If you have a U.S. immigrant visa, then you are eligible for a Green Card. A Green Card allows you to stay in the United States permanently and legally work anywhere in the country. As long as you have a Green Card, you are a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). Certain immigrants, including those in the process of getting a Green Card through marriage or investment, may have a Conditional Permanent Residence or Conditional Green Card before being able to apply for a permanent one.
A permanent Green Card will be valid for 10 years. Within six months of the expiry date on your Green Card, it’s recommended that you begin the Green Card renewal process.
Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about renewing your Green Card and applying for a new Green Card after your old one expires.
When Should I Renew or Replace My Green Card?
If your Green Card is valid and in your possession, then there’s no reason to renew it. However, you will want to begin the Green Card renewal process within six months of its expiry date.
You must apply for Green Card renewal if:
- You have a valid Green Card that will expire in 6 months or has already expired
- You have a Permanent Resident card with no expiration date written on it
- Your Green Card was stolen, damaged, or went missing
- You received a Green Card when you were under 14 years of age, but the card will not expire before you turn 16 years of age
- You noticed a mistake on your Green Card, including mistakes regarding your name, date of birth, or other information
- You have changed your name or changed other biographic information about yourself
- You have commuter status in the United States, which means you live in Canada or Mexico but work in the United States
What Happens If I’m Outside the United States?
If you have a Green Card that is about to expire and you are outside the United States, then there are two ways to move forward:
If you are outside the United States and your Green Card will expire within 6 months but you plan to return to the United States before your Green Card expires, then you can renew your Green Card when you return to the United States
If you are outside the United States and your card will expire before you return, then you can either apply to renew it before you leave the United States or, if you are already in a foreign country, then you can contact a U.S. embassy or consulate, USCIS, or a U.S. port of entry; you are not permitted to enter the United States with an expired Green Card if you cannot provide proof that you attempted to renew it
Conditional Permanent Residence and Conditional Green Card Renewal
The rules listed above do not apply to those who have Conditional Permanent Residence (CPR) status or Conditional Green Card Status.
CPR status is valid for 2 years. Within 90 days of the expiry date of your Conditional Permanent Residence status, you must file for Permanent Residence or a Green Card.
You cannot replace or renew your Conditional Green Card if it has already expired, nor can you renew it if it will expire in 90 days. You must file for Permanent Residence status.
How to Renew a Green Card
Every year, thousands of American residents go through the process of renewing their Green Cards. Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about the Green Card renewal process.
Step 1) Complete Form I-90
Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, is the first document you need to complete when renewing your Green Card. Form I-90 comes with detailed instructions and requirements. You will need to choose one of 17 reasons why you are renewing your Green Card. Once you have picked your reason, you will need to pay the renewal fees and submit any corresponding documents.
Step 2) Pay Applicable Fees
There are two main fees you will need to pay when renewing your Green Card, including:
Form I-90 Fee: $455
Biometrics Service Fee (If Applicable): $85
In total, it will cost you around $540 to renew your Green Card. You can pay online using any major form of payment. Or, you can mail a check to USCIS. Once you have paid your Green Card renewal fee, you will receive a receipt, at which point you can move onto the next step.
Step 3) Submit Supporting Documents
Depending on the reason for renewal you chose in Step 1, you will need to submit different supporting documents. All Green Card renewal applications require you to submit your current Green Card unless your Green Card has been lost or stolen.
Documents Required When Renewing a Green Card
If you are renewing a Green Card, then the only document you may be required to submit is your current Green Card. If you can provide a copy of your current Green Card, then that’s all you need to renew your Green Card.
Documents Required When Replacing a Green Card
If you are replacing a Green Card that has been lost, stolen, or damaged, then you must submit:
- A copy of the stolen or damaged Green Card
- A copy of valid government-issued photo ID, including a passport, a driver’s license, or another form of ID
If There’s a Mistake on Your Green Card
If you just applied for and received a Green Card but notice a mistake on the Green Card, then you must provide the following documents:
- The original Green Card
- A copy of your birth certificate, marriage certificate, or other documents with the correct information
If Renewing for Other Reasons
If you are renewing or replacing your Green Card for any other reason, then follow the instructions on Form I-90. Form I-90 gives 17 different reasons for renewing your Green Card, and there are different instructions and document requirements for each of those reasons.
Step 4) Sign Form I-90 and Submit
The final step to renewing your Green Card is to sign Form I-90 and submit it to USCIS. If you fail to sign your Form I-90, then it will be declared invalid and rejected. Many Green Card renewal applicants have made this mistake.
Form I-90 can be filed entirely online. Or, you can mail it to USCIS directly. Since 2015, however, the vast majority of Green Card applications and renewals are completed online. Even if you apply by mail, USCIS will create an online account for you for future correspondence.
What Happens After Filing My Green Card Renewal?
After you have filed a renewal request for your Green Card, you will need to wait to receive an update via online mail or mail. Here’s what happens next:
USCIS will send you a receipt confirming that they have accepted your application; this receipt will be mailed to your address and sent to your online account
USCIS will send a notification if you need to provide biometrics information; this notification should arrive within 1-2 weeks of USCIS receiving your application; if you need to provide biometrics information, then you may need to submit fingerprints, photographs, and a signature to USCIS
USCIS may require extra documents beyond what you provided; in this case, USCIS will send you a Request for Evidence by mail and then post it on your account
Finally, you will receive a notice of the USCIS decision by mail and that decision will be posted online
How Long Does It Take to Renew My Green Card?
Typically, a Green Card renewal takes 2 to 3 months from beginning to end. USCIS processes thousands of Green Card renewal applications every month.
This is why it’s recommended that you apply for Green Card renewal within 6 months of your expiry date.
What if USCIS Denies your Green Card Renewal Application?
In certain situations, USCIS may deny your application to renew your Green Card. Some of the most common reasons to deny a Green Card renewal include:
- You committed a crime that led to your deportation from the United States
- You lied on your application
- The United States government has ordered you to leave the country before your Green Card expired
- You filed incorrect forms or provided wrong supporting documents
For all of these reasons, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services may deny your Green Card renewal request.
If USCIS denies your Green Card application renewal, then you cannot appeal the ruling. However, you can submit a motion for USCIS to reopen or reconsider the application. In order for this motion to go through, you must have proof that the decision was made because of a mistake in the application of immigration policy or law.
What Happens If I Fail to Renew My Green Card?
If you fail to renew your Green Card, then you will not face any penalties from USCIS.
In fact, you can wait until your Green Card expires or until after it expires before you begin the renewal process. You will not face further penalties from USCIS for waiting until the last minute to renew your Green Card – although you may have trouble leaving the country and returning.
If you fail to renew your Green Card before it expires, then there are other consequences as well. U.S. immigrants with an expired Green Card cannot:
Get a new job (all employers will ask for proof of employment authorization, and an expired Green Card does not authorize you to work)
- Get or keep a professional license
- Renew a driver’s license
- Travel outside of the United States and re-enter the country
Because of all of these restrictions, it’s generally a good idea to apply for a Green Card renewal within six months of the expiry date on your Green Card. The sooner you receive your new Green Card, the less chance you have for any complications along the way.