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Has Your Green Card Expired? Here’s How to Renew It

How to renew your green card if it has expired.

When you become a United States lawful permanent resident, you are issued an I-551 permanent resident card – your green card.  It has your name, your photograph, your Alien Number, your fingerprint and other identifying information on it.  Your green card is one of the most important documents that you will ever have.  It is proof that you are allowed to live and work in the United States.

Your green card is generally valid for ten years.  After that, the card expires and you must apply for a green card renewal.   Please note, just because your green card expired doesn’t mean that you are no longer a lawful permanent resident.  You will still be a lawful permanent resident after your green card expires, you just will not have any proof of your status.  Not only will you have a difficult time applying for a new job and travelling you will risk criminal penalties.  The law requires that all lawful permanent residents possess a valid green card.  If you do not have a valid green card, you are committing a misdemeanor which could result in a fine or imprisonment.   While your application to renew your green card is pending, you should keep proof that you timely filed for renewal with you.

When Should I File to Renew My Green Card?

As a general rule, you should apply to renew your green card six months prior to the time that it is set to expire.  If you file prior to six months before the expiration date of your green card, your application may be denied.  You should also file to replace your green card if your name or other information on your green card has changed since your card was issued.   Also, lawful permanent resident children who are turning age 14 must apply for a new green card.

How Do I File for Renewal if My Green Card Expired?

To apply for renewal of your green card, you must file   Form I-90 Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card with USCIS.  You may complete and file the I-90 form online or you may print it out and mail it to USCIS.  If you file online, you will create a USCIS online account and can complete the process using a computer, phone or tablet.  You will pay your filing fee electronically and you will upload necessary evidence.  Through your USCIS online account, you will receive online updates on your case and can communicate with USCIS. If you choose to file by mail, you will be able to pay your fees via check, money order or credit card.  You will mail your supporting documents with your application.

If you are filing Form I-90 because your green card is expiring, you need to provide a copy of the front and back of your current green card.   If your name has changed, you will also need to provide proof of your new name, such as certified copies of marriage certificate, divorce decree, adoption decree or other court-issued documents demonstrating your name change.

Between two and four weeks after USCIS receives your application, you should receive notice of your biometrics appointment.  At this appointment, USCIS will take your fingerprints and photographs.  You may be asked for additional supporting documents to complete your green card renewal.  There will not be an interview on Form I-90.  Your biometrics appointment is it.

Please note that you must be physically present in the United States to apply for a renewal of your green card.  You cannot be outside of the U.S. when your application is filed.

What if I Have Been Arrested Since My Green Card Was Issued?

What will happen if you apply to renew your green card and you have been convicted of a crime since your green card was issued? When USCIS takes your biometrics, your fingerprints and information will be sent to the FBI for a full background check. If you have had criminal charges since your green card was issued, it could have  serious repercussions. Depending upon the circumstances, you may be put in Removal proceedings and be at risk of deportation. Not every arrest or criminal conviction would subject a lawful permanent resident to removal.  If you have had criminal issues since you originally obtained your green card, you should consult with a Clearwater immigration attorney before filing to renew your green card.

Is There a Way to Expedite Renewal?

It is currently taking between 11 and 13 months for USCIS to make a decision on your I-90 form.  You can check processing times on the USCIS website.  It is possible, but highly uncommon, for USCIS to expedite processing of a green card renewal application.   You must first file your I-90 form prior to asking for expedited processing.  Requests to expedite are decided on a case by case basis and USCIS has complete discretion.  Reasons why USCIS might expedite a case include: an emergency situation, severe financial loss to a person or a company, urgent humanitarian reasons, USCIS error or compelling U.S. government interest.  Obviously, this is a narrow list and the evidence that you present with your request to expedite will make all of the difference.  If you are confused as to which documents you should submit, an immigration lawyer in Clearwater can help you.

 

Conditional Permanent Residents Cannot Renew

Conditional permanent residents receive green cards for two years, not ten years.  Conditional Permanent Residents cannot file an I-90 form to renew their green cards.  Instead,  they must file either Form I-751 Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence or Form I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions On Permanent Resident Status.  The only time that a conditional permanent resident would file Form I-90 would be if their green card was lost, damaged or stolen.

If Your Green Card Expired, Contact Julie Beth Jouben P.A. for Information related to Green Card Renewal

At the immigration law firm of Julie Beth Jouben, P.A., we can help you with questions you have about filing to renew your green card.  Call Julie Beth Jouben, P.A., a green card attorney in Clearwater, Florida at 727-449-9929 and get the answers you need.  We can give you the information that you need to make informed decisions.

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