The Green Card is an identification card verifying the permanent resident status of a foreigner in the United States of America. The Green Card, also called the permanent resident card, serves as an evidence that its owner is a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) and has been formally allowed immigration welfare, which contain authorization to permanently stay and work in the U.S. The owners need to uphold their permanent resident status, and can be deported if they do not fulfill the duties and responsibilities of their status. .
An LPR can file an application for U.S. citizenship after 5 years of being in the permanent resident status via method of naturalization (or after only 3 years wedded to a U.S. citizen). Citizens are permitted more privileges (and duties) than permanent residents who are still categorized as foreigners in this reference. Few instances which could lead a permanent resident to deportation, do not apply to U.S. citizens.
To apply for permanent residence, an immigrant generally has to go through the following three stages:
In the first stage, USCIS accepts the immigrant appeal by an eligible relative, an employer, or in exceptional situations, like with an investor visa, the candidate himself.
In the second stage, an immigrant visa number via National Visa Center (NVC) of the United States Department of State (DOS) should become available.
In the third stage, when the immigrant visa number becomes available, then the candidate shall either apply with USCIS to adjust their existing status to permanent resident status or apply with DOS for an immigrant visa at the nearby U.S. embassy to formally be permitted to enter the USA.
In August 1989, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS, currently USCIS) began allotting Green Cards with a 10 year expiration date and wanted permanent residents to renew their cards after 10 years. A Green Card that is excessively old, with an old photo or is damaged or mutilated, cannot efficiently work as proof of existing immigration status, individuality, for employment approval, etc. The cards come with an expiry date specified on the front side of the card that denotes a validity of 10 years. The USCIS sets a 10 year validity period for permanent residents, and 2 years for conditional residents. Green Cards need to be renewed regularly for USCIS to be able to keep track of persons in the U.S. and whether they are maintaining their valid legal status.
In order to renew a Green Card, Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card needs to be filed with the USCIS. Form I-90 applications can be submitted online. All candidates are obliged to make available recent biographic and biometric evidence. The particular processes in order to apply for a Green Card renewal are described in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The form also comes with instructions for the correct filling up and filing of the form with the USCIS.
Note: Conditional residents cannot use Form I-90 to renew their card at the end of 2 years. They need to use a different form to remove the conditions on residence.