Former INS Attorney Carl Shusterman (1976-82) discusses family-based immigrant visa petitions, adjustment of status and consular processing.
Renewing your Green Card, or Permanent Resident Card, is important. If you have an expired Green Card you may be denied re-entry into the United States. You could also be charged with a misdemeanor (criminal act).
Who should renew a Green Card
If your card expires within the next six months or has already expired, you should promptly renew your card. You will need to fill out U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Form I-90.
Reasons for renewing a Green Card include the following:
If you have conditional status, not resident status, note that you should not apply to renew your Green Card. You need to apply for removal of the conditions placed on your permanent resident status.
If you don't renew your Green Card
If immigration authorities learn your Green Card has expired, you could be found guilty of a misdemeanor. This puts your status at risk, and you could face deportation. If your Green Card has expired, you should immediately contact an attorney for help.
Filing Form I-90
You can either download Form I-90 through the USCIS Web site, get it from a local office, or request it by mail. You should get advice from an attorney before applying to renew your green card, especially if you have ever been arrested or convicted of any criminal offense. You can contact the USCIS field office near you for referral to organizations that can help you prepare and file your application. To find out the status of your case, call the USCIS National Customer Service Center.
If your application is denied
If your application is denied, you cannot appeal. You must file a motion to reopen or motion to reconsider your application at the same office that denied your application. If you have new information you want to present to the court, you can request a motion to reopen. If you think your application was denied because of an incorrect application of the law or immigration policy, you can request a motion to reconsider. You should hire an attorney to help in either case.
What it costs to renew your Green Card
The filing fee for renewing a green card is at least $300. However, fees are subject to change, so it's best to check the USCIS Web site for the latest information. If you have turned 14 since your card was issued, you pay less to renew if you apply within 30 days of your 14th birthday. If you hire an attorney, you will be charged for his or her services. Attorneys' fees depend on their experience and areas of expertise.