If your Green Card or permanent resident card is expiring or has already expired and you want to renew it, this complete guide will help you understand everything you need to know on ‘how to renew your green card.’
Should Green Cards Be Renewed?
Yes, Green cards must be renewed. Green cards are valid for 10 years. The holder of the green card must submit a green card renewal application before their green card expires.
Green Card Renewal Process – A Complete Guide
- Fill out an application for green card renewal either online or by mail.
- Assemble the supporting documentation
- Pay the fees whenever necessary
- Wait for your new green card after submitting your application.
An expired green card does not mean you are no longer a lawful permanent resident of the United States. An expired green card simply means you need the most recent version to establish your legal right to live and work in the United States and to re-enter the country after visiting abroad.
Is It Necessary for Me to Renew and Get a Valid Green Card?
Yes, it is. Your Green Card serves as evidence that you are eligible to stay and work permanently in the United States.
The Green Card or permanent resident card will also be the document that allows you to return to the country after a trip abroad. As a result, you must always travel with a valid Green Card. You are required by US law to carry a valid Permanent Resident Card with you at all times.
In What Situations Do I Need to Renew My Green Card?
There are several reasons why you might need to renew your Green Card. Some of them are:
- Your current Green Card is an outdated version (Form I-151, AR-3, or AR-103 Alien Registration Receipt Cards) with no expiration date.
- Your Green Card will expire within the next 6 months.
- Your Green Card is no longer valid.
- You lost your Green Card.
- There are errors on your Green Card.
- You changed your name or gender after acquiring your current Green Card.
How to Renew Your Green Card While Outside the United States
If your Green Card expires while you are abroad, you must first notify the US embassy or consulate that your card has expired. US government officials will advise you to bring all the supporting documents.
When renewing your green card abroad, you must additionally attend a biometrics appointment at the nearest US embassy or consulate.
You do not need to contact the US embassy or consulate if your Green Card is likely to expire in the next six months. However, you will have to return to the US before the validity period expires and apply for your Green Card renewal process as soon as you return to the United States.
When Should You Renew Your Green Card if You Are Currently in the United States?
We recommend that you renew your green card six months before it expires if you are currently in the United States. If your green card has already expired, you should renew it as soon as possible.
According to US regulations on permanent residence, green card holders must be prepared to provide their valid green cards upon request and other supporting documents. To be able to meet this requirement, you must always have your valid green card with you.
Who Is Eligible to Get Their Green Card Renewed?
You should first check whether you are qualified to renew your green card before starting with the green card renewal process.
In general, you can obtain a new green card if:
- Your card has expired or will expire within the next 6 months
- Your card has been lost, damaged, or stolen.
- Your card has incorrect information. For example, if your name is misspelled
- You have legally changed your name or other biographic information
- You never received the card that USCIS initially mailed to you.
USCIS’s website gives a comprehensive list of reasons to renew or replace your permanent resident card.
However, there are specific situations in which you should not get a green card replacement.
You do not need to renew a green card if you have recently completed a citizenship application/ naturalization to maintain your lawful permanent resident status.
How long does the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) take to process a Green Card renewal application?
You should plan on waiting 1.5 to 12 months after the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) receives your green card renewal form and processes the application.
On the USCIS website, you can check the most recent processing time.
If you need your Green Card sooner than expected, USCIS may provide an “Alien Documentation, Identification & Telecommunications” (ADIT) stamp to show that you are a green card holder if:
- You’re applying for a job, and you urgently need to demonstrate and provide supporting documents to prove that you are a legal permanent resident.
- You wouldn’t need to submit Form I-90 if you applied for naturalization at least 6 months before your green card expires.
How Much Does a Green Card Renewal Cost?
A green card renewal fee currently costs $540, which includes a $455 filing fee and an $85 biometrics charge (for your fingerprint, photo, and signature). If you are also applying for a fee waiver, you do not have to pay the either cost.
How to Apply for a Green Card Renewal
To renew your green card, complete Form I-90 (also known as the “Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card”).
Don’t be misled by the form’s name; the exact application is utilized for green card renewal and the green card replacement process.
The following processes will be different depending on whether you submit your green card renewal application to USCIS online or by mail.
If you’re applying online, you need to:
- Create an online account with USCIS.
- Fill out Form I-90.
- Upload supporting documents like a copy of your expired or soon-to-expired green card.
- Examine and sign your application digitally.
- Pay the applicable green card renewal fees (if required).
- Submit your green card renewal application and await the arrival of your new green card.
If you’re applying offline/by mail, you need to:
- Fill out Form I-90 on paper.
- Make a photocopy of any supporting documents, like expired or soon-to-expire GC.
- Go over your application and sign it.
- Include your green card renewal fee (if required).
- Send your application to USCIS and wait for your new green card to arrive.
Documents Required for Green Card Renewal
In most circumstances, you will just need to give a copy of your expired or soon-to-expire green card as confirmation that you are eligible to renew a green card.
If you need a new green card for another reason, such as it was lost, stolen, or destroyed, you’ll need to submit additional supporting documentation.
How to Pay the Renewal Fees for Your Green Card?
If you file form I-90 online, you will be prompted to pay.gov to pay electronically using a credit or debit card after completing Form I-90 online.
Suppose you file Form I-90 by mail. In that case, you can pay by money order, personal check, or cashier’s check made out to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security” or by credit or debit card using Form G-1450 (formally known as the “Authorization for Credit Card Transactions”).
When Should You Renew Your Green Card?
Permanent residents with a 10-year green card should normally seek renewal immediately if their current permanent resident card has already expired or within 6 months of its expiration date.
Note: don’t apply too soon; if you do, USCIS may deny your application and keep your fee.
If you’re not in the United States:
Your green card will expire in six months, but you will return to the US within one year of leaving and before your card expires: As soon as you return to the United States, file your green card renewal application
Your green card has expired, and you did not submit an application for renewal before leaving the United States: Before submitting a renewal application, get in touch with the closest International USCIS field office, US consulate, or US port of entry (POE) and let them know your condition.
Keep in mind your green card’s expiration date so you can make arrangements in advance to fulfill renewal requirements, especially if you intend to travel overseas. Your ability to perform other life activities, such as finding a new job, or re-entering the United States, may be hindered if your green card has expired.
And if you receive a misdemeanor for not carrying a valid green card with you, which is required by law at all times, that could pose issues for you when you apply for citizenship in the United States.
What to Expect Following a Green Card Renewal Application?
Receive notification of approval
When United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) accepts your renewal application, they will send you a letter to let you know.
You can use the 13-character “receipt number” found in the letter, which is made up of 3 letters and 10 numbers, to find out the status of your renewal application.
The same notification will be posted by USCIS on your USCIS online account as well.
If you don’t already have one, USCIS will make one for you and provide access information in the letter you got in the mail.
You will receive a “biometrics appointment” notice.
You should also anticipate getting notification of a biometrics appointment date within 1-2 weeks of USCIS receiving your application (a biometrics appointment is to take your fingerprints, photo, and signature).
You may be asked for additional information or supporting immigration paperwork to complete your green card renewal application. If so, respond by the deadline specified in the notice.
How to Check the Status of Your Green Card Renewal
You can track the status of your green card application. Follow these simple steps to verify the status of your renewal application:
- Visit the USCIS website: USCIS case status
- Please enter your receipt number
You will be able to view your entire application history once you have submitted your receipt number. Unfortunately, the status of your application will not tell you how long you will have to wait for your new green card, but it will show you where your application is in the process.
When you submit your form, you may also choose to receive text message updates or e-mail notifications, so you don’t have to check the status of your case constantly.
Fill out Form G-1145 (formally known as the “e-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance”) and submit it with your green card renewal application if you want USCIS to send you a text message or email when your form is accepted.
What Should You Do if Your Renewal Application Is Rejected?
The US government may deny your green card renewal application if you commit a crime, don’t pay your taxes, lie on your application, or submit the wrong form.
While it’s unlikely that you’ll have an issue as long as you follow the process, rules, and the law if your renewal application is declined, you will be notified. If you believe the government agency has made a mistake, you can take the following steps:
- Submit a motion to USCIS to review their decision. Include any new factual evidence demonstrating how the decision to deny your application was based on inaccurate information or application of the law.
- Seek professional legal assistance, especially if your case is exceptionally complex. If you need assistance from an immigration attorney for immigration services, check out Do You Need an Immigration Lawyer for a Green Card for in-depth information. The United States Department of Justice also accredits non-profit groups that provide low-cost or free immigration lawyers and legal services.
The evaluation of denial appeals takes roughly 45 days. USCIS can either grant your request or refer it to the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) for further examination, which generally takes 6 months.
What Is a Conditional Green Card? What Should You Do When It Expires?
A conditional green card allows you to live and work in the United States like any other green card holder, but only for 2 years before you should adjust your status to a full, ten-year green card.
A conditional green card, also known as “conditional permanent residency,” is given to every marriage green card applicant (conditional permanent resident) who has been married for less than two years.
Your conditional Green Cards cannot be renewed, but you must remove your conditions to retain your permanent residency. If your conditions are not removed within 90 days before your conditional green card expires, you will lose your permanent resident status and will have to leave the United States.
Frequently Asked Questions on Green Cards
How Frequently Do Green Cards Need to Be Renewed?
Standard green cards are valid for ten years. Unless you apply for citizenship through naturalization, you must renew a green card every ten years before it expires. In general, you should apply to renew your green card 10 to 12 months before it expires to allow for the process to be completed before your existing valid green card expires.
Please keep in mind that if you file your Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, earlier than 12 months before the green card’s expiration date, Citizenship and Immigration Services will almost certainly reject your application and will not refund your filing fee.
What Should You Do in Case of Replacing a Green Card?
If you are unfortunate enough to have misplaced your actual green card, the replacement process is similar, but not similar, to the renewal process. You must still complete Form I-90 and pay the filing fee (by mail or through your USCIS online account), but you must additionally attend and pay for biometric screening.
Money orders can be used to pay for mail-in replacements, while credit or debit cards can be used to pay for online replacements.
Check out our Green Card Replacement Process for a thorough explanation of the replacement process.
What Can I Do if I Can’t Afford the Green Card Renewal Fees?
If you are unable to pay the filing cost, you may be able to get a fee waiver from USCIS. As a result, you must demonstrate that you are experiencing extreme financial difficulty.
Here are a few things to bear in mind:
- There is no fee waiver option for Form I-829 (Remove Conditions on Investment-Based Green Card). Fee waivers are only available for I-90 (standard replacement of a Green Card) and I-751 applications (Removing conditions for a marriage-based Green Card).
- If you want to request a fee waiver, you cannot file your I-90 renewal petition online. Instead, use the paper form.
- To get a fee waiver, complete Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver and submit it with the petition for which the waiver is being requested.
- If USCIS grants your fee waiver request, you will be exempted from both the filing fee and the biometric services fee.
Please read the fee waiver request guidelines on the USCIS website for more information on fee waivers and how to get them.
Should I Renew My Green Card or Apply for US Citizenship?
If you must choose between applying and waiting for Naturalization (becoming a US citizen) all at once or renewing your Green Card (instead of or before), consider what you intend to do in the US while potentially waiting for your US Citizenship to be approved.
Naturalization can take up to 20 months and costs $725, while renewing your Green Card will cost an additional $540 or more. But the question is, would you risk having your Green Card expire while you wait for US citizenship to save money?
The following are some of the reasons why you should renew your Green Card before starting the Naturalization process:
- When traveling, an expired Green Card will pose complications when attempting to re-enter the United States.
- A Home loan: Most mortgage lenders will not lend you money unless you have a valid Green Card.
- Your driver’s license: When you hold or want to obtain a US driver’s license, the Department of Motor Vehicles requires a valid legal residential status, viz. Green Card.
- Employment: It is tough to show your right to work without a valid Green Card.
Apart from that, there are other compelling reasons to apply for US citizenship as well.
- Applying for US citizenship is a great choice compared to the costs of Green Card renewals.
- USCIS fees are constantly increasing.
- As a US citizen, you have greater rights than a Green Card holder, such as the right to vote in the US or to seek federal employment.
- You will not lose your citizenship after you have obtained it.
How Can I Renew My Green Card During COVID?
Although you can file Form I-90 by mail or online, Covid-related restrictions should not prevent you from applying. Having said that, you may be required to attend an interview.
As of July 2022, field offices are operating, and federal procedures are in place to help maintain a safe environment. For example, everyone in a federal building is required to wear a mask, and physical separation is strictly enforced.
You should not enter a USCIS field office if you have any of the following:
- You have Covid-19 or any associated symptoms, such as cough, fever, or difficulty in breathing.
- You’ve been in contact with somebody infected with Covid-19 within two weeks of your appointment (vaccinated applicants are exempt from this requirement).
- You returned from a foreign trip within 10 days of your appointment.
- You’ve been advised to undergo self-quarantine.
You should come to your appointment no more than 15 minutes early, and USCIS recommends bringing your black-ink pen to prevent the potential of transmission. If you are unable to attend for any of the reasons mentioned above or any other reason, you can contact the USCIS contact center at 1-800-375-5283
Is an Interview Required for a Green Card Renewal?
In most cases, you will not be required to attend an interview after submitting the Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card.
However, USCIS may request that you attend an in-person interview, during which they may collect biometric data such as fingerprints and pictures, in addition to completing a background check.
How Often Do I Need to Renew My Green Card?
If you hold a 10-year lawful permanent resident card that has expired or will expire within the next 6 months, you should renew it immediately using Form I-90. Look at the front of your ID where it says “Card Expires” to see when your card expires.
If you are a Conditional Permanent Resident (CPR), your green card will expire in two years, and you must complete Form I-751 no later than 90 days before the expiration date. If you’re unsure if you’re a CPR, look for the “CR1” designation on your permanent resident card.
Will they run a criminal background check when I renew my green card? If that’s the case, how will a misdemeanor Affect my case?
USCIS may request that you attend a biometrics appointment before conducting a background check. If you have a criminal record, it may be revealed throughout this process.
A misdemeanor conviction does not automatically disqualify you from renewal. According to the Immigration and Nationality Act, three crime-related grounds could prevent you from acquiring your updated permanent resident card:
Specific criminal conviction: If you commit a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT) — a term that dates back to the 1957 case “In the Matter of K” — or violates controlled substance regulations in the United States or internationally, this could be grounds for rejection.
Multiple criminal convictions: You may be refused if you have been convicted of two or more offenses that result in five or more years in jail.
Controlled substance trafficking: Your case may be denied if you are known to have participated in illegal drug trafficking, whether as an accomplice or a direct perpetrator. Even if you are the “spouse, son, or daughter” of a known trafficker, you are not exempted. Many times may your green card be renewed or replaced?
You may apply for green card renewals or replacements as often as necessary.
In general, you should try to renew at the end of the validity period of six months before it expires.
If you lose your green card, you can replace it. To avoid the inconvenience of an unwanted renewal application, keep your card in a safe place.
Moreover, if you frequently misplace your card and request a renewal, USCIS may become suspicious. Green card fraud is frequent, and unusual green card renewal behavior on your part may lead USCIS to suspect you of green card fraud. This will make it more difficult for you to establish your case with USCIS and obtain a new green card in the future.
If you have to replace your green card numerous times, it is a good idea to submit a letter each time detailing exactly what happened to your green card so that USCIS has less reason to be suspicious.
In conclusion, renewing a green card is not a difficult process, but it does require timely action from you. You must file a renewal application in advance and keep track of your case status. Otherwise, you risk having a gap in your lawful permanent resident status.
With the information provided above, you should be able to begin and complete the green card renewal process before your Green Card Expires.