People talk a lot about obtaining a Green Card (lawful permanent resident card) in the United States, but not a lot of focus is put on what happens afterwards.
Although generally Green Card holders are eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship after five years of having their Green Card (or three years if the eligibility is marriage based), many people for one reason or another do not apply for U.S. citizenship during that time. For those people who have not naturalized, a Green Card expires after 10 years.
You must replace your Green Card if:
- Your Green Card is either expired or will expire within the next six months;
- Your previous card was lost, stolen, mutilated, or destroyed; or
- You received your card before you were 14 and you have reached your 14th birthday (unless your card expires before your 16th birthday);
[Please click here for a list of other situations requiring a Green Card renewal/replacement]
Lawful permanent residents (LPRs) need to apply for a new Green Card if theirs is expired, or will expire in the next six months, by filing a Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. Typically after applying LPR renewers will receive a Form I-797 receipt notice providing them with a case number and then the applicant must wait. But like many other USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) processes, the waiting period for new Green Cards has reached excessive time periods.
USCIS currently lists the average wait time of receiving a renewed Green Card at 13.5 months.
In 2021 USCIS announced that those applying for a renewal of their Green Card, both conditional or regular, would be able to receive an extension of the Green Card's validity upon receiving a receipt notice. However, the extension previously announced for regular renewing Green Cards was for 12 months. Now, USCIS has announced that it is automatically extending the validity of Green Cards to 24 months for permanent residents who file a Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card.
If this extension applies to you, know that your I-90 receipt notice should be presented with your expired Green Card as evidence of continued status. USCIS states that “This extension is expected to help applicants who experience longer processing times, because they will receive proof of lawful permanent resident status as they await their renewed Green Card.”
If you no longer have your Green Card and you need evidence of your LPR status while waiting to receive your replacement Green Card, you should request an appointment at a USCIS Field Office by contacting the USCIS Contact Center, and it may issue you an Alien Documentation, Identification, and Telecommunications (ADIT) stamp after you file Form I-90.
Remember that lawful permanent resident status is permanent - just because your Green Card is expiring does not mean that your status is expiring. However, all LPRs are required to have a valid, unexpired Green Card or equivalent documentation with them at all times.
If you have questions or need help renewing your green card please reach out to us at (757) 422-8472, or send us a message on our website. You can also schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys by clicking on this link.