Green Card Renewal Timeline

Green Card Renewal Timeline


Can Green Cards Expire? If Yes, What Denotes an Expired Green Card?

A Green card holds a lot of importance and offers many benefits to its holder in the United States. Also, also known as a permanent resident card, this document is issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to those who qualify for and gain this status thereafter. A green card authorizes you to work and live in the United States but, remember that this card is not permanent, even though the status is. Before we dive into the question of the Green Card Renewal Timeline, we need to answer a few other questions.

Green Card Renewal

Does a Green Card Have Validity?

Yes, a green card has validity, and it does expire. Many people in the US carry or have an expired green card. Since this card isn’t used all the time, it goes unattended. The main reason why people try to drag the renewal of the green card for as long as possible is the ‘cost’ involved in renewing it. USCIS charges around $540 to renew it which is no joke. Other than that, the USCIS green card renewal timeline is also long even though at present it takes close to a year until you receive a new green card. 

There are, however, several detriments of using an expired green card which we will discuss in the later section of the article. So that one will not get into any problems related to using a lapsed permanent resident card, it is always recommended to apply for a renewal before the card expires. 

What Is the Validity of Your Green Card?

Typically, a green card is valid for 10 years unless you have been given conditional permanent resident status for which the card is valid for 2 years.

The best time to register for the renewal of a green card is six months before the actual expiry date, so one is almost close to receiving a new card ahead of the expiry of the original. If the card is lost or damaged, you need to register immediately without any delay.

So Where Can You Find the Expiry Date of Your Green Card?

It is pretty easy to locate the date of expiration on your green card. On the front side of the card, after all the biographical information listings like name, surname, USCIS number, country of birth, etc., towards the bottom you will first see the “Card expires” title next to which is the expiry date. Right below that you will see “Resident since” which must be dated 10 years before the expiry in case your green card is valid for 10 years. 

Green Card Example

Older Green Cards Did Not Have an Expiry? Does It Mean They Are Valid? 

Some older versions of green cards may not have an expiry date on them. It is usually in the case of the cards that were provided between 1977 and 1989. USCIS states that these cards remain to be valid as there hasn’t been any policy for these cards needing to be replaced.

However, it should be noted that if you have an old version of a green card that reads “I-151” somewhere at the back of the card in fine print, then the card is considered invalid. The I-151 form for a green card has been replaced with form I-155 by the USCIS which is also for the green card. They have only changed the name internally. So cards that say I-151 need to be replaced. 

While the older cards are considered valid, you may face other issues when using or presenting these cards. For example, if your card is damaged due to being old, or your photo on the card looks different from what you look at now because of being dated, the customs and Border Protection officers have the right to reject the card and restrict your entry to the States. But having no expiry date often leaves people in a lot of confusion during these situations. 

What Should the Conditional Green Card Holders Do?  

The conditional green card holders who have gained permanent resident status, but whose card is valid for two years only should keep an eye on the expiry date and shouldn’t let their card expire. These individuals cannot renew their card, instead, they need to replace their conditional card by filing a request to USCIS to remove the conditions of residence on their card. This should be done 90 days before the card expires. 

Green Card Renewal Timeline

How Long Does It Take to Renew Green Card? 

The USCIS green card renewal timeline is around 6.5 to 12 months from the date of application. However, it is extremely important to prepare the application well by providing accurate information and all the supporting documents for the very first time itself. An application that is not prepared properly, may lead to an overall delay in the green card renewal timeline. In some situations due to internal delay, backlogs, or any other reasons related to the applicant’s documentation and additional checks, it may take longer than the given I-90 processing time as well. 

However, the good thing is you can get a temporary document to show as proof of your permanent residence if you need to travel outside the country. 

USCIS Green Card Renewal Timeline and the Step-by-step Process of How You Can File It

The USCIS green card renewal timeline can be long depending on individual cases but is much shorter than when you apply for the green card for the first time.  We are going to give you a detailed process of how you can file for renewal, I-90 processing time, how long does it take to renew a green card (stage-wise timeline), and more in this section. 

How to Renew My Green Card Using the Right Forms?

To renew or replace your green card, you need to file Form I-90 which is the Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card. Make a note that this application is not for conditional residents. 

If you want to remove the conditions on your green card you need to either file

  • I-751 (to remove conditions on green card obtained through marriage), or, 
  • I-829 (to remove conditions on green card obtained through investment or entrepreneurship in business)

Before moving on to the process, let’s move on to see who needs to apply for the USCIS green card renewal. You need to file Form I-90 if- 

  • The validity of your green card has expired.
  • The validity of your permanent resident is about to expire.
  • You have lost your green card.
  • You have an old version of a green card that has I-151 mentioned on it.
  • Furthermore, you have an old green card that is damaged or carries an old photo of yours.
  • There are mistakes in your biographical details that the USCIS has made. 
  • You changed your name or gender.
  • You are turning 14 years and your green card expires before your turn 16. 
  • Your card was sent by the USCIS, but you never received it.

Various Steps Involved in the Processing of the USCIS Green Card Renewal (Green Card Renewal Timeline)

To make it easier for you to understand and follow the steps, we have divided the USCIS green card renewal process into two sections: 

  • How to go about the filing of I-90 
  • Post filing steps (i-90 processing time)

How to Go About Filing the I-90?

The very first thing that you should do while filing your I-90 application is read the instructions thoroughly and carefully. You can either file it online or on paper by hand as per your convenience.

Filing on Paper

If you are filing on paper, make sure that you use a black ink pen, write clearly, legibly using the space provided. Make sure to stay within the given space. Do not overwrite or highlight what you have written because it may detect differently or not detect at all in the scanners used by the USCIS. 

If you do not have anything to write under any given field, just write “N/A” in places where it requires alphabets and “0” where they have asked for numerical Double-check all the information that you have entered and sign it. 

Filing Online

If you are filing online, you need to create an account on the USCIS website. Clicking on this link will take you to the USCIS ‘s “how to create an online account page”. Just follow the steps given. 

Once you have created an account, log in to the page and download the most updated version of the I-90 form available, and get started. You can click here to directly go to the File Online page. 

Before you start, make sure to read every instruction carefully because the USCIS may make minor updates or changes to the requirements that you need to follow. Fill up all the fields provided carefully and cross-check the information you have provided. Complete the form. 

Additional Steps

Gather all the necessary supporting documents one needs to send along with the petition application. If one is filing online, follow the instructions given and upload them online. In case one is filing on paper, then include all the documents in the application and send the package to the relevant address included below. 

Pay the Filing Fee

Once the form is complete, you need to pay the I-90 application filing fee if applicable. You can pay electronically, by money order, cashier’s check, or personal check. Click on the link given and go to the “filing fee” section to see ‘how to pay and the exceptions. The USCIS green card renewal will cost you $540 including the biometric services. 

However, you do not have to pay the filing fee if-

  • Your card expires after your 16th birthday (Just pay the biometric fee of $85)
  • There is incorrect information on your card because of USCIS internal error.
  • USCIS issued a previous card, but you did not receive it. 

If one is sending a handwritten application by mail, then you can send the application package either 

Via USPS at
    P.O. Box 21262
    Phoenix, AZ 85036
Or, via DHL, FedEx, or UPS at
  • Attention: I-90 1820 E. Skyharbor, Circle S, Floor 1
    Suite 100
    Phoenix, AZ 85034

Post Filing Steps (I-90 Processing Time)

How Long Does It Take to Renew Green Card After the Filing Is Completed?

So, here are a few stages with the approximate i-90 processing timeline that should give you an idea of how much time you need to wait.

Receiving Confirmation of Receipt of Application

If all your documents are in place, then you will receive Form I-797C (Notice of Action) from USCIS confirming that they have received your application. This notice also serves as proof of your permanent residence.  

In case your I-90 application isn’t filed properly or there are missing documents, then you will receive a “Request for Evidence” notice or rejection on the application depending on the situation. This stage of the USCIS green card renewal timeline is about 2 to 4 weeks from the day you file your application.  

Note: you need to keep this letter safe because it includes the 10-digit receipt number which will be useful when checking the status of your case. 

Biometric Appointment Notice

Shortly after getting the application confirmation, one will get a notice for the biometric appointment (if applicable). Oftentimes, the Notice of Appointment for the biometrics also arrives with the I-797 Receipt of application. This notice will have the date, time, and place where one needs to go for the biometrics. The location generally is the USCIS’s application support center that is closest to where you live. 

One will have to give their fingerprints, a photo is taken and one may be asked to sign an acknowledgment stating that they attended the biometric appointments and that all the information furnished is to run a security check on their background to see if they have any criminal record or not.

The I-90 processing time of receiving the biometric appointment is usually between 3 and 5 weeks from the time of filing. 

Receive the New Green Card

Once the biometrics appointment is done, and if your background is clean after the security checks, USCIS will take the application or renewal of your green card. The I-90 processing time is about 6 to 12 weeks depending on the individual case. In case after the security checks, there are problems, then USCIS will send a notice about the rejection of the application explaining on what grounds it has been rejected. 

**Important- If your residential address is altered while the I-90 application is still pending, you need to contact USCIS within 10 days of the relocation date to overhaul the new one. There are two ways to do this: 

  • You can either do it by logging in to your USCIS account if you filed your application online.
  • You can also update by filing Form AR-11 which will help update your address in all the applications that you have filled. Click here to know more on how you can update your new address to USCIS. 

Is It Possible to Renew the Green Card When You Are Abroad? If Yes, What Is the Process?  

If one is outside the United States and the green card expires, one can renew it. The first thing one does is get in touch with the consulate or the US Embassy and inform them that the card has expired. The USCIS or the government officials will let them know what they need to do and if there are any special requirements in such situations. 

If you are undergoing the renewal process outside the US, then you will have to go for the biometrics appointment at the consulate that is closest to your place. 

If the green card is about to expire while one is out of the country and they are planning to return to the US before the expiry, then one does not have to renew it from where they are. However, as soon as they return to the US, file the application. 

What Are the Documents You Need to Accurately Complete Your USCIS Green Card Renewal Process? 

Proper documentation is extremely important for a smooth renewal process. The documents may differ depending on the petition but here are a few of them as an example of what you need to provide

Everything You Need…

  • Passport or other government-issued photo ID proof: In case you are filing for a new green card because your card is damaged, stolen, or lost, then you will have to provide a copy of a valid passport or other government issued documents like a driver’s license, military ID, etc. 
  • Document or evidence for your biographical stats like evidence for your name change after marriage or if you have changed your name otherwise.
  • Your birth certificate is proof of nationality or biographic data. 
  • Evidence for the issuance of your green card: In case USCIS has issued your green card, but you haven’t gotten it, then you need to provide the latest I-797, Notice of Action form. This notice of action will act as proof that you had gotten the confirmation and approval from the USCIS but never got the card after that. 
  • Make sure to provide translated documents- if your documents are written in some other language other than English, then you need to get them translated by a certified translator. 
  • Always provide copies of documents and not the originals unless USCIS asks for it. 
Expired green card Renewal

What Are Some of the Issues You Can Face With Expired Green Cards? 

While some people delay the process of renewing their expired green cards and use it for as long as possible because of the cost involved, there are a few issues that you will face holding an expired card:

Problem With Getting a Job if Your Green Card Is Expired

When you are starting a new job, your patron or manager has to submit an I-9 form for you. This is done for every worker who starts a new job. I-9 is used to verify your identity and whether you are allowed to work in the United States or not. The form needs you to fill in all the details and provide your signature. During this process, you will have to present a valid green card to prove that you are a lawful permanent resident. Having an expired card may cause problems and the manager will not accept it in the first place. 

There is a temporary solution to it until your green card is renewed however it isn’t the best one. You can use a foreign passport with a temporary I-I55 stamp on it that would serve as the ‘list A document’. Remember that the stamp is sound for one year. In case you do not have an I-155 stamp then you will have to file for one by scheduling an appointment with the USCIS. Getting an appointment may take weeks and your employer may not want to wait that long. 

Even if you manage to get the I-155 stamp, you will still have to file for renewal of your green card. 

An Expired Green Card Prevents You From Obtaining Your Professional License 

In some situations, you cannot hold on to your job with a green card that has expired. Most of the states do not allow you to obtain professional licenses like real estate agents, insurance agents, licenses in law and healthcare sector, and more without a valid green card. If you do not get your license you cannot work in these fields. This means that it is extremely important for you to file for a renewal of your green card before your card expires so it doesn’t interfere with your job.

Problems With Re-entering Into the United States or Traveling With an Expired Card

It can be quite risky to travel with an expired green card. One may not be able to board a flight if your card isn’t valid. As per US law, the airlines are required to do a strict checking on the permanent resident documents of an individual before they travel. 

The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer will ask you to produce the proof of your permanent residence, and you need to show a valid green card at the entry point to the country. Failing to do so, or producing an expired green card may lead to refusal for reentry in some cases. In some situations, it may delay your entry or involve a lot of expense if you need to reenter the country. Remember that your re-entry into the country completely depends on the CBP officer, so it is always recommended to carry a valid green card. 

Renewing or Obtaining a Driver’s License With an Expired Green Card

Most states want to see proof of your legal presence as a permanent resident and a green card is the proof of that. You will not be able to renew a license with an expired card and renewing it takes several months. This means that it delays your renewal of a license as well and you cannot drive until then. The rule of license renewal varies from state to state so you should check with the Department of Motor Vehicles if an I-155 or the notice of Action receipt will work or not. 

An Expired Green Card Prevents You From Buying a House

If one needs a home mortgage to buy a house, they will need to share proof of permanent residence by giving a copy of the green card. With an expired green card, they will not be given a loan. As already mentioned earlier, the renewal process takes a long time which means that there will be a significant delay in loan processing and purchase of a house. If people want hassle-free home mortgage processing then make sure to file for renewal 6 months before the lapsing of green card.  


The bottom line is you should keep a note of when your green card is expiring and make sure to file for renewal on time so you do not have to face any of the issues listed above, or are deprived of several privileges of being a permanent resident. While the i-90 processing time can be extended to up to 12 months in some cases, it is something that you have to do at some point or the other, so why not do it on time. Hope this article helps you get your new green card soon!

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

How long does it take to renew green card?

It takes around 6.5 to 13 months approximately for the entire processing and until you receive your new green card. The time, however, can vary depending on individual cases and it may take longer than this in certain cases as well. 

What are the different green card renewal timelines for different situations? 

Here’s a list that will help you understand when is the best time to apply for a new green card in case of replacement or the expiry of your card:

1. For regular replacement of green cards due to expiry, stolen, or lost, you need to apply for a new card immediately without any delay. 
2. If your green card is about to expire, file for renewal 5 to 6 months ahead of the expiry date. 
3. If you are turning 14 years, then you need to apply within 30 days of completing 14 years.
4. If you never received your green card after its issuance, or the card has errors on your biographic information, then you will have to apply immediately. 

Can I ask for a fee waiver if I cannot afford to pay the fees for my green card renewal? 

USCIS doesn’t allow a fee waiver in every case, but, in some situations, you can request a waiver. However, you need to prove to them that you are going through a financial problem. There are a few things that you need to keep in mind to request for a waiver, like

1. If you are filing for a removal condition on an investment-based green card (I-829), then there is no waiver facility available. 
2. The waiver is only available for those who are filing I-90 and I-751. 
3. If you need a waiver, you need to file it on paper and not online. 

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