If you hold a permanent resident card, it is important to remember that similar to a passport or a driver’s license, it requires renewal every ten years. This renewal does not affect the status of your citizenship, it’s simply a way to ensure that all your information is up to date and that the photo on your green card is recognizable. It is important to know how to renew the permanent resident card to make it a smooth process and to avoid any undue stress or confusion.
1. Don’t delay renewing your green card
It is important to initiate the renewal of your green card at least six months before its expiration. This allows enough time for your application to be processed by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and for your new green card to be issued to you. Holding an expired green card does not impact your citizenship, however, it does severely limit your options regarding travel and employment. Furthermore, an expired green card is not accepted as a valid form of identification.
If you are not going to be in the United States during this six-month timeframe, you should start your application sooner to guarantee that it is processed in time.
2. Don’t panic if you have lost your current green card
Given their ten-year lifespan, it is not uncommon for people to have lost or damaged their green cards. Without your current green card, you will need to provide additional documentation to the USCIS to be issued a new card. Again, it is important to remember that not having a copy of your green card does not impact your citizenship, it just means that you cannot prove your right to work within or travel outside of the United States.
3. Avoid administrative errors
It is rare for applications for the renewal of green cards to be rejected. Normally, this only occurs if the visa is discovered to have been fraudulent or the individual holding the green card has committed a serious crime. However, including incorrect information in your I-90 form can lead to the USCIS denying your request. Before submitting your application, it is important to check that the information you have provided is accurate and truthful.
4. Don’t forget the renewal fees
Renewing your permanent resident card currently costs approximately $540. This charge includes a biometric fee for your photograph, fingerprints, and signature, in addition to the cost of administrative procedures. The price of renewal is subject to change so it is important to stay up to date on any recent alterations, so you are prepared to pay the correct amount.
5. Don’t forget your options
If your current green card has expired but you need urgent proof of your right to work in the United States or to travel, there are still options available to you. You can apply to the USCIS for an Alien Documentation, Identification & Telecommunications stamp in your passport. This proves that you have permanent residence and its associated rights.
Renewing your green card does not have to be a stressful process. By allowing yourself enough time and remembering that your citizenship is not affected, you can relax as you await the arrival of your new, updated green card.