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
- Complete a renewal application either online or by mail.
- Gather your supporting documents.
- Pay the government fees, if required.
- 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:
- When to renew your green card
- How to renew your green card
- What documents you need
- The cost to renew your green card
- How long it takes to renew your green card
- What to expect after submitting your renewal application
- What to do if your renewal application is denied
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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, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (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.
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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
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.
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.
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”).
Once USCIS receives your 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.
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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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.