Many permanent residents assume a green card guarantees their future in the United States. This is not always the case.
TL:DR A green card renewal can be rejected for a host of reasons, including
- Errors in filing paperwork.
- Committing a crime
- Lying on the renewal application
- You have been deported
It’s vital to be aware of the potential pitfalls or you might find yourself on a flight back to your home country. Even permanent residents can be deported.
Permanent residents must renew their green cards every 10 years under the terms of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Although the process is more straightforward than obtaining a green card in the first place, increasing numbers of renewals are being rejected.
Statistics from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) found the number of green card renewals being denied rose from just over 30,000 a year in 2016-2017 to 103,000 plus in 2018-19.
Although a green card renewal can be rejected, your chances of receiving another card are considerably higher than during your initial application when family-based applicants face an interview with an official.
Reasons Why a Green Card Renewal Can be Rejected?
1. Basic errors on the application form
One of the most common reasons for denial is the applicant incorrectly filed Form I-90 to apply for green card renewal.
USCIS states it processes more than 9.5 million applications for its services every year. It rejects about 11% of submissions it receives. That’s over a million applications a year. USCIS says the most common reason for denial is when applicants fail to submit the correct fees. Applicants habitually provide incorrect information or fail to sign documents. (If you struggle with these complicated applications, you should consider hiring a green card renewal lawyer.) Every year we help many clients to renew and replace permanent resident cards.
Form I-90 will also be denied if you used the wrong form. Sometimes conditional permanent residents file I-90 to remove conditions from their green card when they should be using Form I-751.
2. Committing a crime
Some crimes are deportable offenses. Non-citizens found guilty of felonies such as human trafficking or serious drug crimes often face deportation proceedings. More commonly, permanent residents with a criminal record get an unpleasant shock when they try to renew their green cards.
Even if your crime was a misdemeanor, you could have your renewal denied and be sent home. If you committed a crime of “moral turpitude” since receiving your last green card, your permanent residence status will be on the line. However, crimes of “moral turpitude” are poorly defined under immigration law. The State Department lists fraud, larceny, or the intent to harm persons or things, and most crimes against property. It also lists offenses that demonstrate “inherently evil intent” including arson, blackmail, forgery, malicious destruction of property, robbery, joyriding, juvenile delinquency, and many other offenses.
Crimes without moral turpitude include breach of the peace, disorderly conduct, carrying a concealed weapon, and desertion from the armed services.
The problem with this list is people who have committed relatively minor misdemeanors such as shoplifting, often at an early age, can face green card renewal rejection and deportation. Don’t try to interpret these complicated federal statutes on your own. Talk to an immigration lawyer for help.
3. Lying on Your I-90 Renewal Application
Knowingly submitting incorrect information on your I-90 is a sure way to get your application denied. USCIS has plenty of information about you on file. When you attend your biometrics appointment, USCIS will ask you to confirm, under the penalty of perjury, that all the information you provided was correct. If anyone else helped you with the application such as a lawyer or a friend, you should give their name.
4. You Were Ordered Removed from the Country
Your green card renewal will be rejected if you were the subject of a deportation order. Any non-citizen may be deported from the United States. Most commonly, green card holders are removed for committing serious criminal offenses or violations of immigration law. Aggravated felonies such as drug trafficking, rape, sexual abuse against minors, and perjury can lead to removal proceedings for non-citizens. Green card holders who have committed crimes of this nature may be banned from re-entering the United States if they travel.
The attorneys at Gardner & Mendoza know the potentially serious implications of the rejection of green card renewal. We have saved clients from simple paperwork errors that would have led to rejection. We have worked with people who feared a criminal record would jeopardize their status as permanent residents. Please contact our Virginia Beach immigration team for a consultation at (757) 464-9224.
Back to Green Card Renewal >