This guide is only to be used as general reference for current Green Card holders who wish to renew their Green Card. This Guide does NOT cover eligibilty for lawful permanent residence. This reference should NOT be used by those applying for a Green Card for the first time, or for any other purpose other than to renew a lawfully issued Green Card that is set to expire within 6 months or has expired. This guide does NOT cover renewing a Green Card for individuals under 16 years of age. This guide does NOT cover replacing a lost Green Card or a replacing a Green Card containing erroneous information. This guide does NOT cover inadmissibility, removability, or eligibility for any non-immigrant status, lawful permanent residence, or naturalization. Before filing any document with any immigration authority, one should speak with a qualified immigration attorney about potential admissibility, removablity, and certain eligibilty issues.
Step 1: Assessing your situation
This guide is intended only for those whose I-551 "Lawful Permanent Resident Card" or "Green Card" has expired is will expire in 6 months. This guide is not intended for and should not be used by those with conditional permanent residence. The process for removing conditions on residence is completely different from that explained in this guide.
Also if you have ever committed any crime or have been arrested for any offense, stop right here and contact an immigration attorney before filing any document with USCIS. The commission of certain offenses can render certain people removable, or deportable. Also if you have ever filed any false information with any governmental agency, stop right here and speak with an immigration attorney.
*Note: one of the most common ways people are placed in removal proceedings is by filing a document with USCIS when removable.*
One can find an immigration attorney in their area by going to www.aila.org and clicking on "Find Lawyer".
Step 1: Assessing your situation Part 2 (When to file)
If the above caveats do not apply (i.e. your residence is not conditional, you have never committed or been arrested for an offense, and you have never submitted false information to any governmental agency), then 6 months days prior to the expiration date on the Green Card, one should file to renew their Green Card. Also if one has an old version of a Green Card with no expiration date they need to obtain a new card. Just because the Green Card expires on a certain date does not mean that the person's status expires on that date (but if you have any questions, contact an immigration attorney).
If one has been a lawful permanent resident for over 5 years, and wishes to become a U.S. citizen, then they should contact a well qualified immigration attorney to discuss eligibility for citizenship.
Step 2: The Application: What to File
In order to renew one's green card they must file form I-90 with supporting documentation. Fill out form I-90 (form I-90 is available with instructions on the USCIS website under the Forms tab, go down to form number I-90 and click on the blue text).
If one's current address is different from the address provided then they should list the current mailing address and any previous addresses back to the address listed on the Green Card. *Note failure to report a change in address with 10 days of moving is technically, under certain circumstances, a deportable offense. While most people are not placed in proceedings on this basis, if you are concerned about this possibility, contact an immigration attorney.* After filling out the rest of the biographical information, check the box that pertains to your immigration status and the reason for the application. This guide is intended for those applying pursuant to option F or J of Part 2, Question 2, Section A of form I-90.
Step 2: The Application: What to File (Part 2)
If any other section under Part 2, Question 2, Section A applies to you, stop right here and contact an immigration attorney. Continue to fill out Parts 3, 4, 5, and 6 as applicable.
Once you have filled out form I-90 attach a color copy (front and back) of your green card and a check for $450 made out to U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Do not send your actual card; only send a (color) copy (front and back) of the card. If you wish to receive receipt notification via text or e-mail you can also file form G-1145 with the I-90 and supporting documentation.
If one needs more space for any particular question then they can attach an extra sheet clearly indicating which Part, Question, and Section they are providing additional information about.
The I-90 is computer fillable on most modern computers (with appropriate software), thus it is preferable to fill in the form on the computer to the extent possible. If you must fill in the form by hand, please write very clearly.
Step 3: Filing and Where to File the Application
Once you have filled out the application, attach a color copy of your Green Card (front and back of the card) and the check (made out as in Section 4 above) with a paper clip or a binder clip to the application. All paper-based Form I-90 applications along with all supporting documentation must be filed at the USCIS Phoenix Lockbox facility. Important filing tips, as well as additional information on fees and customer service, are listed on the USCIS Lockbox Filing Tips webpage.
For U.S. Postal Service send the documentation to
P.O. Box 21262
Phoenix, AZ 85036.
If you are sending the documentation via Fed Ex, UPS, USPS Express Mail, or other courier service, send it to:
1820 E. Skyharbor, Circle S, Floor 1
Phoenix, AZ 85034.
As an alternative to filing and mailing a paper copy, some individuals can file the I-90 electronically from the USCIS website. The applicants must still submit a copy of the Green Card (I-551). Those choosing this option should follow the instructions for electronically filing on the USCIS website exactly.
Step 4: The Biometrics Appointment
Once USCIS reviews the I-90 and determines that the information is true and complete, they will send a notice for the applicant to appear before ASC to have their fingerprints taken have a background check done. If the appointment notice contains additional instructions, it is very important to follow those instructions exactly (if you have any questions, contact an immigration attorney). It is extremely important to appear on time for this appointment. If the applicant fails to appear for this appointment then the application will be denied.
*Note if USCIS determines that one is removable during this process then USCIS may refer the file to ICE to initiate removal proceedings*
Step 5: Receiving the Card
Once the biometrics appointment is completed, the I-90 is verified, and there are no additional issues, then USCIS will mail the applicant a new I-551 (Green Card / Law Permanent Resident Card).
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