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How to Renew a Green Card
If your valid green card’s expiration date is drawing near, it’s best to get it renewed as soon as possible. But how long are green cards valid for? What’s the process for renewing an expired green card? And how long does it take?
The answers to these questions and more are in this article. Read on to learn everything you need to know about how long it takes to renew your green card and more!
Do Green Cards Have to be Renewed?
Yes, green cards do need to be renewed. Valid green cards are good for a period of 10 years. Before that period ends, the green card holder must apply for the green card to be renewed.
If you’re in the U.S. on a conditional green card, check out our guide to 2-Year Green Card Renewal.
Expired Green Cards
There are no penalties or fines for an expired green card. By law, a green card holder must carry a valid green card if he or she is 18 years of age or older and is a lawful permanent resident of the United States.
You can find your green card’s expiration date on the lower right part of your ID.
Carrying an expired card (or no card at all) will become a problem, eventually, though. An expired green card can impact your ability to travel, get a new job, renew a driver’s license, or perform other activities that require proof of permanent residence.
If a green card is not renewed before it expires, the holder’s immigration status does not change and the holder will not be deported. There is also no additional filing fee for renewing a green card after it expires. You will pay the same $455 renewal fee whether you renew your green card on time or after the expiration date.
How Often Do Green Cards Have to Be Renewed?
As mentioned above, standard green cards are valid for 10 years. You need to renew your green card every 10 years before it expires unless you apply for citizenship through naturalization. Generally, you want to apply to renew your green card about 10 to 12 months before it expires to provide enough time for the process to complete before your current valid green card expires.
Please note that if you file your Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card earlier than 12 months before the expiration date, Citizenship and Immigration Services will likely reject your application and will not refund your filing fee.
Applying for Citizenship Instead
If you have been a lawful permanent resident for at least 5 years, or you are a permanent resident married to a U.S. citizen for at least 3 years, it is possible that you could skip the renewal process and apply for citizenship directly.
Conditional Green Gard Renewal
Conditional permanent resident status is only valid for two years. Conditional green cards cannot be renewed, but rather you have to apply to have your conditions removed after two years.
How to Renew a Green Card
Renewing your green card is a 4-step process:
- Complete Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card
- Collect the required supporting documents
- Pay the $455 renewal filing fee
- Submit the completed application with the supporting documents
Green card renewal can be done by mail or through your USCIS online account. Green card renewals by mail can be paid for with a money order while online green card renewals can be paid for with a credit or debit card.
For a standard green card renewal, the only supporting document you will need is a copy of your current permanent resident card. Additionally, you may qualify for a green card renewal fee waiver.
Green Card Renewal Processing Time
Generally, it takes the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services about 10 to 12 months to process a green card renewal. Depending on the volume of applications that need to be processed, the processing time could be longer. Incomplete applications or applications with errors will also result in delays in the processing time.
Temporary Proof of Permanent Residency
Issues, such as those discussed above, may result in your new green card arriving after your current green card expires. To avoid this gap in your proof of permanent residency, you can apply for an I-551 stamp for your passport, which will serve as valid proof of your lawful permanent resident status until your new green card arrives.
Expedited Green Card Renewal Processing
At its own discretion, USCIS offers expedited processing of a green card renewal application. If an application is approved for expedited processing, standard processing times do not apply, the case can be processed much faster.
How to Check the Status of Your Renewal
It is possible to track the progress of your green card application. To check the status of your renewal application, follow these simple steps:
- Visit the USCIS case status page
- Enter your receipt number
Once you’ve submitted your receipt number, you will be able to see your entire application history. Unfortunately, the status of your application will not tell you how long you will wait to receive your new green card, but it will show you where in the process your application is.
You can also opt-in to receive text message updates or e-mail notifications when you submit your form so you don’t have to keep checking your case status.
What to Do if Your Geen Card is Denied
While it’s unlikely, there are a few reasons why your green card renewal might be denied. If your green card renewal is denied, you will receive a letter from the Immigration Services explaining the reason for the denial. If you believe that denial was made in error, there are steps you can take to correct the error:
- Submit a motion asking USCIS to reconsider the decision
- Seek the advice and assistance of professional legal counsel from a law firm
When submitting your appeal to USCIS, be sure to include any new information and facts that illustrate how the decision to deny your application was based on incorrect information or application of the law.
With legal help, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) can help connect you with a licensed immigration attorney or law firm near you. You can also seek low-cost, or even free, help from one of the U.S. Department of Justice’s accredited nonprofit organizations.
Replacing a Green Card
If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of having lost your physical green card, the replacement process is similar, but not quite the same as the renewal process. You will still have to complete Form I-90 and pay the filing fee (by mail or through your USCIS online account), but you will also be required to attend and pay for biometric screening, too.
Replacements by mail can be paid for with a money order while online replacements can be paid for with a credit or debit card.
For an in-depth breakdown of the green card replacement process, check out our guide to replacing a lost green card.
How to Renew a Green Card FAQ
Still have questions about the green card renewal process? Check out the Frequently Asked Questions below for more information!
How often should I renew my green card?
To find out when your green card expires, look at the front of your ID where it says “Card Expires.” If you have a 10-year permanent resident card that has expired, or that will expire within the next 10 to 10 months, you should immediately begin the green card renewal process by filing Form I-90.
If you’re a Conditional Permanent Resident (CPR), your green card will expire after 2 years. If you are a CPR, your card will have a “CR1” designation and you will need to file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, within 90 days before the expiration date.
Does a green card renewal require an interview?
Generally, an interview is not required after filing Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. Depending on certain factors, however, USCIS may request an in-person interview for the purposes of collecting biometric information and/or running a background check.
Conditional Permanent Residents nearing their 2-year limit will likely have to attend an interview after filing Form I-751 to have conditions removed from their green cards.
Will the background check include my criminal history?
If your green card renewal requires a biometrics appointment, USCIS will also perform a background check. That background check will almost certainly turn up any criminal records you might have. That said, not every criminal act will prevent you from being eligible for a green card.
The Immigration and Nationality Act outlines 3 crime-related reasons that could disqualify you from obtaining your updated permanent resident card:
- Specific criminal conviction: If you commit a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT) — a term that stretches back to the 1957 case, “In the Matter of K” — or violates laws, in the United States or abroad, related to controlled substances, this could be grounds for denial.
- Multiple criminal convictions: If you are convicted of 2 or more crimes that result in 5 or more years of imprisonment, then you may be denied.
- Controlled substance trafficking: If you are known to have taken part in illegal drug trafficking — whether as an accomplice or a direct perpetrator — your case may be denied. This is true even if you are the “spouse, son, or daughter” of a known trafficker.
There can be exceptions to these rules, though. If you committed a CIMT a) prior to the age of 18 and b) the crime occurred 5 years before the date of your visa application, you might still be eligible to receive your renewed permanent resident card. If you have concerns about how your criminal record might impact your green card renewal, you should seek professional legal advice from a lawyer or law firm.
How do you waive the green card renewal fee?
You can fill out Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, to apply to have your green card renewal fees waived. To have Fee Waiver, you must be able to show that your financial situation prevents you from making such a payment. To learn more about having your fee waived, check out our guide on Form I-912.
How do I renew my green card during COVID-19?
Because Form I-90 is submitted by mail or online, COVID-19-related restrictions should not impact your ability to renew your green card unless an interview is required. As of this writing, USCIS field offices are currently open with federal guidelines in place to help maintain a safe environment.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, you should not enter a USCIS field office if you have:
- Been diagnosed with COVID-19
- Any COVID-19-related symptoms (cough, difficulty breathing, etc.)
- Been exposed to COVID-19 within 10 days of your appointment
- Returned from a trip abroad within 10 days of your appointment
- Received instructions to self-quarantine
If you’re unable to attend for any of these reasons, you can call the USCIS contact center at 1-800-375-5283. If you do plan to attend a green card renewal interview, USCIS recommends that you do not arrive any more than 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment. It is also recommended that you bring your own black-ink pen to reduce the possibility of COVID-19 transmission.
Renewing a Green Card Next Steps
Renewing a green card isn’t a hard process, but it is one that you have to be diligent about. You need to make sure you file far enough in advance and keep track of your case status, or you could end up with a gap in your proof of permanent residency. But with the information above, you should be ready to start are complete the green card renewal process in no time.
- Can I Stay More Than 6 Months Outside the U.S. with a Green Card?
- Green Card Process Steps: EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 Visa
- SSN Update After Green Card
- How Long Does it Take for USCIS to Make a Decision After an Interview?
- Can You Be Deported if You are Married to an American Citizen?
- Which Countries Can You Visit With a Green Card?