My green card is expiring, how do I renew it?
There is a lot of confusion about which form to use when renewing your green card; the I-751 form or the I-90 form. This depends on whether you have a ten year green card or a two year green card. If you have a two year green card, then you most likely have “conditional residence” which is usually based on a marriage that was fewer than two years old at the time you received your permanent residence. A two year green card under these circumstances requires the filing of form I-751. If you have a ten year green card, then the application is form I-90.
This form is used to renew a ten year green card. It is also the same form used to replace a lost green card or change your name on a green card. In addition, if you received your green card while you were a child under the age of 14, you should apply for a new green card .
Many people choose to simply apply for citizenship instead of renewing their green card. This is a good idea but if you have any criminal history, you should speak with an attorney first. Also, if you file for citizenship within six months of your green card expiring, you will need to renew your green card also.
If you have a criminal history, this may effect your green card renewal. The immigration service typically runs security and background checks before issuing new green cards and therefore, if you have a criminal conviction that makes you deportable, the immigration service may initiate deportation proceedings. If you have a criminal history, do not hesitate to call Immigration Lawyer Marc P. Feldman to talk about your criminal history BEFORE renewing your green card.
As part of your application, USCIS will require you to undergo biometrics, fingerprinting, etc. If you fail to go to your biometrics appointment, USCIS will automatically terminate your application. As part of your biometrics, USCIS will typically collect your old green card and issue you temporary proof of your permanent resident status while your application is pending.
If you are filing the form I-751 to remove the conditions on your residence, you must file the form during the 90 days immediately before your card expires.
Usually, couples file this form jointly or together because the purpose of the form is to show USCIS that you are still together as husband and wife. If the form is not filed on time, your immigration status will automatically expire by law and you will be out of status – illegal.
When filing the application, you need to include documentary evidence of your relationship. This should include photos, joint financial documents, and at least two statements or affidavits from people who know you and your spouse. In addition to the filing fee, you must also include two passport style photos.
While the I-90 or I-751 process can be relatively straight forward for someone familiar with immigration procedures, rules, regulations, etc., for those who do not have regular contact with the immigration service and laws, it is recommended that you seek the advise of an immigration lawyer before filing anything with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Immigration Lawyer Marc P. Feldman can navigate through the rules and procedures of immigration law and can accompany you and your spouse to the interview, if required, and prepare you for that interview to increase your chances of passing the interview.