Help Renewing Your Green Card
If you are a lawful permanent resident (LPR) living in New York, you likely enjoy the benefits that having a green card offers. With a green card, you can legally live and work in the U.S. without fear of deportation as long as you follow the law. However, you must ensure that you renew your green card and don’t let it expire.
Some people have the misconception that a green card doesn’t need to be renewed. This is because, in the past, the government issued green cards without expiration dates. However, today, green cards have expiration dates listed on them and require holders to renew them before they expire. Here’s some information from Oltarsh & Associates about renewing your green card.
Understanding Green Cards
Permanent resident cards are commonly called green cards. They demonstrate the holder’s ability to live and work in the U.S. and indicate that they are lawful permanent residents. Having a green card allows you to live and work anywhere in the U.S. After you have been a lawful permanent resident for three to five years, you might also be eligible to apply for status as a naturalized U.S. citizen. Through the naturalization process, you could become a citizen of the U.S. and have access to full civil rights, including voting and holding political office.
People commonly obtain green cards for the following reasons:
- Employment-based green cards
- Family-based green cards
- Investor and entrepreneur green cards
- Green cards under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
Importance of a Valid Green Card
Your green card is a critical legal document because it verifies your status as a lawful permanent resident and shows you can legally live and work in the U.S. Under U.S. immigration law, you should ensure your green card remains unexpired and valid at all times. The law requires you to carry your green card with you.
What Happens if Your Green Card Expires?
Green cards expire at different times based on the reason for which they were issued. If you received a green card based on being married for less than two years, your green card is conditional and must be renewed in two years to obtain a permanent resident card. Permanent green cards are valid for 10 years but must be renewed each decade. Lawful permanent residents must renew their green cards every 10 years or risk potential immigration issues.
While having an expired green card is not a serious offense, you could still be charged with a misdemeanor offense carrying up to 30 days in jail and a $100 fine. You must also be careful when renewing your green card if you have any criminal convictions on your record. A New York immigration lawyer at Oltarsh & Associates can help you navigate the renewal process to avoid potential immigration consequences.
If your green card expires, you could face the following issues:
- Trouble renewing your driver’s license
- Inability to find a job
- Not being able to buy real property
- Inability to travel outside of the U.S.
- Not being allowed to re-enter the U.S. after traveling internationally
To avoid these problems, you should apply to renew your green card a minimum of six months before its expiration date.
How to Renew Your Green Card
You can apply to renew your green card if it is already expired or will expire within six months. You can also do so if you were approved for a green card but never received it or if your current permanent resident card has been lost, stolen, or damaged. The following are other situations when renewing your green card is important:
- Your name or other details have changed since you last received your permanent resident card; or
- Your approved green card has arrived but lists incorrect information.
If your green card has already expired, you can apply to renew it by applying through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) by mail or online by completing the following steps:
- Complete Form I-90
- Gather your supporting documents, including your current or most recent green card, the USCIS filing fees, and two passport-sized photos
- Pay your fees ($455 application fee plus $85 biometric services fee) and submit your application and documents
- Apply for a financial waiver if you can’t afford the fees
- Attend your biometrics appointment
It’s important to note that it can take from six weeks up to a year to receive your new green card, so it’s best to start the process early.
Talk to a New York Immigration Lawyer
If your green card will expire within the next six months to a year or is already expired, you should reach out to an experienced New York immigration lawyer at Oltarsh & Associates. Dealing with the USCIS can be overwhelming, and it’s important to avoid errors on your renewal paperwork. Our experienced attorneys can walk you through the renewal process and help you to obtain a new green card. If you have a criminal record, we can advise you about the potential consequences and take steps to minimize your risks. Contact us at 212-944-9420 to schedule a consultation and learn how we might help you.