Thousands of people gain legal permanent resident status in the U.S. every year. Once approved for LPR status, their proof of status becomes the permanent resident card, also known as a green card.
Most green card holders receive a green card that is valid for 10 years. Some, however, receive a green card valid for only two years. These are called conditional green cards.
It’s a legal requirement for permanent residents to have a valid green card with them at all times.
To renew your green card, Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card can be filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) online or by mail. You must be inside the U.S. to file Form I-90.
If you happen to be outside the U.S. and your green card is close to expiring, you should make an effort and file your green card renewal as soon as you return to the U.S.
If you’re outside the U.S. when your green card expires, it’s recommended that you contact the nearest U.S. Consulate, USCIS office or U.S. port of entry before you try to file Form I-90.
Your green card’s expiration date can be found on the front part of your card. If your 10-year green card is expired or will be expiring within the next 6 months, it’s important to apply for green card renewal using Form I-90.
Please note, if you are a conditional permanent resident with a green card with a 2-year expiration date, you must apply to remove the conditions on your green card. You may be able to apply using either Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence or Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status instead of filing Form I-90.
To file Form I-90, your green card should be expired or expiring in the next 6 months. You may also replace your green card using Form I-90 if:
- Your card has been lost, stolen or damaged
- Your card was issued with wrong information (for example, your name is misspelled or the date of birth or residence since date are wrong) because of a USCIS mistake
- Your card has the wrong information because it has been legally changed (for example, you have gotten married and now have your spouse’s last name)
- You have issued a 10-year green card before your 14th birthday and it doesn’t expire until after your 16th birthday.
- You have issued a card with no expiration date many years ago and need an updated green card.
To apply to renew your green card online, there are three basic steps you should take:
Step 1: Create a USCIS account. A USCIS account will let you access the online application.
Step 2: Complete the online I-90 application as accurately as possible. It’s very important to not make any mistakes when completing the application to avoid a rejection and losing your application fees.
Step 3: Upload your supporting evidence. This may include submitting a copy of your existent green card or copies of your passport admission stamps proving you entered the country with an immigrant visa.
Once you’ve finished these steps, you will have to provide a digital signature and pay the renewal fees.
Whether you’re applying online or by mail, in most cases, you will have to pay the Form Filing Fee as well as the biometric (fingerprinting) fee.
If you are paying by mail, you can pay by check, money order or credit card. If you’re paying online, the USCIS will send you to Pay.gov, an online payment website.
As of September 2018, it can take anywhere from 4.5 to 8 months to receive your green card after you’ve filed Form I-90.