Renewing your Green Card
You have been approved for a Legal Permanent Resident Card or green card. While this is an exciting time and a moment to be proud of, the card does not last forever and will have to be renewed. When the initial card is issued, usually the card is valid for two (2) years if United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) placed conditions on your Permanent Resident status.
A permanent resident card typically is valid for ten (10) years. Prior to the card expiring, the permanent resident needs to file an Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, or Form I-90. USCIS recommends that this application be filed six (6) months before the current card expires. The reason USCIS urges the applicant to start early is because it typically takes 4 – 6 months to process and approve the application.
While renewing your permanent resident card six (6) months before it expires is recommended, it is still possible to renew your permanent resident card if the expiration date is within the six (6) month period or if the card is expired.
What it does mean is that there is a strong possibility that your new permanent resident card will not arrive before your current card expires. While having an expired green card does not mean you will lose your permanent resident status, not having a valid green card in your possession may cause issues with:
- Your employment;
- Obtaining/renewing your driver’s license;
- Purchasing a home; and,
- Re-entering the United States.
For those who are contemplating naturalization, if your permanent resident card has expired or there is less than six (6) months before it expires, you cannot apply for naturalization. You will have to renew your green card before applying for naturalization, which means more money out of your pocket.
Knowing when your green card expires is important to ensure you stay compliant with the law and to make the best decisions on your path to naturalization. Before deciding if renewing your legal permanent resident card is right for you, it is best to speak with a competent Immigration attorney.