How to Renew an Expired Green Card


Understanding the USCIS green card renewal process, timeline, cost, and requirements


sample green card

If your 10-year green card is expired or expiring within the next 6 months, it’s time to renew it. Renewing a green card is generally a 4-step process (we’ll discuss each step in more detail below):

How to renew your green card

  1. Complete a renewal application either online or by mail.
  2. Gather your supporting documents.
  3. Pay the government fees, if required.
  4. Submit your application, and wait for your new green card.

An expired green card doesn’t mean you’re no longer a lawful U.S. permanent resident — you keep that status for life (unless you commit a crime that makes you deportable or stay abroad too long when you travel). An expired green card just means you need the latest version — the design of the green card changes — to prove that you can live and work lawfully in the United States and to re-enter the United States after traveling abroad.

In this guide, you will learn:

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Green Card Renewal Processing Time


Once U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) receives your renewal form, you can expect to wait 1.5–12 months for it to be processed. You can check the most current processing time on the USCIS website.


If you need your new green card sooner

USCIS may provide an “Alien Documentation, Identification & Telecommunications” (ADIT) stamp to prove your status as a green card holder if:

  • You have an urgent need to prove you’re a lawful permanent resident — for example, if you’re applying for a new job — while you wait for your new green card.
  • You applied for naturalization at least 6 months before your green card expires, in which case you would not need to file Form I-90.

If you need an ADIT stamp, seek help from the USCIS Contact Center, or contact your nearest USCIS field office.

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How Much Is the Green Card Renewal Fee?


The current cost to renew a green card is $540, which includes a $455 filing fee and an $85 biometrics fee (for your fingerprint, photo, and signature). You do not have to pay either fee if you’re also applying for a fee waiver.


How to pay your green card renewal fee(s)

  • If you file online: After completing Form I-90 online, you’ll be directed to pay.gov to pay electronically with a credit card.
  • If you file by mail: You may pay with a money order, personal check, or cashier’s check made out to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security” (do not abbreviate) or by credit card using Form G-1450 (officially called the “Authorization for Credit Card Transactions”).

When to Renew Your Green Card


Permanent residents with a 10-year green card generally should apply for renewal immediately if their card is already expired or within 6 months before it’s set to expire. (Don’t apply too early, though — if you do, USCIS may deny your application and keep your payment.)

If you’re outside the United States

  • Your green card is expiring within 6 months, but you’ll return to the United States within 1 year of leaving and before your card expires: File your green card renewal as soon as you return to the United States.
  • Your green card is expired, and you did not apply for renewal before you left the United States: Contact the nearest U.S. consulate, international USCIS field office, or U.S. port of entry (POE), and let them know about your situation before filing for renewal. (IMPORTANT: All international USCIS field offices will shut down by October 2019.)

Be mindful of your green card’s expiration date so you can plan ahead to meet renewal requirements, especially if you plan to travel abroad. Having an expired green card can prevent you from re-entering the United States or conducting other life business, such as getting a new job. And if you get a misdemeanor for not having a valid green card on you — the law says you must at all times — that could cause problems for you when you apply for U.S. citizenship.

Not sure if you qualify for U.S. citizenship? You can check your eligibility with our partner RapidVisa. When you’re ready to apply, we can guide you through every milestone of the naturalization process, starting with your citizenship application all the way to the finish line.

Form I-90 - Expired Green Card Renewal Application

How to Renew Your Green Card


To renew your green card, you first need to fill out Form I-90 (officially called the “Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card”). Don’t be confused by the name of the form — the same application is used for both green card renewals and replacements.

The rest of the steps will depend on whether you submit your renewal application to USCIS online or by mail:

How to apply for a green card renewal

Online By Mail
  1. Create a USCIS online account.
  2. Complete Form I-90.
  3. Upload required evidence, such as a copy of your expired or soon-to-expire green card.
  4. Review and digitally sign your application.
  5. Pay the government fees (if required).
  6. Submit your application, and wait for your new green card.
  1. Complete a paper Form I-90.
  2. Make a photocopy of required evidence, such as your expired or soon-to-expire green card.
  3. Review and sign your application.
  4. Include your payment for the government fees (if required).
  5. Mail your application to USCIS, and wait for your new green card.

Instructions for other situations

  • If you’re applying for a fee waiver: You must file by mail (see above).
  • If your card expires while you’re traveling outside the United States: Contact the nearest U.S. consulate, international USCIS field office, or U.S. port of entry, and explain your situation before filing Form I-90. (IMPORTANT: All international USCIS field offices will shut down by October 2019.)
  • If you have a 2-year conditional green card: You’ll need to follow a different process. See our detailed guide for conditional green card holders to learn more.

Documents Needed to Renew Your Green Card


In most cases, you need only provide a copy of your expired or soon-to-expire green card as proof that you qualify for renewal.

If you need a new green card for a different reason — for example, if it was lost, stolen, or damaged — you’ll need to provide other documentation. See this Boundless chart to help you determine choose which supporting documents to submit to USCIS.


What to Expect After Applying for Renewal


Receive an acceptance notification

USCIS will notify you by mail when they’ve accepted your renewal application. The letter will include a 13-character “receipt number” consisting of 3 letters and 10 numbers that you’ll be able to use to check the status of your renewal application (see below).

USCISC will also post the same notification in your USCIS online account. If you don’t already have an online account, USCIS will create one for you and include instructions on how to access it in the letter you received by mail.


Receive a “biometrics” notification

Within 1–2 weeks after USCIS receives your application, you should also expect to receive notice of a scheduled date for your biometrics appointment (basically, an appointment to take your fingerprints, photo, and signature). You may also be asked for additional information or supporting documents to complete your green card renewal. If so, be sure to respond by the stated deadline in the notice.


How to check your green card renewal status

To track the progress of your renewal application, enter your receipt number on the USCIS “Check Status” page. From the Check Status page, you can view your entire application history.

If you want USCIS to send you a text message or email notification when your form is accepted, complete Form G-1145 (officially called the “e-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance”), and submit it along with your green card renewal application.


What to Do if Your Renewal Application Is Denied


While it’s not likely to have a problem, as long as you follow instructions and the law, there are situations when the U.S. government might deny a green card renewal application — for example, if you committed a crime, didn’t pay your taxes, lied on your application, or submitted the wrong form.

If your renewal application is denied, you’ll receive a letter explaining why. If you think the government made a mistake, you can take action:

  1. Submit a motion to request that USCIS reconsider their decision. Be sure to describe any new factual information that will show how the decision to deny your application was based on incorrect information or application of the law.
  2. Seek professional legal help, especially if you have a particularly complicated case. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) can help find a licensed immigration attorney near you. The U.S. Department of Justice also accredits certain nonprofit organizations that provide low-cost or free immigration legal services.

The process to review denial appeals takes about 45 days. USCIS can either grant your request or turn the case over to the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) for further review, which is usually completed within 6 months.


FAQs


How do I renew my green card during Covid?

Because you’re able to file Form I-90 either by mail or online, Covid-related restrictions shouldn’t affect your ability to submit. That being said, there’s a chance you’ll need to attend an interview. As it stands, field offices are currently open, and there are federal guidelines in place to help maintain a safe environment. For instance, everyone in a federal building must wear a mask, and physical distancing is strictly enforced.

If you’ve experienced any of the following, you should not enter a USCIS field office:

  • You’ve been diagnosed with Covid-19, or have any related symptoms, such as a cough, fever, or difficulty breathing
  • You’ve been near anyone with Covid-19 within 2 weeks of your appointment (this doesn’t apply to vaccinated applicants)
  • You’ve returned from a trip abroad within 10 days of your appointment
  • You’ve received instructions to self-quarantine

Be aware that you should not arrive at your appointment any more than 15 minutes beforehand, and USCIS suggests that you bring your own black-ink pen to reduce the possibility of transmission. If you’re unable to attend for any of the aforementioned reasons — or any other reason for that matter — you can call the USCIS contact center at 1-800-375-5283.

Does a green card renewal require an interview?

In general, you do not need to attend an interview after filing the Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. USCIS may, however, request that you attend an in-person interview, at which point they might ask for biometric data, such as fingerprints and photographs, in addition to running a background check.

If you’re a conditional permanent resident (CPR), and you’re approaching your 2-year limit, you will very likely have to attend an interview after filing Form I-751, known as Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence. This is due to a change in policy that took effect in December of 2018. Read our article on the subject to learn more.

It should be noted that Form I-751 is not, strictly speaking, a green card renewal form. As the form designation suggests, it is meant to remove conditions from your green card. Once I-751 is approved, you will receive a 10-year permanent resident card.

How often should I renew my green card?

If you have a 10-year permanent resident card that has expired, or is going to expire within the next 6 months, you should promptly renew your card using Form I-90. You can check to see when your card expires by looking at the front of your ID where it says “Card Expires.”

If you’re a CPR, your green card will expire after 2 years, and you will be expected to file Form I-751 no sooner than 90 days before the expiration date. If you’re unsure whether you are a CPR, you can check for the “CR1” designation on your permanent resident card.

Will they do a criminal history check when I file for renewal? If so, will a misdemeanor affect my case?

It’s possible that USCIS will ask you to attend a biometrics appointment, after which they’ll run a background check. It is highly likely that your criminal history, if you have one, will turn up during this process. Having a misdemeanor on your record does not automatically disqualify you from renewal. There are 3 crime-related reasons, as outlined in the Immigration and Nationality Act, that could bar you from successfully obtaining your updated permanent resident card:

  • Specific criminal conviction: If you commit a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT) — a term that stretches back to the 1957 case, “In the Matter of K” — or violate laws, in the United States or abroad, related to controlled substances, this could be grounds for denial.
  • Multiple criminal convictions: If you are convicted of 2 or more crimes that result in 5 or more years of imprisonment, then you may be denied.
  • Controlled substance trafficking: If you are known to have taken part in illegal drug trafficking — whether as an accomplice or a direct perpetrator — your case may be denied. This is true even if you are the “spouse, son, or daughter” of a known trafficker.

Note that there are some exceptions that might apply. For instance, if you committed a CIMT prior to the age of 18 and the crime occurred 5 years before the date of your visa application, you might still be eligible to receive a renewed green card. If you’re unsure about whether you’ll pass the legal test for admissibility, you may want to reach out to an attorney. You can also contact Boundless. We can connect you with an immigration lawyer without the immense fees usually associated with legal representation.

How do you waive the green card renewal fee?

To waive the fee for Form I-90, you will need to fill out Form I-912, otherwise known as Request for Fee Waiver. To receive the fee waiver, you must be able to show that your financial situation bars you from making such a payment. According to the instructions for filling out Form I-912, there are 3 different ways of proving this. You need only prove 1 of the following:

  • You receive a “means-tested benefit”: This is a public benefit given to you on the basis of income. Examples of means-tested benefits include: SNAP, Supplemental Security Income, and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. You must provide evidence that you receive such a benefit
  • Your household income is equal to or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines: Generally speaking, for a household of 5 people, the current maximum is $31,040.
  • You’re experiencing financial hardship: If you can prove that you’re unable to pay the fee due to your current financial situation, then you might be eligible for the waiver. You may be experiencing hardship if you have lofty medical expenses; if you’re unemployed; or if you’re currently houseless — though other reasons might also apply. You can pursue this line of reasoning even if your income exceeds the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

If you can successfully prove that you are incapable of paying the fee — using one of these 3 categories — then you could save nearly $500, depending on the circumstances surrounding your renewal.




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