The permanent resident card, commonly known as a green card, is proof that its holder is a lawful permanent resident who has been granted immigration benefits, which include permission to live and accept employment in the United States. Permanent resident card renewal is a necessary part of being a permanent resident. If your card expires, you do not surrender these rights. You continue to be a permanent resident. However, traveling abroad or even getting a job can be extremely difficult without a permanent resident card. There are several problems associated with an expired permanent resident card.
Step 1: Preparing for Permanent Resident Card Renewal
You may apply for permanent resident card renewal up to six months before your card expires. It will take a few months to receive your new green card, so USCIS recommends that you renew your green card as early as possible. Use Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, to renew your permanent resident card. Continue reading
Common reasons why a family-based application for permanent residence may be denied by USCIS
Each year the U.S. government allows thousands of people to enter the United States with permanent resident status. Permanent residence is symbolized with a card, most commonly referred to as a green card. But the government also denies thousands of green card applications. There are several possible factors for a green card application denial. The reasons vary from no basis for eligibility to grounds of inadmissibility to failure to properly deal with the application requirements.
Each year U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) denies an estimated 8-10% of green card applications. In fiscal year 2016, data shows that USCIS received a total of 869,292 petitions for alien relatives (Form I-130), but also denied 59,496.
During the same period, USCIS received 338,013 family-based applications to adjust status (Form I-485) and denied 31,662 applications. Family-based applications for a green card are based on a family relationship with a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. Continue reading
You’ve decided that it may be time to apply for U.S. citizenship, but you also realize that your green card is expired. You’ve heard that you can’t apply for citizenship with an expired green card. Worse yet, the cost to renew your card and then apply for citizenship is too much.
Currently, the USCIS fees to renew a green card are $540. Then, the USCIS fees to apply for naturalization are currently $725. That’s $1,265 in fees to do both.
For most people, this cost is a barrier to applying for U.S. citizenship with an expired green card. But it’s not mandatory to renew an expired green card before applying for citizenship. Continue reading
There are several ways that you can lose your status as a lawful permanent resident. One of the most common ways is through unintentional green card abandonment. Permanent residents may travel outside the United States. Vacation, family engagements, tourism, business are all legitimate reasons for traveling abroad. However, permanent residents who are absent from the United States for extended periods of time risk abandoning their green cards.
In fact, the risk of green card abandonment is real for any permanent resident whose travel is not temporary in nature. Each year, many green card holders returning from trips abroad find themselves in jeopardy of losing their status because their trips are not clearly temporary in nature. Continue reading
When renewing a green card after an arrest or criminal offense, be aware that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will review the record of the permanent resident.
There are several crimes that can be deportable offenses. And some criminal offenses do not require a conviction to trigger inadmissibility or deportability for an immigrant. When renewing or replacing a green card, these crimes will be revealed to USCIS. Each time a permanent resident files Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, USCIS requires the applicant to pay for and undergo a criminal background check.
The way that USCIS treats these crimes has also changed over the years. Therefore, a crime that was not a deportable offense 15 years ago could be a deportable crime now. It is very important that anyone with a criminal record understand their situation before filing for a green card renewal. Continue reading
There are various reasons you may want to do a green card name change. Everyday people get married and divorced, often resulting in a legal name change. Others may just decide to adopt a more Western style name after immigrating to the United States. Whatever your reason, a green card name change is a relatively simple matter.
It’s important to understand that the legal name change must take place before you update the green card. In other words, you’ll need a registered copy of your marriage certificate, divorce decree, adoption decree, or other court-issued document showing your name was legally changed. Once you have this, you can complete your green card name change. Continue reading
The green card, which only recently became green again, has a history with a variety of names and colors. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officially refers to it as the Permanent Resident Card. However, it has also been known over time as a Resident Alien Card or Alien Registration Receipt Card. You may even notice that USCIS labels it as Form I-551. In fact, the history of the green card is very colorful. Continue reading
Less than 20 years ago, the green card renewal fee was only $75. In just a few years, the cost has risen to $365 plus the $85 biometrics fee. That’s almost five times the cost!
Critics argue that the USCIS user fee-based system places disproportionate hardship on immigrants. For example, it can cost a family of four $1800 to renew their green cards (filing fees plus biometrics). There is no discount for additional family members.
Permanent residents (18 years and older) are required to carry a valid green card by law. But many are choosing not to renew green cards or replace lost/stolen cards because of the high cost. This creates a difficult dilemma for job seekers. Continue reading
Losing your green card or having it stolen can be a scary experience. It’s an essential piece of identification that provides proof of your lawful permanent residence in the United States. Rest assured, you do not lose permanent resident status when you lose your card. However, not having a valid green card can create some major problems. Here’s how to replace a green card:
Step 1: Preparing to Replace a Green Card
There are several good reasons one might need to replace a green card. Anyone renewing or replacing a green card will use Use Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. It will take a few months to receive your new card, so file Form I-90 as soon as possible. Some reasons that you might use Form I-90 include: Continue reading
Permanent residents in the United States, also known as green card holders, must generally maintain their permanent home in the U.S.
Although permanent residents can travel abroad for short-term purposes, they must maintain residence and ties to the United States, or risk abandoning their resident status.
Permanent Resident in Commuter Status
Permanent resident in commuter status is an exception made available to some residents of Canada and Mexico. “Commuter status” allows these individuals to live in Canada or Mexico, while working in the United States, without risking abandoning their resident status. The Code of Federal Regulations at 8 CFR §211.5 describes the details.
Limitation of Rights for Permanent Resident in Commuter Status
A permanent resident in commuter status has numerous limitations compared to a typical lawful permanent resident of the United States. A permanent resident in commuter status:
- Is not eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship until he/she converts the commuter status to a standard lawful permanent resident status, and then waits the appropriate time frame (3 or 5 years);
- Cannot sponsor family members for a green card unless he/she moves to the U.S. and then processes paperwork for the family. To sponsor a family member who was not in existence when the green card was secured (such as a new spouse or step child), this may take several years;
- Must appear at a port-of-entry every six months to complete Form I-178, and provide proof of both continuous employment in the United States, and residence in Canada or Mexico;
- Can be extended only if the individual continues to work in the U.S. and can prove that he/she has worked in the U.S. for at least 90 days during the last year;
- Cannot take international assignments without risking the loss of green card status; and
- May not be entitled to all of the same protections as a regular green card holder. For example, a permanent resident in commuter status is not entitled to a formal hearing before an Immigration Judge to determine whether he/she is removable/inadmissible to the U.S.
What does a commuter green card look like?
A green card for a permanent resident in commuter status looks almost identical to a standard green card. However, the commuter green card will carry a different code. On the front of most green cards, C1 is for a regular permanent resident and C2 is for a permanent resident in commuter status. However, you may find this code on the back of newer green cards.
How to Switch from Commuter Status to a Standard Permanent Resident
By making the decision to become a permanent resident of the United States, you are making a commitment to live in the U.S. and begin building ties in this country. Once you have moved to the United States, you will file Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. In Part 2 of the I-90 application, you will select “I am a commuter who is taking up actual residence in the United States” as your application type.
Citizenship Resource Center
How to Read a Green Card
How to Replace/Renew a Green Card