How to renew your green card.
The green card renewal process can be straightforward, but you need to be aware whether there are issues requiring an attorney.
Is it time to renew?A green card can be renewed up to 6 months before it expires. If you send it earlier than that, it will be denied and you will have to refile and pay the fees again. If you have lost your card or it was destroyed or it has incorrect information, you can file at any time.
What "kind" of green card do you have?If your green card was valid for 10 years, this indicates that you were a non-conditional resident. If your green card was only valid for 2 years, then you were likely a "Conditional Resident" and you are not actually renewing the card, you will need to "remove the conditions" on your residency. This is done through a different process than we describe in this legal guide.
Gather your forms and documents.You will need to navigate to USCIS.GOV and find the form called the I-90. This is the application to replace your permanent resident card. There are step-by-step instructions you can follow on USCIS.GOV to fill this form and mail it in. Pay close attention to the filing fee and the biometrics fee. You will have to pay both when filing this form to renew your expiring green card.
Be sure to make a copy of your expiring green card and send it with your application.
You also have the option of filing this form online. If you have an email address you can create your online account here: https://www.uscis.gov/file-online
After you send the applicaiton...You will receive a letter from USCIS saying that the application was received. In a few weeks after that, you will get a letter telling you to appear for a fingerprinting appointing, also referred to as Biometrics.
Go to your appointment and get your fingerprints taken.
If your green card is already expired, they may be able to provide you with a sticker for the reverse side of the card, extending the validity of your card.
Can I travel when my green card expires?If you need to travel when your green card has already expired, you can make an appointment at the nearest USCIS service center. Bring your passport and proof that you filed the I-90 and that it has been accepted. USCIS can place a stamp in your passport that will act as a temporary green card so you can travel.
What if I have been arrested for something? Can I still renew my green card?If you have any criminal history, you need to talk to an attorney. The wide array of consequences for a criminal conviction makes it difficult to know if it will be an issue to renew your green card. You will need an immigration attorney with experience in this area to review your case and your options. Generally, a ticket for driving on a suspended license will not be a problem, while any drug conviction could be (whether it is a misdemeanor or felony). DO NOT THINK that just because you were convicted for a misdemeanor that there will not be any issues. Both Felonies and Misdemeanors can make a person deportable from the US.