How do I know if I need to renew my green card?
Green cards issued since 1989 have an expiration date on the front of the card. The expiration date is 10 years after the date you were granted permanent residence. There are other reasons you might need to renew a green card.
- Even if you have an older card that does not expire (see History of the Green Card), USCIS encourages you to update the card with the new security features.
- A permanent resident must renew a green card within 30 days of his/her 14th birthday.
In fact, for any reason that you need to replace or renew a green card, file Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. You can file Form I-90 up to 6 months before your card’s expiration date.
Why do I need to renew my green card every 10 years?
In 1989, INS (now USCIS) recognized that it needed to continue improving the techniques it uses to protect against counterfeiting and tampering. The newest version on the green card (example below) has several features that reduce counterfeiting and help protect card holder’s identities. One of the best ways to avoid renewing your green card is to apply for U.S. citizenship. Check your eligibility be visiting Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.
Do I have to renew my green card if I’m applying for naturalization?
No, you may file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization with an expired or expiring green card. However, USCIS encourages you to maintain a valid green card at all times.
Learn more in Expired Green Card Creates 3 Big Problems.
Do I need to renew my green card if it doesn’t have an expiration date?
Maybe. Green cards issued between 1979 and 1988 that do not have expiration dates, do not need to be renewed at this time. USCIS may require you to renew your green card in the future. At this time, you are only encouraged to renew your green card to take advantage of the newest security features.
However, green cards issued prior to 1979 are now obsolete and must be renewed.
Will I lose my permanent resident status if I do not renew my green card?
No. You cannot lose your permanent resident status because your green card expired or was lost/stolen. But permanent residents 18 and older are required by law (§240(e) of the INA) to carry evidence of immigration status. A photocopy is not acceptable under the law. You must carry a valid green card or proof that you have submitted Form I-90 to renew your green card.
How do I renew my green card?
In the 6 month period before your green card expires, file Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. The form can also be downloaded from the USCIS website. Unless you have an arrest record, immigration violations, or other special circumstances, most people can file Form I-90 by themselves (without the help of a lawyer). People that want just a little extra help can use CitizenPath. We’re a low cost immigration document service that will guide you through Form I-90 with step-by-step instructions and alerts if there is a problem. There’s no sign up to try it out.
Can I renew my green card if I’m a conditional permanent resident?
No. Conditional permanent residents may only use Form I-90 to replace a green card, and should never use Form I-90 to renew a green card. Those who became conditional permanent residents through marriage to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident should File I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. Those who became conditional permanent residents based on a financial investment in a U.S. business should file Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions.
Can I get temporary proof of permanent resident status while I’m waiting for USCIS to renew my green card?
Yes. This may be extraordinarily important if you are traveling abroad. Valid proof of your permanent resident status is required for re-entry to the U.S. Contact your local USCIS office and explain that you want to get a temporary “I-551 stamp” in your passport (example below).
How long does it take to renew a green card?
The processing time to renew a green card varies based on the location you file. It can take from 3-5 months. For a list of current processing times and to check your case status, go to the USCIS My Case Status page.
When should I apply to renew a green card?
You may only file Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, up to 6 months before your expiration date. If you file prior to the 6-month window, USCIS may reject your application.
Can I renew my green card after it has expired? Is there an extra cost or penalty?
There is no penalty if you renew a green card after it has already expired. USCIS will treat it like any other application. However, you are required by law to carry proof of your permanent resident status. A green card is also important identification for obtaining a job or traveling abroad.
Can I use an expired green card to re-enter the United States after traveling abroad?
Your ability to re-enter the U.S. is at the discretion of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. They have every right to refuse entry to someone that does not have valid proof of permanent resident status. Therefore, it’s highly recommended that you travel with valid proof. If you have applied to renew a green card but do not have it yet, you can obtain a temporary “I-551 stamp” in your passport. Contact your local USCIS office to request this.
How much does it cost to renew a green card?
The current cost to renew a green card is $540. This includes a $455 filing fee and an $85 biometrics fee.
What if I cannot afford the filing fee to renew my green card?
If you cannot afford the filing fee to renew a green card, you may request a fee waiver from USCIS for Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Status.
Who can help me prepare Form I-90 to renew a green card?
CitizenPath is a low-cost immigration document service that provides help for people with straightforward immigration cases. Our online process provides simple, step-by-step instructions and even gives you alerts if there is a problem. You can be ready to file the form with USCIS in about 15 minutes. There is no sign up to try it out.