When To Renew Your Green Card

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Although permanent residency itself does not expire the actual permanent residency cards “green cards”, which have been issued since 1989, do expire. If you have a green card which has been issued since 1989 you will notice an expiration date on your green card.  Under Current Law you must renew your green card every 10 years.

You are required by law to carry evidence of your immigration status at all times (a valid unexpired green card). If your green card is not current then you are violating the law.  By having an expired green card you can also run into the problems: e.g. you will have problems proving that you are eligible to work in the United States; and you will have a hard time re-entering the United States from trips abroad. If your green card is expired and you wish to travel please consult with an experienced immigration lawyer before you leave the United States.

If you are in the United States and your green card has expired or is about to expire then file form I-90.  You cannot do this unless you are within the 6 month window of when your green card is going to expire. This may be done via email.  Visit the USCIS website for the form.

If you are outside of the United States then you will handle the matter differently.  According to USCIS, these are the ways you should handle a green card renewal if you are outside the United States:

If you are outside the United States and your green card will expire within 6 months (but you will return within one year of your departure from the United States and before the card expires) you should file for your renewal card as soon as you return to the United States.

If you are outside the United States when the card expires and you have not applied for the renewal card prior to your departure, you should contact the nearest US consulate, USCIS office, or US port of entry before attempting to file Form I-90 for a renewal green card.

At present, it is taking between 3-12 months to obtain your green card renewal.  This timeline can change. While you are waiting for your green card renewal you will receive a temporary proof of status from USCIS.

This blog post does not pertain to conditional permanent residents.  If you are a conditional permanent resident then instead of applying for green card renewal you need to file your I-751.  This needs to be filed in the 90 day period prior to your green card expiring in order to stay in status and not risk removal (deportation) proceedings being started against you.  There can be problems in this area so you should at least consult with an immigration attorney before you file the I-751.

You should also consider becoming a naturalized US Citizen.  However, if you apply for naturalization you put your green card on the line.  If your naturalization case is denied you can also lose your green card.  Therefore, it is always highly recommended that you review your immigration history with a competent immigration lawyer prior to applying to become a naturalized United States Citizen.

Lawrence Gruner is a San Diego Immigration Lawyer  with almost 20 years of experience. His office handles cases throughout California, the United States and the World. You may reach our office at 619-717-8516 or toll free at 888-801-6558 . Attorney Gruner would be happy to review your situation and your options. This post is under Green Card Attorney San Diego and Green Card Lawyer San Diego.

The information provided on this site is not legal advice but general information only. Laws do change and additional laws may apply in your case. Every case is different. Please contact our office or the office of another immigration attorney to review your matter prior to filing any documentation with USCIS.

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