How To Obtain Green Card Renewal
Renewing your green card is an important process, and because most green cards expire after ten years, it’s something you’ll likely need to do more than once unless you decide to pursue citizenship. This guide explains the steps necessary for a successful renewal, including what you need to do before and after submitting your application.
Who Needs to Renew a Green Card?
Not everyone needs to renew their green card. In fact, your lawful permanent resident status in the U.S. never expires after it’s been granted – so you only need to renew your green card every ten years if you need it for employment purposes, travel or something else.
Sometimes employers require their employees to have a valid green card, even if they don’t plan on leaving the country. If you’re not sure whether or not you need to renew your green card, it’s best to check with your employer or an immigration attorney.
When to Renew Your Green Card
You should start the process of renewing your green card about six months before it expires. This will give you plenty of time to gather the necessary documents and ensure that your application is complete.
If you wait until your green card expires, you may not be able to work in the United States or travel outside of the country – so it’s important to start the renewal process as soon as possible.
How to Renew Your Green Card
The process of renewing your green card is similar to the process of applying for a green card in the first place. You’ll need to fill out and submit an application, as well as provide evidence of your identity, residency and employment status.
You can find the renewal application (Form I-90) on the USCIS website. Once you’ve filled it out, you’ll need to submit it along with the required fee and any supporting documents.
Filling Out and Filing Form I-90
Many people prefer to have an attorney fill out and file Form I-90 for them. That takes the guesswork out of the green card renewal process.
A Word on Renewing, Replacing or Correcting a Green Card
You’ll need different types of supporting documentation if you’re doing anything other than simply renewing an expired (or about-to-expire) green card. For example, for a standard renewal, you simply need to provide a copy of your current green card. However, if you’re applying for
- a replacement because yours was lost, stolen or damaged, you need a copy of your current card, passport, driver’s license or other government-issued identification.
- a correction to fix an error, you need to provide a copy of the original, plus a copy of your birth or marriage certificate (or other documentation).
- a name change, you need a copy of your birth certificate, marriage certificate or court order that shows your legal name.
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How Long Does it Take to Renew a Green Card?
The process of renewing your green card can take anywhere from a few months to a year. The best way to avoid delays is to make sure that your application is complete and that you’ve included all of the required documentation.
How Much Does it Cost to Renew a Green Card?
The fee for renewing a green card is $455. If you’re also applying for a name change or correction, there’s an additional $85 fee.
After You Renew Your Green Card
Once your green card has been renewed, you’ll receive a new copy in the mail. If you travel outside of the country, you’ll need to present your new green card when you return.
It’s important to keep your green card up-to-date and renew it every ten years – so that you can continue to work and travel freely.
Do You Need a Lawyer to Help You Renew Your Green Card?
Many people find that it’s helpful to work with an attorney when renewing their green card. An attorney can help you gather the necessary documents and make sure that your application is complete.
Is it Hard to Renew a Green Card?
The process of renewing a green card is pretty easy when compared to applying for an initial green card. However, it’s even easier if you have an attorney fill out and file your forms for you.
Can You Renew a Conditional Green Card?
You may not renew a conditional green card. The only thing you can do with a conditional green card is remove the conditions from it. After you remove the conditions, you receive a permanent green card that’s valid for ten years.
Removing Conditions From a Green Card
If you have a conditional green card, you’ll need to remove the conditions from it before it expires. You’ll need to fill out and file an application (Form I-751), as well as provide evidence that you held up your end of the deal with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Typically, that means you’re still married to the same person who petitioned for your conditional green card on your behalf.
After you file your paperwork with USCIS, you may have to attend an interview. Once you’ve completed the process, you’ll receive a new green card that’s valid for ten years.
What if I Can’t Renew My Green Card?
If you can’t renew your green card, you may be eligible to apply for a new one. However, the process is different than renewing an expired green card. You’ll need to fill out and file a new application (Form I-485), as well as provide evidence that you’re still eligible for a green card.
You may also be asked to attend an interview. Once you’ve completed the process, you’ll receive a new green card that’s valid for ten years.
Why Do You Need to Renew Your Green Card for Employment Purposes?
According to the Immigration and Nationality Act, employers must verify that all employees have a legal right to work in the United States. One way to do that is to ask for a green card. If your green card has expired, your employer may not be able to verify your employment status.
Why Do You Need to Renew Your Green Card for Travel Purposes?
If you have an expired green card, you may not be able to return to the United States after traveling outside of the country. That’s because the green card is proof of your legal status in the United States.
If you’re planning to travel outside of the United States over the time your green card expires, you should renew it before you go. That way, you can avoid any delays or complications when you try to return to the country.
Immigration officials will use your green card to identify you when you return to the U.S., so if the picture is outdated or no longer looks like you, it’s time to renew.
Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Renewing Your Green Card?
If it’s time to renew your green card, we may be able to help you. Call our office to schedule a free consultation now – we’ll answer your questions and start working hard to renew your green card so you don’t have to worry about a thing.