The green card renewal process is typically routine but that does not mean it’s easy. The process has become increasingly lengthy and fraught with confusing paperwork, so it’s important to know the best way to renew a green card.
Permanent residents must renew their green cards every 10 years. Although a decade seems like a long time, it creeps up fast. You have likely been spending time building a career in the United States or even establishing a business. As local immigration lawyers, we know first-hand the pressures and challenges of forging a new life in an unfamiliar country. Partner Radlyn Mendoza is the daughter of hardworking Filipino immigrants who came to Virginia Beach and set up a grocery store.
You should not assume renewing your green card will be a formality. Pay attention to the fine print and call on a lawyer if you are unsure about the process.
Your green card provides your right to permanent residency in the United States. If it expires, you may face issues working or traveling. Under U.S. law, permanent residents must carry their cards with them all the time. You can face a host of problems including securing a job, a mortgage, or a driver’s license.
If you set up an online account with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you can file I-90 virtually and receive electronic case status alerts and secure messages. You can check the status of your case online. You can also file for your green card renewal by paper by sending your completed Form I-90, the filing fee, and documentation to the Arizona address provided on USCIS’s website.
You should also use Form I-90 if your current green card was stolen, lost, or damaged, or contains incorrect information. Make sure you select the correct reason for renewal out of 17 options on the form.
Renewal is usually an automatic process unless you have been convicted of a deportable crime in the decade since you received your last green card. Consult an immigration lawyer if you gained a criminal record since your last green card application.
Be sure to have the correct supporting documents. For green card renewal, you only have to provide a copy of your existing green card. You must also pay the requested filing fees – $540 which includes a $455 filing fee and $85 for biometrics.
Once you have filed for your green card renewal, you will face an (often lengthy) wait for a biometrics appointment. An official will take your fingerprints, photo, and signature. Ensure you keep this appointment to minimize additional delays.
When Should I File Form I-90 to Renew My Green Card?
Don’t wait until your green card’s expiration date to renew. You should file Form I-90 for green card renewal six months before the expiry date on your card.
Can You Renew Your Green Card While Outside the US?
Green card holders who are overseas should file I-90 as soon as they return to the United States. If your green card is due to expire while you are abroad, talk to officials at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate before you return to the United States. Be cautious about travel if your green card is set to expire.
Differences with a Two-Year Green Card
Form I-90 is not the best way to renew a two-year green card. Your application will be rejected. Although some holders of marriage-based conditional green cards get confused, It is not possible to renew a conditional green card. Instead, you must apply for the conditions on permanent residence to be removed. Submit the USCIS application I-751 to remove your conditions on residence. You must apply for the replacement of a conditional green card if it was lost, stolen, or destroyed. You will need a new conditional green card if it contains incorrect information or if you legally changed your name or other biographic information. You cannot submit Form I-90 and must instead file form I-751 or Form I-829 if you are an investor.
It is vital to file with your spouse within 90 days of the expiry of your two-year green card. Failure to file may result in USCIS terminating your status and issuing a notice for you to appear in court.
Once the conditions are removed, your conditional green card becomes a 10-year green card, giving you greater peace of mind and an avenue to U.S citizenship.
Although renewal of a green card should be a smooth process, applicants can and do make costly mistakes. The attorneys at Gardner & Mendoza can help you avoid pitfalls. Call us at (757) 464-9224.
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