Renewing Your Green Card

Introduction

For those Lawful Permanent Resident’s (LPR’s) who are not eligible for naturalization or choose not to apply for naturalization, or for those LPR’s who need their biographic information on their permanent resident card changed to reflect life changes or because of USCIS errors, it is necessary for the LPR to apply for a new permanent resident card (aka green card). 

Will an LPR loose their permanent resident status if they don’t renew their permanent resident card?

If an LPR does not renew their permanent resident card, they do not automatically lose their permanent resident status.  However, an expired green card can cause issues in terms of evidencing the LPR’s permanent resident status for employment purposes (i.e. completing an I-9 for a new employer).  It can also potentially cause issues when returning to the United States after traveling abroad.  In this situation, U.S. Customs & Border Protection officers are likely to have the LPR complete the necessary form and pay the applicable fee at the Port of Entry to apply for a new permanent resident card. 

When’s the earliest an LPR can renew their permanent resident card?

The earliest an LPR can renew their permanent resident card is six (6) months prior to its expiration.  If the LPR files the application earlier than this date, USCIS is likely to reject the filing and return the application, with the fee, to the LPR.

Does an LPR need to show their current employer their new permanent resident card?

Existing employers are not required to update I-9’s for employees who are LPR’s.  However, if the LPR begins employment with a new employer, they will need to show their new permanent resident card to their employer. 

How does an LPR change their name on their permanent resident card?

If an LPR needs a new permanent resident card because of a name change, the LPR should submit the I-90, together with evidence of the legal name change such as a copy of the marriage certificate, divorce decree, birth certificate, etc. 

What if USCIS issued the permanent resident card with an error on it?

If an LPR needs a new permanent resident card to correct USCIS error, the LPR is still required to submit an I-90.  However, the LPR does not need to submit the I-90 filing fee in this situation.  Additionally, the LPR will also be required to submit the original permanent resident card to USCIS with the I-90 application. 

Are there risks to renewing a permanent resident card?

If the LPR has had any criminal issues after being approved for their LPR status, they should first consult with an experienced immigration attorney immediately prior to filing any applications with USCIS and/or traveling abroad.  As part of the I-90 adjudication process, USCIS completes a background check on the LPR.  If the background check reveals that the LPR has a criminal history which would render the LPR deportable under one of the provisions of INA §237, USCIS may choose to place the LPR in removal proceedings.

Therefore, it is crucial that any LPR, who has any type of criminal history, consult with an experienced immigration attorney to confirm whether their criminal history has the possibility of rendering them removable from the U.S.  At this same time, the immigration attorney should also advise the LPR whether or not they should travel outside the U.S. since they may have admissibility issues and could potentially be placed in removal proceedings by U.S. Customs & Border Protection when they return to the U.S.

What form and supporting documents are necessary to apply to renew a permanent resident card?

Applying for a new permanent resident card requires submitting the necessary form, together with supporting evidence, to USCIS for adjudication.  The I-90 is the form that the LPR must file to renew their permanent resident card.  The I-90 form inquires about basic biographic information, when the LPR gained admission and under which category, the LPR’s parent’s names, whether the LPR has ever been removed from the U.S., etc.

Additionally, the I-90 petition should be supported by:

  • Copy of front and back of LPR’s current permanent resident card
  • Copy of LPR’s passport biographic page as proof of identity
  • If renewing for another reason besides expiry (i.e. name change, incorrect information, etc.), the LPR should also include evidence supporting the change
    • Ex. For name changes, include a copy of the divorce decree, marriage certificate, court order, etc. reflecting the name change

What to expect after filing the application packet?

Receipt Notice

After the application packet is filed, the LPR will receive a Receipt Notice within 2-3 weeks.  The Receipt Notice serves as proof that the LPR has a pending application to renew their permanent resident card.  This can be useful to assure U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) officials at future entries (if the LPR anticipates traveling internationally after their green card has expired and during the I-90 adjudication process) that the LPR is taking the proper steps to renew their permanent resident card.  The Receipt Notice is also important for following up with USCIS in the future on this matter and checking the case status online. 

Biometrics Notice

Approximately 2-3 weeks after the Receipt Notice is generated, USCIS will schedule the LPR for a Biometrics Appointment at a local USCIS Field Office or an Application Support Center that has jurisdiction over the U.S. address provided in the application.  At that appointment, the LPR will have their picture and fingerprints taken so that the necessary security background checks can be completed.  In some situations, the LPR may also have a sticker placed on the back on their expired permanent resident card to extend its validity for a certain time period to allow for adjudication of the pending I-90. 

Request for Evidence

If USCIS determines that the information/documentation submitted is inadequate to satisfy the application requirements and further information is needed, they will issue a Request for Evidence (RFE).  The Request for Evidence will specifically state the documents/information they are seeking and a timeline under which they need to be submitted (all requested information should be submitted at the same time).  Failing to respond to the RFE may result in the denial of the application.  An RFE also will result in a longer processing time for the application. 

Decision

Approximately 8-10 weeks after the Biometrics Appointment (assuming no RFE was issued), USCIS should issue a favorable decision and send the LPR their new permanent resident card. 

New Green Card

If the application is approved, the LPR will receive a new permanent resident card valid for ten years. 

To avoid having to keep renewing the permanent resident card, the LPR should determine if they meet the requirements for naturalization to become a U.S. citizen and if so, whether that may be a beneficial process for them to undertake.