When to Renew a Green Card
When is the right time to renew a green card?
A green card, formally known as a permanent resident card, is proof of your permanent resident status in the United States. It also serves as a valid identification document and proof that you are eligible to live and work in the United States. It is important to keep your card up-to-date. Without a valid card, it may be difficult for you to prove that you are a permanent resident, and this could also affect your ability to travel or to prove your eligibility to work in the United States.
CitizenPath recommends that our clients prepare Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, 6 months before the expiration date on their existing card. We recommend that clients mail the application to USCIS 6 months (but no less than 5 months) before the expiration date. Here’s why:
If You Renew a Green Card Too Late
Generally it takes about 4 months to process a green card renewal, but it can take longer. If a person’s green card expires, that individual could be without a valid proof of permanent resident status. The individual will not lose permanent resident status as a result of an expired green card, but the individual will not have proof required for important events such as:
If your current green card expires before you receive a renewal, you will:
- Lose valid proof of your right to work in the United States. This could be a problem for employers.
- Risk being refused into back to the United States if you travel abroad.
- Not be able to apply to become a naturalized U.S. citizen.
If You Renew a Green Card Too Early
USCIS has indicated that your application may be rejected and returned to you if you file the form more than 6 months prior the expiration date. This will cost you valuable time and money.
Therefore, your best course is to file Form I-90 in a 30-day window that is 5-6 months prior to the expiration date of your current green card. Need help? CitizenPath’s online process will help you complete your Form I-90 in about 15 minutes. Try it now.
Green Card Renewal Questions
No. USCIS does not offer any program to expedite or rush your application for a green card renewal. Further, no lawyer or immigration consultant can offer a way to rush your application. If you need your green card renewed as soon as possible, the best thing you can do is ensure your application is complete and accurate. CitizenPath will help you prepare your application in about 15 minutes, and we guarantee that USCIS will accept it. Give it a try.
Valid, unexpired proof of permanent resident status is required to re-enter the United States. A Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer may deny you entry if you attempt to re-enter the U.S. with an expired green card. This could result in expensive legal bills. In the best case, you will be allowed to re-enter after paying an expensive re-entry fee and a long delay.
If you must travel before your new green card arrives, there is a solution. Read Expired Green Card Creates 3 Big Problems to learn more.
No. There is no penalty if your green card expires before you can renew it. Technically, you are required to carry a valid green card by law. However, most people will only experience the inconvenience of not having valid identification for accepting employment or traveling abroad.
In addition to renewing an expiring (or expired) green card, you may need to replace it for any of the following reasons:
- Your card was lost, stolen or destroyed
- Your card was issued but never received
- Your card was mutilated
- Your card has incorrect data
- Your name or other biographic information has been legally changed
- You have reached your 14th birthday and are registering as required
If you are a Conditional Permanent Resident your green card expires after two years. You may use Form I-90 to replace it, but you should not file Form I-90 to renew. Instead, use Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence.