Permanent resident cards, commonly known as Green Cards, are issued by the USCIS to the foreign nationals who become permanent residents of America. This status, though is known as permanent resident status, is not a lifetime status. To remain in America as a permanent resident forever, a foreign national who holds a Green Card must maintain his status. He must not let his card to expire and must not abandon his status.
Permanent resident cards come with expiration dates and are valid only for a decade. Therefore, permanent residents must not forget about the renewal process. They need to remember to renew their cards every ten years. If you hold a Green Card and if your 10 year limit is coming up, you need to immediately apply for renewal. This process is relatively simple. You just need to file Form I-90 with the USCIS to go through this process.
Remember that you need to start the renewal process six months before your card expires. Don’t apply for renewal too early either. Permanent residents need not file paper forms to get their cards renewed, they can file Form I-90 online. This can be done even from your home, if you have a computer. You have two options to file this form – you can complete this form on your computer or file the paper Form I-90.
You need to fill out this form completely as incomplete forms will not be processed by the USCIS. Hence, it is better to complete the form online as the online form guide will help you to complete an error free form.
Green Card Renewal Cost
Currently, the fee for Green Card renewal is $540 and it is subject to change. This fee includes the form filing fee, $455 and the biometric services fee, $85. You may use American Express, Visa, Mastercard or Discover cards to pay the fee online. In case you file the paper form, you will have to send a money order or check along with you application. Remember that you must not send traveler’s checks or cash.
Application Receipt Notice
You will be issued an application receipt notice only after the USCIS receives the payment. If you file this form electronically, you will receive this receipt immediately after you file the form. The address to which you must send your supporting documents will be listed on this notice. If you submit the paper form, you will receive this notice within a week. In both the cases, USCIS will send you Form I-797C, or Notice of Action and this document will help you to prove that you have started the Green Card renewal process.
In certain cases, USCIS requires applicants to submit biometrics information and if required, you will be sent a biometrics appointment notice. See to it that you do not miss this appointment. Along with the appointment letter, you need to bring some other government issued photo identification document to the Application Support Center. There, your fingerprints will be taken and you will be photographed. This is likely to be the last step in the Green Card renewal process as the USCIS issues Green Cards to applicants after their biometrics appointment.
You will have to wait for few more days, if you are required to appear for an in-person interview. If you are required to appear for an interview, you will be issued a permanent resident card after the interview. If not, a new Green Card will be sent to you by mail, after you submit biometrics information.
You need to keep few things in mind and you need to carefully prepare your paperwork. If you have been living as a permanent resident for more than 5 years and if you meet the key criteria for US citizenship, you can go ahead and file for US citizenship instead for renewing your Green Card.