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The Importance of Renewing Your Green Card

Posted by Gutierrez Law Firm on July 24, 2013

A permanent resident green card is an essential form of identification for immigrants who legally live and work in the United States. It is important to know when a green card will expire and the procedures that must be followed to renew or replace this vital document.

Permanent Resident Green Card

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Form I-551, or green card, provides proof that a foreign immigrant has been awarded permanent resident status in the United States. Though it’s true that many green cards don’t list a date of expiration, most green cards are valid for 10 years. Green cards issued to those who have been awarded conditional resident status are valid for two years. Without a valid green card, it is extremely difficult for an immigrant to prove that they are a legal permanent resident with the right to work and travel in the United States.

Green Card Renewal

The following basic guidelines should be observed in order to maintain a valid green card at all times:

  • An application to renew a permanent resident green card should be submitted to USCIS no less than six months prior to the 10-year expiration date.
  • Immigrants who have been granted conditional residency status must file a petition with USCIS to have the conditions removed. The petition should be filed no less than 90 days before the two-year expiration date. Once the petition has been approved, USCIS will issue a new green card that will be valid for a period of 10 years.
  • Even if a green card does not have an expiration date, it may still be invalid. It is recommended that a green card renewal application be submitted in such cases.

Green Card Replacement

To renew or replace a permanent resident green card, USCIS Form I-90 should be submitted in accordance with USCIS guidelines. The card should be replaced if it is stolen, lost or damaged. You should also reapply if any of the information on the card has changed. Anyone who was granted permanent resident status before the age of 14 must also apply for a new green card when they turn 14 years of age.

U.S. immigration policy and procedures are complicated at best. It is not uncommon for USCIS officials to lose important documents or provide inaccurate information to foreign immigrants, so it makes sense for applicants to seek help from an immigration lawyer when it is time to renew their permanent residency cards.

Speak with the Gutierrez Law Firm today at 210.225.7114 to receive a free consultation and assistance with all U.S. immigration matters.