The following article is a deeper dive into understanding the process of renewing or replacing your Green Card if you are a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR). The application for the most current version of the Green Card is USCIS’ Form I-90. Permanent residents with a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) are obliged to carry the valid card with them at all times. Section 264(e) of the Immigration and Nationality Act requires you to make sure you are following the law on this. It is something you cannot get away from. In this article, we explain how to file this USCIS application, how much does the whole process cost, how long does it take from start to finish, and more.
You need a Green Card if you
plan to live and stay in the U.S. on a lawful, permanent basis.
A Green Card gives its holder the legal right to live and work in the U.S. permanently. It means that you have a permanent resident status, which provides you the right to apply even for government jobs. Green card holders also receive certain health, educational, and other benefits. Green Card serves as physical proof of these eligibilities. Carrying your Green Card with you is ordered by law, so there is no choice to decide whether you should apply for one. You must apply for renewal if your card will expire within 6 months or already has expired, you should replace your current Green Card if you legally changed your name or other biographic information, your card was issued but never received, was damaged, it was lost, stolen or destroyed, or you reached your 14th birthday.
How to renew or replace Permanent Resident Card
You can apply for Green Card renewal or replacement by filing Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Residence Card. This is the main form you will use for getting a new Green Card.
There is an exception to this rule:
Form I-90 doesn’t apply if you are a conditional resident seeking to remove conditions on your Green Card – in this case, you use either Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, or use Form I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status depending on reasons.
You can file your Form I-90 application either online or by mail. However, applicants requesting a fee waiver cannot file online. Want to know more about your Green Card renewal fee waiver eligibility? Contact our law firm for legal advice.
What Is a Form I-90?
Form I-90 is a 7-page application form issued by the Department of Homeland Security for you to submit to get your new Green Card. This application is filed by lawful permanent residents, as well as permanent residents in commuter status to renew or replace their Permanent Resident Cards. Conditional permanent residents who obtained their status through marriage or entrepreneurship who need to replace a lost, stolen Permanent Resident Card also use Form I-90 to request a replacement green card only, but this is not a renewal. The government agency responsible for handling immigration matters is called U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Forms with written instructions can be found on the USCIS website.
A Green Card renewal or replacement application can be completed electronically and the Form I-90 filing instructions can help you with this process. You can find the instructions on the USCIS website. You can use this form electronically, filling it on your computer, even if you wish to send your application by mail.
What documents do I need?
You should keep in mind that providing accurate information on Form I-90 and submitting relevant supporting documents is a must for your Green Card application. Always read carefully all the instructions attached, so you can take on the task with more confidence. Making mistakes may be costly and time-consuming.
The documents you need to submit depend on the reason you’re submitting the form.
For lost, stolen Green Card you need ->photocopies of the Green Card, a government-issued ID card that correctly displays the photo, name, date of birth, and signature (this sounds obvious, but you will be surprised how often applicants forget to sign an application form);
When you are a commuter and travel from Mexico/Canada to the U.S. regularly you need ->Green Card; employment evidence and statement for at least the past 6 months;
Your immigration status was automatically converted to Green Card holder you need the following supporting documents for your Form I-90 ->ID cards showing your name, evidence of temporary-resident status (Form I-797, Form I-700), photo, date of birth, and signature.
You should submit clear photocopies of documents requested unless the Instructions from Form I-90 clearly state that you must submit an original document. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may request an original document at the time of filing, or at any time during the processing of an application, petition, or request. It will be returned to you when USCIS no longer needs it.
If you submit to USCIS Green Card Form I-90 supporting documents with information in a foreign language, you must also submit a full English certified translation. For more info contact our law firm for legal advice.
File form I-90
You can choose between two main options when filing Form I-90 to replace your Green Card. You can either do this online or by mail (post). The first option requires you to create a USCIS online account. Having an online account grants you with the possibility of:
Paying your filing fee online;
Checking the status of your ongoing case;
Receiving notifications and other updates;
Viewing personalized completion date estimates;
Responding to requests for evidence promptly;
Managing your contact information (e.g., updating your address).
Online or mail
Having an online account with USCIS allows you not only to pay the filing fee by credit card but also to track your case with this government agency and respond in no time. However, we understand that sometimes you may not want to want to file your documents online for many reasons. Even though you choose to Replace Permanent Resident Card using regular mail, we can still help you to get it done safely and efficiently.
You can find the mailing address below:
Through the U.S. Postal Service (USPS)
USCIS, P.O. Box 21262, Phoenix, AZ 85036
Through DHL, FedEx, or UPS
USCIS, Attention: I-90, 1820 E. Skyharbor, Circle S, Floor 1, Suite 100, Phoenix, AZ 85034
Remember to sign and date your Form I-90. You can easily omit this detail when you fill in the form electronically.
Type or print clearly in black ink;
Answer all questions fully and accurately;
When a question does not apply to you, type or print “N/A” (not applicable) in the space provided for your response;
When your answer to a question is the number zero (0), type or write “none”;
When you need extra space to complete any item within this application, use the space provided in Part 8. Additional Information or attach a separate sheet of paper;
Indicate the Page Number, Part Number, and Item Number to which your answer refers;
When filing Form I-90, remember that simple mistakes can cost you extra time and money. We can provide legal advice on the more effective way to file this form.
How much does it cost to file Form I-90?
At this moment, USCIS charges a $455 filing fee on Form I-90 applications. The government agency also requires applicant biometric (fingerprinting for which you are invited on a special “biometrics appointment“), which carries a service fee of $85. Altogether filing fees should not exceed $540 (this doesn’t cover postage stamps if you choose U.S. postal services).
You can pay the filing fee electronically through Pay.gov if you apply online, or by money order or check, made out to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security” (written in full) or by credit card (by completing the additional form). You cannot pay by cash. For detailed information, please do not hesitate to contact our law firm.
How long does it take?
When you file Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Residence Card, after approximately 3 – 5 weeks, USCIS receives your application and ensures it is complete, they will inform you (in writing or by email), if you need to attend a biometrics appointment.
After filing Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card, your I-90 processing time can take anywhere from 8 to 10 months. This is an estimate. It may be less for some and longer for others. In unusual cases, USCIS will request additional information or may even schedule an additional interview.
If you think that your case is outside the normal processing times, you can contact our law firm for assessment and possible inquiry.
USCIS will not mail you a Permanent Resident Card to a foreign mailing address. Therefore, if you are an alien commuter who continues to reside in a foreign territory, you may provide a foreign address. If you are an alien commuter who will take up actual residence in the United States, you need to provide a U.S. address.
Withdrawing your Form I-90
You have the right to withdraw your Form I-90 application to replace or renew your Green Card. However, you must submit a written request. Do not hesitate to contact us, if you need more details on this procedure, or any other instructions like the online account, help with gathering form supporting documents, or application to replace Permanent Resident Card in general. Our immigration attorney will provide legal advice and instructions that will help you save your nerves and time.
If you find our article informative and engaging, we welcome you to look into related publications on our website. We tap into not only the Green Cards but also write on other immigration topics.