Complete Guide to Form I-90

Posted by Frank Gogol

Form I-90 is among the many immigration-related forms offered by the USCIS. Many people get confused while filling out this form because it can be submitted by more than one group of people having their own reasons. In this article, we’ll go over what Form I-90 is, who needs to file it, and how to do it correctly to avoid rejections.

Who Needs to Complete Form I-90

Form I-90 is exclusively used by green card holders when there’s a need to renew or replace their existing green card. As is the case with most immigration or residence-related processes, you’d be required to file an application by submitting a form. If your green card is valid for 10 years and has expired or is nearing the expiration date, then this form should be submitted. It is recommended to renew it at least 6 months before the expiration date.

Who Should Use Form I-90

Form I-90 is mostly submitted by U.S. permanent residents, also known as green card holders whose cards have expired, nearing expiry, have been lost, stolen, or destroyed. Besides that, if your card contains incorrect data or your biographic information has changed over time, then you should use Form I-90 as well. As a teenager, if you’ve reached 14 years of age and need to renew your green card, then I-90 is the correct form for you.

However, there are limitations, and not all permanent residents can use this form to get their cards renewed.

Who Should Not Use Form I-90

People who shouldn’t use Form I-90 are generally conditional green card holders. These cards come with an expiry duration of two years. These card holders need to fill out another form for renewing conditional green cards and converting them to the permanent green card.

This process is called removing the condition, and the correct application for this purpose is Form I-751, also known as “Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence.”

You’ll also file this particular form instead of I-90 if you possess a green card based on a conditional marriage or by investing in a U.S.-based business entity.

Documents Required for Form I-90

Form I-90 should be submitted along with supporting documents. This is used for both verification and processing of the application. The documents you need to submit depend on the reason you’re submitting the form in the first place. Here are all the valid reasons along with the required documents:

  • Green card has expired or is nearing expiration; need to update an older version of a green card; green card contains a typographical error; already had a green card before turning 14 and it won’t expire until turning 16

Documents required: green card; outdated green card

  • Green card was lost/stolen/damaged

Documents required: green card; photocopies of green card; government-issued ID card which correctly displays photo, signature, name, and DOB

  • You never received your green card but it was issued by the USCIS

Documents required: Government-issued ID card which correctly displays photo, signature, name, and DOB; Form I-797 (temporary-resident status); passport page with the stamp of I-551

  • Your name/personal information has legally changed and you need that to reflect on the green card

Documents required: Green card; legal documents like a marriage certificate, divorce papers, birth certificate, adoption papers, and other court-issued documents

  • You’re a commuter and travel from Mexico/Canada to the U.S. regularly

Documents required: Green card; employment evidence and statement of at least the past 6 months

  • You were a past commuter and now reside in the U.S.

Documents required: Green card; proof of U.S. residence; utility bills; and past employment details

  • Your immigration status was automatically converted to green cardholder

Documents required: ID cards showing your name, DOB, signature, and photo; evidence of temporary-resident status (Form I-797, Form I-700)

How to File Form I-90

There are two ways you can file Form I-90, either online using the USCIS web portal or offline by mail. The mode will, again, depend on your reason for the renewal.

Who May File Form I-90 Online

  • If your green card has expired or is nearing expiration
  • Your green card is lost, damaged, or stolen and the retrieval process was a failure
  • You have legally changed your name and personal information
  • You need an upgrade because your green card version is outdated or invalid
  • You’re a frequent business/work traveler to the U.S. and live in Mexico or Canada, thus classifying yourself as a commuter
  • Being a commuter, you now live in the U.S.
  • You’ve got your immigration status automatically converted to green cardholder under the SAW program, Section 210

Who Must File Form I-90 By Mail

  • You want to obtain a fee waiver
  • You haven’t received your green card yet, even though it was issued
  • There are typographical errors on your card
  • You already have a 10-year green card before you turned 14 and it won’t expire until you’re 16

How to Apply Online

  • Log into your account at the USCIS portal
  • Complete Form I-90
  • Upload all relevant documents
  • Sign the document electronically
  • Pay the fees online
  • Hit the submit button

How to Apply By Mail

  • Download the latest Form I-90
  • Fill out the form accordingly—remember to use the same ink color throughout the application
  • Write a check for the proper fees
  • Prepare all the relevant documents
  • Mail the application to the proper USCIS office

How to Fill Out Form I-90

While filling out Form I-90, either online or offline, make sure to follow the instructions outlined below.

Form I-90 Instructions

While a complete step-by-step tutorial is out of the scope of this article, the sections which you’re going to fill out are:

  • Part 1: Information About You
  • Part 2: Application Type
  • Part 3: Processing Information
  • Part 4: Accommodations for Individuals With Disabilities and/or Impairments
  • Parts 5–7: Applicant’s Statement, Contact Information, Certification, and Signature
  • Part 8: Additional Information

All the parts are self-explanatory and you just need to be cautious while filling out the form. However, give special focus to part 2 where you need to specify the reason for renewing your green card. Other sections and the documents required will depend upon the inputs in part 2.

Where to Mail the Completed Form I-90

If you’re mailing through the U.S. postal service:

P.O. Box 21262
Phoenix, AZ 85036

If you’re using DHL or other courier services:

Attention: I-90
1820 E. Skyharbor, Circle S, Floor 1
Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85034

What Happens After Filing Form I-90

After filing the application, it will go through a verification phase. You’ll receive updates on various stages of the processing which includes:

  • A confirmation update stating that the application has been accepted
  • An update about scheduling a biometric verification appointment
  • An update requesting any additional documents
  • Finally, a decision update on whether the application was approved or denied

Form I-90 Processing Time

The processing time usually takes somewhere between 45 days to a year depending upon the situation, application volume, and location. For replacements, it is between 5 and 13 months.

Form I-90 Cost

There’s a filing fee of $455 and the biometric verification fee of $85. So the total fees for filing Form I-90 stand at $540. However, you don’t have to pay any fees if there’s a mistake made by the USCIS like incorrect information printed on the card or if you’ve not received it yet. You only pay the biometric verification fee if you’re turning 14 and you already have a green card. Waivers are available if you can provide proof that you’re financially unable to do so.

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Replacing or renewing your green card comes with peace of mind. While you can do all of this yourself, it’s best to find some legal help, especially in cases where you’re asking for a waiver.

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