June 1, 2023

Is Your Green Card Expiring Soon? Read About The Renewal Process

If you’re one of the millions who possess a green card, you’re likely enjoying the benefits of your immigration status. However, there’s probably an annoying, nagging thought in the back of your head asking, Is your green card expiring soon? 

Sadly, there’s a good reason you’re asking this. The green card renewal process can be complicated. You don’t want to renew too early, and you especially don’t want to renew too late. So what’s the solution? Simple: read this green card resource. 

In it, we’ll discuss what you need to know when it comes to green card expirations and renewals. That way, you can breathe easy knowing there’s no chance you’ll be deported. 

When Should You Renew Your Green Card? 

You want to renew your green card five to six months before the date of expiration. It’s vital to not stray from this time. As we’ll see, there are consequences for going before or after this date. 

What Happens If You Do It Too Late?

When you fail to renew your green card in time it expires. Many people think that this removes their right to reside in the country. It doesn’t. You still retain your permanent residence status. There are still consequences for the expiration. Some of these things can include:

  • Not being able to find employment
  • Not being able to re-enter the U.S. when traveling out of the country
  • Not being able to renew your driver’s license
  • Not being able to apply for a mortgage

While it might not be the end of the world if your green card expires, it can be a huge inconvenience. 

Related: Is it Possible to Work While the Green Card Application Is Pending?

What Happens If You Do It Too Early?

If you submit your application early the USCIS has made it clear that they’ll typically reject it. So don’t try to jump the six month mark. 

What Happens If It’s Already Expired?

If your green card has already expired, don’t panic. There’s no penalty for an expired green card so you won’t need to pay for any hidden fees. It doesn’t matter if your green card has expired for one day or ten years, the solution is still a renewal application. 

In the meantime, don’t panic. You’re not going to lose your permanent residence status. However, the proof relating to that status will expire. The issue gets complicated if you’re outside the United States when your green card expires. 

If that happens, you should contact the United States consulate in whatever country you’re in. Once you explain your situation to them, then you can apply to renew your green card. 

The Statue of Liberty

How to Renew Your Green Card

Renewing your green card takes four steps. Some are harder than others. 

Complete a Renewal Application

Complete your green card renewal application either online or by submitting it through the mail. If you’re doing it online, you will need to log on to your USCIS account. Then, fill out the Form I-90 which you can find here

If you don’t have an online account, you want to mail it in, and get a paper copy of Form I-90. You can either print it, or go down to your local government office to get it. 

Complete a Renewal Application Gather Any Documents you Need

Usually, you’ll only require one document when renewing. It’s your about-to-expire green card. You can either take a picture of it, or get it photo-copied and mailed.

Related: How Much Does it Cost to Apply for U.S. Citizenship?

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Pay Any Required Fees

You will need to pay a renewal filing fee that costs $540. $455 is for the filing and the other $85 is for the biometric scan. 

Submit the Application

Then send off your application. You will receive a notice from the USCIS which will confirm if you’ve been accepted. If you have, they’ll include additional instructions to follow. 

What Should You Do If Your Renewal Is Denied?

If your green card renewal is denied, you’ll get a letter in the mail explaining why it was denied. If you think a mistake was made by the government, there are things you can do. First, you should seek professional help from an immigration lawyer. 

These individuals can help you decide if it’s worth it to file for an appeal. If they believe that a mistake was made, together you’ll file a motion to the USCIS that requests them to reconsider their decision. 

In addition to this you will also need to include any relevant documents or evidence that a mistake was made. Your legal help can help you find and organize these documents. 

Lawyer at their desk

The Importance of Green Card Renewal

As you can see, it’s vital to renew your green card before it expires. If you don’t you could potentially lose access to your driver’s license, travel privileges, mortgage opportunities, and more. 

The good news is that you don’t lose access to your permanent residence status. However, you do lose access to the proof of that status. That’s why you need to stay on top of your green card renewal whenever the date starts to roll around. 

Also keep in mind that making sure your green card isn’t expired isn’t the only thing you need to keep track of. You can learn the full way to maintain your green card by checking out this resource. 

Related: Can Green Card Holders Vote? What You Need To Know In 2022 

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