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How Do I Renew My Permanent Resident Card (Green Card)?

From Jennifer Leavitt-Wipf,
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Information on how to renew a green card

What is a Permanent Resident Card?

A Permanent Resident Card, commonly known as a Green Card, is evidence of your status as a lawful permanent resident with a right to live and work permanently in the United States. It also is evidence of your registration in accordance with United States immigration laws. The Permanent Resident Card is also called Form I-551.

The Law on Green Cards

Section 264 of the Immigration and Nationality Act provides that, "Every alien in the United States shall be issued a certificate of alien registration or an alien registration receipt card in such form and manner and at such time as shall be prescribed under regulations."

It also states, "Every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to him. Any alien who fails to comply with [these] provisions shall be guilty of a misdemeanor." The specific requirements and procedures for applying to renew an expiring permanent resident card are set forth in the Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] at 8 CFR § 264.5.

Who Should Renew a Permanent Resident Card?

You should renew your permanent resident card if you are a permanent resident who was issued a Form I-551 valid for ten years, and that card is either expired or will expire within the next six months.

If you are a Conditional Resident and your status is expiring, these instructions do not pertain to you. You are to use Form I-751 (Petition to Remove the Conditions on Residence) to apply to remove the conditions on your permanent resident status.

How Do I Apply to Renew My Green Card?

If you are a lawful permanent resident whose ten-year I-551 has expired or will expire within the next six months, you may renew your card by filing an Form I-90.

Please Note: This procedure should NOT be used by lawful permanent residents who are seeking to replace their permanent resident cards for reasons other than expiration of the card’s ten-year validity. For those seeking to replace their permanent resident cards for reasons unrelated to the ten-year expiration date (e.g., because the card has been lost, stolen, mutilated, or because biographical data has changed or is incorrect), please see How Do I Replace My Permanent Resident Card.

Exception: You may, however, request to change your name on your new card (because of marriage, legal name change, or divorce) at the time you file your application for a renewal card. To do so, you must provide a copy of your marriage certificate, divorce decree or court order as evidence of the legal name change.

A Form I-90 can be downloaded from this site, or ordered by calling the Forms request line at 1 (800) 870-3676, or by submitting a request on-line here. Applicants may also file Form I-90 on-line. Please see our Instructions on E-Filing USCIS Forms for more information. The procedures for forms electronically filed with the USCIS are different than those described in the following paragraph.

After receiving Form I-90, read it carefully and note the documentation and photos that must be submitted. Detailed information is provided in the instructions for the Form I-90. Unless otherwise instructed, you should file the application (with supporting documentation and fees) in person at the appropriate Application Support Center (ASC) serving the area where you live. Please note that a few ASCs are unable to accept I-90 applications. For specific information on where to submit your application, please see the home page of the local office servicing the area where you live or call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283.

If you are otherwise eligible, at the time you file your Form I-90, you will be provided with temporary evidence of your lawful permanent residence status. If your renewal application is approved, you will be mailed a new Permanent Resident Card with a ten-year expiration date.

What If I am Outside of the United States?

If you are outside the United States, and your permanent resident card will expire within six 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 of the United States at the time of the card’s expiration, and you have not applied for the renewal card prior to your departure, you should contact the nearest American Consulate, USCIS office, or Port of Entry, before attempting to file Form I-90 for a renewal I-551 card.

For more information on USCIS office locations, click here. For information on filing fees, see filing fees, fee waiver request procedures, and the fee waiver policy memo.

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