Are you a permanent resident of the U.S. and do you have a Green Card? If you answered yes, you might be aware of the fact that the permanent resident status granted to you is permanent; however, your Green Card that is issued as proof of your status in the U.S. is not. Green Cards issued after 1989 are not valid for a lifetime and are only good for up to ten years. Just like your driver’s license, your permanent resident card needs to be renewed periodically.
Read on to know how to renew a permanent resident card and the other steps involved in the renewal process.
Green Card Expiration Date
It is important to note the expiration date of your Green Card. This date can be found on the front side of your card.
When Should You Renew a Green Card?
In some cases, a Green Card is good for ten years, and in these cases, the USCIS recommends green card holders apply for renewal within the 180 days before the expiration date of their green card. Remember, you will not be notified by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) when your expiration date is coming up. If there are just six months left for your card to expire, then you may need to start the green card renewal process right away.
Please note, you will not be penalized if you apply to renew an expired permanent resident card.
Green Card Renewal Application
USCIS Form I-90, Application to Renew Permanent Resident Card, is the form you will need to file to get your 10-year Green Card renewed. This is the same form that you will have to file to replace your Green Card if it was lost, stolen or destroyed. The paper version of the form and the e-version are both available. You can print the form and fill it by hand or file is online.
How to Renew Green Card Online?
USCIS accepts paper forms filed via mail as well as forms filed online. Many find the online application to be convenient as it helps avoid costly errors. If you make a mistake on your form while completing it by hand, you might have to start over again afresh. But that’s not the case when you complete the form online.
If you file Form I-90 online, you can also pay the form filing fee online.
Remember, you may not be able to file your form online if you are submitting a fee waiver with your Form I-90.
You will need to submit a copy of your existing Green Card along with your application to renew your resident card.
Green Card Renewal Fee
The current fee for Green Card renewal is $455. Along with this fee, you will also need to pay the fee for biometrics services, which is $85.The total fee you are required to pay to the USCIS for Green Card renewal, as of February 2019, is $540.
This fee is subject to change. You will need to check the form instructions for the correct fee before you make the payment. If you are filing your form online, you can also pay this fee online. USCIS accepts Visa, American Express, Mastercard and Discover cards.
If you are filing the paper form, you can write a check and send it along with your application filing package. Personal or cashier’s check and money orders are accepted by the USCIS. When you write the check, remember that it should be payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Always write the full name of the agency and do not write DHS or USCIS.
You can send your check along with your application filing package to the following address.
For U.S. Postal Service:
P.O. Box 21262
Phoenix, AZ 85036
For FedEx, UPS, and DHL deliveries:
1820 E. Skyharbor, Circle S, Floor 1
Phoenix, AZ 85034
Application Receipt Notice
Once your application is received by the USCIS, the agency will check your application and send you a receipt notice. Form I-797C, Notice of Action, is the receipt notice that you will receive from the USCIS. Keep this document safe as this will serve as proof that you have filed your renewal application. This notice might arrive in approximately 1-3 weeks from the date of filing the form. If your form is not filed properly, your application can be rejected by the USCIS and you will receive a notice of rejection. This could significantly delay your renewal request. Make sure your application is filed correctly.
Here is where our services come to play. Our online Green Card renewal package includes customized form filing instructions that can help you avoid errors. Our instructions help you to properly prepare and file your application with the USCIS.
After the USCIS accepts your application for processing, they will send you a biometrics appointment notice in around 4 to 6 weeks from the date of receiving your application. This appointment is to take your fingerprints, your photo and to electronically capture your signature. The notice you receive from the USCIS will have the time and location of your appointment. Take this letter to the appointment along with some form of photo identification, without fail.
Receive Your Green Card
If the USCIS requires additional documents to decide on your case, you will receive a Request for Evidence Notice in the mail. If this is not required in your case, the next step in the process is receiving your new Green Card. Your new card will be mailed to the address you provided in your application.
Green Card Renewal Processing Time
As of July 2018, the USCIS is taking between 7 to 12 months to process and decide on Green Card renewal applications. However, the process could take even longer in certain cases. It is recommended to start the renewal process as soon as possible, within the 180 days from the date of expiration printed on your card.
Holding an expired card would make it difficult for you to prove your status if you find a job in the U.S. or to prove your status when traveling abroad. Likewise, you will need a valid card if you are applying for U.S. citizenship.
How to Appeal If Your Application Is Denied?
If your application is denied, you will receive a letter from the USCIS with the reason for denial. Though you cannot appeal the decision, you can submit a motion to reopen or to reconsider your case with the same USCIS office that denied your application. This motion is to request the USCIS office to reexamine or reconsider its decision.
Make sure to submit additional supporting documents that will help the USCIS to take a favorable action on your case if you believe that your application was wrongly denied.
How to Renew Your Green Card If You Are Outside the U.S.?
If your card expires while you are outside the country, you will need to file for renewal as soon as you return to the U.S.
Click here for more information on what you need to do if your green card expired while you are outside the country.
What to Do If You Are a Conditional Permanent Resident and Your Green Card Is about to Expire?
If your card is valid for just two years, then you are a conditional resident. You must not file Form I-90 to renew your card if you hold a two-year conditional Green Card.
In this case, you will have to file Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence, to remove conditions on your card. You will need to file this application 90 days ahead of the date of expiration of your Green Card.
If you received conditional status based on being an investor or entrepreneur, you must file Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status.
If your application to remove conditions is approved, the USCIS likely will issue you a ten-year green card.
Expired Green Cards are considered as invalid cards. It is important to keep your card up-to-date. You may find it difficult to prove that you are a legal resident of the U.S. if your card is not current. This will affect your ability to travel or to prove that you are eligible to work in the U.S.
Additionally, here’s what the law says about holding a valid Green Card
“Section 264 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) states, “Every alien in the United States . . . shall be issued a certificate of alien registration or an alien registration receipt card in such form and manner and at such time as shall be prescribed under regulations . . ..” It also says, “Every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to him . . .. Any alien who fails to comply with [these provisions] shall be guilty of a misdemeanor …” The specific requirements and procedures for applying to renew an expiring green card are contained in the Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] at 8 CFR section 264.5.”