Renew Your Green Card or Apply for Naturalization?

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If your Green card is to expire in the next few months, you might think that you have a choice to make: Will you renew your Green Card or will you apply for naturalization?

But the time to make the choice has passed.

The truth is that if your Green Card will expire within the next six months, you have no choice but to renew your card before you apply for naturalization. You will have to file both applications. That is because the USCIS does not allow you to apply for citizenship if you have an expired card. So you will have to wait to receive your new card before you seek naturalization. When filing Form N-400, the application for naturalization, you have to submit a photocopy of your card and it should be current.

If you apply for naturalization long before your card expires, and you fulfill the requirements, you will not have this problem. After five years of lawful permanent residency, you are eligible to apply for naturalization.

Why Renew Your Green Card

The Permanent Resident Card is a document that proves that you have lawful permanent resident status in the United States. Commonly referred to as “Green Cards,” they are valid for 10 years. If your card expires, it is hard for you to demonstrate your status. Traveling will be hassle, and you will probably face difficulties in the place in which you are employed or seek to be employed.

Renew Your Green Card Before Travel

You should renew your Green Card by using Form I-90 before you travel; otherwise, you will have to deal with delays at inspection when trying to come back to the U.S. If you renew your card before leaving, you will receive temporary documentation which you will be able to present at the point of entry.

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