How to renew your Green Card: Everything you need to know about the Green Card renewal process in 2020.

September 18, 2020
How to renew your Green Card: Everything you need to know about the Green Card renewal process in 2020.

Summary

If your Green Card is expired or will be expiring within the next six months, it’s time to renew it! It is crucial that you maintain a valid, unexpired Green Card. A valid Green Card proves that you are legally allowed to live and work in the United States. It also allows you to re-enter the U.S. after you have traveled abroad. The processing time for Green Card renewal is, on average, 1.5 to 12 months. There is a non-refundable fee of $455 to pay, as well as an $85 biometrics fee in most cases.


ImmigrationHelp.org can help you prepare and file your Green Card renewal application for free with our simple web application. Click the green button above to get started or read on to learn more.


This article is not legal advice. We do not intend for it to replace the expertise of an immigration attorney. Its goal is to help you learn more about renewing your Green Card.


Overview

In this article, you will learn:

Are you eligible to renew your Green Card?

Before proceeding with the Green Card renewal process, first determine if you are eligible to renew your Green Card. Generally, you can get a new Green Card if:


  • you never received the card that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) initially mailed to you 
  • your card is expired or expires within six months
  • your card is lost, damaged, or has been stolen
  • your card contains incorrect information, for instance, if your name is misspelled
  • you have legally changed your name or other biographic information since you received your card


USCIS provides an extensive list of reasons to renew or replace your Green Card on their website. There are some instances when you should not replace your Green Card. If you have recently completed a citizenship application, such as Naturalization, you do not need to renew your Green Card to remain in lawful permanent resident status.

We can help you figure out if you are eligible to renew your Green Card with our free and easy to use mobile app. Click the button below to get started.

Renew your Green Card

How many times can you renew or replace your Green Card?

You can renew or replace your Green Card as many times as you need to.

 

You should generally aim to renew at the end of the validity period or six months before it expires.

You can also replace your Green Card if you lose it. It’s a good idea to keep your card in a safe place that you can remember, though, so that you don’t have the hassle of renewing for any reason other than that the card is expiring. 

If you misplace your card a lot and are regularly applying for a renewal, you might make USCIS suspicious. Green Card fraud is common, and irregular Green Card renewal activity on your part may make USCIS suspect that you are committing Green Card fraud. This will make it harder for you to prove your case with USCIS and get a new card in the future. 

If you have to replace your Green Card several times, it is a good idea to submit a letter explaining exactly what happened to your Green Card each time so that USCIS doesn’t have as much reason to be suspicious.

Renew your Green Card

When should you renew your Green Card?

You should renew your Green Card as soon as possible if it has expired or will expire within the next six months. If you plan to travel abroad, pay attention to your Green Card’s expiration date so that you can factor the renewal time into your travel plans.

When to renew if you’re inside the United States

According to the U.S. laws on permanent residence, Green Card holders must be ready to present their valid Green Cards on request. To be able to follow this rule, you should have your valid Green Card with you at all times. 

We recommend that you renew your Green Card six months before it expires. If your Green Card has already expired, you should renew it immediately.

When to renew if you’re outside the United States

If you are outside of the United States and your Green Card is expired, you must contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate, or U.S port of entry, to let them know that your card has expired before you begin the renewal process. The U.S. government officials will let you know of specific requirements for your card renewal. 

If your Green Card expires within six months and you plan to be back in the U.S. before the expiration date, you should plan to file for renewal as soon as you return.


If you would like help renewing your Green Card, we can help you for free with our simple web app. Click the button below to get started.

Renew your Green Card

How to submit a Green Card renewal application (A step-by-step guide)

The Green Card renewal application process has four steps. First, you complete the required government form. Then you assemble all the required supporting documents, pay the Green Card renewal fee, and then file your Green Card renewal application with the U.S. government.

Step #1 - Prepare form I-90

The first step in the Green Card renewal process is to fill out Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. You can do this either online or on paper.


To complete the form online, you must first create a USCIS online account. Once you have created your account and are logged in, you will be able to access Form I-90 and fill it out. 


If you plan to submit a paper form by mail, you must download the most recent version of Form I-90 from the USCIS website, print it out, and then fill it out.


We can help you prepare Form I-90 for free with our simple web app. Click the button below to get started.

Step #2 - Prepare the required supporting documents

Once you have completed Form I-90 either online or in hard copy, it is time to assemble the required supporting documents for the renewal. 


If you are replacing/renewing your Green Card because it is expired or is expiring soon, you will only have to include a copy of your Green Card. 


If you are replacing your Green Card for other reasons, USCIS may require additional documents from you. You will probably have to submit additional documents if you never received your Green Card, if your Green Card is lost, stolen, or damaged, or if your name or other biographic information has changed, for example. 


If you are filing Form I-90 online, you will be able to upload the supporting documents on the USCIS portal. 


If you are filing a paper copy of Form I-90, you should include a paper copy of the supporting document with Form I-90 when you send it to USCIS.


Here’s a list of the possible required documents to renew or replace your Green Card:

If your previous Green Card has been lost, stolen, destroyed, or mutilated

  • Provide a copy of your Permanent Resident Card or a government-issued I.D. that has your name, date of birth, photograph, and signature

If you never received your the Green Card that USCIS issued for you

  • Provide a copy of a government-issued I.D. that contains your name, date of birth, photograph, and signature, plus either:
  • A copy of your latest Form I-797, Notice of Action, for the form that you submitted for your Permanent Resident Card, or
  • A copy of the page in your passport showing the I-551 stamp you received if you were admitted as an immigrant

If your existing card has incorrect data because the Department of Homeland Security made an error

  • Provide your original Permanent Resident Card
  • Provide proof of your correct biographical data

If your name or other biographic information has legally changed, or if your card has incorrect data and the error was not caused by the Department of Homeland Security

  • Provide appropriate legal documents that reflect new or correct biographical data
  • Provide a copy of your Permanent Resident Card

If your existing card has already expired or will expire within six months

  • Provide a copy of your expired/expiring Permanent Resident Card

In all cases If you are at least 14 years old

  • Provide a copy of your current Permanent Resident Card

If you are a permanent resident who is taking up commuter status

  • Provide evidence of your employment that is dated within the last six months
  • Provide a copy of your Permanent Resident Card

If you are a commuter who is taking up actual residence in the United States 

  • Provide evidence of your U.S. residence. If your proof of residence (such as utility bills) are in your spouse or parent’s name, provide a copy of your original marriage or birth certificate
  • Provide a copy of your Permanent Resident Card

If you have been automatically converted to lawful permanent resident status

  • Provide evidence of your temporary residence status
  • Provide a copy of a government-issued I.D. that has your name, date of birth, photograph, and signature

If you have a prior edition of the Alien Registration Card, or are applying to replace your current Permanent Resident Card for a reason that is not specified above

  • Provide a copy of your Alien Registration Card or Permanent Resident Card

If you are filing Form I-90 online, you will be able to upload the supporting documents on the USCIS portal.

Step #3 - Pay the Green Card renewal fees

When you have reviewed the list of supporting documents and the ones that are relevant to your application, it is time to pay the Green Card renewal fees. It costs $455 to renew or replace your Green Card. In some instances, you will have to pay an $85 biometrics fee. This USCIS Fee Calculator is a handy tool to help you figure out the fees you must pay for your specific renewal application. USCIS filing fees change from time to time. You can track these fee changes and find the current filing fee for your Green Card renewal on the USCIS website. 

If you file your Form I-90 online, you may make your payment online. 

If you file your Form I-90 by mail (paper), you may pay the fee with a money order, personal check, cashier’s check, or by credit card using Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions. If you pay by check, you must make your check payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  

If you can’t afford the filing fee, you may be able to get a fee waiver from USCIS for Form I-90 if you can demonstrate that you’re facing significant financial struggles.

If you apply for a fee waiver, you cannot file for the renewal online. You will have to use the mail-in paper option. 

You can learn more about the fee waiver application process on the USCIS website.

We can help you prepare your Green Card Renewal paperwork, including the fee waiver form, for free. Click the button below to get started with our simple web app.

Step #4 - File your Green Card Renewal application

Now that you have filled Form I-90, gathered your supporting documents, and paid the relevant filing fees, it is time to submit your Green Card renewal application to USCIS! 

The first thing you will need to do is to organize your forms, supporting documents, and fees into a packet. Whether you chose to file online or by mail, you should include a cover letter that explains what you are submitting in the packet, and in what order. Here is a sample cover letter that you can use. A cover letter will help USCIS process your forms more quickly. 

If you choose to file your Green Card renewal application online, you can do so through your online USCIS account. You may be able to upload your supporting documents online, or USCIS may request that you send your supporting documents separately in the mail. 

If you choose to file your Green Card renewal application by mail, you should mail your application packet to the relevant USCIS address below. The address you will use depends on which postal service you are using:


Postal/Courier Service USCIS Mailing Address
U.S. Postal Service (USPS) USCIS
P.O. Box 21262
Phoenix, AZ 85036
FedEx, UPS, and DHL USCIS
Attention: I-90
1820 E. Skyharbor, Circle S, Floor 1
Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85034

How long does it take to renew your Green Card?

Once USCIS has received your Green Card renewal application, it will take an average of 1.5 to 12 months for them to send you your new Green Card. You can check out this USCIS website for the most current processing timeframe.

We can help you prepare your Green Card renewal application for free with our easy to use web application. Just click the button below to get started.

Renew your Green Card


What happens after you submit your Green Card renewal application?

Once USCIS has received your Green Card renewal application, it takes an average of 1.5 to 12 months to receive your new Green Card. You can check out the USCIS website for the most current processing times so you know what to expect.

1. You'll get an acceptance notification from USCIS

First, USCIS will notify you that they have received your Green Card renewal application. To communicate this to you, USCIS will send you a receipt notice called the Form I-797C, Notice of Action to the mailing address you provided on the Form I-90 that you submitted. The receipt notice will contain a 13-character (3 letters and ten numbers) receipt number that you can use to track your renewal application status. 

2. You'll get a “biometrics” notification from USCIS

USCIS will also send you a notice for a biometrics appointment about two weeks after they receive your Green Card renewal application. The biometrics appointment notice will inform you of a date, place, and time to have your fingerprints, signature, and photo taken. 

If you’re applying to renew your Green Card from outside the U.S., you will have your biometrics appointment at the U.S. consulate or embassy closest to you.

If you’re renewing your Green Card while in the U.S., you will have your biometrics appointment at a USCIS Application Support Center (ASC) near you.

You can learn more about what to expect and how to prepare for your biometrics appointment on the USCIS website.

How can you check the status of your Green Card renewal application?

You can check the status of your Green Card renewal application online. You will need the receipt number from the Form I-797C, Notice of Action that USCIS sent to you. You can find the receipt number on the top left corner. It is a combination of 3 letters and ten numbers. To check your application's status, you must type the receipt number onto the USCIS status checker

If you would like text and email notification updates about your application, you can also complete Form G-1145, e-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance. You can submit Form G-1145 to USCIS after you file Form I-90, but it is best to send it with your original application packet to avoid missing any application notices from USCIS.

If you prepare your green card application with us, for free, we can help you keep track of your application. Click the button below to get started.

Renew your Green Card

What should you do if USCIS denies your Green Card renewal application?

If USCIS denies your Green Card renewal application, they will send you an explanation for their denial. If you think USCIS should have approved your Green Card renewal application, you have a few options:

  1. Find a lawyer to help you make your case to USCIS. If you would like legal representation, you can find free or low-cost lawyers at USA.gov. It is usually a good idea to get expert legal help once USCIS denies your application so that you can figure out the best steps to take to avoid having your application denied a second time.
  2. Submit a motion to USCIS to appeal their denial decision. If the denial decision on your case can be reconsidered, USCIS will state this on the denial notice they sent you. You can read more about making an appeal to USCIS about a denial decision on the USCIS website.


USCIS will either grant your request within 45 days of receiving it or forward your request for reconsideration to the USCIS Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) for further processing. The Administration Appeals Office will usually make a decision within six months. 


We can help you avoid denial by making sure that you get your application right the first time with our free online tool. Click the button below to get started.

Renew your Green Card

Conclusion

We hope that you found our guide to renewing your Green Card helpful. If you have any questions about Green Card renewal, or if you want to share your experience using our guide to the Green Card renewal process, we'd love to hear from you. Leave us a comment below, and we will reply ASAP!

Renew your Green Card
Renew your Green Card
Renew your Green Card
Renew your Green Card

Latest Posts

Need Help? You can get started by clicking the green button.