Once you receive your Green Card, it is valid for 10 years; after 10 years, your Green Card will expire and you will need a new one.
Reasons to Renew Your Green Card
You need to apply for the renewal of your green card if:
- You have a valid green card that will expire in the next 6 months or has already expired.
- You have a permanent resident card that does not have an expiration date on it.
- Your card has been stolen, damaged, or lost.
- You received your green card before you turned 14, but it expired before you turned 16.
- There is an error on your green card; due to an error by USCIS, your name, date of birth, or other information may be incorrect.
- You have changed your name or other biometric information.
- You have commuter status in the U.S. – you live in Canada or Mexico and are a migrant worker in the U.S.
These situations do not apply to conditional permanent resident (CPR) holders; CPRs expire after two years, so you must apply for permanent residency or a green card 90 days before they expire. If your conditional green card has already expired or will expire within 90 days, it cannot be replaced or renewed.
When Should I Apply for a Green Card Renewal?
You must renew your green card within 6 months of its expiration date. On the other hand, if you lose your green card, you should apply for renewal immediately.
If you are outside the U.S. and your green card expires within six months, but you plan to return to the U.S. before it expires, you must renew it when you return to the U.S.
If you are outside the U.S. and your green card expires before you return, you must apply to renew your green card before you leave the U.S. or, if you are already abroad, contact the U.S. Consulate, USCIS, or a U.S. immigration office.
If there is no proof that you have applied for an extension, you will not be allowed to enter the U.S. with an expired green card.
How to Renew my Green Card?
There are two ways to apply to renew or replace your green card. You can either submit the application online or by mail in hard copy. Prior to 2015, USCIS processed mail and online applications separately. Since 2015, all applications are also submitted online. So, even if you apply by mail, USCIS will create an online account for you. This online account will show you the status of your application and any notifications sent to you by USCIS. Important notifications will also be sent to you by mail, so you may choose not to check your online account.
To renew your green card, you must follow four simple steps.
- Fill out the green card renewal form.
- Pay the green card renewal fee.
- Submit the required documents.
- Sign and submit the I-90 form.
Complete the Green Card renewal form
Form I-90 contains instructions on how to complete it. If you do not follow the instructions, USCIS will deny your application. For example, you must choose the correct reason for applying to renew your green card. 17 reasons are listed, and you must select the correct one. The reason you choose will determine what documentation you must submit.
Pay the Green Card renewal fees
The current green card renewal fee is $540. This fee is set by the USCIS and you must pay the specified green card renewal fee before you can submit your documents. The initial fee is $455 for the Form I-90 and the biometric service fee (if applicable) is $85.
You can pay these fees online with a valid Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover card. If you do not wish to pay online, you may pay by money order or check, but USCIS does not accept cash; a receipt will be issued after USCIS receives your payment.
Submit supporting and required documents
Once you have selected a reason for renewal, the instructions for Form I-90 list the documents you must submit.
Documents to submit for renewal
For renewals, you only need to submit a copy of your current green card.
Documents to submit for replacement
If you wish to have your green card reissued, you must submit the following documents.
- A copy of the stolen/damaged card.
- A copy of a valid government-issued ID, such as a passport, military ID, or driver’s license.
Documents to provide if USCIS made a mistake
If USCIS makes an error on your green card, you must include the following.
- An original copy of your green card
- A copy of your birth or marriage certificate with the correct information.
Documents to submit if you changed your personal information
Finally, if you have changed your name or other information, you must submit the following
- A court order of the decision.
- A copy of your new birth certificate or marriage certificate.
If you are updating or replacing for any other reason, see the instructions for Form I-90 for more information.
Sign Form I-90 and file it
Follow the instructions on the I-90 to complete your application. Be sure to sign the form, as applications submitted without a signature or in the wrong place will be returned or rejected by USCIS.
What to do After You File the Application?
After you apply to renew or replace your green card, the following will happen.
- You will receive a receipt in the mail indicating that USCIS has accepted your application. The same notice will also appear in your online account.
- USCIS will send you a request to provide your biometric information; USCIS will mail you a letter and also post it in your online account. You will receive this notification one to two weeks after USCIS receives your application. During the biometric enrollment process, you will provide your fingerprints, photograph, and signature. This confirms that the information in your application was truthful.
- If USCIS requires additional evidence, a Request for Evidence will be mailed to you. In this case, you must submit the requested documents online by the deadline specified by USCIS.
- Finally, USCIS will send you a notice of its decision, which will also be posted online.
How Long Does it Take to Renew a Green Card?
It can take 10 to 12 months to renew a green card. This is because USCIS always has many green card renewal or replacement applications pending. Therefore, you should apply to renew your green card several months before it expires to avoid staying in the U.S. with an expired green card.
How Long Does it Take to Replace a Green Card?
It takes 10 to 12 months to process a green card replacement.
What Are the Reasons for Denial of my Green Card Renewal or Replacement?
In some cases, USCIS may deny a green card renewal or replacement application. The most common reasons for this are.
- You committed a crime that would result in deportation.
- You lied on your application.
- The U.S. government has asked you to leave the U.S. before your card expires.
- You submitted the wrong documents or the wrong supporting documents.
What if USCIS Denies your Green Card Renewal Application?
If USCIS denies your application, you cannot appeal it. However, you can file a motion to reopen or a motion to reconsider your application. To file a motion to reopen, you must submit new facts or information that USCIS should consider in reopening your application. To file a motion to reconsider, there must be evidence that the decision was made because of an error in the application of immigration policy or law.
Can I Stay in the United States with an Expired Green Card?
Yes, you can stay in the U.S. with an expired green card. Also, there is no penalty for not renewing your green card. You do not have to pay additional fees if you start the renewal process less than 6 months before your green card expires or after it expires.
However, if you enter the U.S. with an expired green card, you cannot do any of the following things:
- Take a new job, as all employers in the U.S. require proof of permanent residency or citizenship.
- Obtain or maintain a professional license, such as a lawyer or doctor.
- Renew your driver’s license.
- Purchase a home on the same terms as a U.S. citizen.
- Re-enter the U.S. after traveling outside the U.S.
If you do not want to renew your green card, find out if you are eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship.