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Your Guide to Renewing a Green Card in the US
Immigration matters are complicated, and if you need assistance renewing a Green Card in the US., professionals from the Do Law Office can help. Call us today!
What Is a Green Card?
A valid green card, also called a permanent resident card, is proof of your lawful permanent resident status in the United States. They are issued by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) depending on the applicant’s eligibility for any of the different Green Card categories.
Having a green card guarantees that you are eligible to work and live in the United States permanently or as long as the green card remains valid.
Green cards often have an expiration date. Most are valid for ten years, and conditional green cards are valid for two. If you’re a lawful permanent resident, it is crucial to keep your green card up-to-date and renew it before it expires. You can get started from your USCIS online account by submitting the application with the required documents and filing fee to renew a green card.
Although an expired green card doesn’t necessarily mean that you cease to be a US permanent resident, it may complicate your travel status in and out of the United States. Also, it may affect your ability to find work in the US, which could make life difficult for you.
If you’re having issues renewing your green card, the information provided here can offer some clarity on the green card renewal process. Your trusted green card lawyer at Do Law Office may also be able to help.
When Do You Need to Renew Your Green Card?
USCIS requires you to renew or replace your green card in the following circumstances;
For Lawful Permanent Residents
If you’re a lawful permanent resident, you’re required to renew or replace your green card in several circumstances, including if;
It has expired or will expire within six months
The previous card has been lost, destroyed, or mutilated
Your green card was issued before you turned 14 and will expire when you turn 16
You obtained the green card as a commuter and then decided to take up actual residence in the US
If you possess any of the previous green card versions that are no longer valid
If your green card has inaccurate information
When you legally change your name or other profile data since you last received your card.
For Conditional Permanent Residents
You are required to replace or renew your conditional green card in several circumstances, including the following;
You either lost, destroyed, or mutilated your previous card
Your card has incorrect data
You never got to receive the previous card that was issued to you
You have changed your name or any other bio-data.
How to Renew Your Green Card
To renew your green card, you need to begin the application process by filing Form I-90- Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. You can file the form online by creating a USCIS account or by mail.
You’ll also need to pay the prescribed green card renewal fee as determined by the Department of Homeland Security.
USCIS may also require that you provide certain documents to support your green card renewal application, depending on your reason for renewal or replacement. They include the following;
A copy of the expired green card
Evidence of employment
Copy of your alien registration card
Proof of your correct biographical data.
Common Mistakes to Avoid During Green Card Renewal
There are some mistakes often made by the green card holder resulting in several complexities in the matter. Some of them are
- Forgetting to renew on time: A common mistake is forgetting the due date of green card renewal. The process takes several months, and if you let your green card expire, you could face the consequences, such as losing your legal status.
- Mistakes in the renewal application: The Form I-90 application can be complex and confusing, and many people make mistakes in it. These mistakes delay the process.
- Unavailability of the required documents: USCIS requires specific documentation when renewing your green card. This includes a copy of your expiring green card, a government-issued identification, and any legal name change documents.
- No disclosing criminal history: It is crucial to disclose any of your criminal histories on your renewal application. Failure to provide such information can result in your application being denied or lead to severe consequences.
- Missing your biometric appointments: As a part of the renewal process, you will be required to attend a biometrics appointment to provide fingerprints, photos, and signatures. Missing this appointment can delay the application process.
How Long Does It Take to Renew Green Cards in the United States?
The processing time for a green card renewal varies with each application but could take months generally. Nevertheless, you can begin to monitor the progress of your application within 72 hours after filing.
If your card has already expired, do not fret. Once you file your application to renew your green card, you can use the receipt notice you’ll receive from the USCIS and your expired green card as proof of your immigration status.
Also, as of September 2022, the USCIS automatically extended the validity of expired green cards to 24 months for lawful permanent residents who had filed Form I-9o. To support this policy, the USCIS will send you an amended receipt notice if your green card renewal application is pending, and you already received a receipt notice before the policy began.
On every occasion where you’re required to present your green card, you can validly present your amended receipt notice once you receive it and your expired green card. With this, you can show that you’re authorized to work and travel outside the US for up to 24 months after the date of your card’s expiration.
Do I Have To Be in the US To Renew My Green Card?
You need to be physically present in the US to renew your green card, as the USCIS does not permit renewals from outside the United States. However, if your green card expires while you’re abroad, there are options to explore that allow you to return to the country with your expired green card and then apply for a renewal. You can contact your immigration lawyer for help if this is your situation.
How Can an Immigration Attorney Help With Green Card Renewal?
Green card renewals, like other immigration processes, are based on the application of US immigration law. So if you intend to renew your card, you would likely benefit from the assistance of an immigration lawyer.
Your attorney can help you navigate the renewal process and ensure that your application and supporting documents meet all the USCIS requirements. This way, the chances of your application being denied for non-compliance are reduced.
Also, if you’ve been a lawful permanent resident for up to five years, you might be eligible for citizenship by naturalization. In that case, before renewing your green card, your lawyer can assess your case to determine your qualification for citizenship. If you qualify, you can proceed to apply for citizenship instead of renewing your green card. This allows you to save valuable time, and you can begin to reap the benefits of US citizenship much sooner.
For further questions about green card renewals and other immigration processes, consider talking to an attorney from Do Law Office. Our experienced Vietnamese immigration lawyers can answer your questions and help you resolve your immigration issues. Contact us as soon as possible to get started.
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