It is important to renew your Legal Permanent Resident card or “Green Card” prior to it expiring. A green card is typically valid for ten (10) years. Before the card expires, an Application to Replace Permanent Resident card, or Form I-90 needs to be filed with U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS). The government recommends that the application be filed six (6) months before your current card expires. The reason for this recommendation is that it typically takes 4 – 6 months for USCIS to process and approve the application. However, the processing time may vary based on how many applications are ahead of you, the time it takes to complete your background check, and if all the required evidence was provided when the application was initialing filed.
If for some reason you do not file the application six (6) months before your green card expires, it is still possible to renew your permanent resident card if the expiration is within the six (6) month period or if your card is expired. However, it is highly unlikely you will receive your new green card before the current card expires. Although you will not lose permanent resident status for having an expired green card, by law it is required that a legal permanent resident carry a valid green card at all times. Additionally, not having a valid card may cause issues with:
- Keeping a current job or starting a new job;
- Purchase a home;
- Re-entering the United states after foreign travel; or,
- Obtaining or renewing your driver's license.
If you are thinking about filing for naturalization, it is best to file six (6) months before your permanent resident card expires. If there are less than six (6) months left before your green card expires, it is recommended to renew your green card before applying for naturalization.
Keeping track of the expiration date on your green card is important to ensure that you stay compliant with the law and that you do not run into any of the issues mentioned above. If you are unsure if you should renew your legal permanent resident card or apply for naturalization, it is best to speak with a competent Immigration attorney. Call the Law Office of Michael D. Post at (520) 244-3600 today for a free case evaluation. We will answer any questions you have and determine what path is right for you.