Renew a Green Card – The Full Process

Renew a Green Card - The Full Process

After living for 10 (ten) years in the US, you’ll probably need to replace your permanent resident card. An expired Green Card does not mean that your presence in the United States is no longer lawful, however, if you want to be free to travel in and out of the country and to be able to easily prove your status, it’s better to get a new Green Card as soon as possible.

If you need to know how the process to renew a Green Card works, read on. We will walk you through everything you need to do in order to get a new valid Green Card from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

In this article:

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How to renew a Green Card

The Green Card renewal service is available both online and by mail, however, the USCIS requires your presence for the biometrics appointment. The process itself is quite straightforward and only requires copies of your old document to accompany the application form.

But, first of all, in when are you allowed to apply to renew your Green Card?

When should I renew my Green Card?

The USCIS provides specific scenarios in which you can apply to replace a Green Card:

  • your Green Card expires in 6 (six) months or is expired;
  • your card has been lost, stolen, or mutilated;
  • the card contains a mistake in your data;
  • you never received the Green Card you applied for;
  • you’ve legally changed your name.

You can apply as many times as you need, however, if the card was lost or stolen, you must include a detailed letter describing the circumstances. Frequent applications for a replacement might raise suspicion of Green Card fraud, making it difficult to get it renewed.

As a general rule, you should apply as soon as you can, but preferably 6 (six) months before the expiration date. While your permanent resident status is unchanged, any government agency might require you to present a valid Green Card to prove it.

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Green Card renewal requirements

In addition to already being a lawful permanent resident of the United States, you have to meet a few requirements to be allowed to renew your Green Card in one of the previously mentioned cases:

  • you have not committed a crime that makes you deportable;
  • you have regularly paid your taxes;
  • you have not lived abroad for more than 12 (twelve) months.

If these statements describe your current situation, you can proceed with a Green Card renewal application.

How to apply for the renewal of a Green Card

The first step for a Green Card renewal application is to get Form I-90, provided by the USCIS website. Once you have filled it out, you need to include the required documents that apply to your situation.

Before mailing everything in, you have to pay the Green Card renewal fee through one of the accepted methods. You can use either a money order, personal or cashier’s check made payable to “US Department of Homeland Security”, or use Form G-1450 to authorize credit card transactions.

The Green Card renewal fees currently amount to a total of $540. The first is $455 to cover the filing fee and $85 for the biometrics fee. In case of economic difficulties, you might qualify for a fee waiver, if you can provide proof. Official sources are not specific on what they consider valid evidence of inability to pay. 

After you mail everything to the local USCIS office, you will get an ASC Appointment Notice (Form I-797C), notifying you of the date of your biometrics appointment. On that day, you need to provide the authorities with 2 (two) Green Card 2 x 2 inches photos, register your fingerprints, and your signature.

At this stage, they will run a background check on you. For the renewal, this is generally just a formality, however, if you have reason to believe you could run into any problems, contact an immigration law firm before the appointment.

When this part of the process is complete, the renewal of your Green Card will take between 6 (six) weeks and 12 (twelve) months.

Green Card renewal online

If you want, you can also complete the Green Card renewal process online, on the USCIS website. First of all, if you don’t already have one, you need to create a USCIS online account. Then, you can log in and complete the Green Card renewal form online.

After inserting all the required information, you will be redirected to the payment page. They accept all major credit/debit cards.

From this point forward, the Green Card renewal will proceed exactly as if you have mailed the application.

What documents do I need to renew my Green Card?

Depending on your situation, you’ll have to provide different supporting documents to apply for Green Card renewal.

If it is about to expire or expired, you will only need to send in a copy of both sides of your current Green Card.

If your card has been lost, stolen, or damaged, you have to attach another form of government-issued ID. This document must contain your photo, full name, date of birth, and signature. Also, include a letter detailing the circumstances of what happened to your Green Card.

If you never received your new card then, in addition to a government-issued ID, you need to provide a copy of the latest Form I-797 you received or a copy of the page of your passport containing the I-551 stamp.

If your current Green Card contains a mistake or your name or other biographical information has changed, you need to provide your card and a legal document proving the new or correct data.

In the event that you are a commuter who started residing in the United States, you must include proof of residence in the United States. If the proof reports a spouse’s or parent’s name, you need to provide a copy of your marriage or birth certificate.

If you are a resident who took up commuter status, the application needs to be accompanied by proof of your current employment dated in the last 6 (six) months.

When you apply by mail, you have to include all the supporting documents in the envelope with the application Form I-90. If you choose to apply online, you can upload the copies through the USCIS website.

Renew an expired Green Card

Renewing an expired Green Card does not require a different process, just complete the application either online or by mail.

The only difference is that you shouldn’t leave the US while waiting for the new card. If you do, you might have to go through the immigration paperwork again to be allowed to re-enter the country.

Green Card photo with Passport Photo Online

The photos you need for your Green Card’s biometrics appointment need to follow very strict guidelines established by the US Government.

With Passport Photo Online, you can take the pictures you need with your smartphone, right at home. Our app will make sure that all the specifics indicated by the USCIS will be followed to the letter.

Thanks to an AI system, the photo will be cropped to the right size automatically and the background will be removed instantly. The app will also examine the picture, making sure that all requirements are met.

Once you get final confirmation, you can either download the file and print the copies you need, or have them delivered to your address.

Trust Passport Photo Online to prepare for the biometrics appointment to present perfect photos and save up to 40% on average prices.

How to renew a Green Card after 10 years: FAQ

In this section, we will address a few common questions about applying at USCIS to renew a Green Card.

How much is a Green Card renewal?

To renew your Green Card, you need to pay a filing fee of $455 and a biometrics fee of $85, for a total of $540.

How long does it take to get a Green Card after renewal?

The processing times for Green Card renewals are between 6 (six) weeks and 12 (twelve) months.

What forms do you use for Green Card renewal?

You need to complete Form I-90 to apply, Form I-797C will be sent to you as confirmation of the biometrics appointment.

Do I need a lawyer to renew my Green Card?

If everything is in order, there is no need for a lawyer. However, if you believe there could be problems with the background check or in any other aspect regarding your lawful permanent resident status, you should contact an immigration law expert.

Can I renew my Green Card online?

Can fill out the Green Card renewal application form I-90 online, but you still need to go in person for your biometrics appointment.

How many times can you renew a Green Card?

You renew your Green Card as many times as you need, however, frequent replacement requests can make the USCIS suspect you of Green Card fraud.

Can I renew my Green Card if it expires?

Yes, you can renew an expired Green Card without problems. However, it’s advisable to renew it starting 6 (six) months before the expiration date.

How many times can you renew a Green Card?

You renew your Green Card as many times as you need, however, frequent replacement requests can make the USCIS suspect you of Green Card fraud.

Can I renew my Green Card if it expires?

Yes, you can renew an expired Green Card without problems. However, it’s advisable to renew it starting 6 (six) months before the expiration date.

US Green Card renewal – summing up

To prove your status of lawful permanent residence in the United States, you need to renew your Green Card after 10 years, or if it gets lost or damaged. You can apply by mail or by uploading your documents with the completed government forms directly through the USCIS website.

The US Green Card renewal process can take up to 12 (twelve) months, so, if possible, try to apply as soon as you are able. As a Green Card holder, you can prove your immigration status and travel freely in and out of the country.

Prepare the photos you need with Passport Photo Online to take them at home and with an absolute guarantee of compliance with official United States Government guidelines.


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