Green Card Renewal or Replacement: The Full Guide

Don’t let your Green Card turn brown! If your 10-year green card has already expired or is about to hit its expiration date in the next six months, it’s time to get a new one. Renewing it is vital to keeping your permanent resident status rock solid.

Why and When to Renew or Replace Your Green Card

Holding a Green Card grants you the privilege of permanent residency in the United States, unlocking a wealth of options for work, travel, and building a life. But without keeping your card up-to-date, that door could slam shut. Here’s why renewing your Green Card shouldn’t be an afterthought:

Your Green Card Expired or Is Going to Expire Soon

Your current green card expires within six months.

You Don't Have Your Green Card Anymore

Your Green Card got lost, stolen, or damaged.

You Have an Old/Invalid Green Card

USCIS Form AR-3, Form AR-103, and Form I-151 are no longer in use (are considered invalid). You must replace them with the current version of the Green Card

Your Current Green Card Contains Incorrect Information

If you changed your last name or the Green Card displays incorrect info, you need to change it.

Other (Practical) Green Card Renewal Reasons

While these are the core reasons for renewing your Green Card, keep in mind the following:

  • Holding a Green Card for the required period, you become eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship. A valid, renewed Green Card is crucial for taking this next step.
  • Maintaining a valid Green Card allows you to travel freely outside the U.S. and return without facing re-entry issues. An expired card can significantly complicate your travel plans.
  • On-time Green Card renewal eliminates unnecessary stress and ensures you have the proper documentation for various life situations.

EXCEPTION: Naturalization is the only time to skip the Green Card renewal process. You must meet the naturalization eligibility criteria and submit Form N-400 to qualify. Upon becoming a U.S. citizen, you no longer pay USCIS fees. You will also have to prepare for the citizenship test and interview.

The Green Card renewal and replacement processes differ between lawful and conditional permanent residents. For example, lawful permanent residents can renew or replace their Green Card, while conditional permanent residents can only replace them.

How to Renew Your Green Card

You must go through a four-step process for a Green Card renewal application. Here it is in short:


Complete the application for your Green Card renewal (Form I-90) online through a USCIS account or in paper form.


Gather the required documents, like your current Green Card (even if expired), proof of legal status, and any relevant identification documents.


Pay the Green Card renewal fee online or send a check (money order also works) with your mailed application.


Submit your application electronically or send it via post with a delivery confirmation.

You must review and update your personal information during the Green Card renewal process. Suppose you have undergone a name change or changed your address since receiving your last green card. In that case, updating this information with USCIS is essential to avoid complications in the Green Card renewal process.

Renewing your Permanent Resident Card is typically going to be a formality. However, you may not be able to renew your Green Card in certain circumstances (if you have been convicted of a deportable crime).

Step-by-step Expired Green Card Renewal Process for Lawful Permanent Residents

Having an expired green card doesn’t mean you lose your permanent resident status; it just means you need a new card! Think of it like needing a new driver’s license when the old one expires. It proves you can still legally live and work in the U.S. and can return if you travel abroad. Don’t worry; your permanent resident status is safe unless there are other reasons for concern.

1. Prepare Form I-90

The first thing to do when renewing your Permanent Resident Card is to complete Form I-90: Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. If you are a lawful permanent resident, complete this form online by creating a USCIS account or on paper (and mail it to USCIS).

If you are a conditional permanent resident, you need to focus on Form I-751(to remove the conditions) or Form I-829 (to remove the conditions as an entrepreneur), depending on your situation.

NOTE: If you need help preparing Form I-90, we have put together the Ultimate Guide on Form I-90 Step-by-Step Instructions, with detailed explanations and instructions. 

2. Gather the Paperwork

One of the Green Card renewal requirements is proper documentation. After you fill in Form I-90, you must gather all the required supporting documents. When renewing an expired or expiring Green Card, the only required documentation needed, along with your application, is a copy of your most recent Green Card. However, you should also have proof of legal status and any relevant identification documents, especially if your Green Card was lost, stolen, or damaged.

3. Pay the Green Card Renewal Fee

The answer is simple and complicated if you wonder how much the Green Card renewal fee is. 

The Green Card renewal fee is $465 from April 1, 2024.

  • If you renew your Green Card online, you will pay electronically with a credit or debit card.
  • Suppose you are filing your Green Card renewal application by post. In that case, you can pay by order, personal check, cashier’s check, or with a credit card (by filing Form G-1450: Authorization for Credit Card Transactions). The money must be ordered to the United States Department of Homeland Security (no abbreviations allowed).
  • If you face significant financial hardship, you might be eligible for a fee waiver when renewing your Green Card. However, this option is available only when you renew your Permanent Resident Card through the mail.

IMPORTANT: USCIS has adjusted the fees for most immigration applications and petitions, effective April 1, 2024. You can read their final rule, published in the Federal Register. Thus, you must consider the new fees when filing an application or petition postmarked on or after this date. Remember, the new fee applies even if you’re using an older version of the acceptable form.

4. File Your Green Card Renewal Application

Once you have completed the steps above, submit your application for Green Card renewal to USCIS. If you file Form I-90 online, you can upload your supporting documents and application. However, USCIS may require you to send these documents separately through the mail.

NOTE: You should create a cover letter explaining why you submitted your application to renew your resident card. Gather all the supporting documents and proof of payment into a single packet along with the form

When submitting your application by mail, send your packet to the appropriate USCIS address. 

The Expired Green Card Renewal Process for Conditional Permanent Residents

If you have a Conditional Permanent Resident status, you can get a Green Card that is valid for only two years.

NOTE: Don’t use Form I-90 for renewing this status!

Within 90 days of your two-year green card’s expiration, the first thing to do is file a petition to “remove the conditions.”

Once your petition is approved, you’ll get a new green card valid for ten years. After that, follow the usual renewal process, including using Form I-90.

The Expired Green Card Renewal Process If It Expired While You Were Travelling Outside the U.S.

If you are outside of the United States when you reach the six-month mark until your green card expires, you should file for renewal as soon as you return to the United States.

However, suppose you will still be out of the country when your current Green Card expires. In that case, you must contact your nearest consulate or embassy to inform them of your situation before returning to the U.S. and filing for renewal. Avoid traveling abroad if it conflicts with your timely Green Card application.

Lost Green Card Replacement Process

Unfortunately, losing your Green Card is stressful, whether inside or outside the United States. If you’re still in the U.S., act quickly and file the necessary paperwork with USCIS to get a replacement.

If you lose your Green Card abroad, things get trickier. You’ll need a particular travel document before you can even think about coming back. Head to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate and apply for Form I-131A, which gets you the necessary document.

NOTE: Check the Lost Green Card Replacement Process Guide inside and outside the United States. Mistakes on your USCIS application forms can lead to rejection, denial, or delay in processing your application, so make sure you have all the paperwork in order!

What Documents Do You Need to Renew Your Green Card?

Usually, the USCIS requires you to submit a copy of your Green Card when you file Form I-90. However, they might ask you to prepare other documents depending on specific situations. See some examples in the table below:

Reasons for Green Card Renewal/Replacement

Expired Green Card (or to expire in the next six months)

Old (and now invalid) Green Card

Lost, stolen, damaged, or destroyed Green Card

Changed name or personal information

The Green Card was issued but never received from USCIS

You live in Canada or Mexico but travel to the U.S. for work

Supporting Documents

Current Green Card copy

Current Green Card copy

Government-issued valid I.D. with full name, birth date, photo, signature, etc. (driver's license, passport, military I.D., etc.)

Current Green Card copy and Marriage/Divorce certificate, passport, and other court documents

Government-issued valid ID AND Form I-797 OR passport page with I-551 stamp.

Current Green Card copy AND employment evidence (pay stubs, contracts, etc.)

You should not submit original documents unless required by USCIS. Photocopies are more than enough. If some of your documents are in a foreign language, you must send them in a certified English translation with Form I-90.

EXCEPTIONS: You are not required to send a current Green Card copy if you never received your Green Card from USCIS, your card was stolen, destroyed, lost, etc., or your immigration status was changed to “Green Card Holder” automatically because you belong to a specific group (like “Special Agricultural Worker”).

The Green Card Renewal Processing Time

The most frequent question people ask is how long it takes to renew a Green Card. The Green Card renewal process is lengthy, unfortunately.

Once USCIS receives your application, you should expect 1.5 to 12 months for them to process your Green Card renewal application. You can check the USCIS’s current case processing times to know more.

The Green Card Renewal Timeline

  • 2 to 4 weeks wait to receive the receipt notification for your application. USCIS will send it to you by mail. This acceptance notification does not mean that your application has been approved; it means that USCIS has accepted it for review. The letter from USCIS will include a 13-character receipt number. You can use this number to check the status of your Green Card renewal application on your online account. USCIS will create an account for you and provide access details in this letter if you have not already created one.
  • After submitting your Green Card application, you must wait 5 to 8 weeks for your biometrics appointment notice with the date, time, and location. Your biometrics appointment will occur in a USICS Application Support Center (ASC) near your location. They may also request additional supporting documents beyond what you previously provided.
  • USCIS will begin processing your Green Card renewal application after the biometrics appointment. If your application is approved, USCIS will mail your new Green Card to your U.S. mailing address. This can take 8 to 12 months.

NOTE: USCIS doesn’t send Green Cards to non-US addresses. The new Green Card will be delivered to the port of entry specified in the application for permanent residents in commuter status.

Why Is My Green Card Renewal Taking So Long?

We get asked this question a lot.

The processing time for the I-90 Form is influenced by factors like your application’s accuracy, USCIS workload, your case’s complexity, etc. 

For example, if USCIS finds any mistake on your I-90 application, they will send you a Notice of Action to reject your Green Card renewal application. This will cause delays in the Green Card renewal processing time.

Consequently, if USCIS denies your application, you will receive a notice explaining the reasons for the Green Card renewal denial.

What Do I Do If My Green Card Renewal Application Is Denied?

As we said, Green Card renewal is typically a formality. However, if you have committed certain crimes, failed to pay your taxes, lied on your application, or submitted the incorrect form, USCIS may deny your application.

If your application gets denied, you will receive a letter explaining the decision.

If you think USCIS made an error in denying your application, you can take some action:

  • Submit a motion to USCIS to reconsider the decision, including factual information that refutes the reasons given for the denial.
  • Seek legal assistance from an experienced immigration lawyer or nonprofit organization that provides legal immigration services for free or an affordable fee.

USCIS will either decide on your appeal in about 45 days or turn the case over to the Administrative Appeals Office for further review, which can take up to six months.

Can I Expedite the Green Card Renewal Process?

If you need your Green Card sooner, you have some options. In certain circumstances, USCIS can expedite your renewal application case-by-case. These decisions are entirely at the discretion of USCIS.

  • You are in an emergency.
  • You suffer severe financial loss.
  • When applying for a job, you must prove you are a lawful permanent resident.
  • Humanitarian reasons.
  • Errors made by USCIS.

Green Card Renewal Frequently Asked Questions

Suppose you still have questions related to renewing or replacing your Green Card. In that case, we hope the answers below illuminate issues involving Green Card renewal fees, processing times, travel and working in the U.S., citizenship application, and more.

How Do I Waive the Green Card Renewal Fee?

If you face significant financial hardship, complete Form I-912: Request for Fee Waiver to request that the Form I-90 fees be waived. You must prove your inability to pay the Green Card application fee in one of the following ways:

  1. Show evidence that you receive a “means-tested benefit,” such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income, or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families
  2. Show evidence that your household income is equal to or less than 150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines
  3. Show that you are experiencing financial hardship, including unemployment, homelessness, or significant medical expenses.

If your Green Card expires while you wait for citizenship, USCIS will usually provide you with an Alien Documentation, Identification, and Telecommunications (ADIT) stamp to prove your status as a Green Card holder until your citizenship is granted. However, you will only receive this stamp if you apply for citizenship at least six months before your Green Card expires.

You can travel outside the U.S. while waiting for your Green Card renewal application to be processed. Even if your current Green Card has expired, you should be able to travel outside of the country without worrying about re-entering as long as you have your expired Green Card and your notice from USCIS of the receipt of your application.

You can continue working legally in the United States even if your Green Card expires. However, you could face other complications. The authorities can charge you with a misdemeanor for not having a valid Green Card. A misdemeanor charge could mean jail time or a fine and complicate your work situation.

Typically, no interview is required after filing Form I-90 for Green Card renewal. USCIS may sometimes request one when collecting biometrics and conducting a background check. Conditional permanent residents filing Form I-751 undergo an interview due to a policy change in December 2018.

File Your Green Card Renewal Application Today!

The best way to avoid any complications with your Green Card application renewal is to apply as soon as you reach the six-month mark. At Immigration Direct, we can help ensure that your application gets filed correctly and you avoid any unnecessary delays in the renewal process.

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