A green card is one of the most important documents you can possess as a permanent resident of the U.S. Your green card will prove your citizenship status and identity, including your right to employment in the country. As a permanent American resident, your green card is valid for 10 years, unless it is a conditional green card, which expires after two years. If your expiration date is coming close or you need a replacement card, it’s very important that you know the process of renewing or replacing it. You must always have your green card on your person and you must have a permanent copy of your card when you apply for a new job, so you want to make sure you always have a valid green card document.

How Do I Renew or Replace It?

You can begin the process of renewing or replacing your green card if your expiration date is less than six months away. If your card was lost, stolen, or damaged in any way, you should replace the card as soon as you can. There are other reasons for needing to replace your green card such as:

  • If you never were given a card that was officially issued to you
  • The card contains inaccurate or outdated information
  • You are turning 14 years old
  • you are changing your residence status

To apply for a new green card, you will need to use the USCIS Form I-90. You can fill this out online through the USCIS website, or you can fill out a paper application and send it through the mail. You’ll be able to check the status of your application online as well. If your application for a replacement or renewed card is denied, you will get a letter that tells you the reason for the denial. You cannot appeal a negative decision, but you can submit a motion to reopen or reconsider the decision for a reexamination. Your motion to reopen should include the appropriate documentation that you were previously missing or any new facts that are necessary.

US Residents should be aware that losing your Green Card does not mean that you lose your resident status. If you are traveling overseas and you lose your Green Card, you can still return to the US as a Green Card Holder. A Permanent Resident cannot be forced to surrender their Green Card at the US border absent exigent circumstances.

If you would like more information on the different green cards and permanent visas that are available to you, reach out to the Law Offices of Sweta Khandelwal today.