Renewing Your Green Card
When you are approved for lawful permanent residency in the U.S., it is something you can hold onto indefinitely provided that you comply with all related rules and regulations.
The “green card” is the document or card that a lawful permanent resident uses to evidence to an employer and various government organizations that they are in fact a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. The green card for a lawful permanent resident is valid for 10 years at a time.
Thus, when it is six months from the date of expiration, you will need to submit an application for renewal.
To renew your green card, complete Form I-90 with USCIS. There are three ways obtain the form:
- By request from your local USCIS office
- Through the USCIS website, on the I-90 page
- Through ELIS, a USCIS electronic filing system
Regardless of which channel you select for application renewal, you will still need to send in all relevant supporting documents through the mail. Among the necessary renewal documents will generally be a copy of your current green card.
As of November 2015, the fee to renew a green card via the Form I-90 is $540. This fee includes the form fee of $455 plus a biometrics fee of$85 that covers the necessary fingerprinting, photograph, and electronic signature.
Biometrics are captured during a USCIS appointment that usually takes place several weeks after application submission. The USCIS uses the information they obtain from the biometrics appointment to do a fingerprint check against the FBI database to ensure you haven’t engaged in any activity that would jeopardize your lawful permanent residency status.
Note: If you are a conditional lawful permanent resident, your status and green card expires in 2 years. As such, you must submit a petition, NOT Form I-90, to have that conditional lawful permanent residency status removed at least 90 days before your status is set to expire and, upon approval, converted to lawful permanent residency status where you will receive a 10-year green card.
- If you were granted conditional lawful permanent status because you applied for a green card through the EB-5 program, you must fill out a Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status – Form I-829.
- If your conditional lawful permanent residency status was gained through marriage to a U.S. citizen and your marriage was less than 2-years old at the time of approval, then you must fill out Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence – Form I-751.
It is very important to stay current and petition the USCIS to remove any conditional status in a timely fashion. Allowing a conditional green card to expire could place your permanent residency status in jeopardy. For access to the various forms, you can visit the USCIS website.