Permanent resident card. Illustration.
Shelle-Ann Simon

Shelle-Ann Simon

Permanent Resident card renewal: Helpful tips for immigrants

If your Green Card is expiring soon, here are some helpful tips to begin the process for a succesful Permanent Resident card renewal.

A Green Card or Permanent Resident card is an essential document for immigrants living and working in the United States. However, since it is not something that is used every day, it is easy for its expiration to go unnoticed.

Although a person does not lose permanent resident status when their Green Card expires, it is important to keep documentation up to date to avoid future problems. Having an expired Green Card can bring all sorts of problems since US law requires that all permanent residents carry valid and current proof of their legal status.

Also, failing to renew your Green Card can make it difficult to travel internationally or prove your eligibility to work in the United States. Permanent residents with an expired card (or one that expires within six months), should generally submit a renewal application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as soon as possible.

In this article, we will answer some of the most frequently asked questions and answers regarding the Permanent Resident card renewal process.

When should I apply to renew my Green Card?

Most US Green Cards expire every ten years. It is best to file Form I-90 for Green Card renewal 6 months before the expiration date of your card. If that date has passed, you will not lose your permanent residence but we recommend that you apply for renewal as soon as possible. But you don’t have to rush too fast either. If you try to renew it six months prior to expiration USCIS may reject your application and return it to you by mail.

Some older Green Cards do not have an expiration date. At the moment, USCIS does not require renewal of those cards as long as the number “I-551” is written in small print in the corner of the card. Instead, if your card has “I-151” printed on it, it is no longer valid. But even a valid but old card can get you in trouble if it’s damaged or the photo is out of date and it’s hard to tell it’s you.

What is the admission class for permanent residents?

Admission class is the immigrant visa category that was used to admit an immigrant to the United States as a permanent resident or conditional permanent resident. Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, (Part 1, Question 14) asks you to indicate your class of admission.

Most people can find it on the front of the Green Card. However, different versions of the Green Card put the information in different places. Also, the date of admission refers to the date you were granted permanent resident or conditional permanent resident status.

Be careful: the date of admission is not necessarily the same date you physically entered the United States. Use the “Resident since” date on your residence card instead.

How do I determine the location where I applied for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status?

If you applied for an immigrant visa, the applicable location is the United States Embassy or Consulate where you originally obtained your visa. If you filed an Application to Adjust Status (Form I-485) because you were already in the United States, you will need to rely on the location of the USCIS office where you filed the application.

Can conditional permanent residents use Form I-90 to renew their permanent resident card?

No, conditional permanent residents should not use Form I-90 to renew their Green Card. They should only use Form I-90 to replace a Green Card for reasons such as loss, theft, damage, biographical information change, or USCIS data error. The form should not be used by conditional permanent residents who want to renew their status or remove the conditions on their residence.

There are two possibilities for conditional permanent residents with expiring Green Cards:

  • Form I-751: If you became a conditional permanent resident by marriage to a U.S. citizen and your conditional status expires in the next 90 days, you generally must file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence.
  • Form I-829: If you became a conditional resident based on financial investment in a US business, you generally must file Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions.
Permanent resident card. Illustration.
Permanent Resident card renewal: Helpful tips for immigrants 2

How long does it take for the new Permanent Resident card to arrive?

Once you have successfully filed Form I-90, it may take 10-12 months to receive your new Green Card, but it could take longer. You can track the status of your application on the Form I-90 Processing Timeline.

Is there any way to avoid the cost of Green Card renewal?

Yes. If you have already been a permanent resident for five years (or a permanent resident married to a US citizen for the past three years), you may be eligible for US citizenship. As a citizen, you will never have to pay for Green Card renewal again plus you will get all the benefits of becoming a citizen. You can check with USCIS if you are eligible to apply for citizenship through naturalization with Form N-400, Application for Naturalization.

If you are in need of immigration legal advice, do not hesitate to contact us! At the Law Office of Shelle-Ann Simon we have wide experience in immigration proceedings, family law, and personal injury and have successfully defended our clients for over 10 years. Contact us through our website or give us a call at 281-606-5362!

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