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How To Renew Your Green Card

Connecticut Immigration Attorney James A. Welcome discusses the procedure for renewing a "green card" or a Lawful Permanent Resident card. How to renew a green card by filing USCIS Form I-90

Green Cards are issued to permanent residents as proof of authorization to live and work in the United States. Green cards typically expire after ten years (two years for conditional permanent residents) and must be renewed before the expiration date. Permanent Residents can begin the process of applying to renew the green card six months before it expires. If you are permanent resident whose green card was issued before the age of fourteen, you must renew the green card when you reach fourteen years old. Failure to renew your green card does not mean losing your permanent resident status, but may lead to difficulties traveling or proving your eligibility to obtain employment in the United States.

To renew or replace a green card, permanent residents must submit Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Residence Card, either by mail or online. Both versions of the application can be found on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website. This form is also used if your green card has been lost, stolen, destroyed, or mutilated, or if the information on your permanent residence card is no longer valid. Older versions of the green card may also need to be replaced. If you submit the application by mail, make sure you read the instructions carefully. Do not leave the form incomplete or unsigned. There is also a $450 filing fee for renewing or replacing your green card. This fee includes a $365 form fee and an $85 biometric services fee.

Conditional permanent resident status is given by USCIS to people who obtain their permanent residency through a marriage petition, and who have been married for less than two years. If you are a conditional permanent resident and your card will expire, you must file a petition to remove the conditions within 90 days before your card expires or you may lose your permanent resident status. To remove conditions based on marriage, you must file Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence. To remove conditions based on entrepreneurship, you must file Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions. You do not need to file Form I-90.

After submitting your application, you will receive a confirmation receipt with your receipt number, directions to mail supporting documents, and a Notice of Action. It can arrive electronically or as a letter. The receipt number can be used to check the status of your application online. You will also receive a notice with a scheduled biometrics appointment. You are required to bring the biometrics appointment notice and valid photo identification to the appointment. At the appointment, you will be asked to give personal information. Photographs and fingerprints will be taken to be analyzed by the FBI. Do not panic if you are asked to come in again afterwards; sometimes fingerprints get smudged.

If your application is denied, you can appeal or file a motion on the unfavorable decision. Your denial notice will contain some information about your rights to appeal or file a motion, including required forms and a deadline.

If your application is approved, you will receive your new green card in the mail. It will be valid for ten years.

The purpose of this article is to provide helpful, basic information for residents in the Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York areas. Specific filing instructions can be found on the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov.

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