Are You Required to Renew
Your Green Card?
“Green Card” refers to the official card issued by the
The “Green Card” is evidence of your status as a lawful permanent resident with a right to live and work permanently in the
In August 1989, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS – now USCIS) began issuing “Green Cards” with a 10-year expiration date and required permanent residents to renew their Green Cards every 10 years. In addition, a “Green Card” that is too old, with out-of-date photographs or is damaged, cannot effectively serve as evidence of current immigration status, registration, identity, and employment authorization or re-entry documents. Current Green Cards have an expiration date stated on the front of the card and expire every ten (10) years. The USCIS puts a 10-year expiration date on “Green Cards” for Permanent Residents, not Conditional Residents (2-year expiration date), to protect against counterfeiting and tampering and to ensure that those individuals who may now be inadmissible, removable or deportable are brought to the attention of USCIS.
Green Card holders will not necessarily lose legal status in the United States if their card expires; however, permanent residents are required by law to carry evidence of their current legal status at all times (e.g. a valid, unexpired Green Card or the temporary proof of status you receive at the time of filing to renew your Green Card.) [i] If permanent residents fail to renew an expired or expiring card, they may experience difficulties in obtaining employment, public benefits and re-entry into the
“Green Cards” issued between 1979 and 1988 which did not state a specific expiration date did not be renewed because there was no expiration date. Lawful permanent residents who hold these permanent resident cards with no expiration date may replace their cards now, but there is currently no requirement to do so. It is important to note that these cards are now between 17 and 30 years old and are possibly damaged and with outdated photographs.
To renew your Green Card, you must complete and submit a Form I-90 "Application to Replace a Permanent Resident Card." Form I-90 applications to renew “Green Cards” may be submitted by mail or online at the USCIS website ( www.usicis.gov). All applicants are required to provide current biographic and biometric (photographs and fingerprint) information. If an applicant cannot afford the necessary USCIS filing fee, he or she may request a fee waiver according to standard procedures. The specific requirements and procedures for applying to renew an expiring permanent resident card are set forth in the Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] at 8 CFR § 264.5.
Currently, processing times for the adjudication of I-90 applications, without any immigration issues, is usually 6-12 weeks. However, processing times can vary for each applicant based on particular facts. If you are outside of the
If a “Green Card” holder has had any criminal convictions after obtaining lawful status or has any legal concerns, it is extremely important to seek legal advice prior to filing for renewal or Naturalization. Many applicants discover the consequences of applying for renewal or Naturalization only after they have been placed in Removal (Deportation) Proceedings.
[i] Section 264 of the Immigration and Nationality Act provides that, "Every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to him. Any alien who fails to comply with [these] provisions shall be guilty of a misdemeanor."
[ii] USCIS Press Release: Permanent Resident Cards Without Expiration Dates Must Be Replaced - USCIS Proposes Rule Setting 120-day Replacement Period