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Renew Your Green Card 

renewing a Green Card

How to Apply To Renew a Green Card  

If you have a Green Card you are a permanent resident of the U.S. (not a conditional resident), your position as a permanent resident does not terminate -- you are a green card holder for a lifetime (or until you do anything that triggers an immigration process that can take your residence rights away., such as staying out of the U.S. for a long time, or committing a law-breaking offense.

Nonetheless, the actual plastic green card that verifies your U.S. residence does expire every ten years, similar to a driver’s license. When your green card’s the date of expiration date is six months away, you should apply to renew it, otherwise you will no longer to travel in and out of the United States. If the expiration date has passed, file an application to renew your green card ASAP.

You renew the card by filing a Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card.

There is a fee for this application, which was $450 in February of 2014 (check the USCIS website for the up-to-date fees). You will receive a letter asking you to appear for a biometrics appointment at a USCIS Application Support Center (ASC) shortly after after presenting your renewal application.

Your fingerprints will be run through an FBI database. If you have committed any crime that could make you deportable from the U.S., you could be placed in removal proceedings and your right to live in the U.S.

Word to the wise: If you have committed any crime, see a lawyer before you request an extension of your Green Card or before you travel out of the U.S.

Note that Form I-90 is also the one you would use if your green card was lost, stolen, or destroyed before the expiration date. See " Replacing Lost or Stolen Green Card" for more on this topic.

Note: If you have a conditional residency card and your status is expiring, you cannot file Form I-90, instead you must use Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence, to apply to remove the conditions on your permanent resident status.

How to Renew a Green Card If You Are Outside the United States

If your green card will expire within 6 months (but you will return within 1 year of your departure from the United States and before the card expires are outside the United States and), you should file for your renewal card as soon as you return to the United States.

If you are outside of the United States and the card expires and you did not apply for the renewal card prior to your departure from the U.S., you have contact the nearest U.S. Consulate, USCIS office, or U.S. port of entry before filing Form I-90 for a renewal green card.

When to Renew a Green Card

You should renew your green card if you are a permanent resident with a Form I-551 valid for 10 years and the card is either expired or will expire within the next 6 months.

Alternative Solution: File for U.S. Citizenship

If you are eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship, you can file the citizenship application instead of renewing the green card. You can carry around an expired green card once you have filed the N-400 application for naturalization. If you need to travel outside the U.S. or change jobs or however, you will perhaps want to renew the green card.

For more information on the naturalization process, see the articles under "How to Become a U.S. Citizen."

What the Law Says

Section 264 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) states, "Every alien in the United States . . . shall be issued a certificate of alien registration or an alien registration receipt card in such form and manner and at such time as shall be prescribed under regulations . . .." It also says, "Every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to him . . .. Any alien who fails to comply with [these provisions] shall be guilty of a misdemeanor..." The specific requirements and procedures for applying to renew an expiring green card are contained in the Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] at 8 CFR section 264.5.


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