Permanent residency in the United States is only granted in certain circumstances and can often take years to get. While your permanent resident status does not expire, your green card does. It is the document that proves your residency status. Your green card will need to be renewed every ten years. If something happens to your green card, you will need to obtain a replacement as soon as possible.
Applying for Replacement
The Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card Form I-90 will be used to renew or replace your green card. If you are renewing your green card, you should begin the process at least six months before the expiration date. Once the application is filed, you will be contacted for an appointment to have your fingerprints and photograph taken. You may also be required to provide supporting documents such as a marriage or birth certificate. Be aware that if your original supporting documents are in another language other than English, it is likely you will need to provide certified translations.
With your biometrics appointment completed, the information is used to complete a background check and your fingerprints are sent to the FBI for processing. This process can take about a month to six weeks to complete. If the criminal background and conduct history checks are clean, a new card is issued with a new ten-year expiration date.
For replacements, there are certain situations that warrant the use of Form I-90 as well. A lost or stolen card is common. The application can also be used for cards that are destroyed or are never received. Errors, such as name misspellings or wrong information, are also instances. Form I-90 must also be used if your name has changed or if you were a permanent resident before your fourteenth birthday and you have reached that age.
Requirements for Conditional Residents
Conditional residents are different. These individuals have permanent residency but it comes with certain conditions, such as marriage or investment. For I-90 cannot be used in these cases. Conditional residents have a green card that expires every two years. Form I-751 should be used to request removal of conditions that are based on marriage and Form I-829 should be used to request removal of conditions that are based on investments. Both situations require the proper application to be filed at least ninety days before the expiration date. If the removal request is approved, you will be issued a new green card with a ten-year expiration.
It is very important to carry your green card with you everywhere and have it at all times. This little document gives you the ability to travel outside of the country and reenter as well as get a job in the United States. If something happens and this document cannot be presented or has expired, it may cause removal proceedings to occur.
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