Non-immigrants are allowed into the U.S. for a given time period and a limited purpose, depending on the type of non-immigrant visa they were issued. Immigrants are allowed to be in the country for an unlimited time and can take part in any legal activity.
An immigrant who has entered the U.S. is issued an Alien Registration Card, or Green Card. The Green Card is documentation that the immigrant has been granted permanent residency in the U.S. A person who has been issued a Green Card is called a Lawful Permanent Resident. A Green Card allows a person to live and work in the U.S. without any time restrictions.
There are many different options for applying for a Green Card from inside the U.S. or from another country. No matter which method is used to get a Green Card, the end result is the same. Lawful Permanent Residents are entitled to live in the U.S. for an unlimited time, work in any job that they are qualified for, study at any school that accepts them and visit any part of the U.S.
Once a Green Card has been issued, Lawful Permanent Residents do not need to do anything else to extend their status in the U.S. However, Lawful Permanent Residents are required to maintain documentation of their legal status in the U.S. A green card holder’s status never expires unless the person voluntarily gives up permanent residency or acts in way that is contrary to the purpose of the Green Card.
Current Green Cards are valid for a period of 10 years. Even though a Green Card has an expiration date, the Permanent Resident status of the person never expires. The Green Card itself is simply official documentation of the status, much like an identification card. Regardless of whether the card is valid or expired, the status of the person remains the same. However, a green card needs to be renewed regularly. Generally, an application for green card renewal, Form I-90, has to be filed when there are 6 months or less remaining for the card to expire.
Some Green Card applicants are granted permanent residency on a conditional basis. Conditional Green Cards, which are issued to certain applicants who applied for permanent residence based on marriage to a U.S. citizen or through entrepreneurial investment, are only valid for 2 years.
Conditional Residents cannot renew their Green Cards. They must first apply to remove the conditions on residency. An application to remove the conditions on residency, Form I-751, must be filed within the 90 day period before the Conditional Green Card expires.
The Green Card Renewal Process:
Whether a Lawful Permanent Resident is seeking to replace or renew Green Card, Form I-90 must be submitted to USCIS. The same application form, Form I-90 is used for both Green Card renewal and replacement.
You can renew green card online. Once you renew green card online, you will receive an Application Receipt Notice with a 13-character Application Receipt number. You can monitor/check the progress of your application with this receipt number.
You will be notified about the dates for fingerprinting and then about your interview date with instructions related to the supporting documents you need to bring. The whole green card renewal process approximately will take three months.