Known colloquially as a green card, the 'United States Permanent Resident Card' (a.k.a Form I-551) provides non-US citizens with authorization to work permanently in United States of America. The cards issued after 1989 have a 10-year validity period, after which they need to be renewed.
If you are such a cardholder, who is about to reach the end of the validity period, it's essential that you send in your green card renewal application immediately.
To prevent the tampering or counterfeiting crimes that occur, the cards that were issued after 1989 came with a 10-year validity period. While the card was issued by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) before, now it's handled by the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS).
It is mandatory by law, that every adult green card holder carries the document with him, at all times. If the validity of the card expires, a person loses his authorization to work in USA.
That's why, it's essential that you renew your card as soon as you approach the end of its validity period. The BCIS has now been renamed as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is the institution that will handle the renewal for you.
If you have a card issued after 1989, it will have an expiry date printed on it, which you should check out. People who have received their green card before 1989 should also get their old ones replaced with new ones.
The application procedure for replacement is same as renewal. You can apply for a renewal, six months in advance, before the expiry date. It takes about 10 to 12 months for your new card to arrive. Till then, you are issued with a temporary ID in the form of a Form I-94 with a photograph or a stamped passport. This ID is valid for a year.
There are two ways in which you can apply for a renewal, with the USCIS. You can either apply online or through mail. You may fill the Form I-90 online or download it from the USCIS website, fill and mail it. A separate file with instructions to fill the form is also provided for your reference on the website.
You may also apply for a renewal by personally visiting your local USCIS office, by scheduling an appointment online. Read the instructions to know what documents will have to be supplied with the application.
After you have applied through mail or through an online form, along with the requisite fees, you will be asked to visit the local USCIS office for biometric identification. For information about the mailing address for the i-90 form submission, visit the USCIS website.
A total of USD 540 (USD 455 processing + USD 85 for biometric status) are charged as fees for the completion of the renewal procedure of a green card. A check or money order, payable to 'U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)', from a US bank must be sent along with the mail application.
If you apply for a renewal online, you can directly pay for it through your credit card. You may track your application status online through 'Check My Status' facility provided on the USCIS website or call up USCIS national services on 1-800-375-5283.
The procedure has been extremely simplified with the introduction of online filing. The fees charged for the renewal are USD 540 in total, which involves processing fees as well as biometrics fees. Visit the USCIS website today and begin the renewal procedure immediately.