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Expired Green Cards: The Renewal Process

This question gets asked all the time, “how do I renew my green card once it expires?” The short answer to that question is, it depends on your type of green card.

USCIS often grants two different types of green cards, the 2-year conditional green card and the 10-year green card. An individual's type of green card will later affect his or her eligibility and process throughout the renewal application.

For those with 10-year green cards, these individuals are eligible to apply for a green card renewal as early as 6 months before the actual expiration date. To begin the application process with USCIS, applicants should first seek legal counsel in order to file an I-90 form.

Keep in mind that because I-90 is a formal application to replace an individual's permanent residence card, there are many instances of poorly written applications getting denied.

The renewal process is admittedly very complex, so if applicants are unsure, it is highly recommended to seek legal experts that specialize in immigration. When creating a compelling explanation of why the applicant deserves a renewal, legal experts provide crucial experience and knowledge on how to craft a successful case.

For individuals holding 2-year conditional green cards, the renewal process is actually much more complicated. According to USCIS, a 2-year conditional green card may not be renewed. Instead, the applicant's conditional residence status must first be removed before he or she even applies for permanent residence.

Again, the process for removing one's conditional status changes depending on his or her original conditional residence.

There are two different types of forms that need to be filed for a family-based conditional permanent resident and aninvestor/entrepreneur-based conditional permanent resident. These two types of residents should seek legal experts to correctly petition a status change and reapply for permanent residency.

Overall, the questions and anxiety about expired green cards are well-founded. The anxiety and fear of living with an expired green card is understandable. And even though the process of removal is extremely difficult—and at many times frustrating—the dangers of having an expired green card simply cannot be understated.

If applicants were to ignore the legal procedures of renewing expired green cards, they would find themselves in many precarious situations.

At best, being stopped by an officer for having an expired green card will result in misdemeanor fines and penalties. These misdemeanor fines would most likely be contingent on the applicant reapplying for renewal anyways. At worse, applicants can be deported and sent back to their home countries without question.

After reviewing the consequences of having an expired green card, the choice becomes very clear. As U.S. green card holders, it is of utmost importance to follow the proper procedures in renewing green cards with USCIS.

This is an immigration legal blog. It is not intended to be used as legal advice.

For further information please contact the law offices of attorney Ramona Kennedy.

Ms. Ramona Kennedy received her Jurisprudence Doctorate in America and is a licensed attorney in California (USA). Ramona Kennedy is a member of American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).

She is licensed to practice in the United States Supreme Court, US Immigration Courts, California Federal Courts of Southern & Central District & All California Courts. Ramona Kennedy is fluent in English and Farsi (reading & writing).

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