Green Card Experts

Search

Login

Menu

How do I renew or change my Green Card?

Your physical Green Card has a validity of 10 years. You must have it with you at all times as it proves that you are a lawful permanent resident. We will explain what to do when the validity of your Permanent Resident Card is about to expire or has already lost its validity.

Why do I need to renew my Green Card?

Your Green Card is proof that you have permission to live and work in the USA permanently. Also, when you are traveling abroad, the Green Card will be the document that gets you back into the country. Therefore, you have to carry a valid Green Card with you everywhere you go. US laws state that you must be able to show your valid Permanent Resident Card at all times.

In which cases do I need to renew my Green Card?

There are numerous circumstances under which you will need to renew your Green Card. For example, if:

  • Your Green Card is an old version (Form I-151, AR-3, or AR-103 Alien Registration Receipt Cards) and does not have an expiration date.
  • The expiration date of your Green Card is in the next six months.
  • Your Green Card has already expired.
  • You lost your Green Card.
  • You received the Green Card before your 14th birthday and now turn 14 (unless it expires before you turn 16).
  • There are mistakes on your Green Card.
  • You have changed your name or sex after receiving your current Green Card.

When will my Green Card expire?

To identify the status of your Green Card, please take a look at it. If you have a current Green Card with a validity of ten years, you should see two dates at the bottom:

  1. Card Expires: This is the expiration date.
  2. Resident Since: This is the date of issue.

Graphic Showing the expiration and issue dates of a Green Card

If there’s no expiration date on your Green Card, you have an old version that needs to be replaced immediately.

Am I eligible for a Green Card renewal?

You are eligible to renew your Green Card if:

  • You are a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), and your Green Card

- is about to expire within six months, or

- already has expired, or

- was lost, damaged, or stolen, or

- was meant to be sent to you by the officials but never arrived, or

- has a conditional status that has to be removed, or

- contains wrong information, and

  • You have not committed a crime that makes you deportable
  • You paid your taxes
  • You have not stayed abroad for more than 12 months

When to renew a Green Card inside the USA

If you are in the US, you should start the Green Card renewal process six months before the expiration date. In case your Green Card has already expired, you need to file for renewal immediately.

Note: If you plan to travel abroad, you need to start the renewal process in time, because you must present your valid Green Card to get back into the country.

The Green Card renewal process

The procedure of a Green Card renewal varies depending on the reason for the replacement. There are three different types of Green Card renewals:

If your Green Card of 10 years validity is expiring, you need to file Form I-90 with USCIS to replace your Permanent Resident Card.

Filing I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (Green Card)
How to file: Online or on paper
via U.S. Postal
Service (USPS):
USCIS
P.O. Box 21262
Phoenix, AZ 85036
via FedEx, UPS,
and DHL deliveries:
USCIS
Attention: I-90 1820 E. Skyharbor, Circle S, Floor 1
Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85034
When to file: Six months before your Green Card expires or immediately if you have an already expired or invalid Green Card.

If your Green Card has a 2-year conditional status based on marriage, you need to file Form I-751 to remove the conditions on your residence.

Filing I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence
How to file: on paper
via U.S. Postal
Service (USPS):
USCIS
P.O. Box 21262
Phoenix, AZ 85036
via FedEx, UPS,
and DHL deliveries:
USCIS
Attention: I-751 1820 E. Skyharbor, Circle S, Floor 1
Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85034
When to file: At least 90 days before your conditional Permanent Resident Card expires

If your Green Card has a 2-year conditional status based on investment, you need to file Form I-829.

Filing I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status
How to file: on paper
via U.S. Postal
Service (USPS):
USCIS
P.O. Box 650889
Dallas, TX 75265-0889
via FedEx, UPS,
and DHL deliveries:
USCIS
Attn: I-829 2501 S. State Hwy. 121 Business
Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067
When to file: At least 90 days before your conditional Permanent Resident Card expires

The Green Card renewal process contains the following steps:

  1. You complete the applicable form (I-90, I-751 or I-829).
  2. You gather all requested supporting documents. When filing I-90 online, you can upload the supporting documentation and evidence on uscis.gov. When filing a paper form, include copies of the documents.
  3. You pay the requested fees.
  4. You submit your completed petition to USCIS.
  5. For the waiting time, USCIS sends you a so-called “Notice of Action”(Form I-797) to confirm the receipt of your application. This document proves that you are a Green Card Holder.
  6. In the Form I-797 letter, you will also find the 13-character “receipt number” that you can use to check the status of your renewal application in your USCIS online account.
  7. USCIS gives you a biometrics appointment where your fingerprints, signature, and photo are taken.
  8. You will receive your new Green Card after a waiting time of 4 to 12 months. Individual cases might take even longer.

What documents are needed for a Green Card renewal?

Apart from the applicable form (I-90, I-751, or I-829) that was completed and signed by you, additional documents will be needed for your Green Card replacement. As the requirements differ, follow the instructions in your petition. Here are some examples:

Document Details
Passport or equivalent If your previous card has been lost, stolen or destroyed, you will need to submit a copy of your Green Card or a government-issued form of ID like your passport, driver’s license or military ID.
Evidence for biographical data e.g., the evidence for a name change or a birth certificate
Evidence for issuance of a Green Card e.g., a copy of your latest Form I-797, Notice of Action that should have resulted in the issuance of your Permanent Resident Card that you never received
Copies of documents Unless the instructions by USCIS say that you have to provide original documents, always bring copies of all documents that are needed as supporting evidence in your case.
Translated documents When your evidence and supporting documents are written in a foreign language, you must have them translated by a certified translator.

How to renew a Green Card when outside the USA

If your Green Card expires while you are abroad, you first have to contact the US embassy or consulate and let them know that your card has expired. You will be informed about all special requirements for your case by US government officials.

When going through the renewal process abroad, you will also attend your biometrics appointment at the nearest US embassy or consulate.

If your Green Card is about to expire within the next six months, but you will return to the United States before the end of validity, you do not have to contact the US embassy or consulate. File for your Green Card renewal immediately after your return to the US.

How long does it take to renew a Green Card?

The processing times for Green Card renewals differ depending on the circumstances. Usually they should take between 4 and 6 months, but can even amount to 10 to 12 months. You can always check the current processing times using the website egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/.

How much does it cost to renew a Green Card?

In most cases, you pay $540 to renew your Green Card, which includes the $455 filing fee and the $85 biometrics services fee. However, the filing fees vary in some cases:

Type of renewal Form Filing Fee Biometrics Total costs
Standard replacement of a Green Card I-90 $455 $85 $540
Marriage-based Green Card: Remove Conditions I-751 $595 $85 $680
Investment-based Green Card: Remove Conditions I-829 $3,750 $85 $3,835
Green Card renewal within 30 days of turning 14 years when your current card will expire before your 16th birthday I-90 no fee $85 $85
Filing when your Green Card was issued but you never received it I-90 no fee not needed -
Filing when your current card has errors made by the Department of Homeland Security I-90 no fee not needed -

Disclaimer: This is not legal guidance. Procedures and fees are subject to change.

How do I pay the Green Card renewal fee?

When submitting your Form I-90 petition online, you will be able to pay online on pay.gov. In all other cases, you can choose between a money order, a check, or a credit card.

I can’t afford the fees for my Green Card renewal: What can I do?

If you cannot afford the filing fee, you might be able to obtain a fee waiver from USCIS. Therefore, you must prove that you are going through severe financial hardship.

A few things to keep in mind here:

  • If you are filing Form I-829 (Remove Conditions on investment-based Green Card) there is no fee waiver option. You can only request a fee waiver for I-90 (Standard replacement of a Green Card) or I-751 (Removing conditions for a marriage-based Green Card).
  • You can’t file your I-90 renewal petition online if you want to apply for a fee waiver. Use the paper form instead.
  • To get a fee waiver, use Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver and file it along with your petition for which you are requesting the waiver.
  • If USCIS approves your request for a fee waiver, you will be freed from both the filing fee and the biometric services fee.

For more details on fee waivers and how to get them, please read the instructions for fee waiver requests on the USCIS website.

What happens if I don’t renew my Green Card?

The validity of your Green Card has nothing to do with your status as a legal US resident. However, it is your responsibility to keep the information on your Green Card always up-to-date.

According to Section 264(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (I.N.A.), you can be fined up to $100 or go to jail for up to 30 days if you get caught without your Green Card. This could also cause problems for you when you want to apply for US citizenship later.

In most cases, taking up employment, opening a bank account, or getting a driver’s license is almost impossible without a valid Green Card. Also, an expired Green Card can hinder you from re-entering the United States after traveling abroad.

Why would a Green Card renewal be denied?

There are cases where the renewal of a Green Card does not get approved by USCIS. Some possible reasons are:

  • You committed a crime that makes you deportable.
  • You did not pay your taxes.
  • You stayed abroad for too long (more than 12 months).
  • You did not follow the instructions when filing the applicable form.
  • You filed the wrong form.
  • You lied on your application.

My Green Card renewal was denied: What now?

If USCIS denies your request for a Green Card renewal and you think their argumentation is not right, you may be eligible to file an appeal or a motion. You will receive a letter from USCIS explaining their decision. Use their exact words and correct the facts in detail to explain and describe where they are wrong and why.

Learn more on appeals and motions on the USCIS Website. In some cases, it is advisable to seek the assistance of an immigration attorney.

Is it better to renew my Green Card or to apply for US citizenship?

If you have to decide whether to apply and wait for Naturalization (becoming a US citizen) at once or renew your Green Card (instead of or before), ask yourself what you plan to do in the United States while potentially waiting for your US Citizenship to be approved.

Naturalization can take up to 20 months, and the fee is $725, while your Green Card renewal would add $540 or more to the bill. But the question is: Would you risk your Green Card to expire while waiting for US Citizenship just to save costs?

The reasons to go for a Green Card renewal before the Naturalization process can be:

  • Traveling: An expired Green Card will cause trouble when trying to re-enter the USA.
  • A home loan: Most mortgage lenders require a valid Green Card before they lend you money for a home.
  • Your driver’s license: The Department of Motor Vehicles requires a valid Green Card when you hold or want to obtain a US driver’s license.
  • Employment: Without a valid Green Card, it is difficult to prove your right to work.

Apart from that, there are many good reasons to immediately apply for US citizenship once you meet all the requirements:

  • Compared to the costs of repeated Green Card renewals, applying for US citizenship is a bargain.
  • USCIS fees are increasing on a regular basis.
  • As a US citizen, you have even more rights than a Green Card holder, e.g., the right to vote in the United States or the right to apply for federal employment.
  • Once you have citizenship, you won’t lose it.

And last but not least, after becoming a US citizen, you will never have to pay a USCIS fee again.

Green Card Check
Apply now
Sign up for the newsletter & enjoy benefits!
Get a 5€ voucher for the Green Card Lottery!
 

I would like to receive The American Dream newsletter. I have read the privacy policy.

Sources:

uscis.gov, usa.gov, uscode.house.gov, citizenpath.com, immigrationhelp.org, boundless.com