The I-90 Form – When Do You Need It

Filing U.S. immigration forms can be a breeze or a thorn depending upon several things, including your individual case. Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card is no exception to that and is one of the top popular forms filed when it comes to immigration forms in the U.S. It is filed by lawful permanent residents (green card holders) and permanent residents in commuter status in order to get a replacement or renewal of their green cards. Conditional permanent residents may also file Form I-90 to apply for replacement of an existing card.

This form is filed under various circumstances. Though this form is used in other situations also, it is commonly used

  • if your permanent resident card was lost, stolen, or destroyed.
  • your name or other personal information was changed legally.
  • your card expired or will expire within the next six months.
  • your existing card has incorrect information because of a Department of Homeland Security error. (In this case, filing fee or biometric services fees are typically not needed.)
  • your previous card was issued but never received. (Even in this case, filing fee or biometric services fee are typically not required.)
  • you have reached your 14th birthday but your card will expire before your 16th birthday.

As mentioned earlier, though there are many other instances when one needs to file Form I-90, the above mentioned are the most common reasons for filing.

There might be some instances where you want to get a replacement but you do not have that option mentioned in the form. For example, you might have an old edition of the permanent resident card and want to get a replacement, but you will not find that option in the form. In such situations, you have to fill out part 2.j of your I-90 application. You can also fill this section if you want to get a replacement of your current Permanent Resident Card for any reason not mentioned in the categories in the I-90 application. If you are applying based on this, you will be required to submit a copy of your permanent resident card. It is also mandatory to send the filing fee and biometric services fee with your application.

Form I-90 is a requisite for those who have a green card because such cards have to be renewed every decade. Most green cards do have an expiration date. U.S. immigration law typically requires green card holders to carry a valid green card at all times. You can use this form to renew your green card and also to replace it when you have lost your card.

Those who got a conditional permanent resident card status through marriage or entrepreneurship will get a conditional permanent resident card that is valid for two years. When that person’s status is within 90 days of expiration, he/she cannot apply for a replacement of his/her conditional resident card and has to file a petition to remove the conditions, as mentioned below:

  • You can directly file Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence if you got your conditional permanent resident card through marriage to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, and the two-year status is expiring within the next 90 days or
  • You can file Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions if you got your conditional permanent resident card because of creating a new commercial enterprise and a financial investment in the U.S, and your status is expiring within the next 90 days.

Ways To File Form I-90

Only certain immigration forms can be filed online. You have two options when filing Form I-90. You can either file it online or fill out the form, print and mail it. But if you are filing for a fee waiver, you cannot file Form I-90 online. If you want to print and mail the application, you may need to make sure you have the latest version of Adobe Reader on your system.

This is How You Pay the Fee

You have to pay a $455 filing fee along with an additional fee of $85 for biometrics. If you are filing your I-90 form online, you can make the payment online. If you are mailing your printed application, you have many payment options such as money order, personal check, cashier’s check and credit card. If you are paying through check or money order, it has to be drawn on a bank or other financial institution located in the U.S. and should be payable in U.S. Currency (U.S. Dollar). It has to be payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Write out U.S. Department of Homeland Security fully, not using the initials “USDHS” or “DHS.” One important aspect is that if your application is rejected for any reason, your filing fee will not be refunded. Another important point is that you should not mail cash.

Simple Things To Keep in Mind While Filing the I-90 Form

It is advisable to print using black ink. Should you have more information to convey, but the space is not enough in the application, you can use the additional space available in part 8. Write your Alien Registration Number or the A- number at the top of each sheet in your application. Do not skip any part. If any question does not apply to you, you can just mention N/A. You can also type none in case the question seeks a numeric answer and you wish to say zero. Make sure you use the latest version of the I-90 form as the old ones will have a different edition date and USCIS will not accept outdated ones.

Signing the Application – Does It Matter?

Yes. Your application should be properly signed before filing. Your case will be rejected if you do not sign your application. Stamped or typewritten name in place of a signature is not accepted. Signature in an electronic format can be accepted if you are filing your application electronically. If the applicant is under 14 years of age, his/her parent or legal guardian can sign the application on the applicant’s behalf. If the applicant is mentally incompetent, the legal guardian can be authorized to sign the form.

Not Able to Prepare Your Form By Yourself? No Issues

If you are not able to prepare the form by yourself, you can take help from someone else who can do it for you. In such a case, part 7 of the application has to be filled accordingly. The person preparing the application on your behalf has to sign this part. If the same person is your interpreter and your preparer, that person has to complete both Part 6 and Part 7 of the I-90 form. If this person is associated with a business or organization, that person should also furnish the name and address of the business or organization. It is mandatory that the one who prepared your application sign and date the form. Also, note that USCIS will not accept a stamped or typewritten name instead of a signature. If an attorney or accredited representative is preparing your application, he/she should also submit a completed Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative, along with your I-90 form.

Supporting Documents

At the time of filing, you will be required to submit certain supporting documents to justify your case.

You will find those details in the instructions page that comes along with the form. You can submit photocopies unless the instructions clearly mention that you have to submit original documents. If the documents are in a foreign language, you have to enclose a full English translation along with a certification from the translator. This certificate is to verify that the translation is complete and accurate and that the translator is competent enough to translate the document from a foreign language to English. The certificate should also have the date, the translator’s name and signature. Though optional, the translator’s contact information may be included.

Biometric Services Appointment

You will be required by the USCIS to appear for an interview or to get your fingerprints, photograph, and signature. This is also to get additional information about you and also to conduct background and security checks. All these will be considered before a decision is made on your application. After you send your application, they will inform you in writing or email depending on how you filed your application, if you need to attend a fingerprinting appointment. If it is necessary for an appointment, USCIS will send a notification about the location of your local or designated USCIS Application Support Center (ASC) and the date and time of your appointment. If you are abroad at present, they will inform you to get in touch with a US Embassy, US Consulate, or USCIS office outside the US.

Accommodations for Persons With Disabilities and/or Impairments

USCIS will provide reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities and/or impairments. Accommodations will differ and depend on each disability and/or impairment. Depending on this, there will be alterations to the practices or procedures. Some of the accommodations include:

  • If you are deaf or have issues with your hearing sense, you might be provided with a sign-language interpreter at an interview or similar other appointments.
  • If you are blind or have issues with your vision, you might be allowed to take the test orally rather than in writing.
  • If you are not able to travel to a designated USCIS center for your interview, USCIS officials will visit you at your house or a hospital.

USCIS Processing

Either you file online or print and mail your application after USCIS gets your application, they will check for completeness. If they find your application to be incomplete, they might reject or deny your application. If need be, they will ask you to furnish more information or evidence to support your application. At times you might be asked to furnish originals of any copies you submitted. If they ask for an original document from you, they will return it to you once they feel they no longer need the original document.

The USCIS might ask you to appear at their office for an interview based on your application. At that time, you will be required to give your fingerprints, photograph, and signature to prove your identity and/or for background and security checks. Considering all the above, USCIS will finally inform you of their decision if your application went through or not.

Another important point to consider is that the USCIS will mail a Permanent Resident Card only to a valid mailing address in the U.S., not to any foreign mailing address. If you are planning to go abroad and your card is about to expire, it is highly recommended that you apply and get your new Permanent Resident Card before leaving the United States.

But if you are an alien commuter who resides abroad, you can give a foreign mailing address and if you wish to take up actual residence in the U.S., you have to give your U.S. mailing address.


If you knowingly and willfully hide a material fact or furnish a false document with your I-90 application, USCIS will reject your form and also deny any other immigration benefit you were entitled to. Also, you will be subjected to possible penalties and potential criminal prosecution under the law.

Useful Tips

  • Make sure you complete the entire application without skipping any part.
  • Erroneous (minor or major errors) and incomplete applications often result in the application being rejected by the USCIS. Did you know that as much as 40% of the forms filed are rejected every year for these and other reasons?
  • As mentioned earlier, if your application is rejected, your fee will not be refunded (It is a costly affair). The same applies even if you withdraw or cancel your application. So complete the form with utmost care as it is always better to be safe than feel sorry later.
  • Not signing the application will also lead to rejection.
  • Also, make sure you print or save a copy of your I-90 form to review in the future and for your records.

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