicants can file I-90 electronically or by mail via a paper application form.