Renewal / Replacement of Green Card

Renewal / Replacement of Permanent Resident Card

Your permanent resident card (also known as green card) is proof that you are authorized to live and work in the United States and that you have permanent resident status. It is valid for ten years (or if you are a conditional resident, two years).

It is important that you renew your permanent resident card before it expires; the time to begin the process of renewal is about six months before the card expires, although it can be done with less time if necessary. If your card has already expired, then you need to renew it as soon as possible. You may have to explain what circumstances led to delay in your renewal filing. Check with an immigration attorney to learn of conditions that could cause changes in your permanent resident status.

It is important to keep your card up-to-date because it is documentation of your status as a permanent resident, and it provides you with the necessary means of identification for the purposes of travel and employment within the United States.

Required By Law

You are required by law to carry evidence of your permanent resident status, and failure to do so is a crime according to Section 264 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which states “"Every alien, eighteen years of age and over, shall at all times carry with him and have in his personal possession any certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card issued to him . . .. Any alien who fails to comply with [these provisions] shall be guilty of a misdemeanor ..."

As a permanent resident, you are also required to keep your address current with immigration at all times. You must notify immigration of any changes in your address within 10 days of your move.

Conditional Permanent Residents

If you are a conditional permanent resident with a two year expiration date that is about to expire, you should consult an immigration lawyer about the process of removing the conditions on your resident status, rather than seeking to renew your permanent resident card. The process to remove the conditons on a permanent resident card is different than the re-newal process and requires evidence to be submitted with the petition. An Austin immigration lawyer can assist you in completing the process for seeking to remove the conditions on your conditional permanent resident status.

Older Permanent Resident Cards

Permanenet resident cards that were issued between 1979 and 1988 do not have expiration dates do not have to be renewed. However, the USCIS recommends that you should replace the outdated green card with the new version by completing a renewal application.

Out Of The Country

According to the USCIS, “if you are outside the United States and your green card will expire within 6 months (but you will return within 1 year of your departure from the United States and before the card expires), you should file for your renewal card as soon as you return to the United States.”

If you are not in the United States when your card expires and you have not yet completed an application for renewal, you should contact the nearest U.S. Consulate, USCIS office or port of entry before seeking to renew your green card.

Temporary Proof

When you apply to renew your permanent resident card, you will receive a letter from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) extending your resident status for one year. This letter serves as temporary proof of your permanent resident status until the renewal is approved and your new card arrives in the mail. All renewal applications will require that you attend a biometrics appointment. During that appointment USCIS will capture your fingerprints, take a photo of you, and run a criminal background check.

When Should You Hire An Immigration Attorney To Assist You With Your Permanent Resident Card Renewal?

The permanent resident card renewal process can seem deceptively simple. The application itself is not very long. However, errors in the application process can cause unnecessary delay and there may be particular facts in your case that may benefit from the guidance of an immigration attorney.

Unless those seeking renewal of their permanent resident card are prepared to educate themselves on the detailed requirements of obtaining this immigration benefit, their best option may be to hire a qualified immigration attorney, who can do all the necessary work to make sure that the process runs smoothly and that the legal requirements are met without undue delay or confusion.

If you or someone you know is interested in renewing or replacing their permanent resident card, Austin, Texas immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle of the Lyttle Law Firm can help. Ms. Lyttle has helped many clients with U.S. immigration matters, and she has extensive experience in helping individuals with their permanent resident card renewals. Furthermore, because immigration law is federal law, she can handle permanent resident card applications for U.S. residents living in any state, not merely the State of Texas.

Ms. Lyttle is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian, she can communicate directly with clients in these languages, read and understand documents in these languages, and communicate with any foreign officials in these languages, if necessary.

The Lyttle Law Firm can give you and your family members peace of mind in undertaking this difficult and potentially frustrating and time-consuming task. Once hired, the Lyttle Law Firm will take over the application process from beginning to end, keeping clients informed, and taking the stress out of the process. If you need assistance obtaining a permanent resident card renewal or replacement, contact the Lyttle Law Firm.