Your green card is a vital document that lets you live and work in the United States. As a first-timer, it is essential to know the details of the green card renewal process. This article will guide you through the process of renewing your green card.
What is a Green Card?
A Green Card, officially known as the Permanent Resident Card, is an important document that allows you to live and work in the United States.
As of 2019, there are over 13.9 million green card holders in the United States. Each year, over a million people receive a green card, a vital requirement for U.S. citizenship application.
Individuals may apply for a Green Card under different eligible categories:
- Green Card through Family
- Green Card through Employment
- Green Card as a Special Immigrant
- Green Card through Refugee or Asylee Status
- Green Card for Human Trafficking and Crime Victims
- Green Card for Victims of Abuse
- Green Card through Other Categories
- Green Card through Registry
How Long is a Green Card Valid?
The validity of your green card is up to ten years upon issuance. If you are holding a conditional green card, you have to renew it after two years before in order to gain a 10-year validity card.
When to Renew Green Card?
You need to apply for renewal of your green card before your document expires.
You may start with the process of green card renewal six months before the expiration date by filing the appropriate USCIS application.
Applying too early, like 1-2 years before the expiration date, may be subject to denial by USCIS.
If you are outside the United States, there are options to renew your green card depending on your situation.
Remember to check the expiration date before traveling abroad to give you more time to meet the green card renewal requirements.
If your permanent resident card expires while you are outside the US, you may experience a problem with re-entering the United States, applying for a new job, or applying for U.S. citizenship.
Where to Renew Green Card?
Renewal of green card should be done physically inside the United States in most cases. Wherever you are in the U.S., you can renew your green card by accessing the application form through the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov.
You need to download, fill out the form and send it online or by mail. You must physically attend a biometrics appointment to update your photo and information.
How to Renew Your Green Card?
The green card renewal application takes several weeks to complete followed by lengthy USCIS adjudication period. Follow these steps to learn how to renew your green card.
- Complete the Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card form or the USCIS Form I-90 and send it online or by mail.
- Wait for 1-3 weeks for the Notice of Action or Form 1-797C (Receipt Notice) from USCIS
- If there are errors on your application, you will receive another letter with the instructions for compliance or a request to send additional information.
- After USCIS confirms your application by issuing the 1-797C Receipt Notice, you will receive a notice for your biometric appointment.
- Go to your appointment to have your fingerprints and a new photo taken. USCIS will also conduct background checks utilizing your fingerprints.
- USCIS will proceed with the application process.
- Upon approval of the application, your new green card will be mailed to you.
Green Card Renewal Processing Time
How long does it take to renew green card? The process usually takes months to complete.
The first step to renewing your Green Card is to file Form 1-90. After this, you will receive a confirmation of your request by way of a receipt notice and the details for your biometrics appointment.
Issuance of Receipt Notice by USCIS
An initial reply from the USCIS confirming your request after 3 to 5 weeks will appear by mail or in your email or via text message. This notice is called a Notice of Action (Form 1-797C, Receipt Notice), which contains the unique receipt number as the tracking code for your USCIS application.
The processing period or adjudication for green card renewal depends on the application service center, caseload, and correct filing of forms.
Biometrics Appointment Notice
About 4-6 weeks after filing, you will receive another Form 1-797C requesting you to appear for your biometric services appointment.
The update includes the date, time, and location of the appointment, specifically at a local Application Support Center (ASC). The typical waiting time is 4 to 6 weeks from the filing date.
Actual Biometrics Appointment Date
The actual date for your biometrics is scheduled about three weeks after you receive your notice of the appointment.
Before going to the location, ensure you have bought all the required documents and follow the guidelines in the information.
Issuance of the New Green Card
After your appointment, USCIS will now process your green card renewal application. Receiving your new green card takes 9-12 months from filing.
How much does it cost to renew a green card?
If you apply to renew green card, the cost is $455. You need to pay an additional $85 if you are required to attend a biometric services appointment. Overall, you have to pay $540.
How to pay your green card renewal fee(s)
You can pay for your USA green card renewal in two easy ways:
- Online. Complete Form 1-90 and pay via pay.gov. You can use a credit card for the transaction.
- Mail. You can choose to pay by money order, personal check, or cashier’s check for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Another option is to complete a printed Form G-1450 and pay thru a credit card.
Can Green Card Fees Be Waived?
Your green card fees can be waived if you have financial constraints. You must prove it by filling out Form I-912 or the Request for Fee Waiver. If you are approved, filing and biometrics fees can be waived. However, this is very rare.
Documents Needed to Renew Your Green Card
Typically, the only required document for renewing a green card is a copy of the front and back of your soon-to-expire green card as well as two (2) passport sized photos. However, additional copies may be required depending on the renewal and categories.
Green Card Renewal Categories
- Green card is already expired or will expire in the next 6 months.
- You have a 10-year green card before age 14 and it will not expire before turning 16.
- Error done by the U.S Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
- With an old green card that is already invalid.
- Card was lost, stolen, or damaged: You will need your damaged green card and government-issued ID with your name, birthdate, photo, and signature.
- Green card was issued by USCIS but you never received the document: You will need a government-issued ID, Form I-797 (“Notice of Action”) or passport page with an I-551 stamp.
- Update in name or personal information: You will need your green card and legal document(s) with your new personal information
- A “commuter,” living in either Canada or Mexico but traveling to the US for work: You will need your green card and evidence of your employment within the past 6 months.
- A “commuter” and now lives in the US: You will need your green card and proof of U.S. residence.
- Immigration status was converted to green card holder: You will need your government-issued ID and evidence of temporary-resident status.
When you provide these documents, you can send photocopies instead of the original ones unless instructed.
How to Apply for a Green Card Renewal While Traveling Outside the U.S.
The USCIS does not allow green card renewal outside the U.S. The application for green card renewal can only be made inside the United States.
However, if you are in a situation where your green card expired while in another country, there are ways to return home and renew your card.
If you are traveling outside the United States but will return within one year after your departure and before your card expires, you can renew your green card as soon as you return. Your document is still valid through a U.S. port of entry until it reaches its expiration date.
Returning to the U.S. within one year or less is necessary. Otherwise, you will be declared to have abandoned your green card.
When you return, immediately file Form I-90 or the Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. You need to wait for a couple of weeks before going out of the country again as you need to attend the biometrics appointment physically.
What to Expect After Applying for Green Card Renewal?
After submitting your application to USCIS, you will receive a series of updates regarding your request via email or mail.
Receive an acceptance notification
A Notice of Action Form 1-797C, will be sent to you confirming your application for green card renewal. It will contain a unique code that you can use for tracking your application on the USCIS.gov website.
If the USCIS finds an error on your application, they will send you instructions on how to fix it. Likewise, USCIS will send a request by mail if they need additional documents for the green card renewal.
Receive a “biometrics” notification
You will receive a notification on your biometrics appointment. The details will contain the appointment’s date, time, and location.
How to check your green card renewal status?
Tracking your green card renewal application status is easy and convenient. Go to the Check Status page on the USCIS website and encode your receipt number. The number can be found in the
Notice of Action Form 1-797C, given to you by USCIS after you sent your application.
You may also allow the USCIS to send you a text message or email to notify you of your application status.
What to Do if Your Green Card Renewal Application Is Denied?
Applying for a green card for the first time is typically complicated. However, the process tends to be smooth and convenient if you are applying for a renewal of your green card.
But surprisingly, applications are still denied due to different reasons. Rejected green card renewal applications can be due to any of the following:
- You are removed. If the government issues your removal, your application will be rejected immediately, and you will face deportation.
- You are convicted of a crime. Being convicted of a crime greatly affects your green card renewal. Talk to an immigration lawyer to help you with your case.
- You filed the wrong renewal form. Filling out the wrong form is a common mistake. Green card holders must file Form I-90, while conditional green card holders should submit Form 1-751 or Form I-829.
- Your application was incomplete. The form you sent may have lacked your signature or an additional document. If you were not able to appear for your biometrics appointment or pay the filing fee, your application would also be denied.
While a denied green card may mean problems with your rights to permanent residency, some cases are usually due to mistakes made while filing the application form.
Try to review the documents before you mail them to USCIS. Also, make sure that you attend the appointment set by USCIS and pay the necessary fees with the renewal process.
Now, if you received a notice that your green card renewal application was denied, you cannot appeal the decision of the USCIS.
However, you can still take further action by filing a motion to reopen the case or reconsider your application.
- Motion to reopen the case. USCIS will need more information about your permanent residency, you need to provide them with these documents to support your claim.
- Motion to reconsider. A motion that suggests the USCIS decision is incorrect. You need to provide evidence that there is a faulty policy that led to the denial of your application.
Consult immigration law experts
If you are dealing with immigration matters such as a denied green card renewal application, you need an immigration law firm to help you through the process of filing a motion.
Book a consultation with Ibrahim Immigration today so we can help you get started with your concern.
Last updated on November 15, 2022