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Green Card Renewal: FAQs on Expiring Green Cards (Permanent Resident Card)

Expired Green Card FAQs

Renew Green Card Renewal Expiration Expiring Expired Green Card Permanent Resident Card

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Why does USCIS put 10-year expiration dates on Green Cards?
To protect against counterfeiting and tampering, in 1989 INS initiated 10-year Green Card renewal / expiration dates. The Green Card is also called Form I-551 and the Permanent Resident Card, and was formerly called the Alien Registration Receipt Card.

How do I know if I need to renew my Green Card?
Green Cards issued since 1989 have an expiration date on the front of the card that indicates a 10-year validity before Green Card renewal is required. If you were issued your Green Card about 10 years ago and the card has an expiration date on it, you should check the expiration date to see when your card needs to be renewed.

Do I need to renew my Green Card if it was issued between 1979 and 1988 but does not have an expiration date?
No. Green Cards issued between 1979 and 1988 do not have Green Card renewal / expiration dates and do not need to be renewed at this time. USCIS will develop a plan for replacing these Green Cards at a future time.

Will I lose my permanent resident status if I do not renew my Green Card?
No, you will not lose your permanent resident status if you do not renew your Green Card – your permanent resident status will not expire or change if you do not complete Green Card renewal. However, you are required by law to carry evidence of your status / registration (e.g. a valid, unexpired Green Card or the temporary proof of status you receive at the time of filing to renew your Green Card.)

What will happen if I do not renew my expiring Green Card?
If you fail to renew your expiring card, you may experience difficulties in obtaining employment, benefits and re-entry into the United States from abroad.

How do I apply for Green Card renewal?
Within six months of Green Card expiration, complete a USCIS Form I-90 "Application to Replace a Permanent Resident Card", which you can also obtain by calling 1-800-870-3676, or by submitting an online request to receive immigration forms by mail. If you live in New York, Newark, Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, San Antonio, or El Paso, you may be able to apply for Green Card renewal by mail (although you will still eventually need to visit an USCIS office). In all other locations, you should submit your Green Card renewal application in person to your nearest USCIS District office or Sub Office. For more details, see: Green Card Renewal: Renew My Expiring Green Card.

How can I obtain temporary proof of status while I wait to receive my new Green Card?
When you bring your application to renew your Green Card in person to the USCIS office, be sure to bring your passport, if you have one -- or bring one additional photograph so that a temporary document (a stamped Form I-94 with photograph) can be created and issued to you immediately.

NOTE: If you present an expired passport the USCIS will stamp it; however, it will not be acceptable for employment verification purposes. You may present to your employer an unexpired stamped passport or Form I-94 with photograph, or any of the other documents listed on the USCIS Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification Form). If you require temporary documentation for employment purposes, be sure to inform the USCIS officer of this fact.

How long will it be before I receive my new Green Card?
Currently, it takes about 10-12 months to receive your new Green Card. Your temporary proof of status will be valid for one year.

Should I apply for Green Card renewal far in advance of the expiration date?
While you can apply for Green Card renewal up to six months before your Green Card expiration date, there is no need to rush to apply for a new Green Card too far in advance. When you go to your local USCIS office, you immediately will be issued temporary proof of your lawful permanent resident status that will be valid for one year.

What should I do if my Green Card has already expired? Will the USCIS penalize me for renewing my Green Card after it expired?
USCIS will not penalize you for renewing your Green Card after it has expired, but you should apply to renew your Green Card as soon as possible.

What do I use for documentation of my lawful permanent resident status while I wait for my new Green Card?
You will be issued temporary proof of your lawful permanent resident status when you turn in your expiring Green Card to the USCIS. You should bring your passport, and a temporary stamp will be placed in your passport. If you do not have a passport, you should bring an additional photograph and you will be issued a temporary document (a stamped Form I-94 with photograph) on-site. This temporary proof of status will be valid for one year.

NOTE: If you present an expired passport the USCIS will stamp it; however, it will not be acceptable for employment verification purposes. You may present to your employer an unexpired stamped passport or Form I-94 with photograph, or any of the other documents listed on the USCIS Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification Form). If you require temporary documentation for employment purposes, be sure to inform the USCIS officer of this fact.

What if my temporary proof of status expires before I receive my new Green Card?
You should return to your local USCIS office to update your documentation.

What will happen if I present an expired Green Card when I try to reenter the United States after traveling abroad, or when I obtain a new job, or when I apply for entitlement benefits?
Re-entry into the United States from abroad: To the extent possible, apply for your new Green Card before you travel and bring with you on any trip the temporary documentation you receive at the time of filing to renew your Green Card. If after traveling abroad you try to re-enter the United States with an expired Green Card, you may experience a delay during the inspection process at the port-of-entry.

Obtaining employment: While employers will not accept an expired Green Card to verify employment authorization for new hires, you may use other documents listed on the USCIS Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification Form), or the temporary documentation you receive at the time of filing to renew your Green Card (other than a stamp placed in an expired passport).

Applying for benefits: Your status as a lawful permanent resident has not changed. Therefore, your eligibility for benefits will not change. The temporary documentation that you receive upon filing to renew your Green Card is sufficient evidence to verify your legal status.

What if I cannot afford the application fee to renew my Green Card, or I am ill or disabled and cannot go to my local USCIS office?
If you cannot afford the Green Card renewal fee you may request a fee waiver according to standard procedures (see USCIS Forms / INS Forms and Other US Immigration Forms, Fees & Filing Locations). If you are unable to appear in person because you are confined due to advanced age or physical disability, you may contact your local USCIS office to request accommodations.

What if I filed to renew my expired Green Card under mail-in procedures and I need to obtain temporary proof of status immediately, before my scheduled appointment to come to the local USCIS office?
All USCIS offices have developed procedures designed to handle such situations. You should contact your local USCIS office and ask for assistance.

What should I do if I have already applied for naturalization and my Green Card is expiring? Do I still need to renew my Green Card and pay the $110 Green Card renewal application fee?
USCIS is exploring alternatives under which you can defer applying for a new Green Card if you have applied for naturalization more than six months prior to your Green Card’s expiration. Until these changes are in place, you need not apply to renew your Green Card. In the meantime, if you are in the process of obtaining new employment you may use other documents listed on the Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification Form) for employment authorization purposes. If you need a new Green Card for employment or benefits verification purposes, you should apply and pay the $110 filing fee to renew your expiring Green Card.

What if I applied for naturalization less than six months before my Green Card expires, or I choose to apply for naturalization instead of applying to renew my Green Card?
You will still need to apply and pay the filing fee for renewal of your expiring Green Card and ensure that you have evidence of your legal status.

For additional information, see: Green Card Renewal: Renew My Expiring Green Card

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