Green Card Renewal: How to Renew My Expiring Green Card (Form I-551 Permanent Resident Card)
If you were issued a "Green Card" (Form I-551 Permanent Resident Card, formerly called Alien Registration Receipt Card) approximately 10 years ago with an expiration date, your Green Card may be expiring soon, and you will need to renew it. (If your Green Card does not have an expiration / renewal date, and it was issued between 1979 and 1988, you do not have to renew it yet).
You will not lose your legal status in the United States because your Green Card expires – your lawful permanent resident status will not expire or change. However, you will need to renew your expiring Green Card in order to maintain evidence of your permanent resident status and avoid possible difficulties in obtaining employment, benefits and re-entry into the United States after traveling abroad.
You may apply for renewal of your Green Card up to six months before the expiration date on the Green Card. However, there is no need to rush for a new card too far in advance since you will immediately be issued temporary proof of your status at your local U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office. A temporary stamp will be placed in your passport or–if you do not have a passport–a temporary document with photograph will be issued. Temporary proof of status will be valid for one year, and you should receive your new Green Card in 10-12 months. You should only need to visit the USCIS office once if your application is complete and correct.
To renew your Green Card, you should complete 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 by mail (although you will still eventually need to visit an USCIS office). In all other locations, you should submit your application in person.
If you are applying in person, bring your completed Form I-90, a $110 filing fee, two photographs (as specified in the Form I-90 instructions), and your expiring Green Card. To obtain temporary proof of your status (while your new card is processed) also 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. (Remember: it may take 10-12 months to receive your new permanent Green Card).
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.
- Have a specific question? To help you find an answer quickly, we have placed "Ask a Visa & Immigration Lawyer" boxes on this page. Simply type a question in any of the boxes to receive a response online from a visa and immigration lawyer.
- For assistance within the U.S., contact your nearest USCIS District Office or Sub Office. This link provides telephone numbers, addresses, directions, office hours, local filing procedures, and more.
- Or, call the national USCIS toll-free information service at 1-800-375-5283.
Apply by Mail for Green Card Renewal
Mail-in application procedures should be available in New York, Newark, Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, San Antonio, and El Paso. If you live in one of these areas, contact your local USCIS office for specific mail-in instructions. You should be able to mail your completed Form I-90, the $110 filing fee, a front-and-back photocopy of your expiring Green Card, and two photographs (as specified in the Form I-90 instructions). Do not mail your expiring Green Card. After they receive your application, the USCIS will schedule an office appointment with you so you can bring your expiring Green Card in person and receive your temporary proof of status.