As a permanent resident, it is important to be aware of green card renewal deadlines and how long it takes to renew a green card.
How Long Does It Take To Renew a Green Card?
Green cards must be constantly renewed as they are valid for a period of 10 years. Before these ten years have passed, a green card holder must apply for a green card renewal.
Every permanent resident card holder is required by law to carry a valid green card if he or she is a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. and is over 18 years of age.
On the other hand, if you have conditional permanent resident status, be aware that the status is valid for only two years. Also, it cannot be renewed: after two years, a conditional green card expires, so you should apply to have its conditions removed, if possible.
Generally, it takes 10 to 12 months for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to complete the green card renewal process. However, that depends on the number of green card renewals they have to process, as well as whether these applications were completed correctly.
If a green card application has errors, that can also result in a delay in processing time or denial of the green card renewal. Hiring a competent immigration attorney would help to avoid that and file an error-free green card renewal application.
Is It Possible to Renew a Green Card?
Green card renewal is a process that must be done every 10 years. It consists of the following steps:
- Complete Form I-90 (Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card).
- Pay a $455 filing fee.
- Submit all the required supporting documents along with the Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card
You can download the green card renewal application and instructions directly from the USCIS website.
In most cases, you will only need a copy of your expiring green card as a backup document. But, if your green card was stolen, lost, damaged, or if there is some other reason you need to replace it, the required supporting documents may include a government-issued ID or other legal documents.
The green card renewal process can be done by mail or online using your own USCIS online account. Regardless of what you choose, whether you submit the application online or by mail, including a letter explaining what you are submitting can speed up the process somewhat.
Green card renewals done by mail can be paid for with a money order. On the other hand, you can pay for renewals online with a credit or debit card.
If the question is asked, “Does a green card renewal require an interview?”, the answer is: it depends . Generally, an interview is not required. However, USCIS may request one if it wishes to conduct a background check or collect biometric information.
Those who have a conditional green card will need to file Form I-751 (Petition to Remove Conditions on Residency), and that must be done within 90 days before the expiration date. In addition, conditional permanent residents will likely have to attend an interview to have the conditions removed from their green cards.
Renewing a Green Card (Permanent Resident Card)
After you have submitted the Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card (Form I-90) along with supporting documents to renew your green card, you will receive a notice of receipt, usually within three weeks. To be more precise, you will receive an I-797 receipt notice that will say:
“This notice provides evidence of your lawful permanent resident status for 12 months from the expiration date on your Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card (also known as a Green Card). You continue to be authorized to work and travel. This notice, filed with your expired Permanent Resident Card, is evidence of your status and work authorization.”
The receipt notice will also contain a unique receipt number, a combination of three letters and ten numbers, which you can then use to track your USCIS case.
How Long Does It Take To Renew Your Green Card After the Biometrics Appointment?
About four weeks after the filing date, USCIS will send a biometrics appointment notice. The notice will contain the date, place and time of the biometrics appointment to have your fingerprints, signature and photograph taken.
The biometric appointment will generally be scheduled about three weeks after the notice at a USCIS Application Support Center near you.
The biometric appointment notice will also include instructions on what to bring to the biometric appointment.
After the biometric appointment, USCIS will continue to work on your green card renewal application. Obtaining your new green card may take six to twelve months from the date of filing.
The wait times listed here are estimates and actual processing times will vary. They depend on several factors, including the caseload of the application service center that is processing your green card application.
How Long It Takes to Renew a Green Card in 2022
Green cards can be used for 10 years. It is recommended that you apply to renew a green card at least six to ten months before it expires. That way, there will be enough time to complete the entire process before your current valid green card expires.
The expiration date of your green card can be found on the front of your ID, where it says “Card Expires” in the lower right hand corner.
Please note that if you apply to renew your current permanent resident card earlier than 12 months before the expiration date, USCIS is likely to reject your application. In addition, you will not get a refund of the filing fee.
You can check green card renewal times on the processing times page of the USCIS website. It is also possible to track the progress of your green card application by visiting the case status page and entering your receipt number.
Although you cannot see how long you will have to wait for the process to finish, you can see where your application is in the process and try to estimate when it will be finished.
What if You Are Outside the United States?
If you have forgotten that your current green card is about to expire and you are outside the United States , there is a solution. If you did not apply for a renewal before you left, contact the USCIS international office, if possible, or the nearest U.S. consulate or U.S. point of entry and explain your situation before filing a renewal application.
However, please note that green cards cannot be mailed to addresses outside the U.S. If you are a permanent resident but have traveler status, USCIS will mail the new green card to the U.S. point of entry you wrote on your application.
If you realize that your green card will expire while you are outside the U.S., but you plan to return within one year of departure and before the actual expiration date, be sure to apply for renewal as soon as you return.
If the card actually expired while you were outside the U.S., you may be able to return, but not without facing some difficulties. Although you will most likely board your carrier with an expired green card, re-entry will be at the discretion of the Customs and Border Protection ( CBP ) officer. In most cases, those with an expired green card will have to pay a re-entry fee.
Green Card Renewal Schedule for an Expired Green Card
Permanent residents with green cards must carry their valid green cards. However, there are no fines or penalties for an expired green card.
Carrying an expired permanent resident card or no card at all will be a problem at some point. An expired permanent resident card can affect a person’s ability to renew a driver’s license, get a new job, travel, or engage in other activities that require proof of permanent residency. Individuals may also encounter these problems if their renewed green card arrives after their current one expires.
However, there is a way for people to avoid the gap in proof of permanent residency by getting an I-551 stamp in their passports. That will serve as temporary proof of their lawful permanent resident status until their new green card arrives.
How Do I Replace My Green Card?
If you lose your physical green card, the replacement process is similar but not the same. Although you will still need to complete Form I-90 and pay the filing fee, you will also need to attend the biometric appointment.
There are no additional fees for renewing a green card after it expires. If a permanent resident card is not renewed before it expires, the holder’s immigration status does not change and will not result in deportation. On the other hand, permanent residents can be deported for certain crimes.
Some lawful permanent residents may be eligible to become U.S. citizens through the naturalization process. At the law firm of Immigration Hero, you will find a committed naturalization and citizenship attorney who has the knowledge to assist you with the naturalization process and help you complete any associated immigration forms.
How Do You Speed up Green Card Renewal Processing Time?
In some cases, the USCIS allows for expediting the green card renewal application process. This application may be granted for emergency and urgent humanitarian reasons or if a government agency such as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and other public safety, labor and employment agencies identify certain cases as urgent. There are also other reasons that USCIS may use to determine the urgency of the application and expedite the process of issuing a renewed green card.
If the application is approved, standard green card processing times do not apply and the case can be processed much faster.
What Does It Cost to Renew a Green Card?
As of January 2022, the green card renewal fee is $455. If USCIS requires you to attend a biometric services appointment, you must pay an additional $85. That makes it $540 in total.
The filing fee is the same even if you renew your green card after it expires. However, certain individuals may qualify for a green card fee waiver or fee reduction.
Green Card Filing Fee Waiver
To be eligible for reduced or waived green card renewal fees, you must be able to demonstrate that your financial situation does not allow you to make such a payment. For example, the annual household income of these applicants must be between 150% and 200% of the federal poverty guidelines.
There is another possibility: if you are receiving a public benefit, such as Supplemental Security Income or some other type of “means-tested” benefit, you may be eligible for a waiver of filing fees. However, you must demonstrate that you are receiving such a benefit. In addition, if you are currently experiencing financial hardship, even if your income exceeds the Federal Poverty Guidelines, you may also be eligible.
If you can prove your financial inability to pay and complete Form I-912, also known as Application for Fee Waiver, biometric and filing fees may be waived.
Skip Renewal and Apply for Citizenship
Assume you have been a lawful permanent resident for at least five years, or are a permanent resident married to a U.S. citizen for at least three years. In that case, you may be eligible to skip the green card renewal process and apply for citizenship directly.