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Green Card Renewal Process

A permanent resident 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 GreenCards 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 GreenCard ( 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 GreenCard 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 GreenCard 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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Green Card Renewal & Costs

The best way to know how to renew a Green Card is to apply to replace a permanent resident card, which can be done online. A number of requirements are needed of you before renewing your Green Card, as shown below.

Apply for renewal within 6 months of expiration

It is recommended that you fill out your renewal form at least 6 months before the expiry date. This makes it possible for you to receive your card in good time, so that you do not undergo much hassles in the process. While your card is being renewed, you will receive a temporary proof of status, which is evidence of your residence in the U.S. while your card is being processed. The temporary proof of status lasts for a year, and you will receive your renewed status 10 to 12 months after your application.

Know the different renewal forms if your status has changed

Depending on the reason why you are applying for a renewed status, there may be different forms to use that you need to know about. Your card may have been stolen, lost or mutilated, or you may have changed your name for any particular reason. Even a change of address requires a specialized renewal form, so if any of these have affected your status, check the form names and numbers before filling them out.

Get the renewal fee beforehand

The charges for renewing a Green Card is $110, and if you have any other special needs to do with your card, additional fees may be required. It is best that you set aside this amount and a little extra some time before your card expires to save you from last minute rush.

Check the version of Green Card you have

Some versions of the Green Card have no expiration dates, while others are just older versions of the current Green Card in use. Whichever the case, you need to know how to renew the Green Card that you have, which is different for each.

Know what happens in case your renewal request is delayed

There are some things that can happen if your renewal is delayed. First of all, you will not lose your status as a permanent residence of the U.S. if your Green Card expires. However, getting a job or benefits, or entering the States from abroad will be quite difficult, because you need to prove that you are in the country legally. Your temporary proof of status serves its purpose for you as you await your renewed Green Card.

Also, you will not be penalized if your Card is past due. Simply fill out the needed forms, pay the fee and wait for the process to be completed. In case you have delayed applying for renewal because you cannot raise the fee on time, you can apply for a waiver, but you will need to go to your local USCIS office in person to do it.


Guest Post Author
Dennis Mugira
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