While legal permanent residents are issued a green card, that green card has an eventual expiration date. Most green cards will be valid to residents for a period of 10 years total. However, some green cards are issued on a conditional basis, and these green cards are issued for only 2 year periods. For example, those who apply to receive a marriage green card and have only been married to their U.S. citizen spouse for a period of two years or less will receive a conditional green card.  

This is because the USCIS wants to make sure the marriage in question is legitimate. Being granted a conditional green card also has a slightly different renewal process, so it’s important to understand the difference between the two. This guide will give applicants a better understanding of the process they need to go through in order to receive a new green card. If your 10-year green card is expired or expiring within the next 6 months, it’s time to renew it. Visa2us concludes the whole process of Green card renewal, with each step illustrated in detail!

Note: Keep in mind that the Green card expiration does not mean that you are no longer a lawful U.S. permanent resident. You keep such status for life (unless you commit a crime and are deportable from the U.S., or fail to meet the criterion to stay in the U.S. at least 6 months per year, etc.)

What to file for Green Card Renewal?

The form for Green card renewal is Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. Although the official name seems not related to renewal, it is the form used for both green card renewals and replacements (no worries!) The process can be conducted either through paper filing or electronic filing; however, in some specified cases, you must only file via mail. Check out the table below to see which circumstance you fit in!

Required Documents

Required documents are rather simple. In most cases, you will need to include a copy of your near-to-expire/expired green card along with the renewal application. Other requirements depend on which circumstances you’re in when filing the form:

First Steps

First off, renewing your green card is not just simply a matter of going an entire 10 years before the first expires. There are other issues that might occur which lead to an LPR needing to renew their green card. These include:

Your previous card was lost, stolen, or ruined

  • Your card has incorrect information on it that needs to be changed
  • You have been a permanent resident in the United States but are now taking up commuter status
  • Your status has been automatically converted to permanent resident status (this includes special agricultural worker applicants who are converting to permanent resident status (H2-B).
  • You have legally changed your name since the time you were issued your first green card and now need a new one to be consistent
  • You have a previous version of an Alien Registration Card (Form AR-3, AR-103, or I-151) 

Next Steps

After you have determined that you are eligible for a green card renewal based on any of the circumstances listed above, an applicant will need to fill out their Form I-90, “Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card”.

This form is relatively straightforward and is 7 pages in length. The I-90 Filing fee is $455 dollars. It typically takes 5 to 6 months for an I-90 green card application to be processed. However, the processing time can change depending on where you file and the current USCIS backlog. In order to check the status of your I-90 for a renewed green card, please enter your receipt number here: https://egov.uscis.gov/casestatus/mycasestatus.do

For those who have other immigration-related questions, feel free to call the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283.

Lost Green Card While Abroad 

In addition to needing a renewed green card while in the United States, there might also be a circumstance where an individual needs to get their green card renewed while they are abroad, in which a slightly different effort needs to be exerted.

Losing your green card while abroad, having it stolen or destroyed unintentionally can seem like a stressful process. If you lose your card while abroad, you cannot simply travel back to the United States because your green card is your verification that you are an LPR and therefore needs to be presented to a CBP officer at a port of entry upon re-entry.  

In such an event, it’s important for individual green card holders not to file an I-90, but instead to travel to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as this constitutes an unusual circumstance and you will need to speak with a consular official. The best way to locate the nearest Embassy is via Google Maps or through the government website, available here: https://www.usembassy.gov/.

In any case, you will need to obtain paperwork at the consulate or embassy so that you have extenuating circumstantial documents to bring to a U.S. port of entry so they will understand your case and not have reason to believe you are trying to make an unlawful entry into the United States.

Conditional Status Renewal

If you are a conditional green card holder with a 2-year green card, you need to understand that your situation differs from normal green card holders. Conditional green cards cannot be renewed, they can only be petitioned for the conditionality to be dropped, in which case a new, permanent green card will be issued. In order to petition for the Conditionality to be dropped, an individual with this type of green card will need to file USCIS Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence. You’ll need to file this form at least 90 days before your conditional green card expires.

There are two main types of I-751 petitioners:

  1. Marriage Based
  2. Investor Based 

In order to see the eligibility requirements for both types of conditionalities, please visit https://www.uscis.gov/green-card/after-we-grant-your-green-card/conditional-permanent-residence and click on either option at the bottom of the page.

Green Card Renewal Immigration Marriage Green Card Investor-Based Green Card