QUESTIONS & ANSWERS TO "GREEN CARD" RENEWALS


Presentation copyright (c) 1999 VIKRAM BADRINATH, P.C. All rights reserved.

 


 

INS Reminds Lawful Permanent Residents
To Renew Expiring Green Cards

Q. How do I know if I need to renew my Green Card?

A. Since 1989, "Green Cards" (Form I-551 Alien Registration Receipt Card) were issued with an expiration date on the front of the card that indicated a 10-year validity. 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.

Q. Do I need to renew my Green Card if it was issued between 1979 and 1988 but does not have an expiration date?

A. No. Green Cards issued between 1979 and 1988 do not have expiration dates and do not need to be renewed at this time. INS will develop an orderly plan for replacing these cards at a future time.

Q. Will I lose my permanent resident status if I do not renew my Green Card?

A. No, you will not lose your permanent resident status if you do not renew your Green Card—permanent resident status will not expire or change. 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.)

Q. What will happen if I don’t renew my expiring Green Card?

A. 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. When you apply to renew your card at your local INS office, you will receive temporary evidence of your lawful permanent resident status.

Q. How do I apply to renew my Green Card?

A. To renew your Green Card, you should complete a Form I-90 "Application to Replace a Permanent Resident Card"—which you can obtain by calling INS’ toll-free forms request line 1-800-870-3676 or by accessing the INS Web site at www.ins.usdoj.gov. To maximize service to customers, INS has implemented mail-in application procedures in some areas, specified below. In all other INS offices applicants should submit their completed application in person.

Mail-In Procedures

Mail-in application procedures have been established in New York, Newark and Chicago and will begin in San Francisco, Houston, San Antonio and El Paso by the end of this month. These district offices will conduct a public outreach campaign in their local communities to announce their mail-in programs.

In all mail-in locations, applicants should mail their completed Form I-90, but should not include their expired Green Card. Along with their application, they should mail in a $110 filing fee, a front-and-back photocopy of their expiring Green Card, and two photographs (as specified in the Form I-90 instructions). Upon receiving a complete application, district offices will schedule renewal applicants for an office appointment so that they can submit in person their expiring Green Card and receive their temporary proof of status. Applicants who require temporary documentation before their scheduled appointment may request it from their local INS office.

In-Person Procedures

In all other locations, applicants should submit their completed Form I-90 in person. Along with their application, they should submit a $110 filing fee, two photographs (as specified in the Form I-90 instructions), and their expiring Green Card.

Q. How can I obtain temporary proof of status while I wait to receive my new Green Card?

A. To obtain temporary evidence of your status, when you go to your local INS office you (both mail-in and in-person applicants) should bring with you your expiring Green Card and a passport, if you have one. If you do not have a passport, you should bring with you a third photograph so that a temporary document can be created and issued on-site.

[NOTE: If you present an expired passport the INS will stamp it; however, this documentation is not acceptable for employment verification purposes. You can present to employers an unexpired stamped passport or Form I-94 with photograph, or any of the other documents listed on the Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification Form). Accordingly, if you require temporary documentation for employment purposes, you should inform the INS officer of this fact when you come to the local INS office.]

Q. How long will it be before I receive my new Green Card?

A. Currently, it takes about 10-12 months to receive your new Green Card. However, you will be issued temporary proof of your lawful permanent resident status when you go to your local INS office.

Q. Since INS is improving its Green Card renewal procedures progressively during the course of the next year to improve customer service and speed card issuance, should I wait to renew my Green Card until later in the year?

A. INS will implement improved procedures during the course of the next year to progressively make the renewal process more accessible to customers and gradually reduce the wait time for a new card.

While you can apply to renew your card up to six months in advance of its expiration date, there is no need to rush to apply for a new card too far in advance. When you go to your local INS office, you will be issued temporary proof of your lawful permanent resident status that will be valid for one year. Since you will receive this temporary documentation the same day you go to your local INS office, there is no need to file too far in advance of the expiration date.

Q. What should I do if my Green Card has already expired? Will the INS penalize me for renewing my card after it expired?

A. If your Green Card has already expired, you should apply to renew your card as soon as possible. INS will not penalize you for renewing your card after it has expired.

Q. What do I use for documentation of my lawful permanent resident status while I wait for my new card?

A. You will be issued temporary proof of your lawful permanent resident status when you turn in your expiring Green Card at your local INS office. 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 an applicant presents an expired passport the INS will stamp it; however, this documentation is not acceptable for employment verification purposes. Applicants can present to employers an unexpired stamped passport or Form I-94 with photograph, or any of the other documents listed on the Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification Form). Accordingly, applicants who require temporary documentation for employment purposes should inform the INS officer of this fact when they come to the local INS office.]

Q. What if my temporary proof of status expires before I receive my new Green Card?

A. If your temporary proof of status expires before you receive your new Green Card, you should return to your local INS office to update your documentation.

Q. 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?

A. 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 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.

[NOTE: If an applicant presents an expired passport the INS will stamp it; however, this documentation is not acceptable for employment verification purposes. Applicants can present to employers an unexpired stamped passport or Form I-94 with photograph, or any of the other documents listed on the Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification Form). Accordingly, applicants who require temporary documentation for employment purposes should inform the INS officer of this fact when they come to the local INS office.] 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.

Q. What if I cannot afford the application fee, or I am ill or disabled and cannot go to my local INS office?

A. If you cannot afford the fee you may request a fee waiver according to standard procedures. If you are unable to appear in person because you are confined due to advanced age or physical disability, you may contact your local INS office to request accommodations.

Q. 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 INS office?

A. All INS offices have developed procedures designed to handle such situations. You should contact your local INS office and ask for assistance.

Q. Why does INS put 10-year expiration dates on Green Cards?

A. INS began implementing 10-year expiration dates on Green Cards in 1989 to allow the agency to update photo identification and implement new card technologies that will increase the card’s resistance to counterfeiting and tampering.

Q. What should I do if I’ve already applied for naturalization and my card is expiring? Do I still need to renew my Green Card and pay the $110 renewal application fee?

A. INS 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 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.

Q. What if I applied for naturalization less than six months before my card expires, or I choose to apply for naturalization instead of applying to renew my Green Card?

A. You will still need to apply and pay the $110 filing fee to renew your expiring Green Card and ensure that you have evidence of your legal status.

– INS –