Green cards, also known as permanent resident cards, are issued to people who have been granted permanent resident status in the U.S. These cards are issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The cards have the photos, names and other information about the holders.
Legal residents are required by law to carry these cards with them at all times. Permanent resident status granted to foreigners will not expire but the cards that are issued to them as proof of legal status will expire in ten years.
Legal residents must renew their cards when their cards are about to expire. The right time to go through the renewal process is six months ahead of the expiration date printed on the card.
Green Card Renewal Application
Green card holders must file Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card to get their green cards renewed. However, this applies only to those who hold ten year green cards and not to conditional residents, who hold two year conditional cards that are not renewable.
The green card renewal application Form I-90 can also be filed to get damaged or lost cards replaced. While Form I-90 is available for online filing, applicants can also file paper forms to renew their green cards. Along with their applications for renewal, they will need to submit a copy of their current green cards.
Expired green cards can be renewed and applicants will not be fined or penalized for doing so. However, they must not willfully let their cards expire. Residents who do so are likely to lose their legal status in the U.S.
USCIS will review the I-90 applications filed by the legal residents. Applicants may be asked to submit supporting documents if the agency believes that more information is required to approve their applications. Once their applications are approved, new green cards will be mailed to the address they provided at the time of filing their applications.